Sunday, May 30, 2010

Thoughts on Wrapping Up Microsoft's FY10

Well, here's to wrapping up FY10. The kick-off of the Annual Review Season is our long, long, sloppy kiss goodnight to the fiscal year that was.

How are various things wrapping up?

Entertainment and Devices: with Bach and Allard out of the picture the E&D snow globe got a shaking where it's not clear how things are going to change. I was surprised at the number of pro-Bach comments in the last post, and a number of commenters believed that Mr. Bach had what it took to be the next Microsoft CEO. I respect your opinion, but I have to admit I did my best "ba-roo?" reading that.

Regarding Mr. Bach's departure: you can't call it accountability. Accountability would have been right after the red-ring o' death $1,000,000,000USD write-off. Come on, when senior leaders get together to consider what kind of emergent opportunities to get into, it's all about the billion dollar market. Perhaps they wrongly assumed that it exclusively meant income. It's pleasant that we have an entertainment presence like the Xbox and that Sony took a hard one on the chin, but did it really need to take that much money away from the shareholders and tarnish our reputation so much? And leave so much more unfulfilled around TV media entertainment that is getting rapidly covered by competitors?

Given the swirling flakes in the E&D snow globe, does E&D need to be Sinofsky'd? Discipline can be a good thing. You don't want every project to be like Forza. Willy-nilly feature development without stringent peer reviews and pre-checkin testing: dumb. Agile? So is using two hands instead of one to smear poo all over a wall. You've got twice the mess to clean-up. Those days should be behind us. More than anything, E&D needs leadership that oozes passion for everyday joys and who show up late Friday afternoon to play with what's new this past week and give praise and feedback. It needs joy and delight and laughter. And while running the trains on time is good for everyone, it doesn't need the stoic, passionless, data-driven rectilinear styling of a Sinofsky org's Switzerland.

No, rather than Switzerland E&D needs Italy. It needs curves and "oooo's!" and non-linear surprises. Sinofsky, I'd say, is on a three-release effort with Windows so he's busy anyways. I can't imagine if he was brought in to help pull things around, though, that it would go very well... I imagine his lieutenants first job would be to put the ribbon into the Zune client app and Media Center and then try to figure how to wedge it into the Xbox dashboard. Nanites would start flowing through everyone's bloodstream, and their skin would turn sickly pale... the trains would run ontime, just to dull destinations.

Kin: we put a lot of time + effort around Danger and producing the Kin (well, maybe more effort could have been spent on keeping the services running). Kin is not made for me or my social circle, so I can't judge it as a device. Sales will be the deciding factor here. And I'm sure when the first quarter numbers are released, we'll just say, "Well, we have an update to the Kin feature phone that we are sure will increase uptake significantly." Like fully supporting Facebook and Twitter features. I love the green dot, though.

And I do like Kin Studio, which I think pushes Kin over the top for some Millennials. If Kin Studio could be adapted soon to be a feature available for every WP7 phone user then we'd really surprise and delight potential phone users.

WP7: As for the WP7 phone: goodness. I'm hoping it's great and I like what I see. I like that a number of 3rd parties are already in the tube to deliver apps. I have sore glutes, though, from all the WP7 demos I see: every time a WP7 PM says, "Let me try this" my buns seize up hoping that it goes smoothly this time vs. the PM mumbling something about regressions in the latest build. There's still plenty of runway to go and time to fix all the various bugs and oddities, but it makes me apprehensive regarding the overall quality bar and wondering, "How did this go in so busted to begin with?" Several someones being agile, no doubt.

While we've been chasing the iPhone hockey puck (of what, two releases ago?) we risk that the real puck of today is Android. Maybe. The Android ecosystem is still too chaotic, but its potential is showing (thank you, Vic). We have to not only have great 3rd party apps on release but also show commitment in having our own series of Microsoft applications constantly going out of the door. For important as the mobile platform is, it's surprising how little we're invested in developing our own series of applications for it, hoping that developers will meander over to our party.

And as the mobile application platform grows up into more interesting devices, the Windows hardware platform is growing downwards to meet it. There's a collision of development philosophy dead ahead and it needs to be solved this summer, not within years. Microsoft seriously needs to woo developers, and if you're giving them an ever-changing flowchart of constantly updated development platforms when the competitors have straight lines, you've lost a big campaign and potentially the war. Windows, E&D, and DevDiv must be forced to reconcile the future of application development and distribution from mobile to client to cloud by Microsoft's CEO, or start FY11 with leadership that can.

Natal: I'll get a Natal device when it comes out, though I don't know how much I'll use it in the cozy space I have our Xbox in. I'm not redecorating for Natal, which means every time I boot it up I will look around at all the various potential ankle and knee injuries. It might be worth it, though, if I can swing a light-saber, force-push, and even wave my hand for a Jedi mind-trick. But not for playing paint kick-ball.

A big Windows opportunity for Natal: some smarty plugs it into his desktop and a driver installs and Win7 magically lights up for Natal interaction. Word spreads. Win7 works with Natal and you can go all Minority Report now with your laptop and desktop! That's a Jobs-worthy show-off moment: "Oh, yes, an iPad. How nostalgically quaint to have a device you have to actually smear your fingers around the surface to do something with. Now, watch my Cheetos plastered fingers bring up Media Center to play some recorded World Cup! And after that, I'll navigate the universe with Worldwide Telescope!"

Pop a cap in your ass: which by cap, I mean Market Cap and the reflections and abundant free advice issued forth when Apple passed Microsoft with-respect-to Market Capitalization this past week. A lot of focus came down on Mr. Ballmer, who shrugged it off as much as he shrugs off the lost decade of MSFT stock price. A nice case study of attitude begets results. While Microsoft has its three-screened head in The Cloud (can't wait to see that marketing campaign [eye-roll]) Apple continues a consumer-love affair of joyous design and content delivery. One bit of free advice I naturally loved: What Will It Take to Save Microsoft (MSFT) - a snippet from the end:

And I see no end to the misery. Microsoft should learn from longtime brother-in-arms Intel (Nasdaq: INTC), whose CEO Paul Otellini has cut a complicated beast down to the operations that really matter. That's the kind of sugar-free medicine it would take to save Microsoft from itself, and of course, something that drastic will never happen.

What a shame.

Yes, we need our Neutron Jack at this point. We have our supposedly endangered cash cows and then a lot of products and operations clinging on. Many of which that would never exist in a sane company. Spin-off those groups to live or die on their own, with Microsoft owning appropriate stock such that if their survival instinct kicks in and they flourish, it will be a nice hefty return. You also have to realize that product groups are way overstaffed and just need engineers, in this day and age, that can do it all vs. being silo'd into their coding, testing, or spec'ing narrow band. Specialization is not sustainable. And the Partner system needs to be nuked away: more and more it's leading to bad short-term shiny decisions meant to make Partner. Well, this list goes on. I think our next CEO comes from the outside, because only an outsider at this point can scrub the company clean and ensure that the corporate DNA is rewritten.

Stealth Layoffs: comments here for a while have been saying don't expect anymore large layoffs but do expect ongoing stealth layoffs, the kind that don't trigger the WARN act, let alone publicity. If you see your leadership meeting with HR far more frequently than usual, should you be nervous? Well, first step, ask what's up. If the answer is unsatisfying and doesn't ring true: yep, be nervous, especially as FY10 wraps up and new FY11 reduced budgets kick in.

If you or your group has indeed been affected, please, if you will, share as much as you can.


-- Comments

581 comments:

1 – 200 of 581   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

We gave Sony one on the chin: sure, while Xbox was struggling with the red ring of death Sony postponed the launch of PS3 by a year to avoid their blue disc of death while selling PS2's like hotcakes. And WII: they kicked ass by simplicity and innovative UI with activity games, not by some super 3D graphics and monstrous processing. They actually made money selling the boxes!!! Auch!

The market/consumer must be insane: they want simplicity! Not ultra geeky complexity.

As far as waiving my cramped hands and arms in the air with Natal, can we please have a glass wall to smear on?

10-year shareholder said...

Amen!

Anonymous said...

Is Bing the final frontier? Are there any other groups that haven't been touched by layoffs yet?

Anonymous said...

Nothing will change until the current review and reward system is replaced.

The review system will not change until the current leadership team is replaced.

It's just that simple.

Anonymous said...

STB is going cut esp on marketing side. FY11 resource numbers are ugly

Anonymous said...

I agree that the review process needs to go. Besides wasting a tremendous waste of managerial time, it is terrible for morale.

Anonymous said...

I develop using Microsoft developer products and I am overwhelmed with the amount of languages/tools that are being pushed out. Maybe MS should focus on only a few.

r! said...

The most telling part of this article is the statement that the next CEO will come from outside. I think Microsoft does not need to wait to see how Ballmer does with E&D. They need to cut their loses and bring in a CEO from the outside; someone who lives and breathes UX and product design. That's the only way the infectous culture can change.

Anonymous said...

hello mini-msft! you have forgotten one vital thing regarding windows phone 7: it lacks support for native app development i.e. not based on .NET like XNA and Silverlight but based on native APIs and native C/C++.

this lack of native apps will mean that many apps will never be developed - like skype, voice over IP and several other apps

apart from that remember windows phone 7 does not support sockets but only HTTP protocol so there is no way to implement for example built-in webservers in apps like many iPhone apps have it.

these are 2 major issues for developers but of course there are also issues for end users like lack of copy and paste and lack of multitasking.

--
Edward from msmobiles.com

Anonymous said...

The Partner program is just a symptom of a more prevasive problem: to get ahead at MS, it's more important to manage your career than ship software.

There's also a contradiction with your dislike of agile and your desire to eliminate specialization. Having gone to the feature crew model where everyone does everything means the devs (oops, development) doesn't stop until right at the iteration, and the crap software is pooped out with mere unit testing, if that.

Everytime I hear the word "make everyone coders" jingle, I can see huge swathes of the product being minimally untested, from "do the docs install and update automagically" to "can we migrate previous version data and settings" to "does the installer work?"

These verification tasks aren't one that you want a developer doing on his/her own code--and developers often don't want to do them, period. Tell a dev that he needs to spend all day setting up a WinXP Pro x64 environment to make sure the installer fails correctly. He'll tell you "that's a tester's job. I code."

Anonymous said...

Kick out Elop and bring back Sinofsky. Office needs another dose of Sinofsky to right the ship.

Anonymous said...

To the anon at 4:47pm: Nintendo makes money on each Wii sold, but they sell no software and 3rd parties have migrated from the platform in droves. Most everybody I know with a Wii (myself included) sees it as a novelty item. Very few people ever buy any new software and just let it sit collecting dust. With poor software sales, the Wii's writing is on the wall and Nintendo has already started to see flagging sales. They really need a Wii HD and soon if they want to survive, while the Xbox 360 and PS3 will be good for at least a few more years.

To the anon at 8:21PM: The lack of a native interface for WP7 is not a problem. The lack of support for basic functionality is. You can easily write a Skype app using Silverlight and managed code, but you can't do so if you don't have raw socket support. Decisions like that, or not giving silverlight access to the camera for tagging or VR apps, are what's going to kill WP7 development, not the lack of a native interface.

I'm cautiously optimistic about WP7, but based on what I've seen so far there's no way I'm switching from my iPhone come November.

Anonymous said...

"these are 2 major issues for developers but of course there are also issues for end users like lack of copy and paste and lack of multitasking"

Don't worry, I am currently writing 16 different fart apps so all will be good.

Seriously though, lack of multitasking and copy paste has been blown out of proportion a little. It seems that the way MS will handle apps by suspending them is fine for a phone and well pretty much how the IPhone has done it all along. Copy/Paste ... I am not sure, it remains to be seen how users will respond but didn't I hear that this feature was going to be pushed to the phone as soon as it was ready?

Anonymous said...

>> Nintendo makes money on each Wii sold, but they sell
>> no software and 3rd parties have migrated from
>> the platform in drove

And they MADE BILLIONS on the Wii, while Sony and Microsoft LOST BILLIONS on their consoles. I fail to see how their strategy is not valid.

Anonymous said...

MSR needs to be spun off. It has way too many researchers that don't do anything useful.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the previous post on MSR. Dont get me wrong, research is important. But I have the impression that we spent way too much on MSR. There is also a very huge disconnect between MSR and the actual product teams. The both should work more together and productize more of those supposedly great ideas into existing prodeucts or as betas. Then back to MSR and also incubation. What about Midori for example, why are we still spending money on projects like those?

Anonymous said...

Often people confuse the amount of money spent on 'research' with MSR. The MSR budget isn't really that large. Most of the billions spent on 'research' is what most MS folks would consider product development. Calling all of that investment 'R&D' makes it sound like a bigger investment in the future product pipeline (though it never really seems to pay off big does it?) and it probably gets better tax treatment as well.

If MS were really spending that much on fundamental research there'd be a super-collider ringing campus and routine rocket launches from the soccer field at the Commons.

This is from the MSFT 10K filing:

Research and development expenses include payroll, employee benefits, stock-based compensation expense, and other headcount-related expenses associated with product development. Research and development expenses also include third-party development and programming costs, localization costs incurred to translate software for international markets, the amortization of purchased software code and services content, and in-process research and development.

Anonymous said...

Often people confuse the amount of money spent on 'research' with MSR. The MSR budget isn't really that large.

How about 800 million a year. Yeah, not that much but not small either. You gotta pay all those partners that dont produce anything. Waiting for intern season and techfest, you betcha :-).

Anonymous said...

Microsoft dev tools are the best I've found. I tried to buy another C++ compiler just to use something else other than a Microsoft product but there was nothing available that came even close. Lots of stuff you can cobble together but nothing as integrated and useable. The speed of the options being released reflects the changes in the industry in general.

I think the comments about agile development are cute but I really only know one team in my area that is really using Agile. Everyone else is just coding first, documenting later and calling it agile programming. That is if they're coding at all because if you code without something to hold up later and say "I did it that way because this document says do it that way." then you risk being held responsible for going in the wrong direction and there goes your review. It's a lot safer to just keep sending email up the chain asking for detailed information until someone is willing to put something in at least an email. You can try to "take the initiative" as my manager advises me all the time, but it can be really frustrating and I have a very low frustration index. Hardly anyone answers email and since if you take the initiative you eventually piss off a few people above you and there goes your review again.

My feeling is that the only safe career option is to put in your hours, send a lot of email to your manager, and don't disagree with anyone that can get you fired.

Anonymous said...

Laid off in November and thankful for the year of severance. The slow burn was too painful from the inside.

For the record, the "one to the chin" to Sony was because Sony fumbled. Don't expect them to do that again.

Win7, Office 2010 ...the world has yawned. Zune ..."we still ship that"? WP7 - the best device for 2007. Kin ...huh??? Nobody will buy it.

Meanwhile the cash burn continues - nobody should feel safe. Margins have to be maintained and the only way to do that is to cut staff. The partner level folks don't have the courage to do it at the level it needs to be done, so L65's and below, beware ....

I was with the company for almost 20 years and the mojo is gone ....

Anonymous said...

500 people got laid off this year in Q2/Q3 FY10. FY11 will see more NTE enforcement.

Anonymous said...

I went and read "What Will It Take to Save Microsoft". Thanks for the pointer. I had a thought that I wondered if others could chime in on. When a company basically goes off track or when there is no room for dissent with the ruling party, usually the smart people leave and take their ideas elsewhere. Sometimes they start successful companies.

For example, I was told to never disagree with Anders Vinberg because he just makes a call and your career is over. So I would have expected to see quite a few people in that org leave with their great ideas and build something. I can't say I know of any so that advice might have been just sour grapes for someone.

Who has left Microsoft in the last few years and what did they create?

SHG said...

"Most everybody I know with a Wii (myself included) sees it as a novelty item."

Yes, but Nintendo has sold SEVENTY-ONE MILLION of those "novelty items". That's nearly TWO for every Xbox 360 - and Nintendo made a profit on every one of them.

(PS: plus ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY NINE MILLION Nintendo DSs.)

SHG said...

Prediction: Windows Mobile 7 will either be aborted a la Longhorn, or stillborn a la Vista.

Anonymous said...

For the record, the "one to the chin" to Sony was because Sony fumbled. Don't expect them to do that again.

Except Sony just keeps on fumbling. They killed backwards compatibility early, they killed "Other OS", and now they're going to start charging for PSN after promising it would be free. Sony screwed up quite a bit, and everything points to them screwing up more before they're done.

Yes, but Nintendo has sold SEVENTY-ONE MILLION of those "novelty items". That's nearly TWO for every Xbox 360 - and Nintendo made a profit on every one of them.

But what is their attach rate? How much do they have coming in from monthly subscription fees? How well are third parties selling on their platform? Sure, Nintendo may have made $50 or more on each Wii sold, but if nobody is buying more games and third parties are leaving the platform they're going to quickly lose that revenue stream. And they don't have a story for transferring purchased content, so when there is a Wii HD anybody who bought anything on WiiWare or Virtual Console is going to be screwed.

Xbox and PS3 started out by losing money, but by all accounts both are now profitable. And they have higher attach rates (Xbox is higher than PS3). Attach continues to make a single console sale profitable long after it was purchased, and Nintendo just doesn't have that. Yes, it sucks that Xbox has a huge deficit that it'll probably never fully pay off, and for that Bach should've been fired a long time ago. But in terms of business, Xbox day to day is doing much better than Nintendo.

Anonymous said...

" I think our next CEO comes from the outside, because only an outsider at this point can scrub the company clean and ensure that the corporate DNA is rewritten."

Which will probably be their most important task. But an outsider is also less likely to continue fooling himself/herself that initiatives are working when they're not, or just need another few billion of investment or decade in the oven. They can be realistic and dispassionate about what to keep and what to jettison. An outsider is also more likely because the opening is almost certainly going to be shareholder created. And SLT members aren't likely to make their shortlist.

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Anonymous said...

Ballmer is the new Akers...

Anonymous said...

First: Sorry for my bad english.
Second: What Microsoft needs very very urgently is someone who stands in front of the company and giving a clear and straightforward vision what Microsoft is all about and what it plans in the next couple of months. It needs a consumer and a business strategy. Consumer market is all about simplyness (user friendly) and interoperability. Microsoft has too many single products that to often exist for their own instead of interacting and exchange with other products from the same company.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised you didn't mention the ISD shakeup -- when the FAQ includes the question "Did Lee Nackman just get demoted?", you know there's smoke there.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but Nintendo has sold SEVENTY-ONE MILLION of those "novelty items". That's nearly TWO for every Xbox 360 - and Nintendo made a profit on every one of them.
But what is their attach rate? How much do they have coming in from monthly subscription fees? How well are third parties selling on their platform?

Well, how much is Xbox making in subscription fees? I'd be surprised if the majority wasn't on the free silver account. And how much are the datacenter and support costs compared to the gold subscription income?
Nintendo's first party titles are regularly in the top ten, and the failure of third party titles isn't really Nintendo's problem, is it?

Anonymous said...

Arguing "attach rate" as the end-all be-all strategy to justify the Xbox existence is silly... it's basically acknowledging that you will burn through a huge pile of somebody else's earned money up front.

Win and Office groups basically funded prior efforts. There's no guarantee that money will be there for future efforts. And if the entire company adopts the mentality of "the money comes from somewhere else" eventually the money comes from nowhere.

Classic example of lack of ownership and responsibility for one's actions. This mentality will doom MS if it continues.

Anonymous said...

"I think our next CEO comes from the outside"

Be careful what you wish for.

Anonymous said...

Why is Mini surprised that E&D employees loved Bach? He got them the nicest campus in Redmond, every other dev in XBox has cool job titles lending in Ninja and they haven't been accountable build a profitable. He was their rich sugar daddy.

There's an E&D person on this thread trying to argue that XBox is a better business than Nintendo because people buy more Xbox games. Ignoring that Nintendo has made BILLIONS more in profit than anything out of E&D and has outsold XBox 2:1. If this is the caliber of intellect in E&D no wonder they are sad to see Bach go. They can't get jobs in any real business with that mentality.

Anonymous said...

Apple sells two million iPads in under two months. That is a minimum of $6b a year if current sales pace is maintained. Now with this international launch, sales pace looks set to accelerate.

Oh well.... just another multi-billion dollar opportunity missed by our "SLT" and all those those very well rewarded superstar partners.

Me thinks they tried but did not try hard enough. They really should have brought in Jason Alexander (George Costanza) along with Seinfeld & Gates. Maybe Ballmer could have play that role and save some ad $$!

Anonymous said...

A video describing research from The Federal Reserve and others about what motivates workers.

RSA Animate - Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us

Anonymous said...

Hey Mini,

I have no idea who you are, but as a long suffering shareholder I wish you and people like you were in positions of meaningful responsibility.

At this point it doesn't take a genius to see many ways in which Microsoft could be run better, but it certainly does seem like the current crop of upper management is a ship of fools.

The blog is wonderful, but please DO something beyond writing about stuff to do.

Anonymous said...

MSN has got several lay-offs. Names are confidential of course... rumor says some more are coming in July.

Anonymous said...

Hello,

Some advice for ex-FTE please: how do I find out if I am marked No-Rehire? Is this flag something hiring managers must follow, or the manager can override?

TIA

Anonymous said...

"Nintendo may have made $50 or more on each Wii sold, but if nobody is buying more games and third parties are leaving the platform they're going to quickly lose that revenue stream"

noone is buying wii games? really?

data from last week (5/22/2010):
top ten video games include 3 xbox 360 titles, 2 ps3 titles and 4 wii titles. Plus one Nintendo DS title.

source: http://www.vgchartz.com/

James Moore said...

I'm an Android and iPhone developer. I show up for a fair number of events that have lots of mobile dev-types. Google IO, local networking events, that sort of thing.

Windows 7 Mobile isn't on anyone's radar screen. No one cares. I can't emphasize enough how much of a nothing Win7Mobile is in the world outside Redmond.

Anonymous said...

Glad you named KIN, as I used to work there until few months ago. KIN was a great and ambitious project...until May 2009. The business, marketing, design vision was just spectacular! In May 2009, Mr. Myerson, decided to kill it because it was competing with his own baby, WP7. Since WP7 was not ready (still today is by far ready!) the exec told him KIN would continue. As retaliation, he killed the support of his team to KIN project. Guess what? KIN team had to take over a lot of base code postponing all the value added apps+services. Now you get why there is lack of apps on KIN. Who will win in medium/long term? Mr Myerson obviously, that's why I decide to leave.

Anonymous said...

how is the budget this year? still no raise?

i got promoted last year, took the bonus and left in December because i hated my job at MS

Anonymous said...

"I'm an Android and iPhone developer. I show up for a fair number of events that have lots of mobile dev-types. Google IO, local networking events, that sort of thing.

Windows 7 Mobile isn't on anyone's radar screen. No one cares. I can't emphasize enough how much of a nothing Win7Mobile is in the world outside Redmond."


Actually Jason, I know this statement is not correct. I don't know if MS will do well with WM7 or not but there is a lot of buzz about WM7 in shops that develop mobile apps, mine included.

I see other big third parties saying they are developing an app(s) for WM7 too. Your statement kind of came off as one of those Anything but Microsoft types even if you were not trying to sound that way.

Anonymous said...

Windows Mobile is being Sinofsky'd. That is the main reason why Bach is not being replaced, WM is merging into windows as soon as WP7 is out...

When it comes to layoffs, expect a massacre in the field as the subsidiary blueprints that KT asked for start being rolled out. The cuts are generous to put it gently...

James Moore said...

"Your statement kind of came off as one of those Anything but Microsoft types even if you were not trying to sound that way."

(I like some of the stuff Microsoft does, quite a bit. I went out and bought MonoTouch so I could use F# on the iPhone, for example.)

I don't think the anything-but-Microsoft idea exists in mobile. Or at least it doesn't exist any more, since it already won an absolutely crushing victory. It's more like oh-yeah-Microsoft-I-remember-them-are-they-still-around?

Microsoft is irrelevant in mobile. Maybe Win7Mobile will put it back on the map. But there are no glimmers of that anywhere I go. It's all Android + iPhone, all the time. Win7M has no significant mindshare.

That's a problem. I live in Seattle, and Microsoft pays the bills for many of my good friends. I'd like to see MS succeed. In particular, I'd like to see Microsoft eat some of Apple's market share. But if developers are important to the success of a mobile platform, Microsoft has huge problem right now.

Anonymous said...

Is Bing the final frontier? Are there any other groups that haven't been touched by layoffs yet?

Bing should have been aggressively trimmed long time ago, but it is too late to do that now. Ballmer inked a complex deal with Yahoo and has to keep shoveling money into the Bing hole for several years into the future. Good for Yahoo. Good for Bing SLT. Bad for Microsoft investors.

Anonymous said...

To the anon at 8:21PM: The lack of a native interface for WP7 is not a problem.

The fact is that most developers know C++ and have years/decades of experience with it, know its nuances and intricacies and how to solve common problems with it, and already have a ton of code written in C++ that they use as building blocks for new projects. This even includes most Microsoft developers since Office, Windows, etc. are still by and large C++ projects.

So C# etc. may be great when considered in a vacuum but it becomes a BIG PROBLEM if you take any practical considerations into account such as "are developers excited about having to learn a new language and starting their apps over from scratch?"

Anonymous said...

@James,
"Win7M has no significant mindshare"

Again, I mean no offense so I hope this stays friendly. I think you consider Win Mobile and WP7 as one in the same. People I talk to do not. I am hearing from many Windows developers that had no interest in mobile apps taking notice of WP7. As you know, Windows developers are out there in great numbers.

I read your blog and you have a good post about this issue but it is based on Google IO. I could say the same about MIXX 2010. I heard nothing about Android there so they must be irrelevant?

I am just telling you what I see. There is interest in developing for WP7. It hasn’t hit fever pitch like IPhone because of the obvious, IPhone and now Android are already successful products. If WP7 releases with just a couple hundred good apps, people will buy it. After that it can and probably will fall right into place for MS. The 200,000 apps thing is just marketing and so is the 30,000 for Android. Everyone says “give me 20-50 useful apps and I will be happy”.
I actually see WP7 gaming to be the big advantage. The whole XBOX live integration is a plus. I do see a lot of promise and being in this business for so long, I know that MS has a knack for failing miserably and then somehow getting right back into the game.

Anonymous said...

Again, I mean no offense so I hope this stays friendly. I think you consider Win Mobile and WP7 as one in the same. People I talk to do not. I am hearing from many Windows developers that had no interest in mobile apps taking notice of WP7. As you know, Windows developers are out there in great numbers.

Maybe "Windows" (i.e., .NET) developers are interested because it's a .NET device, but making WP7 apps is not the smart move for mobile developers in general. iPhone and Android already have huge market share while WP7 has zero and unknown future potential. Plus many developers would have to learn .NET whereas iPhone and Android can, for the most part, be programmed in C++.

Anonymous said...

" but making WP7 apps is not the smart move for mobile developers in general. iPhone and Android already have huge market share while WP7 has zero "

Same could be said of Android less than a year ago.

"Plus many developers would have to learn .NET whereas iPhone and Android can, for the most part, be programmed in C++."

Seriously, if you can't make the transition from C++ to C# then there is something wrong.

Anonymous said...

Actually Jason, I know this statement is not correct. I don't know if MS will do well with WM7 or not but there is a lot of buzz about WM7 in shops that develop mobile apps, mine included.

I see other big third parties saying they are developing an app(s) for WM7 too. Your statement kind of came off as one of those Anything but Microsoft types even if you were not trying to sound that way.>>>

I'm not Jason, but a fellow developer in the same situation and unfortunately as a Microsoft share holder, I share the same perspective. I don't care who wins - no developer does - anyone who will buy my App wins according to me. I live in the Bay area one of the hugest app development arenas around, and Win 7 is an afterthought. It's all about Android and the iPhone of course.

We want to be believers. And this kind of comment that feels defensive and immediately jumps to the "stop attacking us fan boy" is precisely the type of thin-skinned reaction we get from Microsoft instead of really listening. It's the oddest reaction, no one can figure it out.

Anonymous said...

"And this kind of comment that feels defensive and immediately jumps to the "stop attacking us fan boy" is precisely the type of thin-skinned reaction we get from Microsoft instead of really listening."

I am not from MS and wasn't attacking which I explained in the next post. I am simply stating a fact. I see people interested in WP7 development. Of course it isn't like IPhone and Android but that is simple. WP7 has not yet released. I didn't mean to imply that WP7 will release with 200,000 apps. I am simply saying there is interest and interest by people who were not interested in Win Mobile.

Mobile development in general is risky. You can spend much time and get no return. I doubt anyone is leaving their day job to create Fart 3.0. Most of the good apps are by companies giving the app away so it drives you to their services … or they are games. Games will be the key to WP7. They already have a large game developer ecosystem so why wouldn't those people port over to WP7? The other stuff can be fixed simply by MS partnering with the Yelps and Ebay's of the world. There you go ... presto a good app ecosystem. Fart and flashlights will follow for those that need them.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft retail store at Bellevue square - coming soon?

Anonymous said...

"Seriously, if you can't make the transition from C++ to C# then there is something wrong."

Why would I want to? I have a sizable C++ core codebase that, for the most part, works on the other platforms. Why should I have to support an entirely different set of software for incremental revenue at best?

Anonymous said...

"Why would I want to? I have a sizable C++ core codebase that, for the most part, works on the other platforms."

... but isn't that like saying my applications works on Windows so why would I make it for MAC?

If WP7 sells and has decent apps at release then others will follow. People don't buy the phone for the apps alone. YOu are thinking more from a techie perspective and not a consumer. IPhone would still be selling like hotcakes if it had no apps. The user experience and basic functionality that comes with it sells the phone.

Anonymous said...

" but making WP7 apps is not the smart move for mobile developers in general. iPhone and Android already have huge market share while WP7 has zero "

Same could be said of Android less than a year ago.


Sure. And developing for Android then was also not the smart move, even with 20/20 hindsight. There is minimal "first mover" advantage in the app world, so there is basically no disadvantage to waiting to see if a platform will be successful or not. Notice that many of the top-grossing, best-selling apps on the iPhone are recent releases. Waiting a few months to a year to see if a platform will be successful probably won't hurt you, and it may save you from the pain of developing an app for an unsuccessful platform. (How stupid would you feel now if you invested all your time and money in developing a Pre app a year ago instead of an iPhone app?)

Anonymous said...

"I think our next CEO"

The bad part of the Bach news is it means Ballmer probably remains CEO for another year at least. That was probably Ballmer’s goal anyway, but it’s become more likely because the shakeup is actually causing more concern than optimism. It’s being taken as confirmation of a serious problem instead of the beginning of improvement. A Ballmer departure now, which ordinarily might have been well received, could take concern and turn it into a run on the bank scenario. I don't think investors will risk it. And the board is still working on "Problem? What problem?".

Anonymous said...

MSN has got several lay-offs. Names are confidential of course... rumor says some more are coming in July.

I am not surprised at all. Because of the Yahoo deal, about 300 yahoo engineers are joining OSD. Someone has to make some room for them, right? Also, some good FTEs I know have recently left MS to join Google, this is not a good sign.

Anonymous said...

I am not surprised at all. Because of the Yahoo deal, about 300 yahoo engineers are joining OSD. Someone has to make some room for them, right?

No, you just have increased losses at OSD. FY10 will be a record 2 billion+ in red ink with revenues stagnant. He Lu continues to get paid millions for creating bloated orgs.

Anonymous said...

Some advice for ex-FTE please: how do I find out if I am marked No-Rehire? Is this flag something hiring managers must follow, or the manager can override?

Washington State law says you can look at your employee file.

Anonymous said...

The bad part of the Bach news is it means Ballmer probably remains CEO for another year at least. That was probably Ballmer’s goal anyway, but it’s become more likely because the shakeup is actually causing more concern than optimism. It’s being taken as confirmation of a serious problem instead of the beginning of improvement. A Ballmer departure now, which ordinarily might have been well received, could take concern and turn it into a run on the bank scenario. I don't think investors will risk it. And the board is still working on "Problem? What problem?".

Ballmer shifted any blame to the financial crisis, the people he laid off and the executives that suddenly discover their families and/or want to leave to pursue other interests.

As long as Windows and Office keep bringing in the cash, he will remain CEO.

Anonymous said...

"But most would agree that apps + non-WAP browsing are what really set the iPhone apart (when originally released). "

I Phone released with no apps

Anonymous said...

"Wow, I'm amazed if someone really believes that. Is the iPhone UI nice? Yes. But most would agree that apps + non-WAP browsing are what really set the iPhone apart (when originally released). "

No, the first person was right in my opinion. The experience is why people buy the IPhone. Nobody ever says "I want that phone with all the apps and non-WAP browsing".

Furthermore, I believe the IPhone did not have apps when it originally released.

Anonymous said...

Over and over I hear and agree with the argument that they simply are not taking chances. To be an innovator you need to take chances. Windows Phone 7 looks fresh and exciting.

I think what you're seeing is frustration that WP7 isn't fresh or exciting. It's blue and boxy, but once you get over that you realize it's pretty pedestrian compared to what Apple and Google are doing now. Okay, I wouldn't expect Microsoft to catch up immediately, but come on, give us something somewhat innovative. EVERY cell phone has a calendar and "Facebook integration."

skc said...

Ugh, it's so funny to me how the swipes at WP7 are conveniently forgotten when you place Android in the same shoes. Android is soon going to relegate the iPhone to second place despite starting late and despite Jobs saying Android has "No chance" against the iPhone. Now tell me, do YOU see anything special about Android phones compared to the iPhone? This market is very far from sewn up.

A better question perhaps, for the WP7 bashers, is this...

Lets say the fight is between iPhone and Android. Who wins, and why?

I bet you can't answer that, the static from the cognitive dissonance is too much I bet.

SHG said...

"Actually Jason, I know this statement is not correct. I don't know if MS will do well with WM7 or not but there is a lot of buzz about WM7 in shops that develop mobile apps, mine included."

Well at the shows I attend, in the conversations I have, in the meetings I get stuck in, WM7 doesn't even come up. It's not that it gets brought up and criticized, it doesn't even mentioned. It's not even in people's minds.

"All MS has to do is market it right and it will take off and the apps will follow"

Ah, now there's a winning attitude. While Apple and Google are out there nose-to-nose challenging each other to make better and better products, MS should focus on marketing.

"Nintendo may have made $50 or more on each Wii sold, but if nobody is buying more games..."

Sweet zombie jesus, have you even looked at the numbers? let me put this in perspective for you:

THE BIGGEST SELLING CURRENT-GEN CONSOLE GAMES OF ALL TIME AS AT MAY 2010

1. Wii Sports (Nintendo Wii)
2. Wii Play (Nintendo Wii)
3. Nintendogs (Nintendo DS)
4. Mario Kart Wii (Nintendo Wii)
5. New Super Mario Bros (Nintendo DS)
6. Brain Age (Nintendo DS)
7. Mario Kart DS (Nintendo DS)
8. Pokémon Diamond and Pearl (Nintendo DS)
9. Wii Sports Resort (Nintendo Wii)
10. New Super Mario Bros Wii (Nintendo Wii)

Pop quiz: what do ALL TEN of the best-selling current-gen console titles in the world have in common? (Hint: starts with "N".)

SHG said...

More gaming reality check:

Current-gen console sales by manufacturer as at May 1:

Nintendo (Wii + DS): 188,875,054
Microsoft: 37,049,832

Software titles sold by publisher as at May 1:

Nintendo (Wii + DS): 960,399,794
Microsoft: 317,624,317

Anonymous said...

Balmar has done well as CEO. Gate created the current situation. If there is one thing that he has done poorly, it is having bad leaders. People like KT, Elop, Kline, Liu don't inspire much confidence. Then there is the Sinofsky who has kept the machine going but hasn't entered new markets. Then these people got paid for playing politics. The whole stacking system is setup for favorites and gaming.

Anonymous said...

I'm an ex-FTE and I'm also interested in a response to the Monday, May 31, 2010 7:39:00 AM post:
"Some advice for ex-FTE please: how do I find out if I am marked No-Rehire? Is this flag something hiring managers must follow, or the manager can override?"
Thanks!

Anonymous said...

@how is the budget this year? still no raise? i got promoted last year, took the bonus and left in December because i hated my job at MS


Why are you worried then? :)

Anonymous said...

Glad you named KIN, as I used to work there until few months ago. KIN was a great and ambitious project...until May 2009. The business, marketing, design vision was just spectacular! In May 2009, Mr. Myerson, decided to kill it because it was competing with his own baby, WP7.

The previous poster conveniently neglects the fact that Kin's original plans were unrealistic - they were going to release a WP7 based device before WP7 was complete. It ignores the fact that the core WP7 team needed to focus on shipping a WP7 phone and that supporting a different additional hardware platform runs counter to that.

Since WP7 was not ready (still today is by far ready!) the exec told him KIN would continue. As retaliation, he killed the support of his team to KIN project.

Had KIN management had any accountability, they would have built on top of the WP7 platform instead of grabbing several hundred people to do a one-off and then whining about the lack of support for an off platform device.

Guess what? KIN team had to take over a lot of base code postponing all the value added apps+services. Now you get why there is lack of apps on KIN. Who will win in medium/long term? Mr Myerson obviously, that's why I decide to leave.

Of course, the fact that for the 1st two years the Kin plan was NOT to provide a competing application platform seems to have gone unnoticed in your little post.

The beauty of Kin is indeed the online services, which should translate well to WP7 when the time comes. Everything else is a flaming turd. This is one of those cases where MCB should have gotten all of its wood behind one arrow. Instead, management spent millions on Danger and defocused the core teams on sideshow oddities such as Kin.

Did anyone really think we would not get to see an article like this?
http://msmobiles.com/news.php/9140.html

From a shareholder perspective I do hope that Myerson wins, if it means that we have a WP7 launch with devices and that we regain momentum, that would be a good thing for our company. The fact that it might rain on your Kin parade is not going to cause me to lose sleep. Kin was largely a Roz Ho and Andy Lees affair. In the new reporting structure it sure would be nice to see someone in the SLT take accountability for the Kin debacle. While Robbie had a hand in this one, it got support from Steve.

The glaring evidence for Kin's impending demise is the dearth of ANY data on sales. This is the best kept corporate information since McDonald's special sauce.

I will go out on a limb here and bet that overall Kin sales for both models will come in well under 100k units for 2010.

Anonymous said...

How many partners does MS have? Does anyone know how the distribution is amongst the divisions?

Also, the potential partners these days are mostly business folks. Another sign of what Ballmer values. Innovation is not a huge priority compared defending Windows + Office.

Anonymous said...

HR role for MSIT, India?

Anonymous said...

Ballmer’s job is to perform the duties of CEO to the best of his ability. Say whatever else you will about him, he’s done that. The board’s job is to assess whether that ability is ideal, or at least sufficient, for the company’s requirements. So the real blame lies with them. The current tablet situation is an example. Three years of netbook and iPhone experience should have been enough for Steve and SLT to determine not only the critical need for a leaner, immersive touch based solution that wasn’t traditional Windows, but to deliver it. They didn’t. The best of their ability was clearly insufficient, and the company again finds itself behind, under threat, and forced to stall for time by responding with solutions that aren’t ideally suited to this class of devices, as even partners like HP and Nvidia have stated. There’s simply no justification for the board condoning that other than misplaced allegiance.

Anonymous said...

I feel the posters arguing for/against Xbox as a business are mixing answers to two distinct questions though their arguments. The first questions is “was it wise to enter Xbox business” and the second is “should we continue with Xbox business.”

The answer to the first question is that it was one of the dumbest business decision MS have made. If somehow corporate accounting is clouding your judgment consider a simple imaginary example of a wealthy aunt leaving you 10 years ago an inheritance of $8B. For simplicity sake, at that time you could have made two decisions, one to invest into 2% CDs, and another is to build an Xbox. With 2% investment in CDs you’d have around 22% compound interest leaving you with $9.75B now (tax/inflation issues aside). However, you have decided to enter Xbox business, hired Bach and Allard, they have executed on the plan and now instead of $9.75B in the bank you have zero in the bank plus a business that gives you a profit of $0.2B or so a year ($0.169B in 2009). When are you going to get your $9.75B back (which would have continue earning 2% yearly interest) from $0.2B profit/year? With such business probably not in your lifetime if ever, thus it was a very bad decision – aunt is spinning in her grave looking at imbecile nephew.

Yet looking back is easy and even though 8B is a huge number, it is a sunk cost and you cannot recover it. This brings us to the second question whether you should stay in Xbox business – assuming that 0.2B is indeed coming from console/game related business (and not from Mac Office BU sales) and Xbox employees / infrastructure cannot be deployed somewhere else to produce more than 0.2B/year the answer is that you absolutely must keep this business – 0.2B / year is way better than getting rid of employees and forgoing the profit.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft Services is undergoing a re-alignment and regional resource managment assessment. ~115 employees were effected in Q3/Q4, expect the assessment results to be processed by corp and delivered to the field in Aug/September.

Several PFEs, Architects, Consultants, and Engagment Managers have been shown the door since March.

It's not suprising that several have shown up at the very partners we compete against. They know the inside tools MS uses to juice the deals whether it's TAP programs, BIG, EA hours, etc.

Now's the time when we should be lowering hourly rates on both the premier and MCS side of the house...but instead we are raising them...and so our partners are getting the business we should own....They are MS accounts...sorry partners.

Microsoft Services lack leadership and any sense of accountablity.

The field is going to clearing the bench in late summer so get those CBI/UBI/PBI up up up for July and August.

Anonymous said...

Best Buy slashes the price of KIN phones:
http://blog.seattlepi.com/microsoft/archives/208503.asp

Anonymous said...

I am one of those Microsoft employees who does not have blood type "M"; I am as critical of our asinine management layers as the next person. I also agree that WP7 is a "few years" too late... but please do not forget: Of the ~5B mobile handsets in the world, less than 200M are smart phones. Apple is not exactly blazing into the BRIC markets (#1 China, #2 India from where it withdrew, #4 Russia, and #5 Brazil); likewise in most markets outside of US and WE. WP7 may yet have enough room to be a meaningful player as feature phones get replaced by smart phones in developing markets. After all, MS does have a more comprehensive partner and sales engine in many of the non-US markets.

Now if someone would show our dear monkey, I mean respected CEO, a nice tree to climb onto and leave us alone..

Anonymous said...

Also, with Bach gone how come the more incompetent CVPs he promoted, none of whom have delivered, have not also been canned? E.g. Eduardo Rosini - ex Bach business manager and CVP for SMSP and now App Plat - results = nothing to speak off, Rusty Jefferess - the first name says it all, no tangible reults to speak of, Blair Westlake - the CVP king of auto forwards who no one knows what he does and oh a host of other GMs who have not delivered squat! Mipping mepotism in the bud requires cutting down the tree and culling all its roots.

Anonymous said...

Big reorg in ISD last week. Lee has been demoted. Heard some feature teams will get canned in July

short timer #288 said...

Is Ballmer the problem? SLT? Wouldn't shareholders (including employee shareholders) have the capability, if not responsibility to replace these failing folks? That hasn't happened yet and don't look like it will in near future. So what is it then? Shareholders equally as stupid? Who owns MSFT then and who is making these choices without accountability? All this pain and suffering for $.08 a share and who cares about market value?

I have worked at MSFT for 9+years and I am so tired by it all. It's just the same thing over and over, like a re-run of a bad Russian movie on the late show. The whole company needs fixing starting with the review process - we get an email that it takes from June through September to figure out reviews and who gets promoted or not, fired or not, rewarded, or not? Talk about agile, or not.

What about business opportunities - nobody thinks ahead. I got quizzed today by somebody who needs to present at an upcoming conference for material - one week before and you are only now asking for material to do a demo in front of thousands of people?

Or hair brained ideas on how you can distinguish yourself to your peers - how about just doing your job well by trying to get things done?

The culture of do nothing, say nothing, mean nothing has permeated from the top down. Rotten to the core. New Blood needs to come in from the bottom and be forced up. Only a well versed and commanding and demanding board of directors can demand that. Fat chance.

Anonymous said...

Interesting you don't hear much these days about Ballmer's $650m deal with Verizon - http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/techbeat/archives/2009/01/google_loses_verizon_mobile_search_deal_to_microsoft--but_how_big_a_loss_is_it.html

Anonymous said...

Get rid of ballmer, get rid of review system as it is today, get rid of stupid teams of 5 or so direct reports and make it 50, get rid of partners (ok, DEs and TFs can stay but re-evaluated), revisit projects overseas (IDC etc).

Anonymous said...

"Why is Mini surprised that E&D employees loved Bach? He got them the nicest campus in Redmond"

Well, the new studios (A-D) suck because almost all space inside is cubicles (except for a few senior guys and lucky bastards at D where Bach was). The Commons really is the only bright side on that campus.

Anonymous said...

"How many partners does MS have?"

700. Now it's a fixed number, so imagine the amount of fight and politics going in order to get there.

Anonymous said...

As per LisaB's email today, merit increases are on for this year.
Glad to know that, my org for one is so incredibly top heavy with principals and seniors that many people in SDE2 band are stuck there for years, so I have no hope the review lottery system would have helped. Plus they have a big fetish with bringing external hires directly in Senior band, sometimes even without an interview loop because the lead knows someone from another team or a previous company. My group's reward philosophy is so blatantly unfair, merit increase is the only way for some hardworking ICs to get at least get COLA increase and gradually show some paper wage increases.

Anonymous said...

"I think what you're seeing is frustration that WP7 isn't fresh or exciting. It's blue and boxy, but once you get over that you realize it's pretty pedestrian compared to what Apple and Google are doing now."

Disagree. The general consensus on every blog, article and even anti MS site is WP7 looks cool. Second, what exactly is Apple and Google doing that is so amazing compared to WP7? Most of the deficiencies in WP7 are things that consumers could care less about and don’t understand.

“EVERY cell phone has a calendar and "Facebook integration."

I get your point that you would like to see something new here but having the same things as everyone else doesn’t imply nobody will buy it. I don’t believe people go to buy a phone, take a look at a few and say “well I like all three but since this one got Facebook integration last I don’t want it”

Anonymous said...

Don't get the "need to get Sinosfky'd" comments on windows phone 7. The windows phone 7 org under Terry Myerson has already been Sinosfky'd, org has already been flattened soon after his takeover. The rest of the old world embedded teams which are still scattered in E&D is where it needs to happen. I still see PUMs managed by GM's in those orgs. Need this flattening rule to be applied uniformly all across the company!!!

Speaking of which, anyone knows about RC, he is a PUM in embedded org who posts a new post in InvClub and other such discussion groups ever 5 minutes. He is in the same class of moochers as BH from the OSD org or some clowns from the research org who are big time posters in those aliases. If the org flattening were applied uniformly across the company, so much of the moochers can be gotten rid of.

Anonymous said...

So I have a guess. I'll exaggerate a bit to make a point. Here it is. MS top leadership has basically given up on catching up with the train(s), pardon the cliche, that left the station. They realize there's no way MS will become a serious competitor in the smartphone, software as a service, music player, search spaces.

They have a plan, and the plan is to extend Windows & Office life for as long as possible and cash out as they slowly (hopefully) die. Of course, even if they die over just 3-4 years, their earnings would still be immense.

Of course, if enough people suspect this realization has been reached, the stock will dive and the plan will become impossible to execute. So the top leadership must act as if MS is genuinely trying to become a serious contender in those spaces, and sincerely believes it is feasible. Hence, they must develop and launch products like Win Mobile, Kin, Zune HD, Bing, that have zero chance to command large market share; and they must promote them seemingly effectively, without spending too much money -- that would shrink their earning potential. They must announce resignations and reorgs, layoff rounds and mass hirings, pretending they're really trying to make a difference, where in fact they just want to give Wall St material to talk about when analyzing the chances for MS rebound or demise.

So that's my wild speculation: MS is trying to show off how hard it works to grow and enter new markets, while in reality it's completely content with milking existing ones to their full potential, then go home. Everything we see beyond Windows & Office is basically a cardboard village on a movie set.

Anonymous said...

All MS has to do is market it right and it will take off and the apps will follow … most will be worthless just like IPhone and Android’s but good ones will be there too. The initial adopters will either make out big or die due to poor marketing of the phone.

Voila! All MS has to do is marketing!

Anonymous said...

@HR role for MSIT, India?

They listen at least...humm..what role they play...we need to find out.

Is it necessary to play some role?

Anonymous said...

Exhibit #1:
Balmar has done well as CEO. Gate created the current situation. If there is one thing that he has done poorly, it is having bad leaders.

Exhibit #2:
Ballmer’s job is to perform the duties of CEO to the best of his ability. Say whatever else you will about him, he’s done that. The board’s job is to assess whether that ability is ideal, or at least sufficient, for the company’s requirements. So the real blame lies with them.

"Ballmer’s job is to perform the duties of CEO to the best of his ability ... he’s done that". And that is the problem, his 'abilities' are not up to the requirements of the job.

As usual, it is somebody else's fault ... the Board, bad subordinates etc. Folks, SteveB is the CEO. The buck stops there. Everything said by these posters is ridiculous. He needs to go, and soon.

Anonymous said...

Interesting you don't hear much these days about Ballmer's $650m deal with Verizon - http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/techbeat/archives/2009/01/google_loses_verizon_mobile_search_deal_to_microsoft--but_how_big_a_loss_is_it.html.

I found this from May 12, 2010 concerning Verizon's app store:

Verizon said application developers will initially have their choice of using Microsoft’s Bing, which is included as part of its exclusive search arrangement with the carrier, or AdMarvel, which aggregates advertising from multiple ad networks. AdMarvel was recently acquired by Opera Software (OSL: OPERA) and has similar deals with other carriers, like T-Mobile USA.

Brilliant. $650mill 'exclusive' that is not exclusive at all ...

http://moconews.net/article/419-microsoft-leverages-search-exclusive-with-verizon-to-score-mobile-ad-de/

Anonymous said...

More on market cap:

Based on current market AAPL is now worth $11B more than MSFT - $238.5 vs $227.5).

But do NOT worry. To quote SteveB from a few days ago 'the stock markets will take care of the rest'. Well Steve, I think that is what they are doing ...

Anonymous said...

Verizon said application developers will initially have their choice of using Microsoft’s Bing, which is included as part of its exclusive search arrangement with the carrier, or AdMarvel, which aggregates advertising from multiple ad networks.

OP here ... AdMarvel sells Google ads. Check their partners page at admarvel.com. So where would you spend your budget? Bing or Google? Hmmm, let me think about it ...

Anonymous said...

OfficeLabs is deleted and rubbished to the recycle bin. The vision group lives on to give more visions. The rest will get nice severance packages to find work elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Android is soon going to relegate the iPhone to second place despite starting late and despite Jobs saying Android has "No chance" against the iPhone.

Do you have a reference for an official quote where Jobs made that claim?

Anonymous said...

"How many partners does MS have?"

"700. Now it's a fixed number, so imagine the amount of fight and politics going in order to get there."

I haven't counted them myself, but I think it's closer to 1,000-1,400. I too hear they instituted that policy of one in, one out.

The overall comp is pretty high: salary + bonus + stock grants (rolling) + partner bonus, well above $500k/year, closer to $750K FTE. One year the Seattle PI published the partner bonus pool which was something like $330M split among the partners (unequally).

Attrition of partner ranks = ~2%
Percentage marked "10%" = ~3%

So much for ranking folks on that curve! You can see how ugly it might get in that pre-partner level 65-67 band where you have Sr. Dir managers ranking their direct reports in same level-band poorly, or no promo to keep status quo too. VP's appear to rank an overwhelming amount of the Exceeds/Achieves for their own directs, so one could see that some level bands do get hit with an unfair amount of the lower scores, and consistently unequal treatment - all dependent upon where you sit in an org, not your performrance or value to MSFT.

Anonymous said...

Android is in the market (and scaling quickly) they'll overtake Apple in the near future (12-24 months)

Wanna bet? You miss the point of Apple's either luck or cover-all-bases approach. Solid HW. Solid SW. Solid Marketing. Solid Retail. Solid Online Store (iTunes).

Google has a long way to go. Apple haters will adopt. But Apple can survive them.

I saw my first Kin commercial yesterday where the guy can take pictures of his ex-girlfriend and then decide to post or delete them online. OMG! Who came up with this. Made me want to puke. Fire Ballmer - YES. But until Microsoft fires Marketing, they will continue to trail.

Anonymous said...

Windows Phone 7 will be the IBM Topview of mobile phones. And that is why it will fail.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_TopView

Anonymous said...

So funny when Alard started the "waffle iron tablet" rumor to pre-empt Apple's Ipad hype and marketing mystique. They've tried these rumors before Xbox 360 but the buzz petered out pretty quickly, it was too obvious. Still a good laugh though J, thanks! Well most of the top brass are good performers: hip hop dancers, guitar players, biker gang dudes, yeah!!! The Jobs dude is so boring, so dedicated and serious....

Anonymous said...

I'm an ex-FTE and I'm also interested in a response to the Monday, May 31, 2010 7:39:00 AM post:
"Some advice for ex-FTE please: how do I find out if I am marked No-Rehire? Is this flag something hiring managers must follow, or the manager can override?"
Thanks!


OP here ... still no answer to this. Come on HR droids, tirelessly scanning the ether for signs of unorthodoxy, what about a response? You can wear a hat, dark glasses and a false beard while responding from an Intrenet cafe (be sure to pay cash) to ensure you are not identified.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, more stealth layoffs happening in OSD. If you're not part of the Yahoo deal, you're nobody. It's always a bad sign when they rush to consolidate a team in one building before the end of the fiscal - especially when that building has no room for everyone.

Anonymous said...

"We gave Sony one on the chin: sure, while Xbox was struggling with the red ring of death Sony postponed the launch of PS3 by a year to avoid their blue disc of death while selling PS2's like hotcakes."

Say wha?

Um, PS3 launch delays were certainly not intentional and had less to do with a desire to avoid problems and more to do with an almost total lack of product focus -- the amount of executive bloodshed at Sony immediately following launch and their humiliating performance over the last few years tell the tale.

Sony released more stable hardware in the PS3 thanks to that extra year, but it's been a software and services disaster (which is where Xbox shines in comparsion).

Anonymous said...

Also, Ballmer is a narcissist control freak and he needs to go because of his inability to delegate to other leaders in the company. Taking a business from $1M to $60B+ does inherently contribute to some level of myopia and the same principles of business do not apply. For a bigger business, a CEO needs to be able to hire smart people, delegate and let them make decisions and trust their judgement. The biggest joke is the yearly performance review system which thanks to Ballmer's micro management, takes over 3 months to complete. Enough said!

Anonymous said...

A lot of antipathy towards agile in this post. What level of pre-checkin testing is appropriate in your view? Do you believe the same development practices that make sense for version 14 of an enterprise product also make sense for a consumer entertainment product?

Also, can you explain this in a bit more detail? "And leave so much more unfulfilled around TV media entertainment that is getting rapidly covered by competitors?" It seems to me xbox live has fleshed out quite well as a multimedia entertainment delivery mechanism. Who is ahead of us in the living room on this?

Anonymous said...

Disagree. The general consensus on every blog, article and even anti MS site is WP7 looks cool.

Okay, I agree that there is a lot of excitement about it from a lot of people. But you have to admit that with the bombshells that it won't support real multitasking, copy+paste, native apps, sideloading apps, backwards compatibility with WM, expandable storage, and probably some stuff I'm forgetting, there was (and is) significant backlash in the blogging community and among Microsoft employees.

It seems WP7 is copying all the main weaknesses of the iPhone which is frustrating because 1) these are KNOWN weaknesses that people have been complaining about on the iPhone since before WP7 probably even started, and 2) it makes WP7 look that much more like a "me too" effort. Zune copied all the iPod's weaknesses and offered no substantial advantages and was seen rightly by customers as a blue-light-special, generic, undesirable version of the iPod and I wouldn't be surprised if a similar fate awaits WP7.

Anonymous said...

"Several PFEs, Architects, Consultants, and Engagment Managers have been shown the door since March."

15 years ago... heck 10 years ago we didnt even have these titles or positions. And we still provided quality support and design for Premier customers and shipped on time.

These positions are just a small example of the bloated middle tier of positions and management that is costing MS billions.

Anonymous said...

And this exemplifies zen and the kind of attitude we need - "For those of us that have been in the industry a long time, it’s surreal, but it doesn’t matter very much," he says at the outset of the video above. The New York Times has the rest of the quote: "It is not what’s important. It is not why any of our customers buy our products. I think it is good for us to keep that in mind. But it is a little surreal.” In stark contrast to the raving tantrums of Microsoft's loony CEO!!!

Anonymous said...

As far as stealth layoffs go, the Raleigh-6Forks office was essentially closed today (06/02). They were part of the Atlas division. Approximately 25 were affected there (the majority being let go on Cinco de Sucko) and I know that Atlas people in other locations were also affected but I do not know how many at this time.

Anonymous said...

The 1st thing for a CEO from "outside" is to layoff---lay off a lot. Is that what you ppl want to see?

Initially I hated Ballmer. Yes, he is surely not at the same level as Jobs, but can you find another Jobs from "outside"? How about the CEO from Motorola or Nokia? Or Sony? They are losing much worse than MSFT. For Ballmer, at least he is on the right direction and keep investing in R&D and didn't forget MSFT is a tech. company, not sales company (at least he says so). The problem is on the middle layer managers, who just want to keep their positions and have no initiatives. Like my manger told me: the P0 is to keep safe and no one blames us when a bug is found, not to create fancy features.

Anonymous said...


get rid of stupid teams of 5 or so direct reports and make it 50


Have to respond to this somewhat uninformed comment.

I've managed multiple teams at multiple companies, in multiple environments. Most recently before my current gig, at one of the leading privately held software companies in the world, which (when I joined and for about 8 years after, was like the "good old Microsoft", and then it morphed itself into the "bad new Microsoft", so I quit and left after a couple of years of that badness).

The magic number for IC's reporting to a first level manager is 10 - 15, depending on the processes and complexity of the projects and the organization.

Above first level management... yeah, 5 direct reports is about the right number. Sad, but true.

More than about 15 direct reports is not realistic at any level (if you want to do a good job of guiding, coaching, and career development for your reports); and when you get above the lowest levels of management, then the increased scope and the increasing interlock that you have with your peers, and which your own direct reports have with their own peers, makes 5 about the right number.

Anonymous said...

>How many partners does MS have? Does anyone know how the distribution is amongst the divisions?

Microsoft has about 1000 partners. About 150 in MSR. The remaining are all across the division.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft Services is undergoing a re-alignment and regional resource managment assessment. ~115 employees were effected in Q3/Q4, expect the assessment results to be processed by corp and delivered to the field in Aug/September.

Several PFEs, Architects, Consultants, and Engagment Managers have been shown the door since March.

It's not suprising that several have shown up at the very partners we compete against. They know the inside tools MS uses to juice the deals whether it's TAP programs, BIG, EA hours, etc.

Now's the time when we should be lowering hourly rates on both the premier and MCS side of the house...but instead we are raising them...and so our partners are getting the business we should own....They are MS accounts...sorry partners.

Microsoft Services lack leadership and any sense of accountablity.

The field is going to clearing the bench in late summer so get those CBI/UBI/PBI up up up for July and August.


I call BS on this post. I am part of MS Services and our bench is extremely low. We can't hire consultants fast enough.

Anonymous said...

"So much for ranking folks on that curve! You can see how ugly it might get in that pre-partner level 65-67 band where you have Sr. Dir managers ranking their direct reports in same level-band poorly..."

This is so true. I am reporting to a 67 who looks at me as a threat.

Where you sit in the org is totally how you get rated at the principal band.

Anonymous said...

"You also have to realize that product groups are way overstaffed"

Seriously, what alternate Microsoft universe do you live in? I've been doing the work of four engineers for over a year since they left our DevDiv team and were never replaced.

Anonymous said...

"As usual, it is somebody else's fault ... the Board, bad subordinates etc. Folks, SteveB is the CEO. The buck stops there. Everything said by these posters is ridiculous. He needs to go, and soon."

There are only a few ways that can happen:

-Steve does some honest reflection and resigns.
-The board finally remembers its mandate and fires him.
-Gates has enough (or sees the writing on the wall) and tells Steve to join Robbie in early “retirement”.
-One or more of MS’s largest external investors takes Steve or the board aside and say they want a change.
-Shareholders don't approve Steve at the annual meeting.

Odds on the first three: 0. The last realistically requires a rejection of the one before it that then goes public. Otherwise: 0. That leaves one. And while it's probably more likely following recent events, I'd guess we're still in the <20% range, unfortunately.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of which, anyone knows about RC, he is a PUM in embedded org who posts a new post in InvClub and other such discussion groups ever 5 minutes


So true about RC. Not only does he post every 5 minutes he badmouths thje company and the senior leadership. What kind of example is he setting for his org

Anonymous said...

I thought this quote about Facebook's staffing was interesting: "[Facebook] Platform is the foundation for an entire industry, and our team has about 30 engineers. News Feed is the home page for more than 250 million people every day, and our team has fewer than 15 engineers. Our search type ahead serves the same order of magnitude of queries as Google, and our team has fewer than 15 engineers."

http://techcrunch.com/2010/06/02/facebook-cto-bret-taylor/

Anonymous said...

Android is in the market (and scaling quickly) they'll overtake Apple in the near future (12-24 months)

Wanna bet? You miss the point of Apple's either luck or cover-all-bases approach. Solid HW. Solid SW. Solid Marketing. Solid Retail. Solid Online Store (iTunes).


Many posters here don't know what they're talking about here. Neither iPhone nor Android is or has been #1 for smartphones in the US, that's been RIM for a long time, and Android is already outselling iPhone by a fairly wide margin in terms of new handsets in the US.

There's a place for both--Apple provides the sort of controlled, luxury, Mercedes-like, "you have to service your car at our dealership" experience that many people want and Android provides a fairly iPhone-like experience for anybody who doesn't want an iPhone for any number of reasons.

What's not clear is how much more space there is in the market. Palm failed for no obvious technical reason, it seems like there was just no space for two iPhones. We'll see if WP7 can slot in somewhere between the two.

Anonymous said...

More than about 15 direct reports is not realistic at any level (if you want to do a good job of guiding, coaching, and career development for your reports)

Why is all this "career development" BS so important? Microsoft is the first company I've worked at where everybody is going insane trying to get promotions every year and switching groups every 2-3 years. So many calories are being expended on "careers" that it's a miracle any product ever ships.

Anonymous said...

For the ex-FTE questions:

The, "No Rehire," is actually called, "Ineligible to Return," and it will not show up in your employee file, but you can ask HR directly if you are on the list. And, no, the hiring manager cannot override this. If you are coming back for a contract or vendor gig, they are supposed to run an, "e-check," on you, but many contract houses and vendors do not know about this. If you happen to be on the Ineligible to Return list, don't feel bad - there are a lot of good people on there with you. I personally know of one that had two 5.0 reviews and an Employee of the Year Award (do they still have this?).

skc said...

"Do you have a reference for an official quote where Jobs made that claim?"

http://www.businessinsider.com/steve-jobs-email-not-a-chance-google-is-leapfrogging-us-2010-5

"Steve Jobs is firing off one-line emails this weekend addressing Google's big announcements from this week.
One email to Steve asked him what he thought of Gizmodo saying Google had leapfrogged Apple with the release of the new Android operating system. Steve's response, "Not a chance."

Anonymous said...

Regarding Agile - Mini, go out and buy/borrow/safari the Extreme Programming book as an example of a complete Agile process. I think that you'll be surprised at the amount of process (and a lot of good ideas). The problem with Agile is that for many it has become synonymous with no process at all by the folks too lazy to implement any process. Doing Agile right takes work and discipline. Just like anything else...

Anonymous said...

Why is all this "career development" BS so important? Microsoft is the first company I've worked at where everybody is going insane trying to get promotions every year and switching groups every 2-3 years. So many calories are being expended on "careers" that it's a miracle any product ever ships.

How true. I think it's because all the "HiPo" overachieving golden children that the company has hired feel that they must be on a direct path to a vice presidency or they'll throw a tantrum. Probably the very root of Microsoft's current troubles.

Anonymous said...

BillG is coming back. They will announce this during upcoming Company Meeting 2010.

Anonymous said...

"More than about 15 direct reports is not realistic at any level (if you want to do a good job of guiding, coaching, and career development for your reports)

Why is all this "career development" BS so important? So many calories are being expended on "careers" that it's a miracle any product ever ships."


So you're basically arguing against having a manager who cares about helping you grow and develop professionally? You must already be a Microsoft manager, because that's the attitude managers tend to have around here.

Microsoft culture frequently ignores the importance of personal guidance and coaching in the manager-employee relationship, although Lisa gives plenty of lip service to it on paper. Truth is that managers succeed here based almost exclusively on qualities unrelated to people management, which is a huge problem and one reason why our leadership is today so out of touch and so disliked by the ranks.

And the OP is correct that there's a limit to how many people you can effectively manage. Management requires human interaction and effort -- if you have 30 direct reports you are not going to be providing much value to any of them.

"Microsoft is the first company I've worked at where everybody is going insane trying to get promotions every year"

You need to get out more then. People go insane to get promoted every year when that's the only way to get rewarded for their work, which is a really sucky thing but hardly limited to Microsoft. Microsoft has sadly changed its reward structure so that the vast majority of employees will never see a connection between their effort and their rewards, so the result is that people either put less effort into the work they do or they knock themselves out fighting for a promotion. Epic failure of a policy.

Anonymous said...

PS 3 delays not intentional. Uh yes they were, Sony CEO Howard Stringer told that they didn't want to lose money by not delaying. Stringer: " We won't be stampeded" by Microsoft into rushing decisions . Rushing is the key point here...

This is a seperate (hardware) issue from Sony's indeed poor Live execution, PS3 programmability etc.

Anonymous said...

@Based on current market AAPL is now worth $11B more than MSFT - $238.5 vs $227.5).

At this speed...after some time the market capital data will be -

AAPL - $2275.0
MSFT - $23.85

Anonymous said...

Sigh -- this sums it up perfectly on why people do not take Ballmer seriously:

http://www.businessinsider.com/ray-ozzie-schools-steve-ballmer-on-stage-at-all-things-d-2010-6

Anonymous said...

"Based on willingness to spend money, it would seem that Microsoft should be the more innovative company of the two. Microsoft made 104 acquisitions compared with Apple's 11 in the past decade, while spending $71 billion on research and development, compared with Apple's $8 billion. Dow Jones compiled these numbers from the Capital IQ database.

But buying new companies and pouring money into R&D is not the same thing as innovating, Bhatia said in an interview with Network World, and in a blog post for the Wall Street Journal.

"If a company focuses on the user needs and user interaction, that's more important than having loads of cash and capital, and doing mergers and acquisitions," Bhatia said in the interview.

Apple's secret is not making huge investments to keep up with competitors, but in "identifying and satisfying unmet customer needs," Bhatia wrote in his blog. As a result, Apple's stock price has risen 10-fold in the last decade even as the Nasdaq lost 56% of its value, he writes."


"Apple's lesson for CEOs of tech firms is that "M&A and capital allocation decisions should not just be driven by changes in the competitive or technological landscapes," Bhatia said. "Companies that focus on what the latest technology can do, and who owns that technology, will always be playing catch-up. Instead, think about what customers would like to do, but can't do yet. Then invest to meet that need."

Anonymous said...

But you have to admit that with the bombshells that it won't support real multitasking

Um, which the iPhone doesn't have either, check your facts, WM will have the same kind of "multi-tasking"

copy+paste

Which, it turns out, was mostly used to copy/paste phone numbers and addresses on the iPhone and you don't have to do on WM7 because of the phone book and Maps integration,

native apps

Check your facts, first-party developers CAN write native apps, and again, this isn't a big deal among the developers we've spoken to,

sideloading apps

Which nobody wants, because it's a big security hole,

backwards compatibility with WM

Which nobody cares about,

expandable storage

Huh? You're just an uninformed person all the way around, aren't you?

Anonymous said...

Why WM7 will fail!

Ballmer Says Apple's iPad Is Just A PC At Heart
http://www.crn.com/mobile/225300322

That's like saying a Porsche is just a repackaged Ford F-350!

Anonymous said...

Speaking of which, anyone knows about RC, he is a PUM in embedded org who posts a new post in InvClub and other such discussion groups ever 5 minutes.

+1. I followed the Litebulb aliasfor a couple of years before I got laid off, I would have posted more frequently there but I was too busy ... you know,working. Fascinating and useful discussions on Litebulb but contributions from some monumental time-wasters, including RC. Yes Roberto, we're looking at YOU! Also from some of the Ayn Rand nutjobs.

Anonymous said...

Apple passing MS in valuation has been speculated by the media for more than two years and was widely predicted by analysts to occur this year. So what’s the surprise? Apple is a couple of quarters away from surpassing MS on total revenue too, and still growing at rates that MS hasn’t seen in a decade. It has also closed the profit gap significantly and will lead there as well within two years unless there’s a dramatic reversal. Are those going to be treated as surprising events too? Apple has become more valuable and it deserves to be.

I’m also surprised by the comments thinking MS can reverse this quickly. How? Do you think PC growth is going to double? Is China going to stop pirating software? Did Bing just start making masses of money? Apple now has line of sight to a valuation of $300B within 12 months and $350B+ in 24. MS isn’t going to catch that and shouldn’t waste energy trying.

This is an opportunity to reflect seriously on the company’s overall strategy and whether Steve and the board should be as happy with it as they profess. Are the bets being made the very best ones available and only those? Does MS still have a realistic shot at winning them? Are they being resourced appropriately? Do they have the right leadership? The right team members? Is the reward structure in place to produce the desired result? I don’t know the answers. But there certainly needs to be a dramatic improvement in customer focus, execution and agility across the board.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft has about 1000 partners. About 150 in MSR. The remaining are all across the division.

BS. There are barely 800 folks in MSR worldwide. 150 partners in MSR? Did you mean 15?

Anonymous said...

Glad you named KIN, as I used to work there until few months ago. KIN was a great and ambitious project...until May 2009. The business, marketing, design vision was just spectacular! In May 2009, Mr. Myerson, decided to kill it because it was competing with his own baby, WP7.

The previous poster conveniently neglects the fact that Kin's original plans were unrealistic - they were going to release a WP7 based device before WP7 was complete. It ignores the fact that the core WP7 team needed to focus on shipping a WP7 phone and that supporting a different additional hardware platform runs counter to that.


Thank you for clearing this up. I am very thankful to have Terry Myerson here. He took on very badly floundering Winmo boat & turned things around quickly.

It is quite amazing what he did. WP7 got great reviews and is now all set to make a splash in a short time.

Terry can be fully trusted to do what is best for success of product. Fending off unneeded distractions from teams like KIN is a part of that.

Anonymous said...

Mini - I understand if this comment ends up on the CRF since I am unable to substantiate the following info without implicating the key person/people I learned it from. Post (or delete) as you believe is appropriate.

If it is posted, then you readers can accept or deny as you wish. But I know the following to be true, so am sharing for your consideration.

Substantial layoffs coming at the start of the new fiscal year (early July). The targets are spread company wide, with the eliminated headcount either evaporating completely or being re-allocated across the company to fill other critical roles.

Anonymous said...

Wherever there is money involved the game gets dirty: the review process gets degraded to a joke. It is not about performance anymore, it becomes a moneygrab and a Hollywood show. Too much money, fat budgets etc encourage this behavior. Then you get a blanket 10% target from the top, who has no clue what's going on down there (too many layers) and you end up with this.... In the end the review gets written to justify the actions decided long before, facts fabricated etc. not uncommon in any type of political system (corporate or country). The problem is that such a system smothers good initiatives (someone else will take credit so why bother), kills efficiency etc. How do you fix this? Make it lean..... get rid of all the fat..... reduce layers, increase transparancy....

Anonymous said...


Many posters here don't know what they're talking about here. Neither iPhone nor Android is or has been #1 for smartphones in the US, that's been RIM for a long time, and Android is already outselling iPhone by a fairly wide margin in terms of new handsets in the US.


And one of those posters would be you.

ndroid sales jumped 707 percent during the first quarter of 2010, and now exceed sales of Windows Mobile devices around the world, according to a new study from Gartner.

Worldwide mobile phone sales grew 17 percent in the first quarter to 314.7 million units. Of those, 54.3 million were smartphones, a 48.7 percent jump from the same period one year ago, Gartner said.

Symbian still leads the pack with 44.3 percent market share (down from 48.8 in Q1 2009). BlackBerry OS devices come in second at 19.4 percent (down slightly from 20.6), while iPhone OS rings in third at 15.4 percent (up from 10.5 percent).

After that, Android is now in fourth place at 9.6 percent (up from just 1.6 percent in Q1 2009), while Windows Mobile takes fifth place at 6.8 percent (down from 10.2 percent). here

Anonymous said...

I am in WM7 and it pains to hear the PM say each time "but that's the way it works on an iPhone". I think we are building a great product but I do think some, (if not most) of the decisions were taken as they were considered safe (the justification that Apple also did the same thing).

A few months later, Apple announced things that my feature crew decided EXACTLY not to do.

And to answer someone's post about having only managed code, I hear you..but it does make the app more robust and allows an average developer Joe to worry more about app logic than pointers and memory management. You will surprise yourself to find out just how productive you can be.

Besides, the tools are really, really good (no, I am not that much of an MS fan boy as I might sound in my post)

That said, as an app developer, I dearly miss the freedom I had in WM6.5 and that I could sideload any app I wanted.

I'd been very critical of WM7 but dogfooding is slowly making me addicted to it.

Anonymous said...

So, what are the criteria to get on the "Ineligible to Return" list?

And if the hiring manager cannot over-rule, is there an appeals process?

Is this flag set by committee, or can some over-zealous HR nerd taint you with this "child molester" tag.

Who polices the police?

Anonymous said...

"BillG is coming back. They will announce this during upcoming Company Meeting 2010."

That would be a huge mistake. He was an outdated dinosaur when he finally officially left, he's even more obsolete now.

Bill was done before the internet rose to rule the world, and the world has now long-since moved on from the PC revolution.

Anonymous said...

So you're basically arguing against having a manager who cares about helping you grow and develop professionally?

Actually, yes. Because at Microsoft, "professional development" means:

- How can I get to the next arbitrary internal Microsoft level
- How can I manage more people
- How can I get people to do the things I want in meetings ("scope")
- How can I choose which new hot feature to work on or which new cool group to work for to pad my resume
- How can I improve my technical skills by taking BS internal classes on the latest buzzword "technologies"
- etc.

Basically the ideal career your manager is supposed to be steering you towards is Corporate D-bag. Think of all the people in the world whose work and careers you really respect. Are they middle managers at large corporations? So, WTF? I'll manage my own career, thanks. Seems like my manager should have his hands full with his own JOB which is to organize people, keep projects on track, etc.

Anonymous said...

Many posters here don't know what they're talking about here. Neither iPhone nor Android is or has been #1 for smartphones in the US, that's been RIM for a long time, and Android is already outselling iPhone by a fairly wide margin in terms of new handsets in the US.

And one of those posters would be you. ...


All the stats you quote are worldwide. I made a point of specifying the US in my comment (twice). Regardless of whose numbers you use, iPhone is not #1 (claimed in a couple of comments). And depending on how you count, the claim that Android will overtake iPhone is already correct.

Anonymous said...

> BillG is coming back. They will announce this during upcoming Company Meeting 2010.

Excellent! Along with his announcing the return of big fat options awards, guaranteed increases in the stock price, elimination of future RIFs, a return to the '3.0/3.5/4.0/4.5/5.0' ratings, and an additional '5.5' rating (whoo hoo!), BillG will also be announcing-wait, maybe I shouldn't let this out...what the hell-a return to coding against DOS 6.0 as the target platform for all new Microsoft development. This is SWEEEEEET.

Anonymous said...

The headline says it all.

Microsoft's Ballmer and Ozzie tag-team on mediocrity

Anonymous said...

Ballmer's simple minded notion that the performance of employees always follows a normal distribution is another problem with performance management at Microsoft.

The folly of forced rankings

The notion that the bottom 5 percent or 10 percent of employees can be eliminated every year assumes that the performance of individuals fits a normal distribution curve, which Jack Welch calls the vitality curve. In a normal distribution of employees, the number of average performers is large and flanked by a small number of outstanding and poor performers.

In some work groups or departments, the employees actually do fit a normal distribution; however, there is no reason to assume that this will always, or even frequently, be the case.

Normal distributions consistently occur only when they involve random events and a large sample. This is not typical in companies. A large sample for statistical purposes means not 10, 20, 30--or even 100--but thousands of individuals. Further, in most work situations, each employee's performance is a planned and controlled event. Individuals are not randomly placed in positions and expected to perform; they are carefully selected, trained and motivated to do their jobs.

Because employee performance patterns in organizations often do not follow a normal distribution, identifying poor performers using a forced ranking system is fraught with difficulties. First, a very real danger exists that some satisfactory employees will be misidentified as poor performers.

Anonymous said...

Ray and Steve effectively contradicting each other at D8 about mobile OSs versus desktop ones. Really embarassing. If the CEO and CTO aren't on the same page is it any wonder the rest of the organization isn't?

Anonymous said...

Microsoft Office for Apple iPad not happening

http://www.gadgetvenue.com/microsoft-office-apple-ipad-happening-04021137/

Another brillian decision from SLT. Refuse to support an emergent platform on ideological or 'strategic' grounds. Think about it this way: an attach rate of 10% to iPads selling at 1 million a month would yield $500 for each office license, which is about the same aggregate revenue as if Dell sold an additional 1 million PCs a month. Netting it out this decision is foregoing $600 million in incremental revenue a year.

Anonymous said...

People complaining about people...

Yes. It is true that we have many wrong people in the wrong places.

Ballmer has a special gift for placing the wrong leader in the wrong spot and then it takes him years to figure it out and fix it unfortunately.

Ballmer could be a better CEO and our leadership team could be a lot better.

So what?

The real question is:

"What did YOU do today to fix the problems YOU can fix?"

Did you stick your neck out a bit to make MS a better company, your team a better place or for improving your product today?

Are you willing to pay or give up something, a tiny bit maybe, PERSONALLY for the good of others and the company?

In the old days when Billg was here it was ok to say: "this is the stupidest idea I have ever heard"

We would all have a lively conversation and better decisions would be made based on that real meeting with real people.

Today is all about me, you and politics at all levels.

If you have not done the above yet you should not feel better only because you have posted your comments on mini-winer blog.

Change can come from you. Start now. Or you may lose your job together with your friends faster than you can blink.

Let's all go back to work HARD now.

Anonymous said...

SteveB laid another massive egg with the aQuantive acquisition 3 years ago. $6bill spent, and MS ad revenues are flat despite it. "Flat" as in these revenues are exactly the same today as at the time of the acquisition. Meanwhile Google's ad revenues grew 78% in the same period. Most of the key people from aQuantive have left. We did manage to sell off Razorfish for $530 million however so only need $2470 million more to break even. Read 'em and weep at: http://www.techflash.com/seattle/2010/05/three_years_after_aquantive_deal_microsoft_still_reaching_for_upside.html

Anonymous said...

SteveB opens his mouth at D8 and MSFT drops to 25.79 -1.07 (-3.98%)

Anonymous said...

Interesting that SteveB never shows as a major insider in terms of ownership in SEC filings. He owns 4% of the company but does not show as a direct owner. Any ideas?

Anonymous said...

Another looser from Bing

Bing cashback is dead

Be Paid said...

"Dear valued cashback customer:


We are writing to notify you that the Bing cashback program will be discontinued, and the last day to earn cash back on your Bing Shopping purchases will be July 30, 2010. "

Gotta change my Mini alias I guess.

Anonymous said...

re: I am in WM7 and it pains to hear the PM say each time "but that's the way it works on an iPhone". I think we are building a great product but I do think some, (if not most) of the decisions were taken as they were considered safe (the justification that Apple also did the same thing).

This is exactly a point I made in a post that didn't even make the CRF a few weeks back. Innovation is risky. MS is risk-averse. Therefore, there is virtually no real innovation at the company now.

How many times did I hear "the point man takes the arrows" or some such. People are so afraid to be wrong -- making a CLM -- that doing something truly innovative is just way too scary. Most at MS are now quite happy to see tail lights and chase them; truly leading via innovation just doesn't happen. This was one of the reasons I gave up after 14 years 5 years ago. (The other was the glacial pace of development.)

Anonymous said...

ISD is an incompetent division. Poster child to money losing products that find solace in allocations from EA. Its a country club of architects, directors and GM's all jockeying for their utopic partner status.And a complete enchilada of dysfunctional teams around the globe (NY, Boston, Israel, China and more. High time a re-org and flush happens and some senior folks are shown the door and made accountable.

Anonymous said...

What titles are most partners? Are GMs typically partners? What's the difference between a partner and a principal?

Anonymous said...

There are barely 800 folks in MSR worldwide. 150 partners in MSR? Did you mean 15?

15 partners in one team? Likely. MSR has inflated levels for the work product they produce. MSR Researcher starts at L63. MSR intern gets paid 50% more than a product team intern. The abuse of corporate resources is endless.

Anonymous said...

Bing cashback was supposed to be our differentiator and SteveB bas been touting that as game changer against Google. Guess what? Me thinks Satya & Co are worried that E&D like shakeup might happen to them too and are trying to show they are working on fixing things. Another acquisition botched and millions of shareholder money wiped out!

Anonymous said...

Cashback is dead, after > a year of false hopes, innumerable business management team meetings, countless spreadsheets involving inane "modeling" and zillions of PPT slides. Don't forget the minions working on weekends to prepare for some stupid exec reviews. Include the daily, weekly and monthly business review meetings, where Bing's sharpest minds poured over Excel cells, with just one goal in mind. How to prove a failed business model is on the success track. On a PPT slide by the way. Wait. There has been upside though. The Cashback team has been promoted on the fast track.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft Office for Apple iPad not happening

Of course it isn't. Microsoft can't do backroom deals to force massive numbers of App Store sales, and they can't "spin" potentially poor sales. Microsoft would have to make really, really good software for it to sell well. We can debate the likelihood of that happening but it's certainly not guaranteed.

Anonymous said...

"In the old days when Billg was here it was ok to say: "this is the stupidest idea I have ever heard"

We would all have a lively conversation and better decisions would be made based on that real meeting with real people.

Today is all about me, you and politics at all levels.

If you have not done the above yet you should not feel better only because you have posted your comments on mini-winer blog.

Change can come from you. Start now. Or you may lose your job together with your friends faster than you can blink."


But what you're missing here is that it is not the old days and the rot has happened, and continues to happen, from the top. In such situations you cannot make any difference as an individual at the bottom -- the only thing you do is get kimmed and eventually managed out of the company.

The people who succeed at Microsoft today do not stick their necks out. Should you decide to be bold and do so you'll be branded as uncooperative and shown the door. I see it happen all the time with good people who can't stop doing the right thing just because it's not politically smart.

It's really not worth trying to change Microsoft from the bottom at this point. Go in, do a good job, brown-nose your management chain and get paid.

Anonymous said...

"A few months later, Apple announced things that my feature crew decided EXACTLY not to do."

Firstly, Apple may not get it right.

Secondly, if your PM get it wrong, he should take responsbility.

At last, you should argue with your PM and shouldn't accept whatever decision he make. If you strongly believe he is wrong, escalate to VP level. You take his decision because you also feel like he may be right. Isn't it?

Anonymous said...

We did manage to sell off Razorfish for $530 million however so only need $2470 million more to break even.

OP here, math skills questionable ... make that "we need $5470 million more to break even".

The weird thing is that there is no Bing partner revenue share program, which is what Google does with great success. Why not? It cannot be that hard.

Anonymous said...

"followed the Litebulb aliasfor a couple of years before I got laid off, I would have posted more frequently there but I was too busy ...Also from some of the Ayn Rand nutjobs."

I always wonder whether MS should warn people who are continuously sending a barrage of emails on such alias. Litebulb is an ego trip for a lot of people (exception: people like Tren, I like his posts and he does not get into arguments) whose only job is to prove why any new idea will not work.

As to Ayn Rand nutjobs, take a look at the barbarians on Mises alias. It is not wonder that these are some of the most vocal people (thought they use slightly civilized language outside mises) who have assigned themselves the role of idea-bashers.

This is exactly what is wrong with MSFT, it has become a place for people to chitchat

Anonymous said...

"followed the Litebulb aliasfor a couple of years before I got laid off, I would have posted more frequently there but I was too busy ...Also from some of the Ayn Rand nutjobs."

I always wonder whether MS should warn people who are continuously sending a barrage of emails on such alias. Litebulb is an ego trip for a lot of people (exception: people like Tren, I like his posts and he does not get into arguments) whose only job is to prove why any new idea will not work.

As to Ayn Rand nutjobs, take a look at the barbarians on Mises alias. It is not wonder that these are some of the most vocal people (thought they use slightly civilized language outside mises) who have assigned themselves the role of idea-bashers.

This is exactly what is wrong with MSFT, it has become a place for people to chitchat

Anonymous said...

So any top levels in WP7 know what is going to happen now that KIN is out? Any major RIF'ing?

Anonymous said...

My manager proudly declared in last 1:1 that they have already finished calibration, even before I got a chance to write my self assesment. This was on June 1st the day review tool opened and just after he returned from a 3 month break.

When I asked what he thought my chances are, he said " I don't know what you did because I was on vacation for last 3 months, I can ask"

Disgusting!!!
Looks like I got the worst manager in MS , lucky me :(

Anonymous said...

"Interesting that SteveB never shows as a major insider in terms of ownership in SEC filings. He owns 4% of the company but does not show as a direct owner. Any ideas?"

There's some history here. Here's what I have anecdotally - not professing any super accuracy - but what I believe I've heard over the years. Firstly I don't believe Steve owns 4% of the company (anymore? - I haven't checked that number in a while). Since Steve's ownership is below a certain SEC threshold, he doesn't have to report as a 'major stock holder'. I think, that reporting requirement is for 5% or more ownership, as I recall. Still, it lists his stock in the annual Proxy so that takes care of that requirement.

Secondly, the SEC filings (S-4s?) only pertain to people who are acquiring or disposing of stock. (You'll note most are disposing) Since Bill and Steve no longer take stock grants/options, even as part of their board comp or bonuses, etc., we will not see them get those SEC filings. We see Gates because he is constantly selling hundreds of millions every several weeks (another reason the stock goes nowhere - too much downward pressure), to "Diversify" and buy investemtnes in other areas. It doesn't all get turned into cash for the Gates foundation grant receipiants, a lot gets reinvested in other investments instruments (iPhone, iPad, iPod?).

Thirdly, several years ago I believe, Steve made a comment that he would never sell more than 5% (or 10%) of his MS Stock holidings - ever. Again, my comment may not be exact, but it was something to that affect, and I beleive he is trying to be 'true to his word' on that - simplifying his life to get by on $1-$2,000 Million or so - living among the masses.

I do recall Steve selling - in one or a few large chunks - about $900M-$1B in stock a handful of years ago and it did produce an SEC filing (~6 years ago). Why do I remember that? I was trying to transact my little handful of options at the same time (about to expire) and his large chunk seemed to slightly depress the market at the same time I was trying to sell my piece. Not his fault, but that is what happens, when large investors like Bill or Steve dummp large amounts of stock.

Since then, with a little extra coupon clipping and prudent sale shopping at Fred Meyer, he's probably been able to get by these past several (6) years on his $1B + $1.5M comp, and thus hasn't sold any stock since. He may be due for another sell, the other 95%, once he retires, which will be his second chance to reduce the stock value.

Anonymous said...

>> MSR intern gets paid 50% more than a product team intern

I don't know if this is true or not, but a typical MSR intern is a _successful_ PhD student with great academic references and good (if not stellar) publication record. I've worked with interns in MSR that could tear a Principal SDE or architect from a product group a new one. That's not to say that there aren't mistakes in hiring, but by and large I was STUNNED with the average quality of interns my group in MSR was getting. These folks have no problem interning or getting hired at Google (in fact many of them do, before or after MSR). They should be paid more.

Full disclosure: I've worked in MSR as an RSDE for a few years and I'm currently at Google Kirkland.

Anonymous said...

>> $500 for each office license

Why would anyone pay $500 for an office license if iWork is available on the iPad already for $30? Apple is projected to sell $5M+ iPads this year, though, so assuming $50 for an Office lincense, and subtracting Apple's 30% cut, that's $175M gross a year if everyone buys it. Not too shabby. I'd put a couple dozen engineers on it just in case.

Anonymous said...

Long time reader, first time poster.

PS3 was a year later than 360 for one reason. Blu Ray. Winning the HD optical disc war was the big driver, because royalties off of spinning plastic discs have always been a big win for Sony. BRD needs a specific laser diode, which wasn't available in quantities large enough to launch a console with, and PS3 wasn't launching without BRD.

Remember that PS2 came a year after DreamCast, so they really weren't worried about launching a year after 360.

...and of course no-one expected Wii.

Anonymous said...

Think about it this way: an attach rate of 10% to iPads selling at 1 million a month would yield $500 for each office license

That would be incorrect as it would have to be priced at a much lower price. Pages (word processor), Numbers (spreadsheet) and Keynote (presentation) for iPad by Apple are only $9.99 each. And Mail with Exchange integration, Contacts and Calendar with Outlook sync is already free.

Anonymous said...

Why would anyone pay $500 for an office license if iWork is available on the iPad already for $30?

Think about it this way: an attach rate of 10% to iPads selling at 1 million a month would yield $500 for each office license

That would be incorrect as it would have to be priced at a much lower price. Pages (word processor), Numbers (spreadsheet) and Keynote (presentation) for iPad by Apple are only $9.99 each. And Mail with Exchange integration, Contacts and Calendar with Outlook sync is already free.


Not sure I can answer why anyone would pay $500 for Office but apparently people do. To be fair OEM version would be less. Again not sure Office team would agree to $50 / license - maybe. As far as the Mickey Mouse apps that are pretend spreadsheets and word processors they have been around forever but most pros want Office.

Anonymous said...

There's some history here. Here's what I have anecdotally - not professing any super accuracy - but what I believe I've heard over the years. Firstly I don't believe Steve owns 4% of the company (anymore? - I haven't checked that number in a while)

Thank you, should have checked the proxy statement. As of Sep 2009 Ballmer owns 408,252,990 shares, or 4.57% of Microsoft. For the record BillG shows as 713,136,862 shares, representing 7.99%. If Bill continues to sell at a million shares a day, Ballmer will be the biggest internal shareholder within 18 months. But as you say, as long as he keeps clipping coupons and saving at Costco he will struggle on with his 1.5mill a year without needing to sell shares.

Anonymous said...

To poster: "My manager proudly declared in last 1:1 that they have already finished calibration, even before I got a chance to write my self assesment."

Have you joined MS recently? It has been discussed zillion of times on this blog that calibration has nothing to do with your individual review comments about your own work.

Why the hell on Earth you think, that your manager should be "waiting" for your comments before s/he goes to calibration.

If a manager calibrates based on his/her report's comments, the review system has already failed!!

Your manager is supposed to have a clear idea of your accomplishments throughout the year. And if not, your comments wouldn't have helped anyways.

However to keep people like you happy, MS HR should do two things:
1. STOP asking people to fill the review forms before the performance numbers are delivered.

This would clarify the confusion and FALSE sense that employee's comments matter in the review.

2. Empower manager's to be more transparent about the numbers they deliver to their reports. If reports dis-agree with the numbers, then allow them to fill the review form, which is directly reported to HR, not the immediate manager, so that HR may revisit the review and hears both sides of the story.

Current review system sucks!!

Anonymous said...

"Wait. There has been upside though. The Cashback team has been promoted on the fast track."

I don't believe it is a true statement, if it is true, their promotion should be reverted.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone here heard of mass layoff rumor in the Online Search Division in next few months or so? I work in OSD and I have noticed several conference room fully booked for several days by HR. OSD is running at loss consistently,
Heard of things going crazy in Bing, AdCenter, Atlas.

Any insight would be helpful.

Anonymous said...

"So that's my wild speculation: MS is trying to show off how hard it works to grow and enter new markets, while in reality it's completely content with milking existing ones to their full potential, then go home. Everything we see beyond Windows & Office is basically a cardboard village on a movie set."

You might be right, but I don't think so. "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by incompetence - but don't rule out malice."

Anonymous said...

one problem is that we ship org structures and not solutions. just look at synchronization: http://www.windowslivepreview.com/essentials/sync/compare/.

is there any customer out there who really wants two (or three or four) half solutions?

this is why things like dropbox are winning.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft's review system is score card based corporate game. So regardless of real quality and innovation, people are after just keeping the scorecard green, nothing else. I have never seen such a company where the scorecard is this much overly utilized. People are not robots or computers. Let's think why some other companies are more creative than Microsoft even though they are spending less. Let's focus on creativity and innovation at MSFT. I think we are going to generate another IBM from MSFT very soon if we do not remedy the current ailing management, review, and reward style.

Anonymous said...


Disgusting!!!
Looks like I got the worst manager in MS , lucky me :(



I have been in MS for 6 years and from what I have seen, you do not have the worst manager. Managers can do much more bad things.

Anonymous said...

Somebody said:

...so L65's and below, beware ....

Problem is that really the ones that should be fired are L65 and up!! There is a vicious cycle going on at high levels. They manage things in order to maintain status quo in their revenues and convert their jobs into tenures.

What does it take to save MS? - Possibly first fire a bunch of big shots that are set on their ways and want to take the company with them to the grave.

Reality is that many L68s get fired and may not get a job anywhere else, which is why they will fight to the death any change. I was directly related the case of an L68 which was fired and then a few months later was looking back (begging) for a job @MS way below her prior level.

So the question is: Why was this person in that level in the first place?

Anonymous said...

Cashback was a very myopic feature - it was only available to users in the US. That's a large market; but it excludes 95% of the total target market. Ditto for Zune - outside the US and Canada, few people even know Microsoft has a product called "Zune". In most countries you can't buy Zune hardware or a Zune music subscription, even if you thought it was the best product in the world.

At least Google generally release new products and features globally; no "This feature only available for US users" messages there ...

Anonymous said...

"clipping coupons and saving at Costco"

No coupons. Those 400 million shares bring in $200 million/year in dividends.

Anonymous said...

Well, FWIW, cashback was also available in UK and guess what? we made an acquisition for that market too (Ciao, anyone?)
I wonder what happens to that now. I mean seriously, I dont get it - is there is accountability left at all?

Anonymous said...

I work in OSD and I have noticed several conference room fully booked for several days by HR.

Which rooms? What days? Hiring still seems to be going strong, I see interviewees in the cafeteria all the time. Not to say that's precluded layoffs in the past.

Anonymous said...

Looks like I got the worst manager in MS

What, you report directly to Ballmer?

Anonymous said...

we risk that the real puck of today is Android.

That risk is about the same as the risk of leprechauns stealing your bagels in the morning.

When you boil down all the Android hype, all you have left are linux weenies trying to re-invent the iPhone without the depth to understand why Java always sucked so hard for writing mobile apps.

If Android was based on smalltalk or LISP, or any other OO language that didn't import so much of C++'s brain damage, and they had someone with a modicum of actual design ability involved (and no, aping Apple's UI is not design ability), then it might be a serious competitor to the iPhone.

As it is, all Android's going to do is eat the lunches of WinMo, Symbian, and the rest of the also-rans. It will be what you get on the Chinese iPhone knock-offs.

Anonymous said...

As of Sep 2009 Ballmer owns 408,252,990 shares, or 4.57% of Microsoft. For the record BillG shows as 713,136,862 shares, representing 7.99%. If Bill continues to sell at a million shares a day, Ballmer will be the biggest internal shareholder within 18 months. But as you say, as long as he keeps clipping coupons and saving at Costco he will struggle on with his 1.5mill a year without needing to sell shares.

Get your math right. Microsof pays .52 cents/share in dividends. He makes more than 210 million a year from dividends alone. Since MSFT is buying back shares, Ballmer & Gates will own larger percentage of the company in due course. Microsoft is going to increase dividends every year and you know who the biggest beneficiaries are.

Anonymous said...

I've seen a few previews for Natal, and while it looks like a damned cool device, I have one lingering question:

Is it fun?

Interesting, unique, cool are words I would currently use to describe it. But fun is the one that matters at the end of the day.

As a side note, I've heard the Wii called gimmicky many times, and it is true. I honestly wonder about the number of Wii consoles sitting in a corner because someone bought a gimmick. How many of those people will be lining up to buy into another gimmick? So even assuming that Natal is fun, you have to ask yourself how the Wii is perceived by the public in retrospect.

The way I see it, whomever Microsoft gets to market Natal needs to address those two points: fun and not a gimmick.

Anonymous said...

When MICROSOFT will manage stupid managers?

As they are cause for all the issues.

Anonymous said...

"Thank you, should have checked the proxy statement. As of Sep 2009 Ballmer owns 408,252,990 shares, or 4.57% of Microsoft. For the record BillG shows as 713,136,862 shares, representing 7.99%. If Bill continues to sell at a million shares a day, Ballmer will be the biggest internal shareholder within 18 months. But as you say, as long as he keeps clipping coupons and saving at Costco he will struggle on with his 1.5mill a year without needing to sell shares."

You sure went through a lot of work there just to plant a non issue that is unrelated to this post. 5% and above is just the arbitrary threshold chosen by the SEC for special reporting. Also, Gates doesn't sell 1MM shares a day. He sells approximately 20MM a quarter. Ballmer will become a larger owner if the trend continues, but in 3-4 years not eighteen months. What difference does it make? His ownership percentage isn’t changing, only Bill’s is. And average volume for MS is almost 82MM shares daily. 20MM from Gates, usually spread out over two months and ten or more trading days, isn't affecting the stock either way. It adds to shares in the market, but that's been offset entirely by MS's annual buybacks in recent years.

Anonymous said...

"If you strongly believe he is wrong, escalate to VP level. You take his decision because you also feel like he may be right. Isn't it?"

LOL. I don't know about you, but people in my division don't have the luxury of escalating to VP level... should one of us try our VP would first say "who are you, exactly?" followed immediately thereafter by a note to one of his direct reports saying "fire that bozo for not understanding chain of command."

Escalations at Microsoft don't work, which is why we ship so much garbage. Do you really think nobody in the ranks of WinMo ever tried to tell their management that the product sucked? Of course they did -- but as with most other product units, nobody listens and if you shout too loudly you get branded as a troublemaker.

At Microsoft, if we want to keep our careers on track, we ignore the compulsion to do the right thing and we do whatever will make our managers happy -- and what makes our managers happy is usually whatever makes THEIR managers happy, and so on and so on. That's the modern Microsoft way and it's why our products suck. Make no mistake though -- you're not going to change it. The best thing to do is to leave the company when you can't take it any more.

Anonymous said...

"This is an opportunity to reflect seriously on the company’s overall strategy and whether Steve and the board should be as happy with it as they profess."

You'd have to be an idiot to even like it, far less "love" it.

Anonymous said...

"At last, you should argue with your PM and shouldn't accept whatever decision he make. If you strongly believe he is wrong, escalate to VP level. You take his decision because you also feel like he may be right. Isn't it?"

10 deadly sins arguing with your peer:

10) You are slow to react
9) You don't understand the business
8) You don't care about what customers want
7) You don't listen
6) You are not able to make decision
5) You argue too much
4) You do not let things go
3) You are not able to move forward
2) You are difficult to work with
1) You are not a team player

Anonymous said...

Steve Ballmer doesn't get it

How much longer can the board keep justifying their inaction?

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