Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Microsoft's Robbie Bach Retires... Whoo-Hoo! (And J is gone, too.)

Just a quick celebration of this morning's news: Robbie Bach is retiring from Microsoft.

I'm so happy for him. And for Entertainment and Devices. And Microsoft.

This is a great opportunity for E&D to evolve and restructure. And, of course, a great opportunity to really screw up who to put in charge and such.

And yes, J Allard is out of here as well. Don Mattrick and Andy Lees step up. Also: David Treadwell side steps. And Office shuffles up a little bit.

What would you do with the various groups, products and who else would you put in charge?


-- Comments

278 comments:

1 – 200 of 278   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

Actually it's sad day. I thought Robbie had in him to be the next CEO of MS.

Anonymous said...

This is just Ballmer getting rid of his chief successor before it's too late.Sad.

Anonymous said...

Sad that Robbie is leaving. He is a sane manager in the SLT and one of the few who can go toe to toe with KT (seen that first hand). Good that Don Mattrick is stepping up, he's well respected and gets things done. Andy Lees? We'll have to see about him. He put a good management team into Phone but Kin's release: meh (too little too late, Danger); WP7 is late but has great promise.

Anonymous said...

How the fuck can you get rid of Bach and Allard?They WERE E&D.Microsoft's board members are sociopaths.

Anonymous said...

Yo Mini,

From an insider perspective, what are your thoughts on Courier??

Me? As a recent grad (and tech addict), I'm still mourning that loss.

Thanks Mini!!

Anonymous said...

Another uninformed, glib analysis from you. I generally agree with your assessments, but Robbie's departure earns a "woo hoo" from you? You don't know what you're talking about. Agree with other comments here: Bach is a good manager and a good guy.

I do think his big fault was letting Knook go on as long as he did and not spurring more on from Mobile, and kneecapping Kevin Dallas' embedded business efforts(we're only getting a DVR out now thanks to WE7).

Anonymous said...

It just goes to show you that anyone entrepreneurial and/or consumer is persona non grata at Microsoft. It's time to ditch Ballmer & get some fresh thinking in the joint.

Ipod said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Did not know Robbie... but Andy Lees moving up? Seriously? The man thinks of himself as the smartest person in the room at all times. Lately he has been chanting: "I want you to aim for the moon.." Really - with hot air baloons while Google droids are in rocket ships?

But for my few shares that I get every year, I would short MS stock just because of Andy Lees.

Anonymous said...

Andy Lees' ascension shouldn't surprise anyone. He's a company man. Microsoft values loyalty & staying in line above all else, which is why there isn't a lot of independent thought there. Another reason for Ballmer to go.

Anonymous said...

It is a sad day. J was Microsoft's last hope. We can't just milk windows and office forever. What a confusing email, clearly Ballmer has no succession plan and was deeply troubled writing this email and trying to make it sound positive. Is J going to leave or remain as a trusted advisor? Work with ballmer in a "new" way? J is getting a cushy do-nothing-but-please-don't-join-Google job for one year, and get paid to mountain bike.

Watch the talent leave in droves next year as E&D is sinovskied, and xbox will become the next cash cow to be milked until dry.

Who is the next Microsoft CEO? And who is the next consumer leader at Microsoft? Don? Andy? Don't make me laugh.

Anonymous said...

It's no surprise that people in E&D love Robbie. He did build them a nice new campus.

He also oversaw the $1B write-off for XBOX hardware defects, after the org lied to customers about it for a long time(until he could schedule a massive stock excercise, perhaps). Zune doesn't seem to be a success. Embedded was crippled and needs to be brought back from the dead. WinMo was becoming irrelevant till Andy Lees, and still is at grave risk. I'm not even sure what to say about Robbie's ownership of Windows Media Center.

From elsewhere in Microsoft, Robbie always seemed like an empty suit. J seemed like a clever guy who got lucky once and was desperately trying to make lightning strike again.

Anonymous said...

I liked Robbie, but I always wondered what type of promises he was making. He was in some tough businesses, but how can you not be expected succeed with such resources at hand. That includes $s, talent and little things like access to the OS codebase for the Windows NT Embedded products that put out some surprising revenue #s.

Anonymous said...

Andy Lees stepping up is a complete disaster! A super arrogant man who does not listen to anyone. He is doing "great" work in messing up the launch of Windows Phone 7 as we speak, so maybe Steve will get the honour of firing him first hand in one year, not having to ask Robbie to do it?

Anonymous said...

I dont know who Robbie's supporters are here. As someone who quit Microsoft a while ago, after Ballmer- the next most culpable person for Microsoft failure in Phones, Tablet, Games is Robbie Bach. Seems like he took good care fo this employees, but could not create any really successful product.

Anonymous said...

I find the comments lamenting Robbie's departure a bit odd. Yes, he seems like a really nice guy. Yes, Microsoft needs more sane senior managers. But it's very hard to argue that E&D has been a huge success...or any kind of success...during his tenure. Yes, XBOX has finally turned into a nice business and XBOX Live is a real treasure but those successes came after years of bleeding money. Windows Mobile/Phone essentially died during his watch. Zune? Whatever. Is he solely responsible for the failures (or successes?)? No. But it seems like he had his chance and didn't come through.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft had a touch based phone 10 years ago in Pocket PC, The Tablet PC for more than 5 years, Media Center PC same, Surface Computing for over 5 years, Virtual Earth, Maps, Encarta, Hardware Diveision with Mouse, Keyboard. With all these assets- if you still got kicked in the butt by Apple, Google and a host of startups with no such assets- you deserve to retire man.
You cant say he deserves to stay just because Microsoft doesnt have anyone smarter than him. Just go hire someone from a competitor.

Anonymous said...

I'm starting to believe the conspiracy theories about the illuminati and secret societies deciding who presidents and CEOs will be.Gates is just a figurehead.Thats the only explanation as to why Steve Ballmer is still the CEO of microsoft.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft is a failure in games? Last I checked Xbox is now making money and doing quite well. And if Natal lives up to what it looks like, things may get even better in that area.

My only concern is that Ballmer has a very, very good sense of what consumers want since these guys are going to be reporting directing to him.

Anonymous said...

The New York Times article on this shake up at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/26/technology/26soft.html

had a quote, "...As a result, Mr. Ballmer will take a more hands-on role in Microsoft’s gadgets and games..."

If that's a sign that the end is near, I don't know what is! Holy Smoke, Ballmer is now in charge. E/D is in deep $&!t now!

Anonymous said...

In other news, MacBU is moving from E&D to MBD (division that builds Windows Office). Either we'll see better feature parity in future Mac Office, or MBD will kill it with its "not a big enough business" mentality.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't anyone think that Bach's departure is a little um ABRUPT?

He shared the stage with Ballmer at Ces.He introduced the KIN.His bio page was just updated on april 12.Now all of a sudden he's just 'retiring'.Something smells fishy.

Anonymous said...

The issue of who is leaving is subsumed by the fact that Ballmer has totally consolidated power. How anyone can think that it is a good thing is utterly beyond explanation. He has no vision whatsoever and is not a technology guy but just a business guy in tech. I don't see where the verve will be coming from because it sure won't be from the top.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Treadwell and his "side step". It will be a good day for all when he's shown the door.

And speaking of dead weight, how is Srivastava still employed?

Anonymous said...

Learning politics FREE OF COST in EXD-LPO, MSIT, India.

Rajesh Sampath, you are the boss. Hats off to you.

Anonymous said...

"Watch the talent leave in droves next year as E&D is sinovskied, and xbox will become the next cash cow to be milked until dry."

The profit margins on console gaming are too low for the Xbox to become Microsoft's cash cow anytime soon. Plus they would have to outcompete Sony and Nintendo first.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure Bach planned on licensing out the xbox and bundling it into other devices.Ballmer just wants to make sure he gets the credit for it.

Anonymous said...

To call the Xbox a "success" after almost a decade of staggering losses and barely hanging on to second place in market share is a bit rich in my opinion. The whole Xbox effort has been a massive exercise in goalpost moving ever since BillG said in 2000 that he expected the business to be cash positive by FY2003. Hopefully Natal will bring some good news soon.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft would have been smartest to stay out of the console business altogether. Making a profit now after 10 years of it being a black hole isn't cost-neutral. That money could have been spent much better elsewhere!

Anonymous said...

I’m an employee, but not in the E&D division, so I’ve not been close to Robbie or J’s influence. And while I currently do not own shares, I’m a recurring stockholder (via ESPP) so I’ve kept an eye on our businesses and frankly, I think some (not all—Office/Windows) of our senior leadership needs to be slapped in the face. Let’s take a look at the hits E&D has produced under Robbie’s watch:

Cell Phones:
As another comment noted, we had a touch screen OS ten years ago; we owned the smartphone business. When I first got one I thought, “This is awesome. In my hand is the equivalent of a Windows 98 PC, just with a smaller screen. I can voice recognition on Win98, so it’s only a matter of time before this networked PC in my hand will be responding to me like another human.” Obviously, WE are not there. Android and iPhone are close. Kin is locked down for teens (ask about what apps can be installed), and Win7 phone—however good the buzz—is just ridiculously late to the party. Both are just late reactions to seeing it done right instead of doing it right first.
VP Grade: F-

Tablet PC:
Another area we pioneered…and never got right. Over a million iPads have already been sold. ‘Nuff said.
VP Grade: F

Zune:
The first Zune device was great, but the initial software was one of the worst things MS has ever shipped. It’s much better now, and the Zune HD is an impressive piece of hardware. I love my Zune HD. But again, it doesn’t matter that the Zune HD is better than an iPod (pipe down Apple fanboys) if we were late to the party—all the 3rd party add-ons are for iPods. And just try to get your Zune to work in your car. Radio transmitter or wired, you’re still controlling it from the Zune instead of your car’s head unit. The only way around this is to buy a Ford with Sync. Also, our marketing SUCKS. Who the heck were they trying to target? I have no idea.
VP Grade: C

Xbox:
The Xbox 360 is now very good, but the “red ring of death” now has T-shirts. We took a billion dollar write off because of that. Natal looks cool, but only time will tell if it is really all it is cracked up to be.
VP Grade: B-

Surface:
Fantastic technology that is available at the low, low price of your first born child. Great stuff, but this needs to be *much* cheaper to be worth the bother. Hopefully the tech insights will bleed over into other products (Natal?).
VP Grade: D

All of the above can be traced back to the mentality of, “get it out the door on time, regardless of whether we’ve made something customers actually will enjoy”.

I’ve been pro-MS for years (been here way more than 10 years), but I’m getting really tired of defending short-sighted crapware because it, “sucks less than our competitors”. Guess what? Our competitors are getting better, and I’m about to vote with my wallet.

Anonymous said...

"Doesn't anyone think that Bach's departure is a little um ABRUPT?"

But he's not leaving for several months. Given his level in the company, it's likely that he had to follow certain rules about when/how his retirement was announced. It's the same way Jeff Raikes announced and left. Sheesh. Someone works at a company for 22 years, announces retirement right between key selling seasons, at the beginning of a new FY, and is sticking around for several months smells about as fishy as a cattle farm.

Anonymous said...

WOW!! With all the vitriol spewed towards Bach and Allard over the years on this blog (and deservedly so) it is amazing to see what positive reputations they seem to have in the eyes of the general public, and the first several commenters here for that matter.

They may be smart, friendly, well-meaning guys but let's not forget that they are COLOSSAL failures in the world of business.

XBox? Zune? Windows Mobile? It is actually hard to think of a list of bigger failures in the history of business. A couple years ago XBox had lost roughly 8 BILLION dollars. Presumably it's even more now, despite the couple of quarters where it was slightly profitable. Windows Mobile, where to start. At the height of its popularity (~15% of smartphone market share, cough) devices with WM were experiencing 25+% return rates, customers hated them so much. Hardware partners are sprinting to Android. And Zune? Good lord. Not bad devices, but a complete business failure.

So, three cheers that these guys are finally out. But Microsoft is still saddled with these albatrosses. I can't see a clear way out of that.

Anonymous said...

Nothing will change at MSFT until Ballmer is gone. Only then will the explicit message be sent that 2000-2010 has been a lost decade.

Anonymous said...

Great news.

After billions invested in the Xbox and Xbox360, what does MS have to show for it? 2nd place? With only three competitors? And the race to avoid 3rd place still not assured?

The reality is MS had a huge first mover advantage in this gen, and squandered it. Does anyone really think an add-on peripheral is going to change anything at this stage of the game?

Anonymous said...

For all of you idiots talking about Xbox's losses I have a question for you:

Why didn't ballmer fire the guy WHILE the console was losing money?Why fire him while it's finally making money?

Anonymous said...

All hail Ballmer!

May he remain as CEO for as long as it takes!

Anonymous said...

Glad he is gone. E&D has been a disaster for years. He should have been fired after the Red Ring of death issue. Then he should have been fired after our phone strategy. J Allard, I am fine with that as well. Go hire 10 people from Apple and let them bring their magic here.

I think one of our biggest problems is Marketing. Mich Matthews needs to be the next person shown the door. The Zune and the Zune service is a great concept. How about we do some marketing? Windows 7 and Office - how about making them cool! That is all done through marketing. Our Cloud services. I actually think we have the best story in the business around cloud. After the Masters TV commercials we are once again behind because of our advertising. Google and Chrome are kicking our butts, but yet we still see no ads. MICH NEEDS TO GO NEXT!!!

Anonymous said...

"Why didn't ballmer fire the guy WHILE the console was losing money?Why fire him while it's finally making money?"

Maybe its not making enough money to make up for all the money they lost when the guy was running the division.

Maybe Ballmer was hoping this Natal thing was the real deal, instead of another gimmicky peripheral, but now it has become clear that it won't help Xbox360 fight off the PS3, much less catch up to the Wii.

Maybe the Google I/O was the last straw-and Ballmer realized that Mobile needs some new blood to fight back.

Anonymous said...

"Maybe its not making enough money to make up for all the money they lost when the guy was running the division."

Or MAYBE Ballmer has decided that he will take the credit for all future developments (that Bach has put in place) coming out of E&D in the future? Think Xbox slim,TVs,Project Natal etc.

Anonymous said...

For all of you idiots talking about Xbox's losses I have a question for you:

Why didn't ballmer fire the guy WHILE the console was losing money?Why fire him while it's finally making money?


Let me see if this "idiot" can explain it...

It was an accepted fact going in that the Xbox effort would lose money at first (see, this "idiot" understands that new business ventures don't pay for themselves overnight).

Bach was ultimately canned because the Xbox division lost far more than was ever projected for far longer. And when it started actually making profits, they were too low. If it weren't for the recession, Microsoft would now be forced to either dig the hole deeper paying for the next-gen Xbox or making the decision to pull the plug once sales of the existing 360 were exhausted. They got a reprieve both due to the economy and Sony's mangling of the PS3 launch. Bach can't claim credit for either of those.

Robbie himself projected the Xbox effort to be profitable by 2005. That he wasn't fired when 2005 came is perhaps understandable, but he definitely deserved to be let go after lying about the extent of the RROD fiasco for all of FY07 to keep people buying and then tucking the billion dollar fix back into FY07 so that FY08 could be profitable on paper.

Anonymous said...

I have been a big fan of Zune. It is one of the Microsoft products that I am very proud of owning. It is a superior design to Ipod. In my opinion, it is sometimes worthwhile to have a product with a small cult following - even if it does not have marketshare (Macs were in this position for a long time). A cult following can set the stage for better marketshare down the road.

Zune technology will now make it to the phone, it has created buzz... And yes, it should be in the black (is it?) - no doubt - but people who complain about Zune being a failure due to lack of marketshare are displaying the same shortsightedness they accuse Microsoft's SLT of.

Anonymous said...

I saw Andy in the hallway the other day. This guy is clueless...even up close and personal.

Bach/Allard may have lost billions but they were thrust behind xBox and Zune. Courier should not have been killed.

Now all you have is KT the fool. Elop is just waiting for his retirement and Qi won't do anything outside of search.

Anonymous said...

"Or MAYBE Ballmer has decided that he will take the credit for all future developments (that Bach has put in place) coming out of E&D in the future? Think Xbox slim,TVs,Project Natal etc."


You know, I think Ballmer has a lot of negatives (I think he should be replaced actually), but I've never ever heard it said/written that he unfairly has taken credit for things at MS, regardless if he were actually involved in a project or not. For all his faults, he always came across to me as a Microsoft cheerleader first, and a Ballmer cheerleader last.

But maybe others have seen him do this. I just don't think anything in the short term is going to turn around for E&D-certainly nothing worth sacking Bach just to steal his "credit".

Anonymous said...

Its a good day for Apple and Google. Mini-did you mistakenly think it was ballmer and sinofsky leaving? --cuz we're becoming a great place for slow moving accountants who do feature comparision charts, & think its good to ship once every 18 months on the web by design.

RobM said...

I think the next one to go ought to be a certain Mr Ballmer.

Microsoft had lost its Mojo a few years ago. I thought it was getting it back in 2009 but in 2010 I'm not so sure.

What I am sure about is that he's entirely the wrong person to be leading a company like this - he doesn't know good technology from a hole in the ground.

Maybe I'm still bitter about his rude behaviour to me in a meeting way back but I don't miss being involved in "his" Microsoft at all.

Anonymous said...

The real problem (and the business and tech news press is of this opinion as well!) is Ballmer taking charge of XBOX and Windows Mobile. He does not have the skills, the knowledge, the credibility or the wherewithall to run those businesses. Unless they find someone more capable, it is the beginning of the end for E&D. Ballmer just accelerated the company's race to the bottom!

Anonymous said...

when will MSFT realize that it does not have what it takes to be a consumer company?

Anonymous said...

1. Watch Allard come back next year to lead E&D (or whatever it becomes). I think it would have looked bad to other folks in E&D to have him replace Bach immediately. Ballmer's keeping him in pocket for a while.

2. +1 on comments about Andy Less's arrogance. I've had the displeasure of meeting him once, seemed like a total weasel. Not impressed with his tech knowledge either.

3. Bach may have been a nice guy, and by his main presumed metric--here's the checkbook, go kill Sony--he did OK. But when I look at all the consumer businesses Microsoft was investigating 10 years ago and how NONE of them came to fruition, it makes total sense that he's gone. In particular mobile. Mobile's not only a missed opportunity, but competitors could begin to eat away Windows' market share at the low end: think iPad, Chrome/Android, and--the biggest slap in the face ever--HP's WebOS based slate. When Ballmer saw HP do that, he must have gone insane.

Anonymous said...

Andy Lees? Promoted? I find that extremely hard to fathom, the man has the vision of a gnat. It’s hard to watch everyone in the industry move past us on so many fronts its ridiculous. One mobile sub-sector after another just keep slipping through our fingers; m-Ad, m-Search, m-Maps, m-Apps, m-Payments etc...

Anonymous said...

Gee... I wonder what these two ratios would be:

E&D Profits to Robbie's compensation as head of E&D

or

Real Estate value of the new E&D campus to E&D Profits for the past decade

Anonymous said...

The guys getting promo'd seem to be political dickbags. The guys leaving are just going being made to be the scapegoats when Apple's market cap surpasses MS's..."see, we had a problem with this one division, and we fixed that..."

Franky, putting aside the fumbles in the mobile market, I'm surprised that MS was able to succesfully break into the console market and into the portable music market, with obviously mixed success...the guys leaving did it *in spite* of the dysfunction at Microsoft. This short-term thinking/shuffling just made undone the patient (over-)investment Microsoft had made into those area.

Bad moves, and the division will flounder far worse than before.

Anonymous said...

I think Roz Ho should be next for the Kin debaucle and wasting $500M on Danger. She contributed to Robbie's demise.
Thanks to Robbie for also killing ACES studio and the longest selling PC game title of all time..Flight SImulator. Like they say, what goes around comes around!

Anonymous said...

I am curious to know where else MS is making moves like this in the corporate structure? Is it cutting down in executive heavy groups like Health Solutions, R&D and Search? These folks are hemoraging money while carrying more GMs than a used car lot. It would be good to see some of that fat get trimmed.

Anonymous said...

Andy at the helms@!!!!! God save MSFT. He is competing with three year old OS and people still think he is doing hell of a job? Great MSFT opportunity - let the previous guy screw up, come and beat the lowest possible expectations.....

Anonymous said...

The guy who should really be put in charge of Windows Phone marketing and partner opportunities is G. Eric Engstrom. Nobody understands joint effort and cooperation quite like Eric.

Anonymous said...

why isn't anyone mad about Online Business Division?

Anonymous said...

"Microsoft's board members are sociopaths."

Yeah, stone cold killers. The CEO has lost 400B in market cap since 2000 and he's...oh right, still around. Nevermind.

Anonymous said...

Allard is "leaving" and becoming an advisor to Steve Ballmer.

Microsoft Confirms Shake-Up, Robbie Bach, J Allard Resign

Anonymous said...

"Another uninformed, glib analysis from you. I generally agree with your assessments, but Robbie's departure earns a "woo hoo" from you? You don't know what you're talking about. Agree with other comments here: Bach is a good manager and a good guy."

Robbie's departure would earn a "Woo Hoo" from anybody who took an objective look at the markets he was tasked with winning, the resources he consumed, and the results he achieved over a decade. It’s a question of effectiveness, not likability.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft is irrelevant. They have been for a while.

Google. Apple. Facebook. That's where it's at, these days.

MS had their day. It's come. It's gone.

*yawn*

Anonymous said...

"Robbie's departure would earn a "Woo Hoo" from anybody who took an objective look at the markets he was tasked with winning, the resources he consumed, and the results he achieved over a decade. It’s a question of effectiveness, not likability."

Ok Bach overspent?Loss money?Fine but DONT wait 10 fucking years to fire the guy!Why not fire him after 3 years?5 years?7 years.Ballmer didn't fire Bach because of losses.He fired him because Apple's market cap is about to surpass Microsoft's market cap and he's ELIMINATING the one guy who could replace him as CEO.

I think Ballmer always intended on using Bach to build E&D to a certain point so he could swoop in and take over and take credit for taking E&D to the "next level".Ballmer played Bach like a sucker plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious: how do insiders feel about the crippled browser that Lees intends to ship with Windows Phone 7?

Anonymous said...

So to summarize: Two people who, while well meaning, failed at their jobs have left and are being replaced by...people within the same failed organization.

Nothing's changed.

Anonymous said...

Franky, putting aside the fumbles in the mobile market, I'm surprised that MS was able to succesfully break into the console market and into the portable music market, with obviously mixed success.

I think if you gave almost anybody $8 billion, they'd be able to break into the console market.

Anonymous said...

Losing Antoine is going to suck for Office. As a lowly IC I always got the impression that Antoine was of the Jeff Raikes school where he cared about his people and was open and honest, while Kurt was from the Elop school where you're aloof and not transparent at all about what's coming down the pipe. I doubt you'd ever see 20,000 bouncy balls coming out of Kurt's office.

Anonymous said...

Seems like many people in E&D are leaving as well.. Qi Lu just announced Mindy Mount is joining OSD as CFO...

Oh btw... i don't think any other org burned as much money as OSD or GFS? Though GFS got re-orged... and OSD got a new president.

Anonymous said...

The reason mini is so happy about Rob (and other competative exec's) leaving, is that he is from a competing camp, thats all. My guess he is from Sinofsky's. or sinonfsky himself.

Anonymous said...

This is getting nuts. Why can't we be humming along like Apple is? It seems like we take SOOO long to get our big projects out or we get the market excited about something (Courier Tablet) and then nothing happens or it gets cancelled. Hopefully, the E&D devision will make a miraculous turnaround.

Anonymous said...

I worked with J Allard way back when he was incubating the .NET FW team (before he left to start XBox). I dont have any bad memories from that time.

However, I will say that the original V1 zune was a disaster. C'mon, you put WIFI as a differentiator, and then completely crippled it.

Would it kill if you if, (even now) you develop simple read-only applications that utilize WiFi and are able to download and display content from the web, like the newsreader apps do on Apple IPods? That would totally rock my bus ride.

Everytime I start my zune, I curse these people who shipped a half-assed wifi implementation.

Anonymous said...

Bach should just STFU about Courier. It never was anything more than a mockup and a set of promo CGI renders. The device or software shown in those renders never existed.

Anonymous said...

"I think Ballmer always intended on using Bach to build E&D to a certain point so he could swoop in and take over and take credit for taking E&D to the "next level".Ballmer played Bach like a sucker plain and simple."

And I think you’re obviously upset by the news and letting your emotions overrule your intelligence. If Steve is guilty of anything it’s letting personal loyalty get in the way of sound business judgment, to the detriment of the company. Bach was extremely well paid for his efforts and the run lasted far longer than he had any right to expect. And forget the future CEO option. Shareholders would never have approved him.

Anonymous said...

Interesting theory about why Bach was "fired": because HP bought Palm.

http://blog.asymco.com/2010/05/25/the-reason-robbie-bach-was-fired/

Anonymous said...

WP7 is not Robbie child, quite the opposite. Pen device is not a touch phone (resistive != capacitance). E&D didn't come up with iPod, iPhone or iPad or Apple TV-like device. It also spent too much money on xBox.

So perhaps they were really nice folks, they missed way too many opportunities.

Anonymous said...

"Microsoft is irrelevant. They have been for a while.

Google. Apple. Facebook. That's where it's at, these days.

MS had their day. It's come. It's gone.

*yawn*"

Guess that explains why you're here posting, right?

Anonymous said...

Let's be clear about the E&D business:

E = entertainment
D = devices

In my house, entertainment in context revolves around my TVs/stereos, digital media on my home PC/Mac, and of course online content. I am not a gamer. I don't have a single E&D product that connects to my entertainment domain.

I suppose I can go buy Xbox or Zune to fit the mold, but why would anyone do that?

Instead, I have $99 media streamers from Apple/others that connect my media stored on PC/Mac to the TVs/stereos, and use an iPhone as a remote control. I can also do the same with an Android phone....pretty simple stuff, right?

But E&D does not offer any solution for my house, unless I buy an Xbox, Zune, or worst, somehow figure out a way to integrate a WinMo phone into my setup. In the meantime, just about everyone else is getting into the TVs (Skype, Google, Yahoo, Samsung, Sony, etc).

As much as one can respect Bach or Allard, these are software guys, and Microsoft as a whole (Steve Balmer included), does not understand consumer electronics, TVs, entertainment, or devices, where design or product cycles are 8-10 months, instead of every 2-3 yrs.

Not recognizing that shortcoming will continue to bring disappointments to the market.

Anonymous said...

I've had a couple 1:1 meetings \w Kurt. He isn't as "fun" as Antoine but he really knows his shit and believes in meritocracy. Give the guy a chance.

Anonymous said...

The sad thing is I tried thinking who should be running the company and I can't think of anyone. The entire management structure top to bottom is fairly out of touch / drunk on their own 'power' / coasting on their success of 20 years ago. I don't know if any of these dolts taking over would bring anything but more suffering. For the longest time I was very pro-Microsoft and always explained the troubles we were having by lack of vision/excellence at the top and the kind of internal structure that naturally caused (i.e. management ranks full of sociopathic politicos with no real talent). The more I look at it the more I realize they won, my camp seems to have lost. We bought the meritocracy BS and worked like mad while they were busy with the smoke and mirrors and getting promoted to the point where they were beyond question, even on the heel of failure after failure.

Anonymous said...


The reason mini is so happy about Rob (and other competative exec's) leaving, is that he is from a competing camp, thats all. My guess he is from Sinofsky's. or sinonfsky himself.


Everyone knows Mini works in MSN

Anonymous said...

- Repost -
Microsoft is filled with cynics. As a Ex-Microsoft employee, I can tell u that all ppl here talk more about next bonus than doing anything creative. Rather than pointing fingers at Robbie and J, may be you'll should look at yourself.

Anonymous said...

"The CEO has lost 400B in market cap since 2000 and he's...oh right, still around. Nevermind."
Best comment of the night.

Of course, it poses the following question: why IS Ballmer still around?

Anonymous said...

"Watch the talent leave in droves next year as E&D is sinovskied, and xbox will become the next cash cow to be milked until dry.

Who is the next Microsoft CEO? And who is the next consumer leader at Microsoft? Don? Andy? Don't make me laugh. "

Sinosfky will be the next CEO if he can turn around E&D like he did Windows. If he does, then he should be CEO. Can you imagine? A CEO who regularly and openly blogs internally? A CEO who understands the product development process from start to finish? A CEO who understands how to effectively work with and for customers to make products customers want?

Look. Here's the deal. Fix E&D. _Really_ compete with Apple and Google and other strong adversaries in the consumer space...

Let's fucking go.

Anonymous said...

this sums it up - http://bit.ly/aK2z2V

Anonymous said...

shift+del for Office Labs!

Anonymous said...

any chance of Bill coming back?

Anonymous said...

"Interesting theory about why Bach was "fired": because HP bought Palm."

It's certainly a bad development with potentially enormous negative consequences for MS in the future. But it's as much a statement about lack of confidence in Windows as it is Bach's mobile area, at least as it relates to suitability for tablets, phones, and other web appliances.

Anonymous said...

I agree this is a sad day for Microsoft, we forget what J and Robbie did for the company. One person that should be happy is KT... watch this space.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft is filled with cynics. As a Ex-Microsoft employee, I can tell u that all ppl here talk more about next bonus than doing anything creative. Rather than pointing fingers at Robbie and J, may be you'll should look at yourself.

You've been out of the loop too long my friend. I've seen great ideas and projects die simply because the current management doesn't like taking risk because if it fails, they won't get as big of a bonus. I've heard GMs and VPs explain how they will only invest in an area if their hand is forced by another company (i.e. - let them take the risk first). The current management's pay and bonus structure is DESIGNED to discourage risk and new challenges. Fix that, and you will fix the whole enchilada.

Anonymous said...

Ballmer is now predicting another global reset based on the instability of the euro zone. Of course he knows all about that. The Fat F*** is just too much of a pussy to just say there will be layoffs in July. He wants it to look like it's a sudden reaction to the volatility of the Euro economy. This guy is an embarassment. I wish he would retire.

Anonymous said...

I think it's time that the shareholders of Microsoft sue Bill Gates and the board members for failing to run the business in accordance to the business judgement rule, which is the standard of negligence for corporate officers and directors. There is no way they are exercising reasonable business judgement by letting bozo remain CEO. An uninterested director following standard business judgement would never let a man go 10+ years with this many mess ups as CEO. Gates is biased because Balder is a long time friend. It's time we sue Gates and send him a message that this type of nepotism isn't going to last with us minority shareholders.

Anonymous said...

re: Sinofsky. Anyone who has had any f2f time with him would not even think twice about his potential as CEO. He's one of MSFT's best.

re: BillG coming back. What do you think got MSFT in this mess in the first place? Bill's instance that everything (phones, etc.) needs to be and act like Windows, and that Windows shouldn't evolve past what it was in 1995 or so.

Anonymous said...

This dude has it a lot right:

"The current management's pay and bonus structure is DESIGNED to discourage risk and new challenges. Fix that, and you will fix the whole enchilada."

The remaining part of the equation is to fix everyone elses rewards structure as well. If you 'compete' against peers and it's a near zero sum game due to differentiated rewards no superhero leader will save the day.

Every big brain IC and low level manager knows the only time to stick your head up is to save the day for someone elses f-up.

Truly big new thoughts seldom get you rewarded & often get you hammered. Best to save them for yourself for the next gig.

Anonymous said...

+1 Andy Lees arrogance.
+1000 on Roz comment - I think she should be one of the people to step down and not Allard or Bach.

I think Bach's only problem is that he did not fire the poor performers (Knook, Knook.Next, etc). I would rather see Bach given a bigger stick with which he can fire/replace people under him who don't perform/listen to him.

Anonymous said...

Why bill needs to be back? to get back into the habit of winning.. Windows against OSx & Novell, Office against Lotus, VS against Borland, IE against Netscape. The reason this company is going to the dogs is that we've lost the inspiration to perform. We tossed out a working performance review system, we introduced stupid pompous titles in the address book that is triggering politics at all levels, why should we care or know if someone is senior or principal or partner, why did we stop asking puzzles and difficult problem solving questions in interviews? Its not Apple or Google who are beating us up, we did this to ourselves by losing our winning culture..

Anonymous said...

the amount of misinformation in this thread is staggering.

Anonymous said...

Of course, what you need most of all is to kick Ballmer to the curb, but I've got to say, losing that pair of poseurs is the best thing that's happened to Microsoft in at least two decades.

Reminds me of Carly Fiorina's dismissal from HP. Maybe, just maybe, MS's long decline might level out.

Anonymous said...

J was Microsoft's last hope.

Let's thank Mr. Allard's personal publicist for dropping by to share his insights. That's the funniest thing I've read today.

Anonymous said...

The guys leaving are just going being made to be the scapegoats when Apple's market cap surpasses MS's.

Nah, there's no way in hell Ballmer's going to shift the blame for that. So, who wants to make a friendly wager on whether AAPL will top MSFT before their developer conference opens on June 7th?

Let me have a little look here. AAPL $223.14B, MSFT $228.47B, for a difference of... 3.4%.

Apple's certainly been known to jump more than that during a keynote presentation. I wonder what Steve's got up his sleeve?

Anonymous said...

"Its not Apple or Google who are beating us up, we did this to ourselves by losing our winning culture.."

+100 on this. Also, remove the titles from adress book. These titles are just useless..
Imagine talking to someone without knowing the title.

MSFT has become more of a company where employees focous more on settling in life than apetite for innovation and risk taking.

Anonymous said...

any chance of Bill coming back?

Oh, please. When I joined MSFT in 1993, people were already saying "Bill's not really engaged any more, he's just a distant figurehead now". An amazing guy, but if you read BillG's technology pronouncements these days, they're embarrassingly dated. He checked out nearly 15 years ago.

James Allard's last hurrah was getting Bill to take TCP/IP seriously (let's drop the affected "J" bullshit). Allard did great work on getting BSD style TCP/IP into Windows (c 1994-96), everything after then has been a cipher, built on a reputation. XBox has been a non-event for Technology as a whole; and will never recover its sunk costs.

I was a true believer once, now I weep over the shattered corpse of MSFT (not to mention all my dud stock).

Anonymous said...

I'm fine with firing the whole group of top execs.

Microsoft wasn't built by the managers, but they are proving that they surely can destroy it! Microsoft doesn't need new theories of management from people like Sinofsky or from former execs from EA, IBM, and GE. Msft doesn't need to be fixed to work like a large company "should".

Msft needs to go back to what worked 20 years ago with small empowered teams. Big rewards and hard work have been replaced with the minor rewards and the buddy system, and bean counting.

Dev teams with thousands of people won't ever work in a Trio model, a core principle of being Sinoskyfied. I'm still waiting for someone to point out the fantastic release that was successful using that approach. Oh wait, there isn't one!

It works well to encourage cronism though! Working hard has been replaced with working hard to watch your back.

It's really sad to see the transition.

Anonymous said...

Allard did great work on getting BSD style TCP/IP into Windows

BFD. John Romkey's people at FTP software in Boston did it first and did it better.

If porting the BSD networking stack because your own people are too incompetent to write one of their own is your idea of an accomplishment, then you really need to get out more.

I know dozens of linux weenies under 21 who can replace Allard tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

From the Wall Street Journal

"When Mr. Ballmer assumed the role of CEO a little over a decade ago, Apple had a market value of $15.6 billion to Microsoft's $556 billion"

MSFT has had a lost decade.

If you are a shareholder, vote out the current board members to replace them with board members who will get rid of Mr. Ballmer.

Anonymous said...

Its not Apple or Google who are beating us up, we did this to ourselves by losing our winning culture..

No, I'd say that both Apple and Google are quite handily beating MSFT up.

Well, we'll always have Windows. Or will we?!

Anonymous said...

http://bit.ly/bMnNCW

"In the past decade...Apple has gained about $210 billion of market value and Microsoft has lost about $325 billion. Put differently, a decade ago, Microsoft was worth $540 billion more than Apple." - 'nuff said

Anonymous said...

The culture war between old Microsoft ("Let's milk office and windows forever!") and new Microsoft ("can we please get serious about some new innovation?") continues, both in the SLT and on this blog. Old Microsodt won the latest rounds on the SLT. Old Microsoft floods the blog with "zomg why do we even make an xbox it's such a failure??!!1". New Microsoft sees Apple's marketshare poised to overtake our own.

Great products and business happen when you have a visionary CEO (Jobs, et al). Can anyone tell be what Ballmer's vision is? Being a businessman and not a tech type, maybe it's cost reduction? Is it "all is well with windows and office so the rest of Microsoft should be like them and milk a dying cow"?

Posted from my iPad.

Anonymous said...

"I would rather see Bach given a bigger stick with which he can fire/replace people under him who don't perform/listen to him."

Only in the Byzantine structure of MS would it be unclear that he already had that power and simply didn't exercise it effectively.

Steve said...

Today's WSJ:

AAPL stock up 16% this year
MSFT stock down 14.5% this year

Steve Jobs: "Isn't it beautiful (you want and need one)."
Steve Ballmer: "The economy reset and it is what it is, not my fault."

Since Steve Ballmer has become Microsoft CEO, APPL market cap went from $16B to $227B, Microsoft's has gone from $556B to $229B

Facts are facts. I report, you decide.

Anonymous said...

I'm a fan of Robbie Bach and really hopes he doesn't plan to permanently retire from the business world.He's too young and talented.

Anonymous said...

"So, who wants to make a friendly wager on whether AAPL will top MSFT before their developer conference opens on June 7th?"

Try this week latest, maybe even this afternoon. There's no surprise here. Analysts have been predicting it for a year. Apple is going to pass MS shortly, on route to a valuation of $350B or more in a year or two unless the market double dips. By next year, possibly even late this year, it will be larger by revenue as well. It took a long time for MS to get to this. It will take a long time to get back out, assuming it even can.

Anonymous said...

"Let me have a little look here. AAPL $223.14B, MSFT $228.47B, for a difference of... 3.4%."

Look again:

AAPL: 227.15B
MSFT: 228.52B

It will happen this week. Possibly even later today.

Anonymous said...

http://bit.ly/bMnNCW

"In the past decade...Apple has gained about $210 billion of market value and Microsoft has lost about $325 billion. Put differently, a decade ago, Microsoft was worth $540 billion more than Apple." - 'nuff said


I s'pose with the runaway success of a more affordable Apple tablet, that walmart guy aint doin them cartwheels no more. Or maybe he is cuz that exec comp pie just got a bit bigger for him.

Anonymous said...

I'm happy this pair are gone, they are failures.

Specially Allard, just coping ideas and nothing original or beyond the competition.


But who really needs to leave is Ballmer, should let the board know that investors dont want this blind guy leading the company.

With so much resources its amazing that this company can not do better.

Anonymous said...

Re-Org is not going to help Microsoft. If someone is not really doing good or not up-to the expectations, how re-org is going to help?
It’s like giving another set of roles or responsibilities to a stupid who is not going to add any value to the system.

It will be better if management will take some strong steps to correct the issues permanently. Most of the time re-org happens at Higher levels whereas everybody knows that the problem exists at lower level i.e.; at root level. In some cases it may be at higher level also.

Ultimately innocent people are suffering……managers, leadership is still getting the sufficient opportunities to continue with their current role in some other COEs or Groups. Overall MSFT is suffering with all respect…brand value in market, people’s morale, market reputation, overall growth in past 10 years etc. etc…


MSFT, Let’s think from bottom not from top. Base should be strong and Happy… that’s the key :)

Anonymous said...

Not sure if the moderator of this blog is the one who solicited some constructive ideas for what we can do (and yes some of us still care to make this place competitive!):
1. get a new board that understands new media, emerging digital technologies, etc. - use folks from VC firms or other competitive company boards
2. start getting some new world partnerships in place (and no not acquisitions but partnerships!) and build trust with companies that works in competitive technologies
3. hire some folks from industry with domain expertise in the line of business (Don running XBOX is a great example!)
4. yes shed some more marketing people who don't understand new world marketing. Goes for Mich and some stodgy folks who have enough of money and need to fade away in to the sunset
5. expedite our dev processes for the new world. Google launches products on a monthly basis and does regular updates. Break free from the 2 - 3 year ship cycle! In the new world, you ship, get active feedback and then retool. MOVE! MOVE! MOVE!

Hope someone from the SLT is reading this who cares. I have always wondered if any senior MSFT execs read this blog and I hope and pray they do! Some of us still believe and want to bring this company back to the level of greatness it deserves!

Anonymous said...

The culture war between old Microsoft ("Let's milk office and windows forever!") and new Microsoft ("can we please get serious about some new innovation?") continues

Every time I hear about "innovation" from a Microsoft employee I want to throw up. You guys just DON'T GET IT.

Microsoft is getting killed because its competition is making BETTER PRODUCTS, not because they're being "innovative."

For god's sake, Google is hot because they're making a web browser and a smartphone OS. Apple is hot because they're making a tablet PC. Microsoft was selling all this stuff a DECADE ago.

The difference is that when Google and Apple make something, it's fast, SIMPLE, stable, secure, and easy to use, and customers appreciate that even if they can't articulate it.

Microsoft's entire engineering process is focused on adding new "features" every cycle and the result is products that are bloated and complicated. Until this changes, it will not be able to produce competitive products, "innovative" or otherwise.

Anonymous said...

+100 on this. Also, remove the titles from adress book. These titles are just useless..
Imagine talking to someone without knowing the title.

MSFT has become more of a company where employees focous more on settling in life than apetite for innovation and risk taking.


You hit the nail on the head mate! First thing I noticed on joining MS is the obsession with titles and levels. Keep it anonymous, just give them tags like Engineer, Architect, PM etc. We should start encouraging ideas come from people, not levels.

Anonymous said...

http://techcrunch.com/2010/05/26/apple-microsoft-market-cap-2/

And there goes the market cap...

Anonymous said...

"Steve Ballmer has been CEO of Microsoft since 2000. During his tenure, Microsoft came out with Windows Vista, perhaps the most unsuccessful operating system in modern history (Windows ME doesn’t count, since Microsoft’s core customer base was using NT/2000); it tried a “Microsoft inside” strategy in digital music and, when that failed, launched the Zune, which also failed; it watched Firefox (and Safari and Chrome) eat a large chunk of its lunch in Internet browsers, the application most people use more than everything else put together; it launched Windows Live, a marketing strategy with no noun behind it, which completely flopped at whatever it was supposed to do; it got blown away in Internet search to the point where it had to re-launch as Bing, a plucky underdog; and in mobile phones, which everyone has known for a decade would be the next big thing, it stuck with its bloated, awkward Windows Mobile for far too long, letting everyone (RIM, Apple, Google, and even Palm) pass it by to the point where it has no customer base left. (BlackBerry rules the corporate market, Microsoft’s traditional stomping grounds.) Recently I saw a headline saying that Microsoft is going to try to relaunch Hotmail to make it cool. Really, why bother?

Sure, Microsoft still has a dominant market share in PC operating systems and office applications, but it’s managed to take that massive competitive advantage and waste it everywhere else over the past decade. It hasn’t even managed to become a major player in enterprise applications, a market that is desperately crying out for new competition, and where Microsoft should have been able to muscle its way in using its existing relationships with corporate CIOs and procurement officers. Is Bill Gates just too loyal to his old friend?"

Why Does Steve Ballmer Still Have a Job?

Anonymous said...

Microsoft's market cap is now less than Apple's. Thanks to great HiPos and ExPos. MSFT will go down further until it selects the right 20 percent.

Anonymous said...

"Dev teams with thousands of people won't ever work in a Trio model, a core principle of being Sinoskyfied. I'm still waiting for someone to point out the fantastic release that was successful using that approach. Oh wait, there isn't one!"

What do you call Windows 7?

Anonymous said...

Dear Bill,

I think Brian Valentine is the cure for what ails you. He had a passion you don’t see in many people. A true love of the company. It is sad what I am reading about the company. http://minimsft.blogspot.com/ and see how unhappy everyone is with current management. I believe Brian could put together a team that would put life, love, and integrity back into the company.

Avro said...

Now Apple is worth more than Microsoft.

How long can Ballmer last?

Anonymous said...

I know a great answer. Bring Melinda Gates on as the Ceo. That would put great passion to work. :)

Anonymous said...

"New Tech Stock King: Apple Surpasses Microsoft In Market Cap"

Let's give it up for Steve and the rest of SLT on this latest accomplishment. There have been a lot of big ones this decade, including Longhorn, Vista, Zune, and WinMo. But this is a real milestone. Even more remarkable given where both companies started from only a decade ago, or the 10X disparity in annual R&D spending. Stock price doesn’t matter of course, at least according to Steve. So that’s a relief. Otherwise this might be concerning. And luckily he and the board still love our strategy. And what’s not to love? Just look at how well it’s worked. I'm sure shareholders will feel similarly once Steve has a chance to explain it all to them later this year.

Anonymous said...

"Oh, please. When I joined MSFT in 1993, people were already saying "Bill's not really engaged any more, he's just a distant figurehead now". An amazing guy, but if you read BillG's technology pronouncements these days, they're embarrassingly dated. He checked out nearly 15 years ago."

Seconded from someone who joined in 1996 -- I was hired because I had internet experience, and one of my interviewers said "Bill doesn't get the Internet and we need people who do."

Bill got the coming PC revolution in the late 70s and that was his claim to fame. By the time I started at Microsoft people were still scared to death of the dreaded "BillG review", and having sat through a number of them he's certainly a crazy-smart guy (although he often acted like a royal douche), but even in '96 he seemed to miss some fundamental basics of what the internet had to offer.

Bill had his time and it was done over a decade ago. Steve is just a car salesman and has never had a single interesting thing to say about the future of technology that I've heard -- I stopped going to company meetings after the second time I was forced to watch him sweat and scream as our CEO as if he was still trying to fire-up his field sales reps.

Microsoft isn't going to turn a magical corner any time soon, that's evident from the kinds of people who continue to succeed at the Partner level (and by all of the other things, like our review system, internal transfer policies, etc.).

I'm still at the company after 14 years because I'm lazy, the work is moderately interesting some of the time and I get a nice fat yearly takehome at L66 for a nice 40 hour week, which allows me to focus on my family and hobbies. Pretty good deal, but one day I'll probably wake-up and want to work somewhere that's actually fun and interesting and might ask me to use my brain.

Anonymous said...

Today Apple is now bigger then MS based on Market Cap.

Apple - $228.56B
MS - $228.12B

And Yes, it is just based on a one day snapshot but still pretty significant. This is all based on Apple's IPOD, IPHONE, and ITunes....

Here is a quote from 2007's USA Today interview with your buddy Steve B.

“There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance. It’s a $500 subsidized item. They may make a lot of money. But if you actually take a look at the 1.3 billion phones that get sold, I’d prefer to have our software in 60% or 70% or 80% of them, than I would to have 2% or 3%, which is what Apple might get.”


And now he will be running the whole show.. WOW..

Anonymous said...

Putting anecdotal experiences aside, such as Bach is a nice guy or I had a 1:1 with someone and he seems like a good guy, the facts are very stubborn.

Apple passed MS today in market cap. For those of you waiting to happen, it is over. The mobile complete lost of the market we invented happened on Bach's watch. Aside the money Bach spent building XBOX business, the 1B ring write off is good enough reason to have been fired on the spot.

The bottom line is that this company is doomed and that Ballmer has managed to destroy it. His tenure as CEO will become a case study in business schools in a few years time as worst practice.

It is sad but the way it is. Live with it.

Anonymous said...

When I read the comments, the only good words about the "previous" E&D VP is "he is a nice guy", and the bad words about the new one is "he is too arrogant and won't listen to anyone".

Well, the "nice" guy almost lost everything when fighting with Jobs, who is probably the most arrogant guy on earth.

In business, there is no place for "nice" guy. You have to be tough, arrogant, and believe yourself the smartest.

I think this is a good move to reconstruct E&D.

Anonymous said...

Not only are Apple and Google kicking our behind, they're doing it with waaaay fewer employees .....

Anonymous said...

I can't decide. Who's mor inept....Andy or KT?

It may sound good to say Balmer need to go but he's way better than either of the two above.

The person who can save Microsoft from itself is Guy Kawasaki.

Go get Guy!

Anonymous said...

MS board is asleep at the wheel. They need to hold the CEO accountable for a decade of market share, market cap and general leadership decline. Enough VP/SVP/President firings. Now it is time to get to the root.
Get someone entrepreneurial at the top - so MS can go from being a bloated highly-paid-partner-factory to a great software company again!

Anonymous said...

As of this morning, Apple is bigger than Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

The reason mini is so happy about Rob (and other competative exec's) leaving, is that he is from a competing camp, thats all. My guess he is from Sinofsky's. or sinonfsky himself.
Naah. Sinofsky is busy cranking out version n+1 with Win 8. Don't know if it will matter to anyone when it comes out - especially if most Windows laptops in homes and offices are replaced with iPads and other Mac hardware. Two years is plenty of time for Apple to repeat iPod and iPhone magic in the home / personal computer space.

Anonymous said...

Major bummer. While only a foot soldier in E&D, to me he definitely seemed like a leader with good insight on the CE industry and with a vision that was galvinizing E&D. For those who don't remember, WiMo was a mess before robbie inhereted it, Xbox, Zune and W7PS are the right benchmarks. J and robbie were magnets for talent internally and externally.

Anonymous said...

First off, Mini, thank you for your post on this reorg and the tone of your post; I knew you'd have a reaction to this one, even a brief one, which is better than silence, and you do not disappoint! Keep it up.

Secondly, Ballmer, you or Lisa, better be a regular reader of this blog, it beats whatever data you might collect via the Microsoft Poll and it's free advice from the ranks, who are largely people who care about Msft, its products and their jobs. My question to you: why keep Allard's around as an advisor, when you clearly just fired the guy? What value does he bring to you, the company, the product? All I could find of significance when I binged him was a memo from waaay long ago, 1994, published on www.microsoft.com, a mix of research paper, sprinkled with Marketing words, probably a rehash from an MBA paper he wrote a year or so earlier, wanting to emulate the type of memos Gates was famous for... Only one big problem emerged already then, Allard is not a product guy, he is not a UX guy, at best he knows about incremental feature planning and dev. Ballmer, if I had any respect left for you, it just vanished.

And lastly, let's hope that with the E&D ineffective head structure gone, someone a' la Sinofsky starts the clean-up process of a very large, non profitable enterprise that is costing MSFT billions and does not have a product vision or a product visionary yet in charge. The result is clear: the stock price tanked today (barely over $25).
If E&D were its own company, they would have been broke and out of business a long time ago. Let's all thank Windows and Office for being the solid products they are and for having saved all these years E&D's ass.

Final reco to the SLT: with Antoine now in Windows, let's give him a short runway to take over the top spot there and let's move Sinofsky in E&D to clean house and make that a third profitable business for msft before it's too late.

ex msft-love the company-hate to see it going to the dogs.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, the OfficeLabs weasel Partley is still employed.

Anonymous said...

I am so fucking tired of hearing about Ballmer's being a "business guy" who should be a "tech guy/engineer" and thus the birds would sing and God would be in his heaven.

Ballmer is a sales guy. Not architect or engineer. View the tiresome video of SteveB in his plaid jacket if you doubt it.

As the CEO he is demonstrably a loser. Pissed away billions. Does the Board have the balls to fire him? We'll see, but I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

To the posters who claim Sinofsky has fixed Windows I he "fixed" it like I fixed my dog.

His style is smoke and mirrors and the perception of inclusion, planning and consideration. What in reality you have is an architecture where the buck never stops and a scorched earth re-organization strategy.

Anonymous said...

Andy Lees and Terry Myerson: Both are arrogant, gun slinging, and without a clue of what it takes to build an innovative product. Andy: Pretty good server marketing guy. That's about it. Terry: needs to go back to a server development role, onto something already established in SE/maintenance mode.

Solution: post WP7, move everyone underneath Terry Myerson and Andy Lees over to Sinofsky. Give Win 8 a chance to be the cross device Platform it should be.

Anonymous said...

J Allard is smart enough to get his startup's affiliate link posted on The Official Microsoft Blog. Nicely done!

Anonymous said...

Gardner says MSFT will lack success because it tries too hard to innovate:

http://bankervision.typepad.com/bankervision/2010/05/is-it-really-over-for-microsoft.html

Anonymous said...

Bring back Zig Serafin who at one point, led a UC and Office group for a awesome new mobile product set that didn't see the light of day because Bach and Lees didn't get to own it even though it had the support of Ballmer, and Gates and many in the E&D teams. Look where Bach and Lees took Windows Mobile over the past 2 years and Ballmer now finally realizing the BS he was fed since then. Andy Lees is on a holding pattern til Ballmer figures our what to do. If J. Allard comes back, an Allard and Serafin, Eric Engstrom combo working with Sinofsky would change the game- I would be at the front of the line to join them.

Anonymous said...

Mr Gates if you are reading this or any of your friends... please hear the pleas of the people you left behind who labored out of love and passion for your vision because we beleived in something bigger than us, bigger than you, but achievable if we were all working together to make it happen.. no bullshit! That is as simple as it was.. and now everyone looks with one eye on the job and the other watching their back... Bottomline is we are approaching a point where your legacy is going to be a punchline when the discussion of the worlds greatest companies comes about... we need you back and frankly Mr. Ballmer is not leading as you had hoped.. WE all knew something was askew when Mr Johnson left us for Juniper, Raikes to join your new gig and then Veghte, and previously Valentine... and we replaced them with Walmart..really? We are more than this and to add injury to insult, we were surpassed today by Apple in market cap... REALLY? We have shown many the door here recently for far less aggregious contributions to the business... What is it going to take to get a CEO in place that the Street respects, the competitors fear, and the MS people love? Your Call Mr Gates.. you did it 10 years and +20% on the stock value ago.. Make the call already before more go away and we "Lead" our company into I-B-M fame....

Anonymous said...

he's certainly a crazy-smart guy

That's a piece of microsoft mythology that you're going to have to let go of. Paul Allen wrote the BASIC interpreter that started the company, and BillG couldn't even write a trivial raster flood function correctly (see Barbarians Led by Bill Gates.)

He looked like a genius because he became incredibly rich from catching IBM's fumble. As a software engineer, he never had one percent of Woz's skills.

Those "reviews" where he bullied the hell out of his subordinates are typical for a non technical manager trying to establish his dominance to compensate for his insecurity. I can code circles around that poseur, and so can the majority of people who ever wrote code for a living.

Anonymous said...

I quit Microsoft two months ago after just over a year working there, and I must say, from this side of it, you all sound absolutely barking mad.

Anonymous said...

And so it happens ...

Ballmer open mouth.
Stock drop 4%.
AAPL bigger than MSFT.

Anonymous said...

I agree one of previous comment, MSFT don't know how to make a consumer electronics product.

Consumer electronics market competetion is very hot, one generation product only have 9 month to 2 year life cycle. you need attractive UI, robust feature, power saving, low price.

It require we are really good at
market research, product planning, UI Design, Applications platform, system architecture, OS, hardware design, BSP, manufactoring, benchmark,service, Factory management, marketing etc.

E&D is not org same as other org(office, windows).

However, in whole E&D, only Xbox and Zune have such "experience", not very successful experience.

Between Xbox and Zune, only Zune is really in good evolution, from 1.0 ~HD, it really make progress. Plus consider how many people working on Zune, how many people working on Winmo 7, Kin.
you should respect what zune team did. zune only problem is it missed the party.... too late.

So what?
realize what is our weekness, what is our customer need, improve it.

By the way, fire all unnessary middle managers.

Anonymous said...

Not sure why anyone here still hope for the Microsoft Board to wake up. The truth of the matter is Microsoft's Corporate Governance Structure is fundamentally flawed. There is 17% controlling share interest by company insiders which other companies do not suffer from, so Microsoft Board will never serve the general shareholders' interest. There is only one exit for companies with such an egregious case of conflict of interest and that is the bankruptcy court so stop gossiping about it. Simply short Microsoft shares at $30 and go away.

Anonymous said...

Sinofsky ... What in reality you have is an architecture where the buck never stops and a scorched earth re-organization strategy.

Your precious Windows organization was responsible for Longhorn/Vista. Sinofsky should get a raise for his scorched earth strategy.

Anonymous said...

“There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance. It’s a $500 subsidized item. They may make a lot of money. But if you actually take a look at the 1.3 billion phones that get sold, I’d prefer to have our software in 60% or 70% or 80% of them, than I would to have 2% or 3%, which is what Apple might get.”

Remarks like this. This is why you fail.

Anonymous said...

Sad to see some good folks leaving, but not surprised.
I left Microsoft two years ago and the only thing I regret is that I didn't leave sooner... I feel sorry for the poor souls who are still rearranging the chairs on the deck of the sinking ship...
I hope seeing AAPL top MSFT is finally going to put Ballmer's performance (or rather lack thereof) under scrutiny...

Anonymous said...

If E&D were its own company, they would have been broke and out of business a long time ago. Let's all thank Windows and Office for being the solid products they are and for having saved all these years E&D's ass.

Well said, and I work in E&D.

I've also worked for many other consumer electronics companies, and agree with so many of the statements made here:

A - Microsoft can't compete in that space due to its corporate culture. VPs are terrified of not delivering, or taking too long to deliver, or ... a litany of issues. They OK few projects, and I've seen outstanding products ditched for this reason.

B - Why aren't Microsoft employees more driven to make the company a success? There's no incentive, other than the paycheck. Over time, all other companies have stopped/slowed growth and the stock-option bonanza disappears. Ditto with Microsoft. If you help make Microsoft a larger success, there's zero reward for you, other than eyeing an Exec's Lotus thinking "I helped ship the product that got him the $500,000 bonus that probably bought that!" Startups have nearly-obsessed employees because there's MUCH to gain. Money is a fascinating motivator.

C - The review model is horrific. However, as some have pointed out, you can't fix it by just removing a ranking/curve/etc. You'd have every group being identified as all superstars immediately. Uhhhh, not likely. I'd suggest that perhaps ranking be done by a 3rd party. Management has their input, employees have their input, and the 3rd party gets to review past history and filter out cronyism and actually be objective.

D - Lastly, yup, I'm in E&D, and yup, I'm Kimmed, and yup, I don't knock myself out any more. Why? I'm Kimmed. It doesn't matter what I do, the best I can strive for is a medicore A/70 and low-balled bonus. (And that's the high end.) I need the paycheck, I have kids, and y' know, I don't have the slightest guilt. I still treat Microsoft with far greater respect than it treats me daily, so if you don't like it, wait - you'll eventually be in the same position.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft's entire engineering process is focused on adding new "features" every cycle and the result is products that are bloated and complicated. Until this changes, it will not be able to produce competitive products, "innovative" or otherwise.

Mostly agree. Plus we don't fix bugs associated with existing features quickly. By the time (next or next next release) when we do plan to fix them, we often try to fix them with new cool features again.

Anonymous said...

Mmmmmm. Nothing like a tall, frosty glass of schadenfreude to wash that bitter taste out of my mouth.

Anonymous said...

The following just in from the Nero-fiddles-while-Rome-burns-department:

NEW DELHI -(Dow Jones)- Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) Chief Executive Steve Ballmer is focused more on launching new products and improving profitability than worrying about losing the most-valuable technology company position to one-time underdog Apple Inc. (AAPL).
Ballmer's reassurance comes a day after Microsoft's market capitalization slipped below Apple's, prompted by his concerns of the European debt crisis spreading into broader markets.
Since Ballmer took over from Bill Gates as CEO in January 2000, Microsoft's market value has more than halved from $556 billion to Wednesday's close of $219 billion. Rival Apple's market value has surged from $15.6 billion to $221 billion over the same period.
"We are executing very well, that's going to lead to great products and great success," Ballmer said Thursday at a news conference.
Ballmer remains unfazed despite Apple assuming the position of the technology king. "I will make more profits and certainly there is no technology company in the planet which is as profitable as we are," he said. "Stock markets will take care of the rest," he added.

Anonymous said...

This rumor might be worthy of a new blog post, Mini:

Trip Chowdhry, an analyst with tiny Global Equities Research, contends that 7 minutes of the June 7 keynote by Apple CEO Steve Jobs has been blocked off for a presentation by Microsoft (MSFT) to talk about Visual Studio 2010, the company’s suite of development tools. Chowdhry says the new version of VS will allow developers to write native applications for the iPhone, iPad and Mac OS. And here’s the kicker: he thinks Microsoft’s presentation could be given by none other than Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. (Or if not, at least Bob Muglia, who runs Microsoft’s server and tools business.)

Thoughts?

Anonymous said...

love how mini edits out comments that counter some of the misinformation in this thread.

lame.

Who da'Punk said...

love how mini edits out comments that counter some of the misinformation in this thread.

The only comment that I've dropped in the past day was an expletive / attack ridden one. I just posted it over on the CRF. Clean it up to say something without the potty language and disparagements and no doubt it will go through.

Anonymous said...

SteveB is a living example of the Peter Principle in action. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, the Peter Principle states that each individual will be promoted until they reach their level of incompetence.

Screaming and sweating in sales meetings, as another poster put it, is squarely in Steve's comfort zone. So as worldwide head of sales he was a good fit.

On the other hand being a CEO, particularly Microsoft's CEO, demands personal attributes Steve sadly does not possess - inspiring leadership, strategic technology vision, humility, accountability, the ability to make the company respected thru personal interaction across a spectrum of senior audiences area are all examples.

Steve comes across as an arrogant, petulant, pugnacious bully-boy who is widely ridiculed and accountable for nothing. Stock price tanks - who cares? Billions wasted on useless 'investments' e.g. AT&T Cable - no mea culpa from Ballmer. Billions wasted on useless products / segments e.g. Search, MS Research, mobility, gaming. Is that Steve's fault? Nah! Loss of market share in everything except desktop PCs - who, me?, sayeth Steve. Employees fearful of job loss, mistrustful, with morale in the tank - hey, that's their lookout, right Steve?

The norms of the leader are, over time, adopted by the group. Consequently Steve's cadre of acolytes is nasty, narcissistic, aggressively arrogant and unaccountable.

The scary thing is that when Steve is sweating and screaming "I LOVE THIS COMPANY!!!", while doing his trademark simian act on stage, he really means it. Most dictators seize power as they "love their country" and rarely relinquish it without a fight. Steve will never leave, so he must be deposed before it really is too late, and Microsoft joins Novell in the history books. And who will do the deposing?

Anonymous said...

Hey, remember back in 2004 when we reorganized around four leaders? Johnson, Raikes, Bach and Turner, dubbed the quartet. With only WalMart Boy left singing solo, I guess that "strategy", doubtlessly crafted at the cost of 10s of millions by Steve's svengali, McKinsey and Co, is now officially dead. But fear not! We still have SteveB, who is now "personally managing" E&D, thereby accelerating its inevitable doom.

Interesting that with all the HiPos and talent management hacks running around, there is no open discussion as to why several president-level individuals have all left in a relatively short space of time. Ohhh, I remember now, "Open and Respectful" is just a review period slogan that can be useful in browbeating some L62 IC.

Anonymous said...

Interesting read on Ballmer's tenure:
MS in Ballmer Era

Anonymous said...

A picture is worth a thousand words. This chart says it all!

Anonymous said...

Perspective from a worker ant:

1. Right people in the right roles - not a secret recipe, it's common sense.

2. Stick to results, not perception - which is the mainstream focus in recent years. SMART guidance on commitments, while well intentioned is actually counter productive; short term goals are preferred while long term issues are not addressed - it's someone else's problem.

3. Keep the consumers excited and make products accessible - who cares about how good the Zune is when it is not available in many countries? Global market means it's International, not US-centric.

Lots more to be said of the state of internal systems and tools, that is a topic for another day.

Anonymous said...

Quick thought on this quote:

"In business, there is no place for "nice" guy. You have to be tough, arrogant, and believe yourself the smartest."

Really? How many successful enterprises have you launched? How many top-performing teams have you managed?

Build a product / service that customers long for and you can create at a profit -> bingo, you are a successful business!

Being an arrogant jerk is not a factor. And a culture of arrogant jerks is great for producing... more arrogant jerks...

Anonymous said...

Someone wrote, "Bring back Zig Serafin who at one point..."

Gawd no. Zig was part of the reason the original UC (LCS) product was delayed because it was so unreliable and full of security holes. Zig was big on spending company money though.

That group had a terrible case of PM-itis where planning or saying you are planning was rewarded but actually doing something was not.

Anonymous said...

Now that the inevitability of Apple surpassing Microsoft in market cap, I am reminded of a case study I did in the Kellogg on Marketing course that Microsoft sent me to. The study was nominally on iPods, but really was about Gates vs. Jobs.

Jobs and company came out with the PC (I still have my first Apple II with the dual 5.25" drives somewhere in my parents' garage), and Gates and company won the IBM PC and took over the personal computing space. Jobs came back and said he will be the "center of the digital universe." One can argue that he succeeded with iPods, iTunes, and iPhone. Bill followed that up by announcing he is going to solve world hunger.

Now that Apple is worth more than Microsoft, how soon until Jobs is worth more than Gates? And what would Gates' reaction be?



By the way, speaking of winning the personal computing space, how quickly did Microsoft forget how it won that space? Once the IBM PC came out and really began its adoption in the business world, everybody began to write applications for DOS. Arguably, many people adopted the PC because they needed access to Lotus 123. Computer stores back then rapidly converted its shelf space to DOS software titles because there were no Apple titles. So app diversity really helped drive the popularity of the computing platform.

So the question is, who has the richest and most diverse mobile application market? And what is leading the pack in the mobile space? Roz Ho, you have any answers?

Anonymous said...

"Microsoft's entire engineering process is focused on adding new "features" every cycle and the result is products that are bloated and complicated. Until this changes, it will not be able to produce competitive products, "innovative" or otherwise."

I worked on multimedia API development for Windows. After XP launch, there was a power struggle between the current API (DirectShow), and the Media Player people. DirectShow worked, albight rather clunkily. The Media Player people came up with an entirely different API and architecture, and sold the PUM on their new API - Media Foundation.

And what happened? MF was so broken that it was stubbed out for Vista. And the people who pushed MF over DirectShow? Promoted out of the group or left. By the time Windows 7 was on, not a single MF person was left. It was just the DirectShow veterans who had the dubious mission of shipping a functional version of MediaFoundation for Windows 7.

Technically, MediaFoundation does work in Win 7, but it is so baroque and tersely commented, that it's nearly impossible to write functional code for any but the simplest apps.

And DirectShow? The one fully functional multimedia API is in maintenance mode - only security and major customer (like Adobe) bugs get fixed.

Mission accomplished!

Anonymous said...

"Not Knocking iPhone Bach, as Ballmer did earlier in the week, pooh-poohed the threat that Apple's iPhone might pose to Windows Mobile smart phones. ,"In terms of impact on our business, we think little to none," Bach said."

Just so there's no doubt that Bach was as clueless about the iPhone threat as Ballmer, and it was his area of responsibility. This was a huge competitive assessment lapse by both men. In many companies it would have been a career ender. Since it caught every other major phone supplier by surprise as well, maybe you can overlook why they weren’t. Except that Gates now maintains he saw the potential right away and immediately knew MS hadn’t aimed high enough. What’s unforgivable is what happened next. FOUR YEARS with no competitive response, during which iPhone takes over the market (the primary driver of their recent growth and market cap eclipse of MS), WM implodes, and Android takes over as the primary competitor using MS’s own strategy minus the licensing fees. And now you have Palm, one of the companies MS could have bought to respond in 12-18 months instead of 48+ going to HP, MS's largest OEM customer. To be used not only in phones but also in tablets, because in their opinion neither Windows nor WP7 is even close: “We think it’s one of the best operating systems out there today. We see nothing in development in the next 3 to 5 years that comes close,”.

Anonymous said...

If you help make Microsoft a larger success, there's zero reward for you, other than eyeing an Exec's Lotus thinking "I helped ship the product that got him the $500,000 bonus that probably bought that!"

A Lotus isn't anywhere near that expensive. A nice Elise can be had for under $50,000.

If MS Execs are driving mere Lotuses, it's a sign the company is failing and the higher-ups are losing confidence.

Based on what I've heard in the past about MS compensation programs, even low-ranking developers should be able to afford a Lotus. In its heyday, I'd have expected to see MS Execs sporting far more exotic autos.

Anonymous said...

You hit the nail on the head mate! First thing I noticed on joining MS is the obsession with titles and levels. Keep it anonymous, just give them tags like Engineer, Architect, PM etc. We should start encouraging ideas come from people, not levels.

Simple titles was how it was when billg ran the shop. Then KT came along and walmartized msft and put everyone in their little box, with levels transparent in their titles and the culture of daily engagement across levels morphed into a hierarchical only engagement. We went from open communication culture to a dysfunctional series of fiefdoms

Anonymous said...


@Today's WSJ:

AAPL stock up 16% this year
MSFT stock down 14.5% this year

Steve Jobs: "Isn't it beautiful (you want and need one)."
Steve Ballmer: "The economy reset and it is what it is, not my fault."

Since Steve Ballmer has become Microsoft CEO, APPL market cap went from $16B to $227B, Microsoft's has gone from $556B to $229B

Facts are facts. I report, you decide.



This is more than enough to understand How things are going internally DOT

amk said...

Ballmer has contributed to MSFT stock price going down in very observable and statistically significant way:

Dow Jones News Service had 119 articles between 1/1/2000 and 1/1/2010 mentioning Ballmer saying something.

Out of these 119 articles 49 were released during trading hours.
During those 49 days MSFT stock went down on average 0.205% per day.

Accumulated return for 49 days is -10.02%. (one can use 1.002^49-1 as approximation)

From the board governance perspective it would be wise to address this issue -- _regardless_ of what he says to the press market participants interpret it negatively.

Anonymous said...

Your precious Windows organization was responsible for Longhorn/Vista. Sinofsky should get a raise for his scorched earth strategy.

Yes and no. There were strong teams in Windows victimized by Vista and a lot of folks from within Windows were speaking out at personal risk. Sinofsky was in a position of being an outsider who had success with another product, which gave him the mandate to make the changes that couldn't happen from within.

Of the 10 things he has done maybe 3 were clear winners. These are the planning process, controlling disclosures, and date driven releases. Housecleaning was in order, but a few plasma TVs went missing in the process.

We've also wounded strong teams through reorgs, devalued the senior IC role, and created a lot of jobs for non-technical PMs to manage customers. This provides more control, but it also puts limits on what can be accomplished. The old Windows culture used to throw heads at problems in a futile attempt at big wins. The new culture doesn't even try.

Anonymous said...

jAllard's perspective on the changes:

http://blogs.technet.com/b/microsoft_blog/archive/2010/05/26/if-you-want-to-change-the-world-with-technology.aspx

Anonymous said...

Questioned on the news that Apple was now a bigger company, Microsoft's chief executive Steve Ballmer said his firm would continue to follow a long-term strategy.

"It's a long game, we have good competitors... we too are a very good competitor," he said.

"We are executing very well and that is going to lead to great products and great success."


Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

Oh, wait. He's serious.

KeithX said...

Just bought a Windows 7 laptop to see how it stacked up against the OSX systems I've been using for the past six years, and I'm not impressed. Ten years of work to deliver a more stable and secure version of XP, which was really just a stable and secure version Win95. All in the name of providing a corporate upgrade path rather than a significantly upgraded user experience.

Microsoft is on the downside of the curve, and will continue to be unless they chose to focus on a new OS which has nothing in common with Windows. No upgrade path required and no requirement to conform to existing corporate shibboleths. Believe it or don't, with the acquisition of WebOS HP is now better positioned for long-term survival than Microsoft.

Yes, Microsoft, it's time to eat your children or continue to experience a long slow fade into oblivion.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. Apple designs product in Cupertino, they;ve now passed us in MKT cap, just about to pass us in sales, has the momentum.

And where does Steve go? India, where they are sure good workers, but can't innovate much.

You don't get real innovation and Margin when you pay people crap wages, expect them to burn 100 hours a week, then treat em like shit.

Anonymous said...

Curious about why someone would want to see David Treadwell leave. I worked in his org for a couple of years and thought very well of him. He treated people with respect and seemed to make sound technical decisions.

Anonymous said...

There are not going to bemassive layoffs in July. There will be no big layoff announcement at all because the last one was a PR disaster. Layoffs are *already* happening in small batches throughout the company. My team just canned 4 people today.

Anonymous said...

Hey SteveB, Nth richest man in the world. How does it feel on the 2nd day of being the underdog? Jobs pissing on you is he? Awww that is so so sad.

As a wise man once told me, unless you're the lead dog, the view is always the same ... sniff and enjoy. And I mean that sincerely!

Anonymous said...

For all the "employees" who are posting on this board whining about everything, I have a simple question - if not Ballmer, who? Running Microsoft is a very hard job. When there is good competition and you have a cash cow that is difficult to get away from, it is difficult to keep on winning. For all the guys who feel that Apple is doing so well, you must realize that Android is going to overtake apple soon on a worldwide basis! This means that we have a shot too - if our product is any good. Have you tried it? If yes and didn't like it, did you try to join the group and try to improve it? Did you write an app for it?
Stop whining - Do something that is in your control - don't worry about who leads Microsoft. I was *never* impressed with Bill nor am I impressed with Steve Jobs or the google founders. I have seen all of them make an ass of themselves. They are just humans. Don't worry about them - you don't have a power to change anything at the top - change yourself!

Anonymous said...

What Steve Ballmer needs to do to save Microsoft's mobile bacon

A wasted decade on Windows Mobile threatens Microsoft's relevance in the future of computing

Anonymous said...

I've heard that the Health Solutions Group is run by a bunch of cronies.

Anyone have any info? I am looking around and want to ensure that I don't join a messed up group.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft Running Out of Excuses - http://www.newsweek.com/blogs/techtonic-shifts/2010/05/27/microsoft-running-out-of-excuses.html

Anonymous said...

Hey SteveB, Nth richest man in the world. How does it feel on the 2nd day of being the underdog? Jobs pissing on you is he? Awww that is so so sad.

Just how small are you? Did Balmer dunk on you at the Pro Club and give you boobie? Poor little guy, awwww.:)

Anonymous said...

To all those who say that the whole company is too sluggish to change: the RIGHT people at the top can completely turn around the perception of customers and employees and re-instill an incredible amount of passion in a company previously lacking such. All it needs is a godfather like BillG tiring of the existing CEO and taking the right measure.

Need an example? Look at what Plattner did at SAP: sacked the old CEO, installed two co-CEOs full of passion and credibility, and boy have Hagemann Snabe and McDermott changed the company!

That is the kind of medicine that MS needs, too. Maybe Shai Agassi would be an option?

Anonymous said...

"Let's see what happens as I am still pleased that 94 times out of a 100 somebody picks a Windows PC,"

PCs are yesterday’s growth market. Maintaining such high share levels this late in the maturity cycle is great, but not at the cost of ceding tomorrow’s markets to Apple and Google, which is what has occurred. Not only are those new markets larger and faster growing already, they have the capacity to eventually render yesterday’s market obsolete. Macbooks are already less than 30% of Apple’s business. Jobs isn’t primarily concentrating on growing Macbook share. He’s focused on future products like iPhone and iPad that make PCs increasingly irrelevant. If Ballmer doesn’t get this he shouldn’t be CEO.

Anonymous said...

Bring back Zig Serafin who at one point..."

Gawd no. Zig was part of the reason the original UC (LCS) product was delayed because it was so unreliable and full of security holes. Zig was big on spending company money though.


Zig's speech group has been a disaster! MS used to be a leader but we are behind Google. To his credit, Zig was able to convince XD Huang to help speech. XD, MS's best speech expert, left speech group in 2004. It is a sad story that MS wasn't able to keep our technical leaders focused on speech. Zig is a biz guy. He won't be able to ship anything real.

Anonymous said...

I work in windows phone 7 client. I cannot understand the shake up at this stage of the project. Really leadership, is this the time you had to make these shake off’s? I mean really, you cannot wait till the product ships? Cannot wait till the review cycle ends?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, Thursday, May 27, 2010 4:51:00 PM
There are not going to be massive layoffs in July. There will be no big layoff announcement at all because the last one was a PR disaster. Layoffs are *already* happening in small batches throughout the company. My team just canned 4 people today.

Ditto, my old group (I left earlier this year) canned 3 people on Wednesday. Decent severance packages though, I hear.

Anonymous said...

And now you have Palm, one of the companies MS could have bought to respond in 12-18 months instead of 48+ going to HP

Makes no difference. Microsoft bought Danger, which was arguably the originator of the entire modern smartphone era. The Sidekick (made by ex-Apple people) had a full web browser, email, IM, sandboxed apps, an app store, a rich development environment, etc. In 2002.

Danger people working for Google invented Android, which is now taking over the world.

What did Microsoft do with its share of Danger? Reportedly most Danger employees quickly became disillusioned with Microsoft and quit. Microsoft mismanagement caused the catastrophic T-Mobile/Sidekick data loss which called into question the viability of cloud computing itself. And the end result of the Danger acquisition is Kin, which is already considered a failure by pretty much everybody after only a couple of weeks.

Microsoft culture is poison to a company like Danger or Palm. HP will probably let Palm produce a pretty good tablet in the next year or two. If Microsoft acquired Palm, they'd probably delete WebOS and try to fold all the employees into the Tablet PC division of the Windows org and they'd all quit.

Anonymous said...

Over the past ten years, the whole IT paradigm shifted (I know it's a cliche but in this case it works) and IT, once enterprise-oriented, became consumerized. Because we were focused on enterprise-oriented values, we missed the shift. Apple did not. The CIO is now more influenced by what the CIO's spouse and children are using and by trends such as "bring your own laptop to the office and we will just become the secure backbone to plug it in." And guess what? In my company, they are bringing in Macs -- in droves.

Anonymous said...

I think Brian Valentine is the cure for what ails you. He had a passion you don’t see in many people. A true love of the company. It is sad what I am reading about the company. http://minimsft.blogspot.com/ and see how unhappy everyone is with current management. I believe Brian could put together a team that would put life, love, and integrity back into the company.

Brian did well during the development of Exchange sticking around to get it done when more experienced managers were fleeing when the first version was taking longer than expected to finish and the people who recommended their companies become early adopters were at risk of losing their jobs.

He didn't do so well with Longhorn/Vista.

You need to have enough technical expertise to know who to promote in technical positions.

Anonymous said...

This is getting nuts. Why can't we be humming along like Apple is? It seems like we take SOOO long to get our big projects out or we get the market excited about something (Courier Tablet) and then nothing happens or it gets cancelled.

People who do good work don't like Microsoft's performance management lottery deciding whether or not they get rewarded for that good work.

If they don't have the risk associated with finding a new job when they have a family to support, they leave.

Anonymous said...

Now that Apple is worth more than Microsoft, how soon until Jobs is worth more than Gates? And what would Gates' reaction be?

I don't think Jobs has significant interest in his personal wealth. His focus is on making great products .

If he does somehow end up being "worth more" than Bill Gates, I also don't know that BillG would care. He's too busy being philanthropic to be worrying about who has the bigger pile of cash.

Anonymous said...

"Maybe Shai Agassi would be an option?"

Very smart guy. But he's doing his electric vehicle thing. Also, he wanted SAP to open source their products. Don't think that would go down any better at MS than it did at SAP.

Anonymous said...

Sinofsky is a smart man with good timing. As long as 7 didn't suck it was always going to be a win against Vista, our marketing and VP noise-making machines would ensure that.

His real test will be Windows 8 and so far the planning process isn't - a process that is. Smoke and mirror involvement while behind closed doors "the chosen ones" decide what they are going to do.

Inclusion? Can you say Red-Pill?

Anyone <l67 not in WEX know what the new UX is going to look like?

I thought not......

Sinofsky has fired seniors and replaced them with juniors. Smart move from his perspective. Lower costs yet keep head-count [empire size] about the same.

As OP said some teams have been gutted and there will be a price to pay for that. Not now but later in the game-plan when stability isn't what it should be.

Anonymous said...

Steve Ballmer is on the board of directors and in the 2009 annual shareholders meeting he received 98.98% favorable votes. Those of you calling for the board/shareholders to do something about him have a tough job on your hands.

Microsoft Corporation 2009 Final Proxy Voting Results

Anonymous said...

"Just bought a Windows 7 laptop to see how it stacked up against the OSX systems I've been using for the past six years, and I'm not impressed."

Let me see if I'm following this. You've been a Mac user for six years, but spontaneously decided to buy a laptop to check out Windows 7 instead of taking advantage of the evaluation period and loading the software on your Mac with bootcamp? And since you say “just”, by your own admission you’ve given yourself almost no time to learn the system’s capabilities and where it’s stronger than OS X, or get over your existing six year bias? And then you show up here to tell us all about it? Sorry, not buying it.

Anonymous said...

My team just canned 4 people today.

What divisions/teams?

«Oldest ‹Older   1 – 200 of 278   Newer› Newest»