Thursday, January 28, 2010

Microsoft FY10Q2 Results

Time for another Microsoft earning announcement. I'm going to be missing you, Mr. Liddell, and your New Zealand accent. With so many tech companies reporting good numbers and with Windows 7's success, I dare say that we're expecting a rosy quarterly earning report. And, if that's the case and knowing Mr. Ballmer's past record, he'll say something financially scary soon to rain on the parade.

Places I track for news on earnings include:

What questions do you expect or would you like to come up during the call? And if they don't come up during the conversation with the analysts, what Q&A do you want to send Mr. Ballmer's way during our upcoming Town Hall meeting?

  • Windows 7 continued success: how does that turn into profits and what kind of projections are we looking at?
  • Entertainment and Devices re-org: how does that align for future success and avoidance of being one big huge money pit?
  • Windows Mobile 7: we so dropped the ball in our early phone OS presence that now it seems like it's a losing battle to have a dog in this fight. But WinMo7 is out there. To me, I can imagine this becoming like the Zune HD: well praised and all, but not making a dent in the market because everyone has already moved on to the iPhone platform.
  • Bing: % of market share on track?
  • Efficiency: are back to our "we always fire the bottom 10% every review cycle" line of B.S. or are RIFs and layoffs still in effect? Given that the tech market at least seems to be turning around with-respect-to hiring (at least looking at the internal openings in Microsoft and how often I get pinged by recruiters), does Microsoft need to close down on the layoffs loudly and publically for both morale and recruitment's sake?
  • iPad iPad iPad! So what, the techie echo-chamber screams for the iPad? I'll be quiet happy with my Kindle for now, just because I do need it for lots of book reading vs. momentary goofing around with apps and browsing. Still, it does extend Apple's reach into the Windows market. What 'cha gonna do about that, Microsoft? How come you never thought of something like this? Or a book reader? You had what and what? Wow...
  • Ballmer: seems as though people are questioning Mr. Ballmer's continued CEO-ship. How much longer did he say he's in for being CEO?

Going back to the layoffs: first of all, this round does need to wrap up by end of FY10. The stress of possible layoffs will continue to have a negative effects on Microsoft, let alone recruiting. We should have one last big flush and then call ourselves done. I'm tired of the layoff rumors as much as anyone else. Probably more so, given the comment fear-mongering. To paraphrase a commenter here: Mini-Microsoft has correctly predicted 12 of the last 3 layoffs.

One commenter made a good point in that it is going to take a while to work through the fat, though, because Microsoft dug itself into such a deep, undisciplined hole that when layoffs were needed, no one knew how or where to start and certainly didn't realize how bad it had become.

(later...)

Thanks to the deferral $s, it was a break-out quarter. Some follow-ups:


-- Comments

440 comments:

1 – 200 of 440   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

Welcome back Mini.

I hope there will be no more layoffs but if there are, things do work out. I speak from experience.

I got canned in the first round, and know at least 4 people who also got an ax on 11/23 plus two more who were pushed out during two later rounds.

Me and almost all of those people who I know gotten let go (with exception of one) have found gainful employment, most back at MS in vendor or contract positions. I had to hustle but with persistence it is possible.

I find my new vendor position much nicer. Same work but no MYR, no travel and the pay is better. I got a very substantial (and very much unexpected) bonus which is more then I can say was available from MS last year. With the severance, this was the best earning year ever for me, which I certainly didn't expect on 1/23/2009.

Anonymous said...

ipad is a joke. it's an oversized iphone with no multitasking. they have hw constraints because of the size and maybe they want the price entry and app migration from iphone.

Anonymous said...

Regarding more layoffs:

I was nailed this past year. I was at the wrong place at the wrong time and the fickle finger of fate pointed at me. It sucked and I moved on to a much much much better situation outside of the company. Others in my group fared better than me for awhile....and then after a nasty reorg, they faced an appalling reality: their reviews were adjusted to reflect the current standards of their new group. Not the old one. And no one was told that the reviews were changing. I can only guess that my old boss was forced to go through and recalibrate everyone. Morale plummeted and outrage was the norm.

It is a sad situation at Microsoft, particularly because of Microsoft's insane, counterproductive review system.

I now hear that my old boss (who has been at the company for well over 10 years) is in the wrong place at the wrong time and facing the 10% fate. I was not bitter when I left but I do have to say that there is a certain irony that the implementer of my layoff is about to become a victim of that same system. It can happen to anyone at Microsoft. Anyone.

And if you are a boss reading this and trying to figure out who I am, don't try. I've run into three other ex-softies whose stories are essentially the same, complete with boss facing same situation.

Anonymous said...

If Microsoft were any other company Ballmer would have been shown the door after the Vista Fiasco. Having kept him around for so long afterwards is one of the stupidest things Microsoft has done.

Anonymous said...

MICROSOFT is the most stupid company I worked so far.

They have all the JUNK talent inside and only thing they know is POLITICS.

After BILL G. company is no where and in future also there is hardly any possibility in near future.

Anonymous said...

"How much longer did he say he's in for being CEO?"

2020, assuming there's still a MS left by then.

Anonymous said...

if you take out the deffered revenue out of the report, microsoft missed on the revenue side by about half billion dollars and barely makes it on the earning side due to cost cutting.

summary: expect more cost cutting since that seem to have neautralized the revenue miss.

Anonymous said...

The pre-earnings call elevator music is "I'll make love to you" by Boyz II Men.

I feel like there is some sort of metaphor there, I wonder if for the previous earnings call the muzak was 'shaft'?

Anonymous said...

Rumour has it that another round of layoffs are pending.
how many? unknown.

can anyone confirm this?

might be time to dust off the old resume.

Anonymous said...

I find my new vendor position much nicer .
Stop this. When your one year contract gets terminated in 3 months, when you have a medical emergency or a dentist appointment, when you are not part of one important email thread, when you are treated as a inventory by the vendor company, when you appear for 6 interviews in 2 years and do not get paid in between, when you share your office with 6 people, when your MSFT manager cares nothing for you and gives bull shit then

tell me that the above statement is true.

Anonymous said...

ipad is a joke. it's an oversized iphone with no multitasking. they have hw constraints because of the size and maybe they want the price entry and app migration from iphone.

The iPod was widely derided. The iPhone has been called a joke. Now the iPad is a joke.

Of course, with Apple's track record on the first two, I'd be unwilling to bet against them just yet. Wait for the in-depth reviews, wait to see if it takes off.

Only the foolish and the brave write Apple off these days.

Anonymous said...

"if you take out the deffered revenue out of the report, microsoft missed on the revenue side by about half billion dollars and barely makes it on the earning side due to cost cutting."

Why would you take it out when everyone knew in advance that deferred Windows revenue would be part of this quarter's results?

Anonymous said...

"MICROSOFT is the most stupid company I worked so far."

Good attrition.

Anonymous said...

All future layoffs will be silent (just like last one with no warn act), as per law any company laying off people under warn act is not able to file green card and H1B visas for certain period of time (6-12 months). Company will pay severance etc but will not file it with state (that is primary reason for last lay off not showing at http://www.esd.wa.gov/newsandinformation/warn/index.php)

Anonymous said...

From the 10-K:

To elect a Board of Directors to hold office until the next annual meeting of shareholders and until their successors are elected and qualified.


Number of Shares
For Against Abstain Broker non-vote
William H. Gates III

7,552,484,807 94,511,488 9,260,956 147
Steven A. Ballmer

7,566,955,125 77,856,616 11,445,506 150
Dina Dublon

7,567,954,251 72,575,214 15,727,575 357
Raymond V. Gilmartin

7,533,959,553 105,550,574 16,746,221 1,049
Reed Hastings

7,569,376,630 70,444,899 16,435,516 353
Maria Klawe

7,571,087,643 69,093,173 16,076,234 348
David F. Marquardt

7,557,831,460 82,232,928 16,192,660 349
Charles H. Noski

7,564,445,736 75,178,398 16,632,907 357
Helmut Panke

7,566,091,453 72,672,449 17,493,146 350

Anonymous said...

"MICROSOFT is the most stupid company I worked so far.

They have all the JUNK talent inside and only thing they know is POLITICS."

I wonder how many companies u have worked for and how many you found to be up to UR standards. And as some one has already pointed out, u definitely are a good attrition. I have worked for MS for 3 years and have moved out recently. I can confidently say that the talent pool in the organization is way better than average industry standards.

Anonymous said...

"I find my new vendor position much nicer. Same work but no MYR, no travel and the pay is better. I got a very substantial (and very much unexpected) bonus which is more then I can say was available from MS last year."

Frankly the vendor situation is outrageous and can not continue. So let me get this right. Microsoft lays people off that for thw most part were either redundant or incompetent and then hires them back as vendors (often times paying "more" for their services!!?? WTF?! What a waste of shareholder value and company resources! This practice must end.

Or why shoudl MSofties that "retire" or voluntarily leave the company be allowed to come back as vendors?? Your choice to leave - please go...

I have worked with many vendors over the years and have been completely underwhelmed. Generally I feel that they are mediocre at best, with attitudes (especially those that used to work here). Even worse I've found that recently I am going to meetings and am increasingly outnumbered by vendors - each GM or Director sending their vendor (I'll get my vendor to talk to your vendor). Again WTF!? MSofties are working less, "coordinating" more, and relaying on overpayed, generally mediocre vendors with attitudes to do their work.

Not to mention the tremendous overhead of managing the vendors - preferred vendors, low-cost vendors, diversity vendors....

We need a new vendor policy - If you leave MS, you will not be hired as a vendor for 24 months following you departure for MS (or better yet you will not be hired as an MS vendor. You can come back as a blue badge, but we will not retain your services as a vendor).

Please, someone (KT are you reading this?), stop the vendor madness!

Just saying....

p.s. good to have you back Mini

Anonymous said...

>> ipad is a joke. it's an oversized iphone
>> with no multitasking

"Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see."

- Arthur Schopenhauer.

Two years from now, everyone but Ballmer will have one.

Anonymous said...

In analysts expectations of $17.8 B revenue, deffered revenue was not included. The earning expectation was for 59 cents, which got beaten by a penny.

If you are saying analysts included $1.7 B deffered revenue in their $17.8 B expectations then first, you are a novice, and second, if Microsoft beat the expectation by such a large margin (15 cents per share earning, then MSFT would have easily jumped to $40+).

Microsoft revenue with a fantastic Window launch grew only 4 percent even when comparing with the most depressing 2nd quarter. Earning grew a bit better due to cost cutting.

If cost cutting was not done, earning would have also grew by a few percentage only. It would mean a P/E same as IBM, i.e., 10 or 12. Put that P/E and you would see without regular layoffs Microsoft us worth $20 a share.

Anonymous said...

ipad is a joke. it's an oversized iphone with no multitasking.

They are using the same software so they can sell all those iPhone applications for use on the iPad.

Applications that don't use vector graphics don't look good on the bigger screen but they can be run at their current size until they are updated.

Not supporting multitasking is to extend battery life.

You can get a free application to make phone calls.

iPhone App for Skype

You can use an iPad as an oversize iPhone if you want.

Apple Change Quietly Makes iPhone, iPad Into Web Phones

There's a video on Funny or Die where someone holds an iPad up to their ear.

But, people are also making fun of the attitude of Microsoft employees who think competitors' products suck.

People are making jokes about iPads and the "They suck!" attitude of some Microsoft employees. It doesn't really reflect whether they will be successful though.

Software developers thinking employees who got laid off are inferior because the company can do no wrong (Koolaid tastes great!) and thinking competitors' products suck is childish but it is entertaining.

(Fake) Ex-Microsoft employee remembers the last sound he heard at Microsoft: Bing!

westech said...

Why take out the deferred revenue? Because it did not reflect sales in the quarter, so it makes the quarter look better and previous quarters look worse. Makes true comparisons difficult. Also, there is a revenue number buried in the segment data of 1.833 B called unallocated. Last year it was 0.180. No explanation of what it is.

Sounds to me like MSFT emptied the cookie jar to make the quarter look good and convince all is well. This is reminiscent of what they did when they introduced the Zune.

Wndows 7 has clearly been positively received, but the impact on the financials appear to be overblown. Other than a small increase in 'Server and Tools' everything else looks pretty bleak. So far, as in the automotive industry, sales are mainly coming from replacements of existing units.

Anonymous said...

Nothing wrong with recognizing deferred revenue ... but I think the SLT is on some good drugs.

The ONLY part of the company that did well was Windows client. S&T was flat, online is further in the red, E&D went backwards. Yet the deputy buffoon, Turner, whoops about 'best quarter ever'.

With 80% of Client revenues coming from OEM, the increase in PC sales was the driver, not brilliant marketing or sales.

With the holiday spike gone, next quarter will be brutal.

Anonymous said...

I find my new vendor position much nicer .
Stop this. When your one year contract gets terminated in 3 months, when you have a medical emergency or a dentist appointment, when you are not part of one important email thread, when you are treated as a inventory by the vendor company, when you appear for 6 interviews in 2 years and do not get paid in between, when you share your office with 6 people, when your MSFT manager cares nothing for you and gives bull shit then

tell me that the above statement is true.

***************
Let’s stop for a moment and consider the difference between an a- and a v- employee. An a- is a contracted employee for a certain period of time and sounds like what you are describing. It sounds like the OP is a v-. I’ve been in the same v- role for over two years. It’s a great job. I get to come to work and do something I love every day.

Anonymous said...

What was the point of the product cuts last year (that included the layoffs) when some of the products are coming back? I've heard of at least 2 groups that were cancelled last May, and recently I've heard of friends looking for positions on the resurrected team!

HOW RIDICULOUS! We cut something, only to bring it back shortly afterwards.

Microsoft has some serious challenges ahead of itself, and most people around here are ducking their heads in the sand.

Anonymous said...

"Only the foolish and the brave write Apple off these days."

Too bad your CEO doesn't adhere to this same advice!

Ballmer: "There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance."

Anonymous said...

<"MICROSOFT is the most stupid company I worked so far."

Good attrition.>

Agreed. I'm closing in on 60 and have worked for too many companies to count. Politics? Every place I've worked.
Layoffs? Every place I've worked. Bad managers/good managers? Every place I've worked.
Great pay and better bennies, come and go as I please, recognized as a SME, opportunity to work on world-changing services? Nowhere I've worked.
If this is your first recession, then the angst is understandable. Just quit whining and instead, work your way through it.

Anonymous said...

The raw numers look good but the breakout by divisions shows that MSFT is still relying on its old cash cows. After 10 years of attempted diversification, billions spent on various products and initiatives, there's nothing there. They might've well put rolls of benjamins in the executive bathrooms. As far as shareholders go it would've been the same.

Anonymous said...

@"if you take out the deffered revenue out of the report, microsoft missed on the revenue side by about half billion dollars and barely makes it on the earning side due to cost cutting."

The street estimates included the deffered revenue so you are wrong.

Anonymous said...

"I find my new vendor position much nicer".
"Stop this. When your one year contract gets terminated in 3 months, when you have a medical emergency or a dentist appointment, when you are not part of one important email thread, when you are treated as a inventory by the vendor company, when you appear for 6 interviews in 2 years and do not get paid in between, when you share your office with 6 people, when your MSFT manager cares nothing for you and gives bull shit then tell me that the above statement is true."

I was cut in the May 5th round and your description above is exactly how my last manager treated me. I'd been at the company for 8 years and never got a 3.0 or an underperformed review. I'm now looking for a V- position after taking the summer and holiday season off to detox. Most people who take vendor positions have access to insurance else ware, in my case I'm on my hubby's plan. I understand that I could get cut at anytime, it's the same with any other job so I have enough money to survive for 8 months on at all times in the bank. I've heard that MS is now charging vendor companies $450 a month to have an office on campus so people just work from home and come in for important meetings as needed.
If there is one thing I've learned working for MS it's that at anytime for any reason they can get rid of you, so why not go back for more cash and less stress?

Anonymous said...

"I find my new vendor position much nicer ."
Stop this. When your one year contract gets terminated in 3 months, when you have a medical emergency or a dentist appointment, when you are not part of one important email thread, when you are treated as a inventory by the vendor company, when you appear for 6 interviews in 2 years and do not get paid in between, when you share your office with 6 people, when your MSFT manager cares nothing for you and gives bull shit then
tell me that the above statement is true.


Yes, it's true and I'm not the original poster of that statement. Let me go one by one:

When your one year contract gets terminated in 3 months
Fine. I can do other things like spending time with my family, fixing the house, vacation, travel.

when you have a medical emergency or a dentist appointment,

I go to the doctor or dentist. Do you think being a vendor will prevent me from doing that, or the hospitals will not accept me unless I'm a microsoft employee? what world do you live in?

when you are not part of one important email thread,
Important , says who ? I can care less. If I don't receive an email is because I don't have to. The less email in my inbox the better and more productive life I have.

when you are treated as a inventory by the vendor company,
You're treated the same or worst when being a MS employee. Actually vendors hire you , place you at the client site and forget about you altogether. Quite nice let me tell you.

when you appear for 6 interviews in 2 years and do not get paid in between,
well... now you're exagerating.

when you share your office with 6 people
I shared a big room with about 10 people. I met all of them. It was quite entertaining, made lots of new friends, much better than being alone.

when your MSFT manager cares nothing for you and gives bull shit then
Fine. I can care less about him/her but I don't give them bs, I am kind to them. It always works.

Anonymous said...

> ipad is a joke

We'll see. I have had an iPhone for 8 months, and love it. My wife has been thinking about the Kindle, and also keeps 'borrowing' my iPhone to play with various apps. So now there is a product that is both combined? If it has decent battery life it will be a killer product. The iPad costs $499, vs. the black n white Kindle at $479, with the addition of apps...sounds like a wise business move to me.

Anonymous said...

Whatever the comments around layoffs and how we shouldn't have done them, I survived. I don't feel bad...and am extremely grateful for my job.

I think I am one of the few that is still proud to work for Microsoft and believes in this company (flaws and all).

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 7:55:00 PM - The reason you would take it out is because it's not true revenue. MS is just playing Accounting games to pad poor numbers. Not faulting them really as it's pretty well industry standard. Shouldn't be but it is...

Anon @ 629pm re: Vendor - Couldn't agree with you more!!

Anonymous said...

I analyzed the staff who are selected as having high potential at Microsoft. Surprise surprise! Most of the guys who do internal self marketing activities and internal events are selected in to this list rather than who does more profitable and directly customer facing hands-on activities. Microsoft will be in deep trouble if it continues to award chaps who are mastering internal company politics and just networking rather than producing something really useful for the company and customers. I think HR is promoting this kind of activities and awarding them so new hires also feel that they had to act this way otherwise they would not be selected in to the club. Therefore actual productivity sucks at MSFT!

Anonymous said...

I find my new vendor position much nicer

Stop this. When your one year contract gets terminated ....
tell me that the above statement is true.


I wrote the original and what you describe does sound bad. So far I have several medium-length projects, medical/dental insurance with quite good coverage and just a small copay, I am on the business development threads, and I am not on-site in a small cube. Overall it's a great arrangement for me and with me bringing business in for my company, it is good for them too.

It sounds like you are an a- through Volt who are well known don't treat you very well. In my past life as SDE I worked with number of a- through Volt in testing and found the way they were treated by Volt appaling...

Good luck to you, I hope your situation changes for better.

Anonymous said...

by march - up to 2000 fte more ww and it's done

Anonymous said...

Even it looks good on the surface, Microsoft's earnings report is horrible. After you exclude the deferred revenue part, all the segments are doing real bad by revenue and income. Not to mention the Ballmer's most loving segment "Online Services" which lost another 500 ml and on the track to receive the award for the "Stupidest Investment of the Century" in IT business. Also, these numbers are compared to the last quarter of 2008 where everybody thought world economy is in total collapse.

Anonymous said...

Being a vendor isn't too bad if you are single and level 61 or below.

You are likely to be better paid. A lot better paid!

Depending on the groups, some FTE are also sharing offices.

Anonymous said...

To save microsoft, ballmer must resign. its that simple!
Also i thought Ray ozzie was meant to be this visionary and inspiring leader.
Epic Fail!
rumour has it that Ray is going to leave MS soon.....

Anonymous said...

"if Microsoft beat the expectation by such a large margin (15 cents per share earning, then MSFT would have easily jumped to $40+)."

There is no "if" about it. Actual earnings were 74 cents and revenue was $19.02 billion. That's 15 cents better than consensus, and 4 cents better than the highest whisper number. Consensus badly underestimated the impact of deferred, even though analysts were all aware it would be a factor. If MS wasn't still shirking its responsibility to provide guidance, some of that might have been avoided. Nevertheless, the number is what it is.

Anonymous said...

"We need a new vendor policy - If you leave MS, you will not be hired as a vendor for 24 months following you departure for MS (or better yet you will not be hired as an MS vendor."

You, sir/madam, are a moron. Those v-'s aren't your enemy. Those blues they're laying off and hiring back are probably less money overall when you figure in things like insurance. Also remember they don't pay out severance packages to dash trash.

You should be more worried that your employer is systematically creating an environment that views its employees as cheap and replaceable. But instead, you have to be the stereotypical 'softie and crap over the vendors.

Oh well. We'll have your fresh, new orange badge waiting when it's your turn under the axe. Be seeing you.

Anonymous said...

All future layoffs will be silent (just like last one with no warn act), as per law any company laying off people under warn act is not able to file green card and H1B visas for certain period of time (6-12 months). Company will pay severance etc but will not file it with state (that is primary reason for last lay off not showing at http://www.esd.wa.gov/newsandinformation/warn

How is it that the company gets away without filing notice under the WARN act? What is the basis for this assertion?

Anonymous said...

Interestingly enough, the latest issue of IEEE Engineering Management, was focused on building effective coporate boards and their impact on corporate performance.

Building effective boards
Shaw, W.H.
Engineering Management Review, IEEE
Volume 37, Issue 4, Fourth Quarter 2009 Page(s):2 - 2
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/EMR.2009.5384041
Summary:In this issue of EMR, we look at the role of a governing board and its impact on organizational performance. In many ways this issue is a bit of a departure from the EMR traditional focus on operational levels of engineering management.

Worth a read...

Anonymous said...

"rumour has it that Ray is going to leave MS soon"

This is not good, did anyone have more info ?

Anonymous said...

If you exclude Windows (client & server) and Office Professinal from Microsoft's balance sheet, what will be remaining revenue figures? How much profit would Microsoft make in this case? Possibly only 20,000 staff would be enough to run the company. So think about the cost of 80,000 staff and add it to the imaginary calculation above. I am not against other MS products, but I want you to think from this perspective for a minute.

Anonymous said...

Craig must leave based on the amount of functional paralysis we have in MSR.

Anonymous said...

@"MICROSOFT is the most stupid company I worked so far.
They have all the JUNK talent inside and only thing they know is POLITICS."

Agreed. Not everybody who is going out is Good Attrition. That’s the MS attitude…to not accept it as BAD attrition.

Politics and grouping is very much involved into the MS culture. It will be good if we will not over react and accept few things to some extent and try to correct things. Don’t you think that most of the time new guys rated as UP 10 and thrown out? Most of the old guys always rated as E 20 or around, which is practically not possible.

On the other side politics is everywhere across industry and Not everybody is junk within MS.
Before someone become aggressive and jump to the discussion…I am still working in MS, got 4 awards, 1 promotion so far. And I honestly believe that whatever we do is not the best.

Example of MS Stupidity:

> Hotmail
> Live.com
> MSN
> Windows Vista
> BING.com
> Stupid acquisitions
> Morale of the people
> Layoffs
> VLSC
> Last 10 years company performance and growth

There are recent success stories as well like WINDOWS 7 :)

Not necessarily who so ever is writing on MINI is out of company or a GOOD ATTRITION.

Anonymous said...

Windows 7 was available for ordering in the first quarter of fiscal year 2010.

Revenue July--Dec 2008 was $31.7B
Revenue July--Dec 2009 is $31.9B

Virtually flat. We have launched a new operating system, and still making only as much revenue as during the recession season.

Now let us look at the net income equation.

Income July--Dec 2008 was $8.54B
Income July--Dec 2009 is $10.23B

A growth of almost 20%. Where is this growth coming from? Cost cutting and layoffs. Expect more of what worked.

Anonymous said...

"
All future layoffs will be silent (just like last one with no warn act), as per law any company laying off people under warn act is not able to file green card and H1B visas for certain period of time (6-12 months). Company will pay severance etc but will not file it with state (that is primary reason for last lay off not showing at http://www.esd.wa.gov/newsandinformation/warn

How is it that the company gets away without filing notice under the WARN act? What is the basis for this assertion?
"

Go to http://www.esd.wa.gov/newsandinformation/warn/ , search by company name, Nov 4 layoff hasn't shown up after 3 months whereas all previous layoffs showed up in less than 60 days

Go to internal "immigration" website, check FAQ for why MS stopped filing new PERM applications (1st stage of green card), they have clearly mentioned layoff as reason and also have provided time period before they can start it again

Filing notice under WARN act is not mandatory (no one can or will complain because they are giving 60 days pay/notice, it's just they are not filing it to circumvent immigration requirements). Department of labor checks if company has done any previous layoff using official channels only, it does not have time or resources to go through news articles reg layoffs. MS is not the only company doing layoffs this way, tons of other companies have started using this loophole in immigration law.

Anonymous said...

If you exclude Windows (client & server) and Office Professinal from Microsoft's balance sheet, what will be remaining revenue figures?

Less than you'd think. Believe it or not, there are many scenarios where Windows Server and Office are actually the add-ons to other primary purchases. Whenever we make a sale of one of our ERP solutions, Windows Server, Office, and SharePoint make some effortless sales because of it. Cut all the products that generate these types of add-on sales of the "flagship" products, and their sales numbers drop too.

We're in this together more than you realize now.

Anonymous said...

Even it looks good on the surface, Microsoft's earnings report is horrible

We have such an amazing range of expertise on this board! From master technology strategists to financial wizards able to TRULY demystify "the BS"!

Strange that every analyst felt the results were solid. Of course they're all idiots. Everyone is an idiot. Except the folks who complain here of course. And Google and Apple.

The results were actually solid. The amount of idiocy being vomited up here to paint the results as bad is ridiculous.

There is a TON wrong at MSFT and PLENTY to constructively complain about. Trying to spin good results into bad ones to suit your point just displays ignorance.

As for the stock, Google and Apple werent rewarded for good results lately either. Take your head out of your ass and read financial sites. The market is insane right now and Wall St is playing an internal game as usual.

MSFT stock has some huge issues and the brand image is in bad shape, but the *current* stock situation is bigger than just an MSFT issue. Even Wall St darlings arent getting a break.

As for the diversity of the balance sheet.... Everyone here who strokes off to their Google envy needs to take a look at THAT balance sheet. Just how diverse do you think Google is??? MSFT derives the lions share of revenue from Win/Office, Google derives 90+% from ads.

Thats why there's a war. Both models have a limited lifespan. The value of fat client installs and a desktop OS is rapidly waning into a commodity. But likewise, Googles stranglehold lock on ad matching isnt likely to last long term *unless they can engineer things so it does*

So Google pours money into trying to create a full platform and trap users in. Giving away even hardware will be the next step. They need to trap as many folks as they can within their ecosystem before the internet's natural course of evolution disintermediates them by providing some sort of wholesale marketplace that matches advertisers to ad carriers directly without requiring a single middle man.

If Google can create enough lock-in quickly enough, they will have a hedge against their current loosely coupled monopoly that is solid. Then they can control the rate of evolution around search and ad delivery with no pressure.

In doing this they will increasingly commoditize everything since the goal is just to get more eyeballs on the web and locked into Google offerings.

This is bad for MSFT which is still relying on platforms having intrinsic value beyong being an internet on-ramp.

The industry and Wall St are betting that Google will win this battle. Thats why their stock is rewarded.

Personally, I think the smart move for MSFT would be to flush the lions share of the online BS... Partner with Google for now to monetize all internet content and cloud offerings. Push the envelope even farther and create more creative and high value ways to ad target and in the meantime get MSR working on sophisticated predictive technology designed to provide what you're looking for before you look and mine you for specific information transparently that can then be surfaced to advertisers. If technology like this was embedded in a diverse range of platforms, you'd have the foundations to deliver a new experience the consumer would appreciate, kick them in via cash back, and have the beginnings of an ecosystem where advertisers could potentially go directly to ad carriers. This would be highly disruptive to Google and would also benefit end users and, in the meantime, could be financed using money made by leveraging Googles ability to monetize.

Where MSFT is failing pathetically is in trying to be a better Google and Google and a better Apple than Apple instead of looking *past* them and trying to leapfrong.

Its amazing how little genuine isnight into the future direction of the industry is demonstrated on these boards.

Anonymous said...

About "good" attrition. It almost looks like a statistical exercise from the top. What happens in the middle stays in the middle. But then later you hear a lot of grumbling: we really let go of some good people.... (afterthoughts, maybe sort of a grieving process?). Oh well, just need to retrain the new ones, a few months of lost productivity, a blip in the total scheme of things. At least we're meeting the 10% target!

Anonymous said...

I believe the "good attrition" comment was made with reference to the "most stupid company I worked so far" commenter's inability to put together a grammatical, coherent sentence, or to spell.

Anonymous said...

>How is it that the company gets away without filing notice under the WARN act?

I really shouldn't have to say this to someone allegedly qualified to work at Microsoft but perhaps you should go and actually read the provisions of the WARN act. The penalties section is quite illuminating.

Anonymous said...

Those who are happy being v-, do you get reviews and raises? Or are you stuck as a stiff doing the same thing for the same $$

Anonymous said...

How is it that the company gets away without filing notice under the WARN act? What is the basis for this assertion?
You have to file WARN only if you layoff N (where N is some number or a percentage, i do not remember the exact value). If you layoff people in batches of size less than N separated by D days, you escape the WARN ac.

Ex, I know for sure expedia layed off quite a number of people last year and there was no warn because they by passed the law.

Anonymous said...

"How much longer did he say he's in for being CEO?"

2020, assuming there's still a MS left by then.


20/20 means perfect vision, right? I'm fairly certain that concept will never, ever apply to steveb.

Anonymous said...

@I analyzed the staff who are selected as having high potential at Microsoft. Surprise surprise! Most of the guys who do internal self marketing activities and internal events are selected in to this list rather than who does more profitable and directly customer facing hands-on activities. Microsoft will be in deep trouble if it continues to award chaps who are mastering internal company politics and just networking rather than producing something really useful for the company and customers. I think HR is promoting this kind of activities and awarding them so new hires also feel that they had to act this way otherwise they would not be selected in to the club. Therefore actual productivity sucks at MSFT!

Agreed. MICROSOFT CULTURE!!!
Not sure about other groups but true for MSIT, India.

Anonymous said...

How is it that the company gets away without filing notice under the WARN act? What is the basis for this assertion?

Easy, by giving everyone at least two months pay and benefits (all the WARN would cover, even if you qualified)

Anonymous said...

Guess what with the layoffs thing hanging over our heads like a damocles sword we have a bunch of good people leaving without warnings... What follows is that they ask their worthy colleagues to join them as soon as they find a suitable opening. This has happened to me three times in the last 3 months, so far I have resisted the temptation. And as the job market opens up further many more would go this way. Is the SLT and HR bothered or they're just dusting this phenomenon under the carpet? Showing such attrition as "Good Attrition" so as to keep their prized scorecards squeaky clean... and their chances of making it to "Circle of Excellence" alive. Come to think of it, seeing the kind of monkeys who have been nominated to COE we should rename it "Circle of Simians" its beginning to look like a scam and an insult to the truly deserving ones in the lot (current and past).

Anonymous said...

since everyone is using this site as an iPad/Apple discussion (again), I'll chime in

got an iPhone six months ago and the thrill is gone...millions of apps or whatever, but I never use them because I have work and recreation, plus since getting a Kindle for xmas I've rediscovered quiet leisurely reading again and am loving it--the Kindle really is the anti-tech gadget in that it brings back the deep and rich experience of immersing yourself in a book

(why can't you just read dead tree books? they take up more space, the bookmarks fall out, my notes and underlines are harder to find)

so to me the iPad is something I definitely don't want to go back to: the gadget that ends up tethered to you and eats up spare time and prevents you from enjoying those deep thought moments...worse, it's expensive and yet still limited in what it can do

in fact I find myself using my iPhone less and less except as a call receiving machine, you know those things (by the way exchange on the iphone sucks sucks sucks, very basic and very frustrating)

Anonymous said...

The WARN didn't kick in for the 11/4 cuts affected less than 500 people in Puget Sound. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WARN_Act

Anonymous said...

H1B reality Vs ficition.
I did back of the envelope calculation of the impact of H1B.
Assumptions: Avg salary of H1 50K year, this is fair from my own experience and asking friends, MSFT/GOOG H1B employees are top of the cream.
Around 200K H1B in America.

Annual cost = 50k*200K = 10Billion. 1/3 for tax, remaining = 6.5 billion. International students bring around 10billion every year (just the school fees, forget the value), assume 5billion make h1b haters happy, remaining 1.5 billion, 50% for spending/running life here (apt rent, grocery etc), remaining 0.75 billion, let us make H1B haters happy and multiply this by 10, 7.5billion.

Now wall st banks bailout is more than 100 billion, health care costs runs more than 100 billion. Both these numbers are underestimates and I think they run into trillions actually

Do not look at 7.5 billions as cash leaving our country. Even the greatest hater will agree that some value is being created by H1B.

You are right partially that H1B is stealing the jobs. But if you make the list of problems that US is facing, H1B will not be within the top. But the herd mentality will win over the reason at the end of the day.

Anonymous said...

Those who are happy being v-, do you get reviews and raises? Or are you stuck as a stiff doing the same thing for the same $$
No reviews. Very few vendors may have quarterly "meetings" to review your job performance but they are a joke compared to microsoft review process. Vendors use them to 'ensure' you don't get a raise while you are with them.
You are responsible for giving yourself a raise everytime you head into a new project/new vendor. You have control through your own negotiation skills. Much better than being an FTE in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

"
How is it that the company gets away without filing notice under the WARN act? What is the basis for this assertion?

Easy, by giving everyone at least two months pay and benefits (all the WARN would cover, even if you qualified)"

Exactly. Argument is that they will fulfill conditions of WARN act (60 days pay and benefits) but won't file notice anymore because it is impacting hiring of H1B, lowering morale of current H1B holders and future green card applicants.

This is summary of notice filed by compaby from http://www.esd.wa.gov/newsandinformation/warn/ (search for Microsoft Company name), in past MS has filed for as low as 2 people, Nov 4 layoff still doesn't show up:

Microsoft Redmond 11/1/2009 27 Layoff Permanent 9/3/2009
Microsoft Redmond 7/4/2009 1200 Layoff Permanent 5/5/2009
Microsoft Seattle 6/30/2009 2 Layoff Permanent 4/1/2009
Microsoft Redmond 3/23/2009 872 Layoff Permanent 1/23/2009
Microsoft Redmond 10/25/2004 67 Layoff Permanent 8/23/2004

Anonymous said...

Microsoft should be deBallmarized.

http://financesummary.blogspot.com/2010/01/microsoft.html

Anonymous said...

H1B reality Vs ficition
Same person here. 7.5 is a gross over estimate. Because I muliplied by 10 at the end, I took international fees as 5 billion (it is actually 10billion) and also the costs of leading life here i took as 50% of 1.5, it should be around 20% of 6.5 because 1.5 was (6.5 - 5). Also I did not count in the money that international students spend here other than paying school fees. Did not count the money for filing visas and did not count the money that contracting companies put in their pocket which will by and large remain within this country.

Get over the herd mentality and bitterness. H1B is not even the top 5 problems in this country, wall st banks, insurnace companies screwing patients, inner city schools, these are bigger issues than those poor H1B making some money

Anonymous said...

"Guess what with the layoffs thing hanging over our heads like a damocles sword "


It's THE Sword of Damcoles, I don't believe there was ever a run of them....

Anonymous said...

Department of labor checks if company has done any previous layoff using official channels only, it does not have time or resources to go through news articles reg layoffs. MS is not the only company doing layoffs this way, tons of other companies have started using this loophole in immigration law.

This is a conspiracy theory because the company has to attest that it did not conduct layoffs in the defined statutory period in its filings for immigration. This is independent of any other law such as WARN. If the company lies on an application, it would be breaking the law.

jacob said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

"I analyzed the staff who are selected as having high potential at Microsoft. Surprise surprise! Most of the guys who do internal self marketing activities and internal events are selected in to this list rather than who does more profitable and directly customer facing hands-on activities."

So you've failed in creating a personal brand and it's the HiPo's fault for being successful at this? As one who has been in HiPo group for several years... and btw have been customer facing and revenue generating the entire time, my enouragement to you is that you stop whining and get to work. If you don't know how to market yourself and your success, get yourself some exposure coaching.

Anonymous said...

Question for mini readers about the 2009 layoffs:

Were any of you in a group that experienced layoffs, that contained people hired within a handful of months prior to the layoff (and thus had never had an FTE review) who were kept on, while experienced contributors at the same level, and doing the same work, were laid off?

My wife and I are still curious about what the criteria could have been. I'm hoping to avoid getting into the same situation again in the future. To do that, it helps to know what "situation" I was in that led to my number coming up. Were company newbies in some groups somehow "protected"?

Anonymous said...

@Sunday, January 31, 2010 12:08:00 PM

You want to give that another try?

Maybe using one of the languages, or at least grammatical constructs, in common use on this planet?

Anonymous said...

Whatever the comments around layoffs and how we shouldn't have done them, I survived. I don't feel bad...and am extremely grateful for my job.

Sounds selfishly pathetic.


I think I am one of the few that is still proud to work for Microsoft and believes in this company (flaws and all).

Yes, many of those who were laid off drank the same koolaid as you are currently ingesting. Good luck with your pink slip which should arrive soon in your privileged hands.

Anonymous said...

"MICROSOFT is the most stupid company I worked so far."
I've got a great idea - all those that are unhappy working for Microsoft, LEAVE!

That's the best attrition solution yet - gets rid of all the negative dead weight, and leaves those of us who WANT to work here able to continue the success tradition re-energized by Windows 7.

Anonymous said...

it is an irony that with the launch of a new OS, our revenue is flat with the last year's recession season, and still termed fantastic due to accounting tricks.

see the above comment which compare the first two quarters together of fy2009 and fy2010. there is no revenue gain. microsoft won't ever be a $100B company. enjoy the current stock price due to layoff. layoff are not sustainable, aspect the stock price to eventually come down back to teens and do not expect it to go to $40 ever.

Anonymous said...

If at all there are cuts, then the execs have to take a serious look at underperforming partners, directors & general managers. It will not be hard to find them, they are almost everywhere.

Anonymous said...

>
Agreed. MICROSOFT CULTURE!!!
Not sure about other groups but true for MSIT, India.
>

Add other teams in Hyderabad to your list.

Anonymous said...

Those who are happy being v-, do you get reviews and raises? Or are you stuck as a stiff doing the same thing for the same $$
******

yes - we get raises and insurance just like the rest of the working world :) I'm sure it completely depends on your vendor company. Some vendor companies treat their employees better than others but I'm very fortunate in my existing role.

To the individuals who claim that v- employees are subpar. I'm not sure which group you are all in so I cannot speak to your circumstances but my team has a very talented group of employees, blue and orange badge alike. Please don't completely judge us by the color of our badges. Most of us just want to do a good job like all of you. We also care about Microsoft and seeing it succeed.

Anonymous said...

Just responding to the H1B aside: my objection to H1B is not really anything to do with foreigners taking jobs or such claptrap. Rather, it's a problem with companies attempting to use H1B to distort the market rate for what I do by increasing supply.

The alternative is to either pay more or be better at not doing things that don't matter.

ling said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I am on level 62 (PM) for over 2 years now in STB. Today my lead said that their is no budget for promo this mid year review and absolutely no promotions in the team! Is it accross MSFT? Has anyone heard the same?

Anonymous said...

"Its amazing how little genuine isnight into the future direction of the industry is demonstrated on these boards."

Spoken like a true guru, the kind we don't need more of. NO, MSFT needs to get back to basics, hire and nourish creativity and innovation first and foremost. These marketing ideas as so eloquently demonstrated in this post, all these strategic philosophies and positions are crap and a sign of the pure decadence of MSFT. MSFT used to be about creating great software, now the only ball we have our eye on is the proverbial "market share". "Build it and they will come applies here." RIP MSFT

Anonymous said...

Would it kill Microsoft accounting to send out the W2s? Is there any reason whatsoever that my W2 is not in my hands today? My income numbers froze on Sept. 11 due to my layoff (yeah, I know the irony of the date). Why must Microsoft find some new way to disrupt my life? I've got a tax refund coming, I have a FAFSA report to file, as well as scholarship applications for my kids. All of which is much more difficult to do because Microsoft, once again, can't meet a deadline. Nice going Microsoft payroll. So glad to be gone from there.

Anonymous said...

@I analyzed the staff who are selected as having high potential at Microsoft. Surprise surprise! Most of the guys who do internal self marketing activities and internal events are selected in to this list rather than who does more profitable and directly customer facing hands-on activities. Microsoft will be in deep trouble if it continues to award chaps who are mastering internal company politics and just networking rather than producing something really useful for the company and customers. I think HR is promoting this kind of activities and awarding them so new hires also feel that they had to act this way otherwise they would not be selected in to the club. Therefore actual productivity sucks at MSFT!

Agreed. MICROSOFT CULTURE!!!
Not sure about other groups but true for MSIT, India.

This happen in operations too.

Anonymous said...

Now that they have fixed Windows, the focus can move onto Windows 7 mobile and other products. you have to fix the core first.

Anonymous said...

""rumour has it that Ray is going to leave MS soon"

This is not good, did anyone have more info ?"


Why isn't it good? The guy is a huge zero for the company, he's totally invisible to virtually all employees and he hasn't delivered anything interesting for us at all. Dude is supposed to be our spiritual guru and show us the way to the magical future, but that's never happened.

He's a dinosaur and his best work is long behind him. Let's get some new blood.

NovoEgo said...

Spoken like a true guru, the kind we don't need more of. NO, MSFT needs to get back to basics

Agreed. For all the noise we've heard about search and cloud computing over the past 10 years, it never really went anywhere and now the industry has swung back around and the hot thing is operating systems. iPhone/iPad OS, Android, OS X, Palm's WebOS, Google's Chrome-whatever OS, Linux in the BIOS, whatever will run on a netbook (or tablet), etc. etc.

If Microsoft had been focused on making a great OS over the last 10+ years (i.e., fast, small, secure, simple, easy to use, a joy to develop for, etc.) instead of flailing around losing money on "strategy" we'd be in a great position to take advantage of the market now. But as is, all our competitors are eating our lunch, in the area that's supposedly our core business.

I hope all the 20-somethings who have been whining incessantly that Microsoft just doesn't "get" the future of computing can appreciate the irony.

Anonymous said...

If you don't know how to market yourself and your success, get yourself some exposure coaching.



Wow! If "marketing yourself" and "exposure coaching" are the keys to succeeding at MSFT, you can stop looking for the reasons why the company has lost its way.

Anonymous said...

What's with the spam getting through?

Thought mini was moderating?

Anonymous said...

"So you've failed in creating a personal brand and it's the HiPo's fault for being successful at this? As one who has been in HiPo group for several years... and btw have been customer facing and revenue generating the entire time, my enouragement to you is that you stop whining and get to work. If you don't know how to market yourself and your success, get yourself some exposure coaching."

Wow do you work in MSR? If you don't, please reach out and I can connect you with a fabulous person who shares your world view of superiority, an ability to differentiate from the common herd. And no he's not a Nazi, he is a special special, vastly superior wunderkind kind of person! With a predilection for eugenics.

But I digress. I met the odd HiPo in my 10 years. And most were neither Hi nor Po. Just had the right sponsor, is all. Now to be fair there are 2 kinds of HiPo - Type-1 is college grad from the right school, ripe for exploitation thru low pay and empty promises, whereas Type-2 is the one who has to be scheduled for surgery to have his/her lips removed from the boss' ass.

Type-2s are much more interesting as one climbs the career ladder. You can spot them easily. Usually promising wildly successful new projects, they garner significant investments but, just as the rubber meets the road, their HiPo status propels them onto the next shiny new project. Results are left in the dust as someone else takes the bullet for failure, and the hip-hop-happy HiPo prances to its next PowerPoint deck.

Anonymous said...

Free MYCD advice:

Yes roll up, roll up ladies and germs! And listen up:

1. This is the time of year when you will regret making commitment setting priority 11 on your list of 10. NEVER accept commitments that cannot be quantitatively measured. 'Improve customer relationships' is a classic clanger that can have you in the unemployment line at the speed of light. If your boss loves you are good. If not you are hosed. Make it measurable, people. Unless you are a HiPo.
2. Love your manager, superficially. Managers lap up good OHI. OK so she is a turd, but a good polish never hurts!
3. Love your team mates, superficially. Awesome, unbelievable they surely are. If you are short on adjectives, watch 'Wheel of Fortune' for some tips. "Who's in the audience?" Pat will ask. And invariably the answer is 'My wonderful husband Bill, and my beautiful children Alicia and Skye'. OK so Bill's out on a good behavior bond and the kids are in reform school but the audience does NOT need to know.
4. Love your customer, superficially. Nobody at Microsoft actually cares about customers. I know we all say we do. What matters is that (wink, wink) unsolicited email that says you de man. Or the CPE score that you rigged by sending to your buddies at the OEM. But don't feel bad. Everybody does it, so it's OK, right? Just be open and respectful. Just not too open, and just respectful enough.

Well, that's enough for tonight. Don't want to spill too many beans all at once. Sleep tight, and don't let the HiPos bite.

Anonymous said...

@" am on level 62 (PM) for over 2 years now in STB. Today my lead said that their is no budget for promo ",

You're in STB, a difficult group for making the senior band jump. So much "competition" or whatever that means.

There is always budget for something, but not just promo for the hell of it. Your lead means that you did not calibrate before mid-year quite on top.

Outside of a few specific groups like Expression products, STB people skew lowly when compared to other orgs like Bing and AdCenter.

Anonymous said...

>So you've failed in creating a personal brand and it's the HiPo's fault for being successful at this?

If said HiPo has created an illusion by taking credit for others work and ideas then yes, they are ass-clowns and parasites and we could do with a whole lot less of them across the board.

>If you don't know how to market yourself and your success, get yourself some exposure coaching.

I'm sorry, when I read that I had this horrible vision of Atlas Shrugged and all the government ass-kiss characters that did nothing in life but promote themselves and try and avoid any sort of responsibility while simultaneously trying to reap all the rewards for their non-accomplishments.

Anonymous said...

"Would it kill Microsoft accounting to send out the W2s? Is there any reason whatsoever that my W2 is not in my hands today"

Iteratively ... No to #1 and Yes to #2.

The reason for #2 is that you are yesterday's garbage. Sorry for my insensitivity in saying that, but, dude, nobody cares about you. The people that pull the strings on your W2 are vendors with a job to do. So now you are an Outlook task waiting for a 'tick, done'. The Partners and Ballmers and Gates of this world are done with your sorry ass. So, get on with the rest of your life.

Anonymous said...

Would it kill Microsoft accounting to send out the W2s? Is there any reason whatsoever that my W2 is not in my hands today?

They wanted everyone to sign up to receive W2's electronically.

Anonymous said...

Okay there is an old saying that rats are the first to desert a sinking ship and old rats seem to lead the way. MS India (SMSG) doesn't need any more layoffs the rate at which people (tenured and relative greenhorns) are leaving, don't be surprised that only the SLT and a few managers will be left over to run the company. And guess whats even more interesting, there are no takers for Microsoft jobs in the industry so we will probably hire from the very bottom of the talent pool. And yes then someday someone will rate them 10% and kick them out.... Life goes on as usual till microsoft itself gets rated 10% by the customers. Will someone wake up the leadership team to the realities of the market...

Anonymous said...

@Question for mini readers about the 2009 layoffs: Were any of you in a group that experienced layoffs >>

I was in a group where lot of us were given pink slip in first 1400 and most of us had joined group just 10-40 days before review period and most were in 10...so much so for reorg and new managers! Many seniors (till GM levels) were cut and it was obvious in my short 30 day span in the new org that they did not get along well with execs.

So bottom line - get along well with your manager and be aware when you change groups!!

But be sure that there are good places around apart from MSFT!

Anonymous said...

IC here. Just had my MYCD and saw something on my manager's monitor that said my "potential indicator = Z". What does that mean?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous spake:
NEVER accept commitments that cannot be quantitatively measured. 'Improve customer relationships' is a classic clanger that can have you in the unemployment line at the speed of light. If your boss loves you are good. If not you are hosed. Make it measurable, people.

What if your manager insists that all of their devs (from SDE to Senior SDE) have exactly the same commitments and none except the continuing education commitment include specific measurable criteria by which they are judged?

I have dialogued with my manager about this for two years running without success. I've even escalated it to the skip level, who told me to do as instructed by my manager. How is "NEVER accept" an option in circumstances in which you are threatened with an insubordination complaint for saying that you want to refine the suggested commitments with specific, objective criteria before you put them on your list?

This is important to me because on any number of objective criteria, I'm well within the top 20%, but using their subjective rating scale, I've been collecting the gentleman's C (70%) due to being on the wrong side of "loves me, loves me not". I have been puckering up as is the custom, but it has not seemed to make a difference.

Anonymous said...

I am on level 62 (PM) for over 2 years now in STB. Today my lead said that their is no budget for promo this mid year review and absolutely no promotions in the team! Is it accross MSFT? Has anyone heard the same?

Welcome to a new reality - projected length in level - about 5 years; 3-4 years for HiPo.

Anonymous said...

Those who are happy being v-, do you get reviews and raises? Or are you stuck as a stiff doing the same thing for the same $$

I have been on both sides of this as both an a- and v-. I have worked for some great managers who treated all people in the group within the limits of the contract, as equal. Those managers really got the best out of the contractors and they came back. These managers are also the ones that will hook you up with the next job - treat them well. I have worked for some though that were the worst managers I have met in Microsoft, egostistical losers and grandstanders, and as a contractor you stroke their epeens, smile and nod, do what you're told even when it makes no sense and get your check. You remember you don't work there and you do what you can to get out of that contract soon. Be careful to not piss these guys off - they can be vindictive and have the power to make it difficult to get back in as a contractor.

But the most fun is to work in a group where some people actively deride your status as a contractor, some bringing up your orange badge on a daily basis, when they themselves are contributing nothing. Later, without their involvement you come in with a blue badge, and in the next review period they get a chance to see what it means to compete with you.

I agree with another poster that raises are largely due to your negotiation on the next contract. And vendor reviews are along the lines of whether you fell over or not.

Also, pick the contracting company very carefully. One especially is just a giant meat market with recruiters who have no technical background and no knowledge of the market, while others have real concern for the employee and have many additional benefits.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I are still curious about what the criteria could have been. I'm hoping to avoid getting into the same situation again in the future. To do that, it helps to know what "situation" I was in that led to my number coming up. Were company newbies in some groups somehow "protected"?

I was laid off within a few months after I (re)joined in 2009. So you could call me a newbie. However, I was an FTE before, and I had returned to MS because I had a good experience during my previous stint. So you could call me an old-timer too.

To answer your question, I have observed that HR/LCA was very smart in selecting people to lay off. If you discover any target demographic group or protected demographic group, they will point out exceptions to the rule you just discovered. The layoff selection process lasted over a month, and perhaps up to 5-6 months. They did a good job with sealing all the typical legal loopholes. I am sure, someone somewhere could still find some. If you find very smart legal counsel and if you did not sign the severance agreement, you might have a chance. Not otherwise.

Another way to look at your layoff is to be happy that you no longer have to deal with internal MS crap. My former managers protected me from it and hence I had a good experience at the company. When I returned, I had the most incompetent manager, who not only exposed me to the crap, but also made my life a living hell. I am glad that they laid me off because the golden handcuffs were making me unwilling to quit. I am much better off now outside MS.

I returned to read this blog because my teammate in my last team at MS told me about his upcoming layoff which he believes would happen soon based on rumors of some new rounds of layoffs in the posts here. It seems his new manager after a re-org has informed him that he is at the bottom of the stack and that he should watch out.

Good luck to all of you, those at MS and those living your lives outside MS.

Anonymous said...

I am on level 62 (PM) for over 2 years now in STB. Today my lead said that their is no budget for promo this mid year review and absolutely ....


Not true. I work in STB too and lot of people in my team got promotions in september. There is always budget for promotions (at least till 63), no matter what your mananger says.

Anonymous said...


I am on level 62 (PM) for over 2 years now in STB. Today my lead said that their is no budget for promo this mid year review and absolutely no promotions in the team! Is it accross MSFT? Has anyone heard the same?

Welcome to a new reality - projected length in level - about 5 years; 3-4 years for HiPo.


If you're worried about promotions just move over to Bing/AdCenter. Fools, a$$ kissers, and clueless folk are getting promoted every 6 months.

Anonymous said...

My lead is creating an e-mail trail against me. Two questions:
1. Is the outcome of this an U, a 10 or U10 or a layoff (and if so - what is the timeline)?
2. Is there a way to fight it?

To the second point - I have had good perf and good reviews and just until a month ago my lead (by his own words) was working to get me to the next level. Then in early December things changed overnight (we also suffered three major re-orgs). Looking objectively at the situation - I have been thrown in the meat grinder and there is no way out intact. I have seen the outcome of this with people around and figting seems to only prolong this very dstressing and humiliating experience. As such, I am continuing to do the work I have been asked to, but I am not answering his one-sided and vaue "recaps" of our meetings. Is that the right approach?

Amidst my panic at losing the one income this family has and going against a volatile job market, there is a part of me that is hoping that my association with this team ends sooner rather than later. I am sleep deprived and over-worked to the extent that my quality of life (outside of Microsoft) has suffered a great deal and at the end of the day I go home feeling worthless and inadequate.

So, my last question is:
3. People have talked about pay differences when they leave Microsoft. However I wonder whether they have regained some normalcy in life once out of here. Or this is a standard for the tech sector and the current economy? (I can attest from my earliest MS experience that things were very, very different here).

Anonymous said...

High-level Microsoft (MSFT) departures are becoming a regular event. Last month, Windows senior VP Bill Veghte said he was leaving the company after 20 years. This month it’s Mike Nash, corporate VP for Windows Platform Strategy, who has tendered his resignation.

http://digitaldaily.allthingsd.com/20100203/microsoft-loses-another-windows-veteran/?reflink=ATD_yahoo_ticker

Anonymous said...

Q: "Would it kill Microsoft accounting to send out the W2s? Is there any reason whatsoever that my W2 is not in my hands today?"

A1: "The reason for #2 is that you are yesterday's garbage. Sorry for my insensitivity in saying that, but, dude, nobody cares about you ..."

A2: "They wanted everyone to sign up to receive W2's electronically."

To A1: REAllY sweet sentiment, thanks so much - all I can say is that as one of the 1400, for some reason you totally cracked me up with this. Hope you enjoy the trash can when it's your turn, moron.

To A2: I got my W2 electronically LAST YEAR, back when I was an employee with intranet access. As a former employee, I have access to nothing, and someone in Accounting/Payroll, employee/a-/v-, I don't really care which, has to actually send me a frigging paper W2 so I can file my taxes. By law. Like delivered to me. So I can file my taxes and then maybe get up the nerve to use it to ask for financial aid if there is a hope in hell of my being able to have my kid attend the private school we had hoped for, back in the day - like a year ago. It is February 3, no W2. My consulting firm managed to get their W2 out 2 weeks ago, for the fraction of the year I worked for them.

If I am supposed to get my W2 electronically somehow, I do not know how to do so, although I did do it last year as an employee, with access to the HR system.

Anonymous said...

. Now to be fair there are 2 kinds of HiPo - Type-1 is college grad from the right school, ripe for exploitation thru low pay and empty promises, whereas Type-2 is the one who has to be scheduled for surgery to have his/her lips removed from the boss' ass.



How about a 3rd? People that actually do have high potential and really are good at what they do.

Seriously... reading this blog is really interesting on occasion. The effort that some posters put into trying to convince the world that everyone is a kissass, or entitled, or not worthy, or full of it... it goes on and on.

If you feel that no one is really any good at anything. Everyone is just a lazy sack of crap. The only way to get ahead is to "kiss ass". Well you're a bit of a miserable person then. Is it a surprise you're finding it hard to succeed? Who wants to be around a martyr wallowing in self-pity and cynicism?

There is a ton of BS at any corporation. Its the nature of the human condition. Part of being a successful participant in any society, though, is being able to be honest *with* yourself *about* yourself.

I know that there are folks around me who have pulled ahead purely through sponsorship. Thats how life is. But I also know that there are folks who *do* work harder than I choose to, or *are* more capable than I am. Thats *also* a part of how life is.

If you find that your world view doesnt allow for that realization, then you are badly flawed and will find yourself disliked and failing anywhere.

Anonymous said...

ipad is a joke. it's an oversized iphone with no multitasking. they have hw constraints because of the size and maybe they want the price entry and app migration from iphone.>>>

Who knows what will occur with iPad, but the buzz is that the demand is already overwhelming. As for multi-tasking, that's a SW adjustment when the battery life is there. We go into stores pretty regularly and while they're always busy, it was clear that business is booming, it looks like the iPad announcement is creating a huge demand for Macs and other things. Of course that's just my experience.

I am an iPhone Apps developer and my team is well underway developing iPad Apps (an elegant experience). Apple makes is so easy for developers to get paid on these devices, but holds us to a high quality product. We cannot wait for iPad to get here. Not just for our App, we hope it does well, but we all want one. Most of us are recent PC transplants and quit our jobs to go into the iPhone app business. It was a wise decision financially, we all love our jobs and I think it's pretty safe to say that we're Apple fan boys as a result. Apple's created something where a lot of people can earn a living making apps that are useful or just fun. It's a company that seems to be serious about being good for the world.

I read this site because I am a long time Microsoft fan too. I'm hopeful you all will pull it out but I fear that you're now simply the "business PC that everyone has to use." Apple seems to be the peoples' company. It's so sad to me that Microsoft never figured out how important the regular old moms and dads are. But you had to choose and you went with the enterprise. That's a hard sell when you're up against a company that believes it's in the middle between art and technology. There's no "art" to Microsoft products. They work pretty well and the are very efficient, but in these days of stress, uncertainty, intensity - people want a little art in their everyday technology.

Good luck Microsoft! Oh and thanks for laying me off. :D

Anonymous said...

I am on level 62 (PM) for over 2 years now in STB. Today my lead said that their is no budget for promo this mid year review and absolutely no promotions in the team! Is it accross MSFT? Has anyone heard the same?

My manager told me the similar stuff ..there is no promo budget. MS sucks...

Anonymous said...

WhoDaPunk will like this.

Yusuf Mehdi has found why GSearch is much better than BSearch.

"we're still outmanned and outgunned by Google, they still have way more engineers than we do."
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE60S2RW20100203

Anonymous said...

I am dreading my MYCD and I have a feeling that I am a stacked at the bottom.
come the next round of layoffs...i know i will be shown the door.

Anonymous said...

The reason for #2 is that you are yesterday's garbage. Sorry for my insensitivity in saying that, but, dude, nobody cares about you.

Now that was funny and I say that with the perspective that I was the guy complaining about not having my W2. Just wanted to assure you that you made my day truly. Laughed pretty hard when I saw that - and of course you are right. No one cares at all about the riff raff that was shown the door (like me). So, that said, this piece of riff raff is enjoying the hell out of my new job and so glad to be gone from the Lazy M. And so happy to be shedding WinMo and Bing and on and on.

By the way, if Bing actually crawled a web site within a day of launch, and then indexed it, and then served up on a SERP, would anyone care? I guess we'll never know the answer to that question because BING seems to be incapable of such a thing. It's almost as if a PM wrote a requirement in a spec somewhere that said the following "the spiders will detect the publish date of the page, and if within the last 3 months, redirect to some other web page that is older." I say all of this because once again, a site manager friend of mine at Microsoft told me that they had launched a web page with the express promise from BING of a an extra special treatment crawl hours after the launch. Guess what, the results still suck for that web site because BING isn't able to serve up the results for some undeniably stupid reason. Ballmer - just put the damn thing to bed and acknowledge failure. Start preparing to kill off Yahoo as soon as you get control of it.

Anonymous said...

Talking of MYCD, who has the final approving authority for promos in mid year? Is it the PUM, GM, VP or SVP for the team? is it purely dependant on teams budget or divisional budget.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what "exposure coaching" is but from the sound of it I'm pretty sure there's an HR policy against it.

Anonymous said...

Interesting op-ed in NY Times written by an ex-softie, commenting on Microsoft's current (sad) state: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/04/opinion/04brass.html

Anonymous said...

To everyone who has erratically complained about this quarters results, or defended them ...

Microsoft has returned to being a one-trick pony. Windows. Maybe Office if it actually survived the last interface change, and can survive yet another to come in the next release. It's interesting that Apple DID NOT ALLOW THE 2007 INTERFACE CHANGES - I showed Mac Office 2008 to a Microsoft employee (I was actually showing something else on my new MacBook Pro) and his jaw just dropped ... "you still have MENUS. WHY THE F** DO YOU STILL HAVE MENUS?"

Yea, I was working at MS when the Office 2007 beta was pushed out in the middle of the night and suddenly 20-year veterans were running around going "why don't any of my templates work, and how in the F** hell do you PRINT?"

Google is also a one-trick pony - search. I do like Eric Schmidt for his honesty, also Scott McNealy "privacy is dead. get over it. " Not nice, not welcome, but absolutely true.

Oddly enough, it's Amazon that's closest to actually mastering the cloud - they're not even a technology company, they're a retailer. There's a certain grounding element in having to keep your own company running ... but MS wouldn't know anything about that (hello Ballmer, remember SIDEKICK and deciding to cut costs by ELIMINATING BACKUPS? Oh right, you don't know what a backup is. Sorry).

IBM owns the industry - again - with it's services businesses. They understand that technology is not about technology, it's about business and making OTHER PEOPLE successful. Microsoft will fail in the server market because Ballmer will never get that. He can't. It runs counter to his nature, and at the end of the day, he really just doesn't give a rat's ass. It's all about HIM.

Oracle is the interesting entry with the most impressive combination of technologies ever assembled. I don't care what you think of Oracle or Sun or Larry Ellison or Scott McNealy ... the combination is a well-integrated platform with comprehensive diagnostics and a real focus on business results (that's CUSTOMER'S BUSINESS RESULTS) that MS under Ballmer will never have.

Let the 2010 games begin.

skc said...

I don't get all the gnashing of teeth. Both Apple and Google are actively hiring.

Send those resumes people.

Anonymous said...

Mini and his minions may be interested in this 4 Feb 2010 New York Times Op-Ed by Dick Brass, former Microsoft VP.

Microsoft’s Creative Destruction
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/04/opinion/04brass.html

Anonymous said...

It should be duly noted and perhaps aplauded that more senior managers are leaving Microsoft. Mike Nash is leaving for Amazon, Liddel left for GM and Bill V left for parts unknown. With the runor that Ozzie is leaving, it sounds like the senior ranks are being thinned finally.
Now comes the hard part - promoting competant replancements.

Anonymous said...

Its "QUIT MICROSOFT India" movement now. There are lots of them already moving on...

Microsoft India is in deep crisis.
Rajan Anandan is a curse to mankind.

Anonymous said...

MSFT India is on the verge of devastation because of improper management and leadership.

Anonymous said...

"I am on level 62 (PM) for over 2 years now in STB. Today my lead said that their is no budget for promo this mid year review and absolutely no promotions in the team! Is it accross MSFT? Has anyone heard the same?

Welcome to a new reality - projected length in level - about 5 years; 3-4 years for HiPo."


Not true for Hi-Po at all -- this group does not rely on business need for promotions, it's almost entirely based upon rate of individual growth. These are the people we want to keep at the company long-term, so we ensure their rewards -- and advancement -- move along briskly. We create opportunities for Hi-Po performers.

There's also no 5-year magic number. As a general rule it's more difficult to go from 62 to 63, and from 64 to 65, but that's very much based on a combination of business need and magic circumstances as it always has been. Things have definitely slowed down, but certainly not to the point where there's a 5-year wait between each level.

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of pundits and "I know the solution of all of Microsoft's problems" types on this blog. There are also a like number of posters who will reply that the former are just folks with sour grapes.

Well with the announcement that Mike Nash is following Bill Veghte out the door, I think this op-ed piece by Dick Brass who used to run the Tablet group is so enlightening. To the folks who think this just another guy with sour grapes that his career at Microsoft did not go as high as it should, please read the piece at:

http://brainstormtech.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2010/02/04/dick-brass-why-microsoft-is-failing/

or the entire text at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/04/opinion/04brass.html?th=&emc=th&pagewanted=all

For all of you who are there or have been there, you hear the truth behind the words. How often has the SLT (or ANY leadership team) tried to tear their counterparts from other business down. I was told this is part of the Microsoft culture, and that if your idea survives the brutal attack, then it must be a good one. Problem is, the attacks do not end when the meeting ajourns. Instead the "losing" party now moves to sabotage and feet dragging or a territory grab. Not because they truely believe the idea was bad, rather it is to stab the other group in the back so they can step on the dead body on the way to next rung on the ladder.

Sad, sad state of affairs. I look over the history and think of where Microsoft could be with music, tablets, IPTV, and it is just sad to me.

Anonymous said...

NYTimes: "Microsoft's Creative Destruction". http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/04/opinion/04brass.html?pagewanted=1

Anonymous said...

Microsoft’s Creative Destruction By DICK BRASS

Internal competition is common at great companies. It can be wisely encouraged to force ideas to compete. The problem comes when the competition becomes uncontrolled and destructive. At Microsoft, it has created a dysfunctional corporate culture in which the big established groups are allowed to prey upon emerging teams, belittle their efforts, compete unfairly against them for resources, and over time hector them out of existence. It’s not an accident that almost all the executives in charge of Microsoft’s music, e-books, phone, online, search and tablet efforts over the past decade have left.

Anonymous said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/04/opinion/04brass.html

Anonymous said...

"What if your manager insists that all of their devs (from SDE to Senior SDE) have exactly the same commitments and none except the continuing education commitment include specific measurable criteria by which they are judged?

I have dialogued with my manager about this for two years running without success. I've even escalated it to the skip level, who told me to do as instructed by my manager. How is "NEVER accept" an option in circumstances in which you are threatened with an insubordination complaint for saying that you want to refine the suggested commitments with specific, objective criteria before you put them on your list?"

Ouch. What an appalling situation. Your skip level manager is perpetuating a meaningless commitment setting exercise.

Get out is my advice. Entrenched ignorance like this is difficult or impossible to change without a major management shake-up.

Anonymous said...

Read this NY Times article. It tells the whole story.

Microsoft’s Creative Destruction

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/04/opinion/04brass.html?th=&emc=th&pagewanted=all

Dick Brass was a vice president at Microsoft from 1997 to 2004.

Hillshire said...

I came across an interesting article in the New York Times which seems to confirm a concern shared by several posters on this blog: that Microsoft is being held back by a bureaucratic leadership where VPs are more concerned with maintaining their fief then work together to improve products.

The article was written by Dick Brass, a former Microsoft vice president from 1997 to 2004.

Does he have a valid view of how things were and now are? Or is he too far removed from the current situation to give an accurate an/or unbiased perspective?

Hillshire said...

Also, I'm an idiot for not providing the link. Here it is:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/04/opinion/04brass.html?th=&emc=th&pagewanted=all

Anonymous said...

Reading this blog lately I'm pretty sure that 90% of the company is either ranked in the bottom 10% or was recently laid off. Either my math is bad, or stop believing the crap you read here is the norm.

There are a bunch of us still getting stuff done, not complaining all the time and not looking for excuses or blaming other groups. And that means a lot of us are still getting paid well, getting promoted and enjoying our jobs.

Alyosha` said...

LOL at the suggestion that specific, measurable commitments will make any difference. If your boss loves you, you're golden ... if not ... find another boss. At no time do commitments ever matter.

If your boss really has it out for you, he'll simply say you sandbagged your commitments and/or invent a series of "secret" commitments and accountabilities you should have been doing all along (i.e., compare you against what your "successful" colleagues are doing).

Illegal? Maybe. Probably not tho, since your employment is and always has been at-will. If your plan is to show up in court with your employee records proving you're not really that bad an employee ... well, good luck with that. Let me know how the years of litigation go.

Also note that specific commitments cut both ways -- if you "commit" to something that later becomes unrealistic or unimportant, your boss can play up your failure to hit that arbitrary target for all its worth.

If he's so inclined.

Bottom line, don't get yourself in this position in the first place, and your career at MSFT will be just fine.

Carazzo said...

who were
Engineer in the Windows group;
The head of Office;
The vice president for pocket devices?

Anonymous said...

It should be duly noted and perhaps aplauded that more senior managers are leaving Microsoft. Mike Nash is leaving for Amazon, Liddel left for GM and Bill V left for parts unknown. With the runor that Ozzie is leaving, it sounds like the senior ranks are being thinned finally.
Now comes the hard part - promoting competant replancements."


Instead of promoting yet another cluster of egomaniacal fief guardians, couldn't the company flatten the org and make a last-ditch effort at reclaiming agility? Way too many damn chiefs.

Anonymous said...

I am glad the "other 90%" is happy and only the laid off etc seem to "contribute" to this blog. Sure: talk all you want but the place isn't even a shadow of what it was before. It has turned into a GM .. (which did well for decades before falling into the abyss). Hey you can fill offices full of happy people anytime, happy to take a salary home, whichever way but to call this exiting? I really miss these expressions in the posts defending the corp: it's cool place, it's exiting, we're leading, we're kicking ass, the customer is number one. Nah: we're happy, we got a salary, we got jobs. Great! Congrats! Retirement coming soon? Having a nice time hanging out in the meeting rooms and the kitchen?

Anonymous said...

From "Microsoft’s Creative Destruction", http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/04/opinion/04brass.html?th=&emc=th&pagewanted=all

"At Microsoft, it has created a dysfunctional corporate culture in which the big established groups are allowed to prey upon emerging teams, belittle their efforts, compete unfairly against them for resources, and over time hector them out of existence."

Well said. No one should wonder why Windows and Office are the only truly successful products in nearly 35 years - their management has literally killed any innovation in the rest of the company, and continue to do so today.

Anonymous said...

There are a bunch of us still getting stuff done, not complaining all the time and not looking for excuses or blaming other groups. And that means a lot of us are still getting paid well, getting promoted and enjoying our jobs.

But are you producing quality product that customers are excited about?

Anonymous said...

Well, I can chime in. I am HAPPY working at Microsoft (8 years). At the moment I can't imagine working for another company. I visit LOTS of customers and partners for my work (as consultant and as evangelist) and we as MS have a great workingplace. I am not based in the US but in the Netherlands. I am happy with my salary and think benefits are ok (our levels are 2 down compared to the us so much less stock)

It always surprises me how much negativity and uncertanty ppl have on this blog.

Can we improve as company? Sure we can. Did we change? Yes we did, we all changed, we all got older as well and our needs changed as well. I see it when we hire new MStees who are much younger.Lots of energy, lots of new ideas, don't need to go home at 5 because the family/kids are waiting etc :)

I still make lots of hours but it changed a bit in the years I must admit.

Still love to work for this company, we make great technology. Xbox rules :), .NET!, SharePoint/Office 2010, Silverlight, Win7, Server 2008R2 , hell I even had fun with Vista!

I still think it's cool I have a microsoft.com address and I am always proud to tell people I work for Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

@If your boss loves you, you're golden ... if not ... find another boss.

This statement gives a clear picture of Microsoft Culture and predicts a lot about the company future. Microsoft now or never…this is the right time to correct issues within groups and throw idiots out.

This is really shocking and I have experienced this in EXD-LPO, Hyderabad, India and am sure…I am not the one.

Is there any authority who have guts ask Rajesh Sampath what he is trying to achieve?
This stupid is currently in Redmond and I don’t know how he will contribute for VLSC. Is there anyone genuine in Redmond team to ask him that what is behind his huge success in LPO? What are his actual contributions so far? Is it really measurable and is it really making any sense to Organization? I haven’t seen anyone growing so fast in MS.

Ooops his contributions…recruiting huge number of HCL staff, contribution to failure of VLSC, participation in forming lobby within LPO. One thing I must say he is really good in projecting himself for all the success, but one poor side of him, that he is not able to accept his mistakes honestly. He feel shy about it.
There are many more if any genuine higher MS authority will do some scrutiny.

If someone want to experience misuse of power, join EXD-LPO, India.

Anonymous said...

"The reason for #2 is that you are yesterday's garbage. Sorry for my insensitivity in saying that, but, dude, nobody cares about you.

Now that was funny and I say that with the perspective that I was the guy complaining about not having my W2. Just wanted to assure you that you made my day truly. Laughed pretty hard when I saw that - and of course you are right. No one cares at all about the riff raff that was shown the door (like me). So, that said, this piece of riff raff is enjoying the hell out of my new job and so glad to be gone from the Lazy M. And so happy to be shedding WinMo and Bing and on and on."


Well I am glad that it amused you because I did not write it to be mean. Oddly my W2 turned up the same day I wrote that - I was farted out of the MS airlock 6 months back. Like you I have a new job and a new perspective, and I am enjoying myself more than I have in years. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

A1: "The reason for #2 is that you are yesterday's garbage. Sorry for my insensitivity in saying that, but, dude, nobody cares about you ..."

I didn't take this as an insult from the OP at all. He's merely expressing the official attitude towards those it shed.

Anonymous said...

I noticed that hipos and expos are mostly promoted to the management or team lead role after a short while. MSFT is really ailing in creativeness just because of this. Are they all good managers or leaders? Hipo and Expo means what? What is the exact rule to be an hipo or expo? Who evaluates these candidates? Most of the hipos and expos I met are people who do self marketing very well inside the company. So let's move them to the marketing positions rather than making them managers or leaders in MSFT!

Anonymous said...

[i]Q. I like the idea of a tablet, but I want a real PC. Will be I be able to buy an iPad-like gizmo that runs Windows?

A. Sort of. At last month's Consumer Electronics Show, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer previewed devices he called "slate PCs," including a model from HP. They're all screen and no keyboard, like the iPad. But the single thing about the iPad that's most impressive is that Apple came up with a user interface optimized for a touch-centric, no-keyboard computer. Microsoft, by contrast, says it has no plans to tweak Windows any further: A slate PC will simply be a Windows 7 machine with no keyboard and no mouse.[/i]

A year from now when the iPad is selling > 10MM units, MS will vacate this stance and madly scurry to tweak Windows for tablets. History just keeps repeating...

Anonymous said...

To the person commenting on Brass's Op piece who asked:
Does he have a valid view of how things were and now are? Or is he too far removed from the current situation to give an accurate an/or unbiased perspective?

I’ll work from front to back in my response:
Unbiased perspective? Of course not, he got beat at the politics and didn’t get to see the fruition of his or his teams work.

Too far removed? Doubtful. He’s probably still very connected to MS from a variety of personal hooks as well as professional and expertise.

Valid view of how things were and now are? Yes on the former, kind of on the later.

What Brass doesn’t know, or comment on are that these behaviors have been pushed very very deep into MS. It’s not just execs who do this, it’s permeated much of the IC culture too. Not everyone or everyplace, but certainly much. Doesn’t take a newly minted 61 too long to learn that these kinds of things need to occur to get ahead. By ahead – I mean compete effectively with your peers who are your true competition. Certainly this went on in the IC levels when Brass was a VP, but I’d expect he was both too far removed from it and the preponderance of it was only really getting rolling about the time he left. Relatively rare in his earlier days when competition was external (because the majority of money you made was from stock not salary). In those days just the folks who were wired that way were highly political. Since then many of us have had to learn the trade.

Anonymous said...

Take Brass's op-ed with a bunch of salt - he certainly would, he loves his food. Mr. Brass, what have you done lately?

Anonymous said...

I read Brass' article. As a MS employee for over a decade, I have to say that he is pretty much dead on. The constant reorgs and frenetic chasing after the next big thing aren't vitality or innovation, they are the thrashings of a dying behemoth, slowly being crushed to death under the weight of its own flab.

Anonymous said...

The Q2 results would have been much better if we had taken steps to control 'nonperforning Partners & GMs galore strategy'. In many cases, the cost cutting was based victim based strategy than peformance evaluation strategy - don't take any ones word for it, just look around you.

Anonymous said...

My god, the shrill whine of the laid off losers here is deafening.

There was a real shortage of talent back in 2000, and MSFT made some real compromises in the hiring bar.

Thank god we're finally working the garbage through the system and firing each an every one of these self entitled pricks.

There is nothing more satisfying than kicking someone out the door, who consistently misses commitments, causes their teammates to work extra hours, comes in at 11 and goes home at 4 (after an hour lunch), and takes home a six figure salary all while bitching about management...

Don't let the door hit you in the ass, the rest of us are glad you're gone.

Go create something with your "rockstar" talent instead of crying. People might actually start paying attention to you.

Anonymous said...

@I am glad the "other 90%" is happy and only the laid off etc seem to "contribute" to this blog. Sure: talk all you want but the place isn't even a shadow of what it was before. It has turned into a GM .. (which did well for decades before falling into the abyss). Hey you can fill offices full of happy people anytime, happy to take a salary home, whichever way but to call this exiting? I really miss these expressions in the posts defending the corp: it's cool place, it's exiting, we're leading, we're kicking ass, the customer is number one. Nah: we're happy, we got a salary, we got jobs. Great! Congrats! Retirement coming soon? Having a nice time hanging out in the meeting rooms and the kitchen?


GOOD ANALYSSSISSS

Anonymous said...

I am glad the "other 90%" is happy and only the laid off etc seem to "contribute" to this blog. Sure: talk all you want but the place isn't even a shadow of what it was before. It has turned into a GM .. (which did well for decades before falling into the abyss). Hey you can fill offices full of happy people anytime, happy to take a salary home, whichever way but to call this exiting? I really miss these expressions in the posts defending the corp: it's cool place, it's exiting, we're leading, we're kicking ass, the customer is number one. Nah: we're happy, we got a salary, we got jobs. Great! Congrats! Retirement coming soon? Having a nice time hanging out in the meeting rooms and the kitchen?


I think you need not be too arrogant. Let's see hw long you will last in the company:).

Anonymous said...

My husband and I headed to the midwest in the mid-1990s after having spent nearly 10 years at Microsoft. I arrived in Redmond at the tail end of 3.0 and spent the next 10 years excited to go to work, but it should be noted that we worked truly insane hours. It was hard to keep up the marriage and the job, and retain a personal perspective on who I was. All of that said, I was grateful for the experience and grateful to move on.

After leaving Microsoft, I had two near-death experiences with disease. After each experience, I was able to recover....but was nearly bankrupted from the medical costs. We were able to retain our home but even to this day, we have a tremendous amount of medical debt that we are slowly chipping away at. This debt, as well as having few job possibilities led me back to Microsoft in the early 2000s. I interviewed and was offered a job as a contractor....and then was quickly hired back to FTE. Nothing could have prepared me for the difference between Microsoft now vs. then. Certainly part of it was the vast size of the company now vs. then. However, management now is driven from the top down with a review/reward system that is counterproductive at best, and practically suicidal at worst.

My newest manager confided in me at the time that the worst time is MYCD and the annual perf review. Particularly when the company forces everyone to identify the bad people in the org, even if there are no U10s.

And so....get this. Last year, despite receiving decent reviews, I was re-org'd into a new group, quickly designated as the U10 candidate, and then laid off. My group and stakeholders were shocked. As was I. I spent 1 month recovering. I then sent in 3 resumes...got a call from a v- vendor, and you guessed it, am back at Microsoft, and never happier with my work situation. You should have seen the look on my former skip level's face when I walked into a meeting and sat down across the table.

A word to Microsoft SLT: oh my god, you have a 5 alarm crisis on your hands.

(I just preview'd this post and realized that I had included some information which might have identified me with some data mining through HR records. So I've changed some material facts regarding dates, etc. but the meat of the post represents the experience at Microsoft. I guess I'd say that ANYONE that draws an FTE paycheck from Microsoft should be wary. Very wary because it can happen to you.)

Anonymous said...

> Microsoft’s Creative Destruction

He he. Office Labs is doing creative invention. It shows that Brass is wrong.

Anonymous said...

>>Nah: we're happy, we got a salary, we got jobs. Great!

Shhh... dang it dude, you'll let the cat out of the bag, now.

Aren't you happy with the deal you have or what??

I mean, we clock in at 9am, we clock out at 5pm. We do what our managers tell us to do, which for the most part is pure crap. We act like we care. We go through the mid-year and annual performance review cycles with the usual smiles, and fist pumps, file our papers, and then go back to clocking in at 9am.

We've managed to convince a bunch of new college hires that they're gonna change the world. So there they are kicking butt, sacrificing etc etc. When we know that one day, they'll clock in at 9am, clock out at 5pm etc

It's a sweeeet deal. Don't muddy the waters please...

Anonymous said...

Craig Mundie's call for an "Internet Driver's License" makes Microsoft look like a bunch of power-mad control freaks, eager to establish hegemony over all aspects of information flow.

Now, I know some of you are saying to yourselves, "what's new about that?" or "Isn't that Google now?" But Microsoft can ill afford any appearance of trying to establish dominion over the Internet, or any aspect of people lives, which people do not themselves choose by buying our products.

Craig, this was stupid. By trying to be the big man at Davos, you have diminished us all.

Anonymous said...

I love working at Microsoft. I pay attention to what is going on, I have passion for what I work on, and I communicate with my management chain. My reviews are never a suprise.

If you don't like working here, PLEASE quit.

Anonymous said...

Could be nothin', but on the last layoff day, our team (which had no layoffs) was given a morale event, which isn't something we are in the habit of getting. Some of us took that as a code in advance that our group wasn't going to be hit with the layoffs. And we weren't.

Fair warning: Our next one was just scheduled for Mon., Feb. 22nd.

Anonymous said...


At Microsoft, it has created a dysfunctional corporate culture in which the big established groups are allowed to prey upon emerging teams, belittle their efforts, compete unfairly against them for resources, and over time hector them out of existence.

As an outsider, having observed such behavior by Microsoft in the marketplace, it does not surprise me that it may exist internally.

Anonymous said...

I see it when we hire new MStees who are much younger.Lots of energy, lots of new ideas, don't need to go home at 5 because the family/kids are waiting etc :)

Speak for your own life choices and team.

I'm nearly 50 and only occasionally "go home at 5" because I'm sick, there's ominous snow, or I have a medical appointment that I couldn't schedule for a better time. It started out being facilitated by the fact that as single, I didn't "have" to go home at 5. And unfortunately work demands increased and increased so that even those with kids can't make it home by 5 either, much of the time.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said, "Most of the hipos and expos I met are people who do self marketing very well inside the company. So let's move them to the marketing positions rather than making them managers or leaders in MSFT!"

That is an intriguing idea. At least move SOME MORE of these people into Marketing. They've proven in their own self-marketing that they can do it no worse than the creative minds who gave us Dinosaurs and the umpteenth MSN logo. It's not just about knowing how to use Powerpoint and word of mouth, it's about knowing how to use Powerpoint and word of mouth in ways that produce the desired result. They've mastered it and can teach others a thing or two.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said, "And so....get this. Last year, despite receiving decent reviews, I was re-org'd into a new group, quickly designated as the U10 candidate, and then laid off. My group and stakeholders were shocked. As was I. I spent 1 month recovering. I then sent in 3 resumes...got a call from a v- vendor, and you guessed it, am back at Microsoft, and never happier with my work situation. You should have seen the look on my former skip level's face when I walked into a meeting and sat down across the table.

A word to Microsoft SLT: oh my god, you have a 5 alarm crisis on your hands."

How so? Putting on my cynic hat, they're still getting the benefit of your talents, and don't have the risk of an older person's insurance needs. Overall, you're probably costing them less, too, even when factoring the vendor agency's cuts.

I don't know that they particularly care whether non-hipo resources below partner level are FTEs or outside staff, except for one situation. Here's a scenario I've seen. If a team can't get budget and management won't cut project scope to fit, the same dollars will go further on FTEs than on a- or v-, because every hour over 40 worked by an FTE doesn't cost MS extra. That can make FTEs cheaper. If you doubt it, you're not factoring in enough hours of overtime or a high enough hourly rate for the a- or v-. Think Electronic Arts obscene, and you're in the ballpark.

Oh, some your FTEs got smart and cut back their hours after realizing that some a- were out-earning them by a factor of two? Toss them to recyle and let them come back as a- or v-, , and get some new FTEs to sacrifice to your budget.

It's the reverse of perma-temps. In the 1990's, CSGs were jealous of FTEs stock. In the 2000's, FTEs in overloaded groups are jealous of CSGs hourly status due to the extra pay, which is far more than most FTEs will receive at bonus time. There is a class action waiting here, because often FTEs and CSGs in the same group do nearly identical work.

Anonymous said...

" I am not based in the US but in the Netherlands. I am happy with my salary and think benefits are ok (our levels are 2 down compared to the us so much less stock)

Well glad to hear you are happy! As you hop around giving yourself and MS a great big old hug, think about this: most people in the company do NOT work in EMEA. Thus we do not get 5 weeks annual vacation, 15 holidays, company cars, nor do we enjoy employment security that makes it practically impossible to be fired, and if laid off, we also do not get huge government-mandated payouts. Large numbers of employees (about 50%)
work in the US with vastly smaller benefits and the 'employmnet-at-will' doctrine that basically says I can be fired at any time, for any reason or no reason, with absolutely no recourse whatsoever.

So put a sock in it, Pollyanna!

Anonymous said...

The Dick Brass column is interesting for a reason nobody has mentioned so far: it exposes the horrible organization of Microsoft. Why was his tablet team inventing font technology and trying to push it on Office, Windows, etc.? Why is Office rolling its own non-standard controls that make it incompatible with the tablet stuff?

If things were organized correctly, Windows would have a font team containing leading authorities on fonts with decades of experience who work on perfecting one single font API. There would be no reason for other teams to even think about working on fonts or using a different API.

But if I know Microsoft, the font team in Windows (if there is one) is made up of some average schmuck devs who never studied fonts and moved to the team 3 years ago from some other group because they wanted to "broaden their experience" or some other shit managers are always saying. Probably they don't want to mess with the existing font stuff because it's too brittle and they spend all their time fixing bugs in Microsoft's 8000 different text rendering APIs--GDI, WPF, Silverlight, Direct 2D, etc. etc.

Anonymous said...

The lesson we should have learned by now is how expensive it is not to grab marketshare quickly. The cost of catching up (late) easily exceeds the cost of failure. I have even seen internal innovations being shelved for years because marketing didn't "think" the consumer would dig it. The competition came out with it and made out like a bandit... us scrambling to bring our own version to the market. What is it? Are people so afraid to crash and burn? Must every freakin idea survive a thorough planning, marketing and business analysis? (aka Cover Your Ass exercise) Other companies assemble stealth skunk works teams, develop a kick ass product reviving their revenues, after which marketing manages to screw it up anyways by not following through hard enough (Motorola Razor phone). Hear all the business and product "analysts" comment on new products like Iphone etc: I doubt if this and that blah blah, risk such and so , they were so wrong! Stop looking at numbers, start connecting to the consumer...!!!

Anonymous said...

He he. Office Labs is doing creative invention. It shows that Brass is wrong.

Are you refering to 'Ribbon Hero' ("Play games (aka "challenges"), score points, and compete with your friends while becoming more productive.") and 'pptPlex' (zoomable canvas)?

Microsoft Office Labs - Concept Tests

Twitter - @OfficeLabs

It reminds me of the pointless "improvement" Google added to their home page - slow fade-in of menu.

Anonymous said...

Robbie please wake up. The anti Indian sentiment in your organization are pathetic. It is humilating to be working in E&D with so many racist people talking trash about Indians openly! Why don't you put a policy and not hire Indians in any discipline and be done with it.

Anonymous said...

Anyone noticed that Managers become very soft now a days specially in MSIT, INDIA.

Is this becoz of MS POLL?

Hillshire said...

Frank Shaw, VP for Corp Communications, responded in the Official Microsoft Blog to Dick Brass' earlier article on Microsoft's lack of ability to innovate and corporate politics hampering the company.

http://blogs.technet.com/microsoft_blog/archive/2010/02/04/measuring-our-work-by-its-broad-impact.aspx

Two things seem apparent to me. First, Mr. Saw's counter concerning innovation was disappointingly watery to me. Not bad, just seemed to lack conviction. Secondly, he didn't really address the topic of poisonous politics. Came across as tacit admission that Mr. Brass couldn't be challenged in that area.

I would be interested to read what people better informed than myself think of this official response by Mr. Shaw. I fully concede that I may lack the proper perspective here. I also greatly appreciate the response by a poster to my earlier question.

Anonymous said...

As recession is over and lots of companies are doing midyear correction in the salaries.

Mini, Is there any possibility for Microsoft employee(or only layoffs)?

Anonymous said...

[i]Microsoft, by contrast, says it has no plans to tweak Windows any further: A slate PC will simply be a Windows 7 machine with no keyboard and no mouse[/i]

Very shortsighted. People are increasingly getting used to the mobile phone experience (instant on, well laid out app stores with click to install, multitouch, etc). PC operating systems (Windows and OS X) are going to have to offer more of that if they expect to stay relevant. Not to mention the opportunity to show the output of some of that $9 billion in R&D. How about redefining text input on virtual keyboards, for example?

Anonymous said...

"Craig Mundie's call for an "Internet Driver's License" makes Microsoft look like a bunch of power-mad control freaks, eager to establish hegemony over all aspects of information flow."

Only to whiny trolls pretending to be employees. Others will see it as what it is, one option to consider when dealing with the increasing challenges of cybersecurity.

Anonymous said...

re: 2/3 @ 10:10pm

Talking of MYCD, who has the final approving authority for promos in mid year? Is it the PUM, GM, VP or SVP for the team? is it purely dependant on teams budget or divisional budget.

Same as it's always been - depends on what level you are asking about. All certainly have to be justified, but < L64 doesn't get looked at above GM (and maybe not even then). L65+, different story - typically VP @ a minimum...

Anonymous said...

Our reporting hierarchy is very clumsy and inefficient. Countries report to Regional HQs. Regional HQs report to higher Regional HQs. Higher Regional HQs report to Central HQs. While we have measurable commitments and electronic balance scorecards all over the place, why do we have this much management, control, and auditing overhead and redundant staff by having this extremely tiered model? Somebody needs to think about savings.

Anonymous said...

Now to be fair there are 2 kinds of HiPo ...

How about a 3rd? People that actually do have high potential and really are good at what they do.


I've been a Hipo for multiple years (better avoid being too specific as there aren't too many of us to begin with and HR does scan this stuff). I've been so in different bands. I have made folks HiPo. On a normal day I'd just smile at the naivity of this post and move on.

Today is not a normal day. A close personal friend died yesterday night. Without him taking me under his wing many years ago, today I'd still be as clueless as the original author of this post. So in memory of Adam, below is my perspective. Use as you please.

1) To become a HiPo you need to have full support from boss, boss +1 and (at least) benevolent neutrality from boss +2 (typically support is required). Process gets slightly different for 65+ as a separate cathegory is created for "P" (partner potential) ones. If you've ever seen somebody with a "sine cera" tombstone in their office they've been one (and chances are made partner).
2) While different by group, think of the Hipo selection process as similar to the calibration one - only on steroids (it's typically 4% or so). Hard work? It's a given. Visibility? Required. Managing not to give any of your management peers ground to object (when they have their candidates to push) ... the dark art.
3) Because of #1&2 most of the HiPos I have met so far (me included) really have no way to succeed but to focus on "managing up". HR is a true partner here: they recognize the danger to their credibility of having HiPos rotate in and out of the program (they either committed a mistake letting you in or they're committing one letting you out) so ... once in the family they'll do all they can to keep you there (if you don't screw up too badly). If you did and are a minority/woman you're pretty much set for life.
4) What you get is
a) More $$ (target for HiPo in KT's world is >200% of target)
b) Exposure to executives
c) More training
d) Sit at a table with a bunch of similar folks, pretending you don't know how they all got there and really like everybody
e) Be told how special you really are ... as long as you're there.

Is this something worth going for? Absolutely: if not for the money or the job security, for the opportunity to get a good look at the quality of leadership this company will have 10+ years from now. Will it help you? For the next <10 years (as my friend used to say) after that it's off to GM/IBM or any other company that will be/will have become equally political (SWAG for you: 50,000+ employees) as the skills you learn will serve no purpose elsewhere.

For the ones about to cry murder: as Adam told me, you don't control the rules. If the company is effectively willing to pay you more for doing something that is effectively easier to do ... do it or stop whining. I certainly would have set different ones (HiPo = 3 patents &/or $50M incremental revenue for the company) but ... if you're reading this chances are neither of us can change them.

Anonymous said...

> Dick Brass

Office Labs has the best liberal arts group in the company. It is the best example of the face of innovation in the 21st century.

Anonymous said...

Zune Phone

For a while now, people have been wondering why Microsoft doesn't just tack phone capabilities onto its Zune operating system and interface; especially the Zune HD and its software have been very well received in the press. The rumour du jour, too, states that we're going to see a 'Zune phone'. The details are... Interesting.

Different websites independently published the exact same rumour, but whether that confirms or denies the story is impossible to tell. Let's get the most intriguing items on the list out of the way first, so we can leave the others for you to read on your own.

Obviously, the big shocker is no multitasking. The rumours states that applications can "pause" instead, but what exactly that entails it doesn't say.

Anonymous said...

Why would you get here at 9 am? Fifteen minutes before your manager rolls in is usually safe enough.

Really long lunches in the Commons are fun, too. You can even get a massage!

Anonymous said...

>> I was re-org'd into a new group, quickly designated as the U10 candidate, and then laid off.

Glad you're happy with where you are now. You must be really good for the hiring manager to risk his/her PCness in bringing you back. I got the same $hit except I have no intention of returning to my old org. Curious though, how did you spin your U10 status?

Anonymous said...

When are you starting a thread on MYCD? Are the managers required to give a rating E/A/U - 20/70/10 at MYCD like they do for a full year review? What bearing does the MY Review has on the full review?

Anonymous said...

The screw-up that is MS India SMSG -
Mini, 2 years ago in this very blog there were a no. of postings on all that was wrong with MS India - unfortunately no lessons have been learnt in the time that has passed.

A series of management missteps, complete disrespect for employees and their aspirations and a total lack of professionalism have created some very real problems for them - attrition is above 20% (atleast 2-3 people are leaving per week), key positions are being filled up by people completely unfit to occupy them (and some of them are external - how can you say you promote homegrown talent with a straight face?)and the leadership is frantically trying to restore the loss of faith without even understanding what led to it in the first place.

Mr Chairman - Honestly ask yourself - what have you done right in the past 5 years? We have seen management changes every 2 years and we seem to have the same set of problems. Is it possible that YOU are the REAL problem? Do you think your employees trust you to do the right things anymore?

Mr Managing Director - screaming and threatening others constantly is not the way to lead and motivate teams. It is pity that they didnt teach you that at Mckinsey.

Both of you should think how quickly you have destroyed this company.

Mini - it will be great if you can put this into your new post. The employees of MS India SMSG will thank you.

Omega said...

Still too much abstraction between management and what they're dealing with.

Watching the FORA video of Ballmer reinforces this. He will talk about concepts, sure, but find me a single person who takes him seriously.
He even eludes that secrecy is why he never goes into detail. Which is funny because nobody cares what MS is working on these days.

The real reason is that Ballmer all the way through management just want a lever they can pull to turn bad ideas or ignorance into money.

Hubris has a lot to do with it, and that is a situation where you need to take power away from the top.
It doesn't mean anarchy by letting young blood run amok. It doesn't mean every idea is a hit either! Does Ballmer know how to live up to his theory that MS is the "upstart" in certain scenarios?

Other operating systems, assorted browsers, search engines, email services, interpreted languages and office products are far ahead of MS.

It's time to take some of the old dogs out of the races and become a company with that nimble "upstart" mentality. You know, the one that pulls under-performers to survive.

Windows 7 is not a different platform to XP and costs more to adopt (both in hardware and licenses). Any differences are perceptual through userspace and arbitrary limitations made to force sales.
The Internet Explorer team forces themselves to not release standards compliance updates between versions. Heck, they barely make par at the time of releases!
Windows Live and Bing have been hemmorhaging popularity over the years through name changes and excessive restructuring.
In all these examples, Microsoft has chosen to be the underdog with the intent to strongarm adoption with Windows.

You can puff out your chest and say none of it matters, but this mentality is what puts you here in the first place.
Microsoft either gets serious, or it just continues to guarantee change, yet never delivering.

The irony is that these words are lost on the majority of people because people here share an investor mentality (which compliments the management mentality noted above).

The thinking is too simplistic and most MS people empowered to do something about it consider these changes beneath them.

As always, best of luck - it's about all you have now!

Anonymous said...

“He he. Office Labs is doing creative invention. It shows that Brass is wrong.”

Actually, poster, this only goes even further to illustrate the point the Brass is trying to make. I am assuming that you (and any other number of posters who are slamming Office Labs, or MSR, or E/D or any other org as useless) are not a member of the SLT logging on to Mini just to slam other members of SLT. If you are just an IC or group manager, it only makes the problem worse. You are proving that this behavior of dismissing other groups’ work is not just isolated to the arrogant SOB’s running the company, but it is now ingrained in the culture.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary has the following definitions:

Prejudice: a (1) : preconceived judgment or opinion (2) : an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge b : an instance of such judgment or opinion c : an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics

Bigot: a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group with hatred and intolerance


Yes, I know that a bigot is usually applied in a racial tone, but I think the definition is apt here. By dismissing an idea from someone just because of the color of his/her badge, or the org chart they sit under, or the name of the company on their business card is just plain prejudicial. Worse, as racial bigotry is absolute poison to a culture and a society, so is organizational bigotry to a company. If you and all of your compatriots judge the idea by the organization that brought it to light, instead of the idea itself, this company will never be able to pull itself out of its rut (and its collective ass).

Microsoft was guilty of this behavior in the marketplace (iPod, iPhone, Search, etc.). Let’s not make the same mistake internally. Especially as IC’s. Let the jackasses who are execs believe in their fiefdom ways, but if IC’s also contribute to this behavior, it will kill the company.

Meritocracy was what this company and the technology market was built on. Yes, there is competition among groups for resources. But I would like to think that, at least in the beginning, there was a belief that the best ideas deserved to move forward and gain traction. Somewhere, it became bastardized into some kind of tribal or religious holy war. Let’s not fall further down into this pit.

Anonymous said...

Mundie is half right: there should be an Internet drivers license, which is subject to being revoked if you design Windows-specific solutions.

Anonymous said...

It is pretty clear to many people the first piece of fat to trim in the future layoff is our CEO Steve Ballmer. What has he done to Microsoft that he deserves to stay 1 more day? It is very unfortunate I join the company shortly after Steve take over the CEO role and things have gone south since. He is simply the culpit of many of our problems.

Anonymous said...

"Hey, geniuses!" Have any of you stopped to think about where we make a ton of our money? Enterprise. Do you think Enterprise has bought into W7 yet? Of course they haven't. Do you think there is pent up demand to get rid of a bunch of decade-old marginally supported workstations? Of course there is. Give it a couple of quarters until we get closer to SP.

Anonymous said...

What a money pit the online business is ... despite the acquisition of aQuantive for $6bill less than 2 years ago, and the recent hiring binge of the Yahoo losers, it is now on track to lose $2billion in the next 12 months. I am sure though that fabulous rewards await Qi Lu if he makes his goal of losing more money that Robbie Bach. You go, boys!

Anonymous said...

I heard there would be one more round of layoff in Feb, 2010. Is this true? Anyone else have heard something similar?

Some Guy said...

MSFT India is on the verge of devastation because of improper management and leadership.

So, the corporate culture in India is exactly like it is in Redmond?

Anonymous said...

Still love to work for this company, we make great technology. Xbox rules :), .NET!, SharePoint/Office 2010, Silverlight, Win7, Server 2008R2 , hell I even had fun with Vista!

-------------
You are exactly what Microsoft needs and I sincerely hope there are lots more of you.

- Oracle, Unix, Apple convert

Anonymous said...

>>Nah: we're happy, we got a salary, we got jobs. Great!

Shhh... dang it dude, you'll let the cat out of the bag, now.

Aren't you happy with the deal you have or what??

I mean, we clock in at 9am, we clock out at 5pm. We do what our managers tell us to do, which for the most part is pure crap. We act like we care. We go through the mid-year and annual performance review cycles with the usual smiles, and fist pumps, file our papers, and then go back to clocking in at 9am.

We've managed to convince a bunch of new college hires that they're gonna change the world. So there they are kicking butt, sacrificing etc etc. When we know that one day, they'll clock in at 9am, clock out at 5pm etc

It's a sweeeet deal. Don't muddy the waters please...

-Apart from the sarcasm, I agree. Do your job. Do it well. Do your best to keep it..Getting some enjoyment out of it is gravy..but it is (or should be)possible to survive here without spilling every ounce of your being into this machine...and if it makes you miserable, find another job that also allows you to feed your family..because thats ultimatley what this place is for the better part of 80,000 people... Invest as much time teaching your kid to throw a curve as you do contemplating the utterly predictable inner workings of big business politics. Its a job. Call it a career if it makes you feel better. On your death bed are you going to be thinking about a piece of code you wrote that may have affected a stock price for some rich folks you never knew?

Anonymous said...

Mini, can you please explain to this long-term investor what the hell is going on at E&D? I get it-Zune isn't going to make it big. That's fine. I get that Mobile is totally re-orging..fine, whatever-but..my issue is with the supposedly ONE GOOD THING in E&D, according to supposedly smart people..The Xbox.

The first Xbox lost, what..4 Billion? The 360 has been, according to the videogame press at least, a huge success. But...I'm looking at the quarterly reports since it was launched and..I'm not seeing it. The ONE good year we've had was totally torpedoed by that 1.2 billion charge for the extended warranty thing. And now, its going back down, not up!

Everyone said the 1st Xbox was the learning curve-the 2nd one was the one that will make the huge profits. Well, we are what, 2-3 years from the NEXT one, which will require another big R&D effort/arms race with Sony and Nintendo...and where is this knockout punch from the CURRENT Xbox? Are people really expecting the next couple years to show all the fruits of labor? With a motion control peripheral?

And forget the "laying foundations" thing-we saw how that worked with Sony and their PS2-PS3 transition, and Nintendo with their SNES-N64-Gamecube transition...each generation is a whole new battlefield.

So, where is the value add to all this? Why isn't E&D on top of the heap by now? And if not now, when?

Anonymous said...

Mini:

I really hope you watch the Mobile World Congress on Feb 15 to see Windows Phone 7 get unveiled. And I hope you write a post about it, and if you think it's a win or fail or somewhere in between.

Anonymous said...

Well glad to hear you are happy!
...
So put a sock in it, Pollyanna!


Well nice to see you're not a cynical bastard or anything. I was laid off in May and even I'm not that bitter. I'm inferring from your reply that you don't think anyone should be happy in their job at MSFT or you're just pissed off because someone is actually happy with their job? If your answer is either of the above you should get some counseling and get on with your life.

Anonymous said...

"The 360 has been, according to the videogame press at least, a huge success."

Are you joking?

The Xbox 360 is the laughing stock of the console world.

Let's just sum up E&D's star product:

* The system is in distant last place in 2 out of the 3 major console markets: Japan and Europe

* The system is getting destroyed in sales by the Wii this gen just like the first Xbox was destroyed by the PS2 last gen.

* The PS3 which has been as much as twice as expensive as the Xbox 360 has been outselling it worldwide every year except the one year of the desperation price drop to 200 dollars.

* Even being the only console that forces players to pay for online access that generates hundreds of millions in revenue, E&D has racked up similar multi-billion dollar losses just like the first Xbox marketplace disaster.

Thankfully the idiots running E&D aren't being allowed to blow more billions on another Xbox hardware fiasco and instead have had to resort to bolting on their silly motion controls on the old defective Xbox 360 hardware.

The good news for the rest of the company is that when the Xbox 360 motion control junk flops in the market it won't be another multi-billion dollar money pit.

With search/online now sucking up billions in losses for nothing to show for it like the Xbox garbage. With the constant threat of layoffs now a reality, massive cost cutting, and revenues and profits under ever increasing assault from all fronts it is time to take the Xbox disaster out behind the office and mercifully put a bullet between its eyes and move on.

The dot com era Ballmer 'we'll throw unlimited billions at markets for years' like console gaming is an insult to all of the people who get up every day and make quality products that generate real profits for the company.

Anonymous said...

One can lay off another 10000 engineers and it will not make a difference. The problems is that MS is becoming IBM of the 80th wih too much internal politics and too much blocking of innovation. It happens to every corpporation at a certain age. (We all read Dick Brass' commenst on that). If MS was Apple, there was already a "Surface" in every living room , people would pre-order it 6 month before start of production, and revenue would have tripled...

Now if you lay off 10000 managers....

Anonymous said...

Are the managers required to give a rating E/A/U - 20/70/10 at MYCD like they do for a full year review?

The answer is yes and the spreadsheet goes to HR :-(

Anonymous said...

Fun and games continue, for what this is worth.

Last week I heard directly from a manager that his group was told by HR to identify the 10%ers relative to their newly reduced NTE.

Instead of managing them out he was told to align to the corporate RIF train coming in April and not to begin to try and manage them up or out.

Really nice.

Anonymous said...

"How about a 3rd? People that actually do have high potential and really are good at what they do.

I've been a Hipo for multiple years (better avoid being too specific as there aren't too many of us to begin with and HR does scan this stuff). I've been so in different bands. I have made folks HiPo. On a normal day I'd just smile at the naivity of this post and move on.


First I am sorry your friend passed away.

Also, in the interests of transparency: I have never made HiPo though I have managed to nominate a few successfully in my org. Must be my "naivete",or perhaps my spelling skills which preclude such august status :)

Second not sure what 'multiple years' means as the program was only introduced in early 2007. Unless you are confusing EXPO and HiPo.

The logic here was to extend the 20% mantra by taking the 20% of the 20percenters to arrive at 4% for HiPo. So far so good. So in principle at least having a 'best of the best' category makes sense. Interestingly the same logic is not applied at the other end of the spectrum, i.e. 10% of the 10percenters or 1% of the population would be shown the door annually.

However the reality is somewhat different as there are no objective company wide measures that actually quantify and articulate the how and the why of HiPo. So what it boils down to is 'being taken under someone's wing', aggressively promoted etc. So the current HiPo program suffers from the same subjective bias, cronyism and nepotism that afflicts the rest of the review mechanism.

So no doubt there are many HiPos truly deserving of the category. Sadly they are likely outnumbered by the folks who deserve to be a HiPo but will never make it due to lack of political connections, visibility or sponsorship.

To fix it requires investment in an HR system (NOT built by MSIT) which takes CEO goals and initiatives and pushes those out as measurable goals for each and every employee. This would allow measuring quantifiable business impact regardless of role or level in an objective fashion. And yes such systems do exist.

But given the lack of accountability that SteveB displays, having his as well as everyone else's feet held to the fire is not something that will ever happen.

Anonymous said...

@I love working at Microsoft. I pay attention to what is going on, I have passion for what I work on, and I communicate with my management chain. My reviews are never a surprise.

We understand your LOVE dude. By the way what are you working on and who is your management chain :)

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