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:

«Oldest   ‹Older   401 – 581 of 581
Anonymous said...

“Sure you can sustain cutting back on marketing and personnel, for a year... and eventually you start a downward spiral as your competitors make investments to get market share away from Microsoft.”

Start? The downward spiral for MS began more than five years ago, at least strategically speaking. Even several important market share declines began then (e.g. Windows, IE). Don’t confuse financial results with competitive positioning. The former often flow from past battles won, especially in the technology market. If the last decade has taught anything, it’s that hiring lots of people and spending unprecedented amounts of money doesn’t in fact guarantee success, either current or future. MS tried that and it failed. Apple is now worth more and growing faster. It will take the revenue lead in a couple more quarters, and many would argue it's now better positioned for the future overall. And it did all that while spending 1/8th as much on R&D and having 1/3 the number of employees. The decade of “just throw more people and money at it”, which played a large role in the 50% decline of the stock, is over. Either figure out how to do fewer things much better, or prepare for much larger cutbacks as MS fades away like other former leaders before it.

Anonymous said...

c'mon people, give MS a break.

Project natal being rename to Kinect may be due to 'Kinetic' which conform with project natal theme. This is totally make sense.

But for another Pink now Kin thingy.. that's another story... :)

Anonymous said...

>I likes Sinofsky. He brought discipline.

You are a frog in water. The water is getting hot and will soon reach boiling point. Sinofsky and his PM group are no different. They can't find jobs elsewhere with this model.

Anonymous said...

With apologies to John Lennon ...

Yesterday,
My ten percent, it seemed so far away,
Now it looks as though it’s here to stay,
Oh, I believe in yesterday.

Suddenly,
I'm no longer an FTE,
There's a shadow hanging over me,
Oh, the lay-off came so suddenly.

Why they
Let me go I don't know, they wouldn't say.
I did,
Something wrong, now I long for yesterday.

Yesterday,
The fallen idol showed his feet of clay,
Consequently I don’t want to stay,
No more do I want yesterday.


Here's to brighter tomorrows.

Anonymous said...

"So as you can imagine, calibrations are an absolute nightmare with everyone fighting to keep their folks out of the 10% bracket (unless you had my former boss, who couldn't care less), because 10% now has new secret meanings."

10% has always had secret meanings, it's just become more codified and formalized over the years. "Underperformed" means you're on the fast track to being fired, 10%/Achieved means you have 6 months to a year to figure out how to stay employed.

That's my perspective as a manager. My personal experience:

I got an A/10 two years ago thanks to a sociopathic douchebag of a boss who's since been fired, and it's been a nightmare ever since -- I was trapped for that first year because no other group would even talk to me once they saw the 10%, but I managed to work myself into the good graces of the Partners on my current team and get back at least to the A/70 bucket last year. I've spent months now using every last bit of my network and ability to play the corporate game to talk myself into another team, even though I'm fully capable of flying through an interview loop and have 14-year history of stellar reviews with one single exception.

This whole process has been a total eye-opener about what it means to be saddled with a 10% -- it completely removes the focus from the quality of work you're able to produce and can instantly negate many years worth of strong contributions. You cease to be viewed as a person with strengths and weaknesses and become known as simply "a 10%er".

So yeah -- I managed finally to get an offer from another team, which I've accepted... but I only accepted because I'm going to spend the next few months aggressively looking for a great job outside the company and I'd like to do so while still employed.

Our performance culture is completely broken and seriously toxic.

Anonymous said...

"So as you can imagine, calibrations are an absolute nightmare with everyone fighting to keep their folks out of the 10% bracket (unless you had my former boss, who couldn't care less), because 10% now has new secret meanings."

You've got to be kidding -- Kinect is an obvious dud. For one thing the price point is absolutely insane -- 150 bucks for a peripheral? A launch library limited to a handful of casual games like "Kinectimals"?

Do you really think the majority of Xbox owners are going to be interested in spending a hundred and fifty bucks for this thing given that none of the major game franchises are supporting it at launch?

Is a parent going to spend 400 bucks for the xbox/kinect bundle so their kid can play Kinectimals?

If you can't hear the giant thud about to happen when this thing launches then you really need to step back and look at how much Kool-Aid you're drinking.

Anonymous said...

> So unless Win8 can somehow magically unify Microsoft’s increasingly fragmented mobile strategy

MinWin WinMin WinWin...

Anonymous said...

Just curious, how many of you report to managers who are at the same level (i.e. 64 reporting to 64) and if you are calibrated against your manager for your stack ranking.

Anonymous said...

Just became part of the stealth layoff. Know another guy in the same group who also got it as well.

Also 10+ years of great reviews.

Anonymous said...

RE: The "Hilo" demos on MSDN

So after all the ".NET this" and "Silverlight that" hype, are we actually now telling developers that the best way to write compelling, delightful apps for Windows is to use raw C++ and the native APIs? Really?

Anonymous said...

After HP and its purchase of WebOS it is now Dell's turn to break ranks. They are seriously considering offering machines with ChromeOS pre-installed.
The days of Microsoft's iron grip on its OEMs and partners are over.

Anonymous said...

Hey SteveB was on the FOXX morning news today. The news anchor opens up with "If you think you have a tough job, think of Steve Ballmer, MS CEO. His company has lost $300billion in market value in 10 years ...". Cut to reporter. "So Mr. Ballmer your company has lost 60% of its value during your tenure. Apple has overtaken you in market cap. What are you doing about that?"

SteveB: "Well all WE can do is work hard at creating great products, and selling lots of them. Products like Office 2010 (cut to screenshots of O2010), that can help YOU be more productive"

Gosh darn it I was waiting for "Well, we are behind our competitors in a number of areas, but we are working hard to catch up. Meanwhile I take full responsibility for the current situation"

Like that would ever happen. What an embarrassment.

Anonymous said...

Elope is a sales guy. He rode on Antoine's back. He never acknowledged the great work Antoine did. Sinofsky is going to run Office again one day. When that happens, a lot of nonsensical departments will die.

Anonymous said...

What's the last date one needs to be employed @ MSFT to received the bonus etc. Is it Aug 31st or Sept15th? I am out that day!!!

Follow the policy of "trust no one" and wait until you can see the money in your bank account. Same if you are waiting for stock vesting - wait until it shows up in the brokerage account. It's the only way to be sure.

Anonymous said...

How I hope the economy would improve and I can get out of this hellhole. I have been working like a dog for the last year, going above and beyond my immediate work items, working late nights and weekends and helping others whatever way I can. But still no love from manager. Manager is busy preparing to transition himself to IC because he is an uber geek and does not like being a manager and as a result I am unrepresented in all the calibration meetings that are happening.New manager does not care and is just ramping up.

Was hoping for a promotion after all my hard work but at this rate seems like I should be lucky if I am not 10%. Will not wish this fate even on my worst enemy.

Review period sucks, it is a nightmare, employees are now the enemy for the company and managers who do a quarter of work I have done are plotting on who to screw up behind closed doors. Disgusting, I am willing to take a pay cut and work in a non profit or government so that I can work hard and go home and have a good night sleep without worrying that there are people plotting to put me down and my future hinges on what my manager says about me.

Anyone have tips for 7 year MS dev on software jobs in non profit or government/education sector. I am fine taking a pay cut, just need my peace of mind back. I am 31 but feel like I am 41 and my entire life seems to be on hold, please help!!!

skc said...

I'm amused at how many people in here fall for the more obvious trolls.

I mean you have people actually arguing with a random person on the internet that is claiming that Win8 will eat Apples lunch.

Did it ever occur to you that perhaps the person that made that post is actually a M$ hater looking for laughs?

Geez, people.

Contribute, no doubt, but never, ever forget that this is the internet.

Anonymous said...

"Leave. It's a risk but two 10% are a probability of a lay off/termination."

I am in the same situation, U/10 last year and likely 10% this year, and am surprised to have survived this long. No, I am not that bad an employee and have done well previously, just a poor fit for my team.
Couple of questions:
- if I am terminated is it with a two week notice or do they usually do a PIP first? Or longer than 2 weeks.
- is there any disadvantage to waiting to get terminated instead of leaving on my own? Other than the fact I will be unable to come back to microsoft, but that is already true with my existing 10%.

Anonymous said...

http://www.businessinsider.com/microsofts-business-could-collapse-2010-6

Nuff said.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the Windows PM org, anyone have an opinion on Julie Larson-Green? I remember her making a point to telling the group of GPMs, GMs and other senior folks at Checkpoint 1 last fall to stay off email and play close attention to this very important meeting. Then during the brainstorming sessions she spent the entire two hours on ebay and other ecommerce sites looking at shoes, dresses and jewelery. Totally pissed me off-she could have walked around, talked to people and tried to understand the issues. At least pretend to care. She makes all women execs look bad. The comment about execs looting the company is right on in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Anybody else think David Pann has been brought in to be the fall guy for the inevitable disaster with the Yahoo integration? So Yusuf, Rajat and Satya can cover there asses?

Just sayin.

Anonymous said...

>Microsoft has enough cash to buy technology like that in Kinect (Project Natal) which lets Steve Ballmer look like he's doing something "cool" at Microsoft without actually developing it internally

Yawn, every major tech company buys technology. Do you think Google developed Android entirely in-house?

haha CAPTCHA == depink

Anonymous said...

>We are a strong, focused and smart bunch. Give us 12 months, some decent devs and a couple testers and we WILL beat the Ipad thingy into oblivion.

Give some decent devs and a couple of testers 12 months and they will accomplish everything they would have accomplished with your help. The role of PM is by and large a worthless one. What do they do? Interact with customers? Ohhh wow, that is a tough one, requires lots of 'social intelligence'. (Mis)triage bugs? Since they don't even understand the product/backing code how would they know how to categorize/assign a bug? They don't. Write specs? Hahaha yeah sure they do, and if they do most specs lay unread and useless. Wait maybe they innovate and create new things? No, they prototype half-assed 'me too' ideas they copied from some competitor, or they think really original things like 'hey, we can make money if we slap some ads in this bitch'. They are useless, actually worse than useless since they take money from the BU that could be MUCH better spent elsewhere. I am sure there are some good ones out there, but the overwhelming douchery and incompetence of them as a whole overshadow any good ones that may exist.

Anonymous said...

What's this new "listening tour" by LisaB ?

Anonymous said...

"Just curious, how many of you report to managers who are at the same level (i.e. 64 reporting to 64) and if you are calibrated against your manager for your stack ranking."

This is true for a lot of the company. 62s-64s are in the same 'level band' and get stacked together (i.e. fight for the 20s and 70s). Same with 65-67's, so yes, if your manager is in the same level band, s/he takes one more 20-70 spot that is not available to you. HR should see this - but they don't want to look - the less they see the less they have to defend. Many VP's give their 65-67 direct reports the 20s - 70s available, and then let their directs with level 65s-66s under the directs take the 10s, so the VP's can get good WHI. The first level partner band is 68-70 (GMs), and not nearly as many 10s are handed out in that level band, from what I've heard.

Anonymous said...

What do you guys have against PMs? We are a strong, focused and smart bunch. Give us 12 months, some decent devs and a couple testers and we WILL beat the Ipad thingy into oblivion.

Go away troll. You've had your chance for the last 5+ years and F. A. I. L. E. D.

Anonymous said...

You've got to be kidding -- Kinect is an obvious dud. For one thing the price point is absolutely insane -- 150 bucks for a peripheral? A launch library limited to a handful of casual games like "Kinectimals"?

Truest words on the blog today. This product fails at $150. At $99, it shows signs of life. At $49, it flies off the shelves.

Anonymous said...

McCartney wrote Yesterday.

Anonymous said...

“It closes out by saying that ~12% of shares are owned by a further 19individuals, who are executives, officers, directors (or other parasites), but they are not specifically named.”

That isn’t a further 19. It’s beneficial owners among “our directors and all executive officers as a group”, which includes the group members above it. Therefore total beneficial ownership for the group is 12.82% and individual owners are identified for more than 12.6% of it. Your typing speed is fine, it's your reading comprehension that could use some work.

Back to my question. Who are the other 11 individuals who own 12.18% to get to your 25% of the dividend benefits just 30 people?

Anonymous said...

Just became part of the stealth layoff. Know another guy in the same group who also got it as well.
Also 10+ years of great reviews.

WHAT GROUPS are you folks coming from? help those on their way out and don't know it yet.

Anonymous said...

"...No, I am not that bad an employee and have done well previously, just a poor fit for my team..." Couple of questions:
- if I am terminated is it with a two week notice or do they usually do a PIP first? Or longer than 2 weeks. ANSWER: SEEN BOTH, Might get a warning letter with no dates to cure, just a document that you've been "underperforming". PIP's seen by legal as a CONTRACT of employment so they are shying away from using these. They don't typically "fire" with 2 weeks notice. You may be lucky to get 2 minutes notice to clean out your office. They may pay out two weeks (or more, per any other severance, espeically if you're over 40) but that's it. Once they've fired you, they take your blue badge right there. In 2009 a few folks under the big RIF got to keep badges for 8 weeks while they looked for other work. This January 2009 situation doesn't seem to be happening anymore.
- is there any disadvantage to waiting to get terminated instead of leaving on my own? Other than the fact I will be unable to come back to microsoft, but that is already true with my existing 10%.

A: How important is many months of UNEMPLOYMENT insurance to you? If you quit, you do not qualify for many months of unemployment insurance.

Anonymous said...

I completely disagree. What do you guys have against PMs? We are a strong, focused and smart bunch. Give us 12 months, some decent devs and a couple testers and we WILL beat the Ipad thingy into oblivion.

I left Microsoft a while ago. Thanks for reminding me why I hate PMs.

Anonymous said...

>> Give us 12 months, some decent devs and a couple testers and we
>> WILL beat the Ipad thingy into oblivion.

You are yet to beat iPhone 1.0 "into oblivion", and it's on version 4 already. Besides, even if you could figure out the software side (which I argue no one at Microsoft can), what are you going to do about the hardware?

Anonymous said...

>> MSR has not produced any impact despite billions spent

I bet folks in Bing, AdCenter, SQL and other "higher tech" groups would very much disagree. Problem is, 80% of what Microsoft does is essentially sustained engineering of 15+ years old codebases. You don't really need MSR for that.

Anonymous said...

To the 10% folks - I was at MS for ten years, busted my butt, had a great time... then joined the most seriously dysfunctional org - EVER. Yes, Mobile, I'm referring to YOU.

I got an A/10 last year... received double digit bonus, great stock, won a VP award and was taken to lunch by the VP, won a GM nominated award - and got 10%. All politics.

After an agonizing year which put me in the hospital due to stress made me realize this crap aint worth my time, so I took drastic measures... I QUIT. I refuse to have another 10% on my record, or a termiation, or suffer the politics any longer. Within the week of giving my notice I landed a contract job in an area I love, increased my annual salary significantly, and get to work 40 hours a week - w00t!

Life is too short to put up with moronic behavior, and there are great groups within MS, as well as great opportunities at other companies... don't be afraid to take the plunge, don't let A-holes take away your self respect, and know that somewhere out there... a great job is waiting for you! You just need to pick yourself up by your bootstraps and get out there looking!

Anonymous said...

>> if I am terminated is it with a two week notice or do they usually do a PIP first? Or longer than 2 weeks.

You'll have maybe less than a day. There is no notice - we're all "at will" employees.

Anonymous said...

>Speaking of the Windows PM org, anyone have an opinion on Julie Larson-Green? I remember her making a point to telling the group of GPMs, GMs and other senior folks at Checkpoint 1 last fall to stay off email and play close attention to this very important meeting. Then during the brainstorming sessions she spent the entire two hours on ebay and other ecommerce sites looking at shoes, dresses and jewelery.

She is the best PM from Office. Fortunately for Google and Apple Sinofsky invented a method to reward hacks.

Anonymous said...

Look at JLG to cary the can [rightfully so] for the Window's orgs horrible MSPoll results and awful planning process.

She spent CP2 joking with her friends at the golden table of plenty and shopping on her phone.

As a group they claim to have evolved the Windows org' from old-school cronyism to a new order.

I suspect that this is rather like Aliens taking over a Borg cube but maybe that's just me.

Anonymous said...

>Random person on the internet that is claiming that Win8 will eat Apples lunch

Are you kidding? You know what, Win8 and Office will spank Google and Apple. You need one strategy Sinofsky is da man to lead Windows and Office.

Anonymous said...

I wrote about the 'Kin...' naming mistake earlier. It looks like I'm not the only person who thinks that MSFT needs to develop good product-naming skills:

http://www.reddit.com/r/reddit.com/comments/ci9pe/i_actually_like_microsoft_quite_a_bit_especially/

Anonymous said...

(How I hope the economy would improve and I can get out of this hellhole)

are you in India or Redmond ?

Anonymous said...

Is Kin going to be retained?

Anonymous said...

"She makes all women execs look bad."

You were making a reasonable point until you undermined it with this.

Anonymous said...

Just became part of the stealth layoff.

Better to leave with severance than being taken the 10% route.

Anonymous said...

No of ipads sold : 3 million
no of Kins sold : 500
http://tamsppc.tamoggemon.com/2010/06/20/businessinsider-microsoft-has-sold-but-500-kins/

Why does Microsoft keep embarassing itself

Anonymous said...

Therefore it does not hurt you to stick around, do a reasonable amount of work, and "wait to get fired" if that's what's going on, since being fired or laid off won't hurt you when looking for future employment. Nobody will know if you don't tell them.

Depending on who/what/where, that's a gamble.

Waiting to get fired is a good way to get hated by your management and yours peers. Folks remember and word can get around.

If you're going to move on, do it in a professional way.

Anonymous said...

Know the price of Kin2 on Amazon.
It was 499 a month before and now it sells for 1 cent. Maybe it should be named MSFT instead of Kin

Anonymous said...

Bing offers to donate $2,500 to a charity of Stephen's choice every time he says the word "bing."

No wonder the Online business is loo$ing money

Anonymous said...

Wow Microsoft could have hired a dev for 100K but chose to do this

http://www.examiner.com/x-18349-Late-Night-Talk-Shows-Examiner~y2010m6d9-Stephen-Colbert-demonstrates-how-to-kick-BP-ass-and-Bing-up--for-Gulf-Fund-VIDEO

Nothing speaks stupidity like Microsoft does

Anonymous said...

Disgusting, I am willing to take a pay cut and work in a non profit or government so that I can work hard and go home and have a good night sleep without worrying that there are people plotting to put me down and my future hinges on what my manager says about me.

Advice: Be prepared to look long and hard, know the cultures of the orgs you're applying to (some view MS at best as a necessary evil) and know in advance how you're going to answer the salary questions (what did you make on your last job, what range are you looking for, etc.). And be ready to explain what you see about the org that balances out the cut in pay in case they ask, why are you willing to take such a large cut? In my case, I left it completely open although I did disclose my MS salary level when employers asked, to indicate the level of my skills.

After about a year of search after being one of the 5000, I finally found a great opportunity. It requires accepting a 50% pay cut, but I get one Friday a month off, an extra week of leave, a 37.5 hour work week that will give me time to go to grad school at night, a discount card that gets me discounts no less useful than Prime, a saner review culture, and just 2 levels between me and the org's top decision maker. And I'm able to contribute directly to the community in which I live.

All things being equal, I'd rather do the hard long hours and be on the fast track because I have the technical skills to do great things, but since the fast track at Microsoft requires an uninterrupted not-insignificant stroke of luck just as much as or more than it requires performance, I think I'll take a rest from the politics, and focus on technical excellence in the non-corporate arena for a while.

Anonymous said...

I completely disagree. What do you guys have against PMs? We are a strong, focused and smart bunch. Give us 12 months, some decent devs and a couple testers and we WILL beat the Ipad thingy into oblivion.

Amen. PM does a lot. PM looks at competition, creates vision and drives the group. PM evangelizes the product. Look at Sinofsky. He redefined Office and Windows.

Anonymous said...

As reported by Globes, Moshe Lichtman, Microsoft corporate vice president and head of Israel R&D said:

I can't believe that Lichtman is still around. He has presided over multiple MS TV disasters and wasted hundreds of millions. Another example of 'friends of Steve'.

Anonymous said...

>> 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.

[E&D Substitute your org here]. There's too big a gap between those doing the engineering and those doing the strategic planning. It's a gap with many aspects, but the chief of them is motivation.

In many cases, its been a long time since any of the planners did any actual engineering, if they ever did. They're driven by scorecard health which is rewarded with very big bonuses. They are relied upon to portray an accurate picture of what's going on through these scorecards.

But that's not what happens. Instead, there is scorecard reality ("see, everything's green") and *real* reality as experienced by the troops. Any attempt to reconcile the two realities are met with "Negative - not a team player" by the guardians of the scorecard. Ask me how I know.

Last year, I had a skip-level with the person who reports directly to our VP for my division. The degree to which the two realities differed was staggering, both to him and to me. This person's comment was "I can't be effective if people lie to me.", "people" meaning the mostly partner-level layer below him and above me.

I appreciated his candor, but in that moment I totally got it: it's impossible to execute effectively if there is a layer in the chain that is almost exclusively driven by self-interest (duh). You simply won't get the information you need to make the appropriate strategic decisions. If the reward for senior managers is large amounts of cash, the people you'll attract are those motivated by... large amounts of cash. You'll also have conflict between those who are all about the technology, and their senior managers. The latter group always wins.

While I'm not sure where "scorecards" come from I can guess: top executives who want a simple way to measure things they don't understand. Because its just not the same as selling toothpaste, apparently. So they entrust those doing the measuring with defining the criteria to be measured.

There isn't going to be much laughter and genuine "woohoo!" as in times (long) gone by until incentives are changed to do the right thing for the product.

Easy to do - get rid of the several hundred thousands dollars *individual* annual bonuses. The rank and file don't get them, and I'm having a hard time believing that the folks that do get them are worth it.

Anonymous said...

"Chief Executive Carol Bartz commiserated with shareholders at the Internet giant's annual meeting Thursday, acknowledging that the company's stock price has lagged.

However, Bartz pledged to significantly improve margins, seal a key search partnership with Microsoft Corp. and prudently manage the company's Asian investments in such a way that will add shareholder value in the near future.

"We also think that at $14, $15, $16, Yahoo is too low," Bartz said in response to a shareholder query about the stock's price."

Wanna bet Steveb ain't gonna go near the stock at MS’s?

Anonymous said...

Windows Phone 7 will be an 'ad-serving machine'
http://blog.seattlepi.com/microsoft/archives/212394.asp

Windows Phone 7, due out for the holidays, will allow advertisers to push notifications about their products to people's phones through a platform called "Toast." Even when a company's app is not active, a small ad box can slide down from the top of the phone's screen to alert the user there's an update or new offer from that brand.


Is this the worst ever move by MS? I think they just killed WM7 without even shipping it!

Anonymous said...

There are three type of PMs at Microsoft. H(e)PM, S(he)PM and G(oat)PM.

Sinofsky and Larson Green are HPMs.
Chris Jones is GPM
PJ Hought is SPM

Most of Office PMs are Goat PMs

Anonymous said...

Mini, can we open a topic on what is wrong with adcenter? This will be a very good one.

Anonymous said...

What do you guys have against PMs? We are a strong, focused and smart bunch. Give us 12 months, some decent devs and a couple testers and we WILL beat the Ipad thingy into oblivion.

Apple has sold 3 million iPads in 80 days. Sales of the iPad are *accelerating*. You don't have 12 months.

Anonymous said...

I mean you have people actually arguing with a random person on the internet that is claiming that Win8 will eat Apples lunch.



Did it ever occur to you that perhaps the person that made that post is actually a M$ hater looking for laughs?


The moment you actually typed "M$", your argument lost all credibility.

Anonymous said...

Windows Phone 7 at Cannes

http://www.engadget.com/2010/06/24/windows-phone-7s-october-release-casually-mentioned-in-microsof/

Anonymous said...

There used to be saying "An Apple a Day keeps the doctor away". The new revised version states "Apple everyday keeps Microsoft at Bay".

Microsoft has a market cap of $215 billion. Apple has a market cap of $250.

Its amazing what a competent CEO can achieve.Ballmer needs to take a lesson from Bach. Do the whole company a favor and RETIRE!!

However, the next big question is who would replace Ballmer?

Anonymous said...

This blog is a life savior, especially in this toxic environment at MS. Thanks for the good work Mini.

Anonymous said...

2nd week of July...

senderista said...

Hey, Julie brought me a bagel once when I was stuck in an elevator for an hour and a half (the door was stuck open about 4 inches). I thought that was pretty classy :)

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the Windows PM org, anyone have an opinion on Julie Larson-Green?
-----------------------

Yea, the other high-ranking women. The only fun part of suffering through the women's forum a few years back (the biggest waste of time and most concentrated pack of lies at MS, which is saying something) was watching the other female execs turn on her as a pack and chop her down to size by reminding her that before she got fast-tracked at MS, she was Baller's aerobics instructor.

She's such a favorite of Ballmer's that she was given a lifetime achievement award when Jim Gray - the father of the transaction and a turing award winner - had to share one with his team-mates.

net/net, worthless but deadly, just like all Friends Of Steve.

Anonymous said...

I tired of all this negativity. I think Microsoft is doing a very good job and has many excellent products in the pipeline. Per Bill Gates - the best software has not yet been written. I have full confidence in MS teams to produce World Class products for the best customer experience (more people in the World use our products in the office/home than anywhere else - nobody has a better product base than Microsoft for spreadsheet, server and writing documents for productivity). All these doomsayers are a small minority. Microsoft is the premier World source for software innovation and will continue for many years to come - into the 22nd century. Our platforms are 2nd to none. (if you don't think so we are running on the majority of the Worlds PCs). The PC is evolving and MS will be there - if you don't think so listen and watch.

I personally think the MS review system is very good - alot better than most corporates around the world. If you are a whiner and don't have good inter-personal, impact - influence, cross group skills you deserve what you get.

Steve B will continue to lead the company as CEO and do a great job. The overall economy is key for IT corporate / home PC - software/hardware purchases - a renewed buying cycle is in the near future works. So don't count out Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

" And it wouldn’t have spread its resources over WM6.5, WM7, WP7, Kin, and Danger. "

I disagree. As programmer, I found MS is pretty successful in creating overlap.

For example, MS introduce both LINQ to SQL and LINQ to Entity is a good decision.

Without LINQ to SQL, it is hard to tell how many people will wait 5-10 years for LINQ to entity become useful.

I guess if "WM6.5, WM7, WP7, Kin, and Danger" at the end will end up with the same goal. It is good for MS not to ask us to wait 5-10 years for MS to deliver the phone which MS think is the best.

Anonymous said...

That isn’t a further 19. It’s beneficial owners among “our directors and all executive officers as a group”, which includes the group members above it. Therefore total beneficial ownership for the group is 12.82% and individual owners are identified for more than 12.6% of it. Your typing speed is fine, it's your reading comprehension that could use some work.

Back to my question. Who are the other 11 individuals who own 12.18% to get to your 25% of the dividend benefits just 30 people?


OK, PR boy, who are they? Apparently that information is not publicly available.

Back in the day, the situation at Microsoft was called 'the poison pill'. That is takeover or shareholder action is stymied by friendly shareholdings, by shareholders who have their snouts in the trough. And whether its 11 or 19 or 42 snouts, its still relatively few snouts in 8.8 billion shareholders, most of whom get zippo.

And further, can you explain how BillG, arguably a lifelong ruthless, conniving and merciless competitor, suddenly woke up one day and became a benefactor to humanity? More like he sensed he is mortal after all and decided to move his money beyond the reach of the taxman and make sure his family/legacy/fortune is locked away nicely, hence "The Foundation".

BTW YOU never answered my question about ceteris paribus. Knew it or googled it? I am guessing the latter ...

Anonymous said...

McCartney wrote Yesterday.

Well he claimed the credit for it. McCartney was a composer, Lennon was a poet.

Anonymous said...

I tired of all this negativity. I think Microsoft is doing a very good job and has many excellent products in the pipeline. Per Bill Gates - the best software has not yet been written. I have full confidence in MS teams to produce World Class products for the best customer experience (more people in the World use our products in the office/home than anywhere else - nobody has a better product base than Microsoft for spreadsheet, server and writing documents for productivity). All these doomsayers are a small minority. Microsoft is the premier World source for software innovation and will continue for many years to come - into the 22nd century. Our platforms are 2nd to none. (if you don't think so we are running on the majority of the Worlds PCs). The PC is evolving and MS will be there - if you don't think so listen and watch.

I personally think the MS review system is very good - alot better than most corporates around the world. If you are a whiner and don't have good inter-personal, impact - influence, cross group skills you deserve what you get.

Steve B will continue to lead the company as CEO and do a great job. The overall economy is key for IT corporate / home PC - software/hardware purchases - a renewed buying cycle is in the near future works. So don't count out Microsoft.


Amen! You go LisaB! Good luck with the listening tour. But a quick tip: try not to do email while 'listening', it undermines your credibility.

Anonymous said...

Windows Phone 7 will be an 'ad-serving machine'

Is this the worst ever move by MS? I think they just killed WM7 without even shipping it!

When I first saw the headline, I assumed it was an article bashing Microsoft. Like we were caught trying to sneak ads in there.

But no. That's *us* saying that.

How much worse can this get?

Anonymous said...

Yes, self-criticism is necessary, but also a positive view on things doesnt hurt once in a while
http://blogs.technet.com/b/microsoft_blog/archive/2010/06/25/microsoft-by-the-numbers.aspx

Anonymous said...

Steve B will continue to lead the company as CEO and do a great job. The overall economy is key for IT corporate / home PC - software/hardware purchases - a renewed buying cycle is in the near future works. So don't count out Microsoft.

It is a given Microsoft will be around led by the nose of the next buying cycle of PCs preloaded with Windows and Office.

Windows and Office piggybacking on new PCs is something that happens regardless of anything Steve Ballmer is doing.

Enjoy the Kool-aid.

Anonymous said...

Yawn, every major tech company buys technology. Do you think Google developed Android entirely in-house?

haha CAPTCHA == depink


Besides Kinect, what else does Microsoft have that people are excited about?

HP Slate? (cancelled)

Kin?

Zune?

Bing?

Yawn.

Anonymous said...

She is the best PM from Office She is a good manager and a good person. She had the vision and depth to drive the ribbon. Some one mentioned JLG worked with SteveB. She has more technical depth than the other talking heads of Office viz PJ and Pratley.

Anonymous said...

To the 10% folks - I was at MS for ten years, busted my butt, had a great time... then joined the most seriously dysfunctional org - EVER. Yes, Mobile, I'm referring to YOU.

Thanks a bunch for this post.
Mobile org sucks big time.

Anonymous said...

Amen. PM does a lot. PM looks at competition, creates vision and drives the group. PM evangelizes the product. Look at Sinofsky. He redefined Office and Windows.

Some PMs do a lot.

Some are like migrant farm workers that bounce from product group to product group never sticking around to ship a product.

Some find meeting customers fun but can't find time to write the customers' requirements into specifications. The Dev usually ends up writing one to match the code and the PM puts their name on it.

Some PM's are responsible for specifying multiple features across different projects within the same product. If they don't make time for the features for which your project is responsible, the Dev gets to write the spec and the PM puts their name on it. If there are cross product group dependencies, the Dev is on their own to work them out. If the required features are considered a low priority by the other product group, it is just another reminder of how mismanaged the project is by the PM.

With everyone else picking up the slack, a PM's manager would think they got a lot done.

Anonymous said...

Is Kin going to be retained?

They could call it "Ha! Ha! We made you buy a Zune.".

Steve Ballmer: "We'll put the music player in the phone. When everybody in the world buys our phone, nobody needs an iPod."

Maybe they'll create an ad campaign where incongruously cheerful people wearing sweaters suggest organizing a Kin party.

Anonymous said...

Depending on who/what/where, that's a gamble. ... Waiting to get fired is a good way to get hated by your management and yours peers. Folks remember and word can get around. ... If you're going to move on, do it in a professional way.

That's why I wrote "do a reasonable amount of work." Many people being pushed out of the company are tasked with impossible goals which nobody could accomplish even if they worked 100 hours/week. It's just to create justification for firing, but a lot of people don't realize that at the time and are not used to failure and will nearly kill themselves trying to meet the goals.

So, if you are being pushed out, keep putting in your 40 hours. If you can't accomplish your goals in that time, just tell your lead (politely) that you can't put in more hours. Your coworkers will respect you for being professional and putting in the 40 hours/week, and your lead will probably respect you MORE for standing up to him and refusing to work what amounts to unpaid overtime.

So, in summary, if you basically know you're going to get fired, keep working, keep being professional, but at the same time start interviewing with other companies.

And realize that you have "nothing to lose." You can speak your mind to anybody without worrying about the consequences to your career. (Because what are they going to do, fire you??) And this is probably actually the best strategy for keeping your job--if your management chain starts to see you as confident, outspoken individual who doesn't put up with bulls***, they are more likely to keep you on the team and maybe give you a promotion. Whereas if they can give you unreasonable tasks and you just try and fail at them, they'll think you're a loser and not think twice about firing you.

Anonymous said...

"I personally think the MS review system is very good - alot better than most corporates around the world. If you are a whiner and don't have good inter-personal, impact - influence, cross group skills you deserve what you get."

OK, if nothing else identifies you as a non-employee it's this comment. I've been at the company for over 15 years, and I have yet to meet a single person who thinks the MS review system is anything but broken... even those who place highly. It's a shitty system that emphasizes personal accomplishment over teamwork, and it's become much worse over the last few years.

Maybe you've just been at the company for a year and did very well -- in which case I'd cut you some slack. But I'm a manager and I dread review season every year because it forces me to lie to 75% of my employees -- few people get what they actually deserve at Microsoft these days.

Anonymous said...

Amen. PM does a lot. PM looks at competition, creates vision and drives the group. PM evangelizes the product. Look at Sinofsky. He redefined Office and Windows.

Whatever. It would be great if PMs were interested enough in computers and their own products to check out the competition. But the PMs I know aren't. What product do you work on?

Windows? So, do you have a Mac at home? Have you tried switching to Linux? ... IE? How many days/week do you use Firefox? Chrome? ... Office? How many specs have you written using Google Docs or OpenOffice Writer? ... XBox? How many hours have you spent playing PlayStation 3? ... Windows Mobile? Did you go out and get an HTC EVO or an iPhone 4? ... etc. etc.

There's a reason why Microsoft suffers from such a crippling not-invented-here problem and it's because PMs just don't care enough about what they do to even be curious about the competition. Your idea of "researching" the competition is to read a couple articles about it in PC Magazine at the beginning of your product cycle, or maybe pressing a few buttons on your friend's Mac when you meet him for coffee. Sorry, but every developer at Microsoft has done at least as much "research" and probably a lot more.

Anonymous said...

@I personally think the MS review system is very good - alot better than most corporates around the world. If you are a whiner and don't have good inter-personal, impact - influence, cross group skills you deserve what you get.

>>> You must be the one who got good reviews without much efforts OR must be a true case.

>>> How much experience do you have with other corporates? Name some...that will help others...they definitely rated you based on your actual performance.

@Steve B will continue to lead the company as CEO and do a great job. The overall economy is key for IT corporate / home PC - software/hardware purchases - a renewed buying cycle is in the near future works. So don't count out Microsoft.

>>> one suggestion, post this again with your IDENTITY and show the article to STEVE B, you will get good rewards. He may not be aware about his achievements as you are for last 10 years company's growth.

>>> Why economy only impacting MS since last 10 years? Something wrong with the economy.

>>> Dude don't give GYAN... people have enough.

skc said...

>>The moment you actually typed "M$", your argument lost all credibility.<<

The moment you failed to recognize sarcasm you became one of the gullible people I was describing

Anonymous said...

"I personally think the MS review system is very good - alot better than most corporates around the world. If you are a whiner and don't have good inter-personal, impact - influence, cross group skills you deserve what you get"

I hope you never have to eat your words. The review system is good as long as you have a good manager and get decent reviews. All it takes is 1 bad maanger and you can kiss your career bye. Most people are untouched by the harsher unjust unethical side of the review system.

Anonymous said...

"Depending on who/what/where, that's a gamble. Waiting to get fired is a good way to get hated by your management and yours peers. Folks remember and word can get around. If you're going to move on, do it in a professional way."

Boy, if that were true. I was a 9 year veteran, 4.0 - 4.5, awards the whole package. I left professionally, giving several weeks notice, leaving with a good reputation, great scores and a great last review (mostly written by a former manager). I have to tell you it meant nothing to the Company to be "professional" about leaving.

Partner-level manager I had at time I left was unhappy that I chose to leave, and made it their personal business to retaliate against me after leaving, including attempting to influence future emmployement, and giving the impression to the team I left of implied performance based reasons that necessitated an all-of-a-sudden departure. Despite several weeks notice, it turns out s/he waited to tell HR/the team until the last day I was there, to reduce (eliminate) my contact with HR, which shows the Partners know how to 'play' HR too. -Do you really think a level 62 HR-generalist is going to press too hard to ask a level 70 Partner the details at to why a "valued employee" left? (To be fair, I've been in meetings where even Partner level people will not ask SteveB to clarify Kafka-esque statements.) Everyone is afraid to ask the 'hard' questions managing upward. "Steve, about that 2007 comment that iPhones would not sell - what have you learned..?".
Your leaving is all about dollars and cents to the Company. Executives don't care about future cost to the company. It's all about cutting costs now, which is what their bonses are paid on. Microsoft is so big that it can't care about individuals, "valued employees", or long term costs of departing employees to he company; my impression is that the individuals are routinely sacrificed for the convenience of the 'system',"...just keep the lid on...". Leave on your own terms, but you will get nothing more for being "professional" versus staying around to collect any severance or unemployment - and potentially that will help your resume too - shortening any unemployment gap. Company will not "thank you". They want you to leave and as cheaply as possible. They want you to 'feel' that 10% is a bad thing, that you'll meekly go away cheaply, versus offering you severance. It will take a major lawsuit before change, but meanwhile its in the financial and personal interest of the SLT to keep costs low. They'll be retired in Hunts Point, when that costly lawsuit hits, due to retalitory and unequal treatment they support against "Ten Percenters", and just do not care the damage to the long term value of the Company.

The truth is it simply doesn't matter outside MS unless you want to go work for the Gates Foundation; specific references count - make sure you cultivate references that you can take with you - even from previous teams and networks - even others who have left MS. Do what is right for you. The teams you leave don't automatically become your friends because you left "professionally" versus being RIF'd out.

Anonymous said...

You've got to be kidding -- Kinect is an obvious dud. For one thing the price point is absolutely insane -- 150 bucks for a peripheral? A launch library limited to a handful of casual games like "Kinectimals"?

Truest words on the blog today. This product fails at $150. At $99, it shows signs of life. At $49, it flies off the shelves.


Bundle Kinect with the XBox. If you buy XBox, you get Kinect for no additional charge.

Developers would rather commit resources to something that comes with every XBox instead of something a gamer may or may not have.

Anonymous said...

Our platforms are 2nd to none. (if you don't think so we are running on the majority of the Worlds PCs).

QWERTY keyboard... even though the key arrangement slows one's typing we a stuck with it because everyone knows it.

Ditto Windows and Office. Regardless of whether they are any good, people will keep on buying them because this is the software they are familiar with.

You can thank Windows 95 and Office 97 for that dominance.

Of course that's also a problem as you can't change much without causing the customer to make a fresh comparison with the competition.

So the success or otherwise of new iterations of Windows and Office is marked by the answer to this question: is the market-share growing or shrinking?

If you are losing market-share this is bad news as the network-effect that keeps people buying Windows and Office is undermined.

Anonymous said...

Apple lovers, MS haters, and so forth.

Ok, Steve Jobs comes down to the model shop in person, talks with the designers, evaluates the prototypes, dictates direction and most of all: he has the guts to ignore main stream thinking and the payoff is huge. Ipad sales accelerating... already at 3M, 4GS Iphone sales melting down AT&T servers, analysts upset (look like idiots whenever a new product comes out), looking for revenge.. I for one am starting to ignore these analysts, very liberating.

There's been enough talk about the risk avoidance-reward behaviour and it certainly isn't effective... Getting your hands dirty (ie strong technical leadership) would be nice also... rather than trying to wrap it all in a marketing fog..

Anonymous said...

The role of PM is by and large a worthless one. What do they do? Interact with customers? Ohhh wow, that is a tough one, requires lots of 'social intelligence'. (Mis)triage bugs? Since they don't even understand the product/backing code how would they know how to categorize/assign a bug? They don't. Write specs? Hahaha yeah sure they do, and if they do most specs lay unread and useless. Wait maybe they innovate and create new things? No, they prototype half-assed 'me too' ideas they copied from some competitor, or they think really original things like 'hey, we can make money if we slap some ads in this bitch'. They are useless, actually worse than useless since they take money from the BU that could be MUCH better spent elsewhere. I am sure there are some good ones out there, but the overwhelming douchery and incompetence of them as a whole overshadow any good ones that may exist.

Amen cannot agree more, Bunch of copy cats trying me to me to with no innovation at all ( except for windows and office pms ), Any PM's with no patents or innovation ideas should be reflected in reviews

Anonymous said...

We are a strong, focused and smart bunch. Give us 12 months, some decent devs and a couple testers and we WILL beat the Ipad thingy into oblivion.

Would've. Could've. Didn't.

The sad thing is that you've already had your twelve months. You've had three years and you're still not competing with the iPhone. You've missed the iPad completely, and there's nothing to indicate that another twelve months would help you.

Microsoft can beat the iPad, but only by having a brilliant idea that strikes out in a new direction. Don't bother competing with the existing product from Apple. Compete with the product they haven't released yet.

Anonymous said...

What's with Microsoft and mobile? Rumors that Kin has sold only 500 units and now the price is reduced to $50 and $30. I can only hope this is all part of Microsoft's grand plan to show OEMs they are still relevant to Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

I personally think the MS review system is very good - alot better than most corporates around the world. If you are a whiner and don't have good inter-personal, impact - influence, cross group skills you deserve what you get.

Spoken like a guy in for a hella surprise when he gets 10 percented in a few years unless he's a partner. And if you are a partner then we all understand why you think the review system is pretty okay.

Can't say I ever received more innacurate reviews anywhere else in the industry myself and it wasn't because my manager didn't have a full dossier of my accomplishments to chose from to defend me in calibration meetings.

If your manager's a loser, you lose, almost always regardless of your personal skillset. If your manager doesn't like you through no fault of your own, your manager can burn you at the stake for being in his office when he stubbed his toe, and prevent you from leaving his team because you're a troublemaker who might cause another manager to stub his toe.

Anonymous said...

The role of PM is by and large a worthless one. What do they do? Interact with customers? Ohhh wow, that is a tough one, requires lots of 'social intelligence'. (Mis)triage bugs? Since they don't even understand the product/backing code how would they know how to categorize/assign a bug?


Now I know what this is about. Surely a case of sour grapes! Although I'm privileged to work with a few developers/testers who recognize my talent and motivation , I've realized that the vast majority are jealous of us PM.

As someone rightly stated, a PM does provides vision for a product. Without the PM, there would be chaos. PM is usually a 20%er, while developer and tester is 70%er or 10%er. If you disagree, take a hard look at your org's bonus distribution and career velocities. The numbers don't lie.

Anonymous said...

I want to comment on the whole 10% situation.

I was given a 10% by a former a$$hole manager who misled me the entire year before dropping the bomb on me the day of the discussion. This was in 2007, I think. I had gotten another 3.0 from him the year before, so at this point, I thought my MS career was basically over. It is almost as-if he had made it his mission to run me out.

Then, a miracle happened. In a re-org/power shuffle, he was forced to leave the team, I got a new manager, and the following year, ended up with a promotion. I basically went from the abyss to the top of the mountain. I have since been a solid A/70, getting decent amounts of stock/bonus the last couple of years and looking forward another good review this year.

The moral of the story is, a 10% situation can be turned-around, but it takes some luck and good fortune. I will admit that's exactly what happened in my case. Without that re-org and new manager, I was surely going to get managed out.

Of course, another factor is that things are probably more cutthroat now. Whereas you could get away with a 10% 3-4 years ago, it seems that we're more in a 1 and done mode now.

So, good luck to everyone.

Anonymous said...

Since we are discussing a review system...
Does "Limited" usually mean "10% Achieved" or "10% Underperformed"?
Or it might mean either way?

Anonymous said...

@2nd week of July...

Location & Source???

Anonymous said...

I have decided to call it quits from MS and move on to another world...It is not because i hate ms or the politics as it would be naive to say so...

I'm doing it because i don't seem to break out of the IC mode and become a "senior"/cross group colloboration/fancy power point guy...I also hate that some of the folks who are not strong IC's but just good at "presenting" are being pushed forward (and im not just talking pm's here)...

I decided that if being a strong IC is not good enough to advance in career, i might find some other place to do so...




and definitely a big thanks to mini for insprit

Anonymous said...

> I completely disagree. What do you guys have against PMs? We are a strong, focused and smart bunch. Give us 12 months, some decent devs and a couple testers and we WILL beat the Ipad thingy into oblivion.

Typical Microsoft arrogance. Give it up.

Anonymous said...

"Wanna bet Steveb ain't gonna go near the stock at MS’s?"

Will he still be CEO by then? Don’t think so.

Anonymous said...

If your manager is in the same level (or even the same level band) s/he will be calibrated with you. That doesn't give your manager carte blanche to save his/her self and screw you. Once I sat in a calibration where a lead tried to give an IC (at the same level) a 10%. After listening to the facts, we decided it was partly management and we give the IC 70L instead. After this the leads left the room and the principals calibrated the leads. We gave the same mediocre 70L score to the lead due to his crappy handling of the IC.

Anonymous said...

Better to leave with severance than being taken the 10% rout

What's the different? Do you qualify for unemployment benefit either ways?

Anonymous said...

"However, the next big question is who would replace Ballmer?"

Who’s going to fire him? The board? No way, they’re puppets. Gates? No, he was supporting him publically as recently as this month. Investors? The odds have gone up this year, but over Gates objections? Not likely. Even if Gates is forced to throw him under a bus, Bill’s support will be required for any new candidate. And Bill isn’t likely to approve a complete outsider. He’d probably try and get Raikes to come back or settle for one of the 2-3 possible SLT candidates.

It’s too bad, because Ballmer should have been removed at least five years ago. And with each passing year the company’s future prospects diminish. MS is in a bad position. You have a founder who has all but moved on. A board that thinks handing out softball assignments like “tell us what you learned from the recession” is being diligent. And a CEO who really does cares about the company’s future, but unfortunately lacks the ability to get it there successfully and the self awareness to realize that and take himself out.

Anonymous said...

"I guess if "WM6.5, WM7, WP7, Kin, and Danger" at the end will end up with the same goal. It is good for MS not to ask us to wait 5-10 years for MS to deliver the phone which MS think is the best."

I'd agree if MS:

- had no competitors
- those companies weren't delivering the capabilities of MS's 5-10 year roadmap today, or at worst in another year or two
- MS was aiming to be a niche player.

But since none of those are true, it makes no sense and has contributed to the current #5 result.

MS should have one phone OS spanning consumer through business and probably slate. If it becomes a leader then further segmentation might make sense, but not before. And of course it shouldn't be called Windows because it isn't Windows; it's something new that serves a different purpose. Even Apple is trying to rebrand iOS and it *is* OS X, at least at its core. But probably too late to change the name now.

Anonymous said...

@ folks on MSFT review system....

As a former people manager and ex-Microsoftee, I can tell you that the only way ...and trust me...the only way to get ahead in Microsoft is to become one of those power hungry empire builders. Outside of very few exceptions in my 10+ years at MSFT, I never saw any people managers get a 10%. In fact even the 70%'s got an Exceeded or a 4.0 in the old scale. There were always the IC's to give the L/A 10% to. I know several folks who negotiate a new role based on the team's ability to give them a team. There are several folks in E&D, as an example, in groups like Surface (a really horribly managed unit - which I know from a very senior PM friend who I keep in touch with post leaving Microsoft) or Zune who claim to do God's work and get great review scores for mediocre delivery. I left to work at a competitor but for those staying at MSFT, move to a team where they will give you a team, establish a fiefdom of mediocrity, manage some ICs to death, go to a lot of meetings. screw up a product like Surface or Zune and get your E/20 and make lots of money :-)

Anonymous said...

Just came out of the exit interview and left lousy as hell? Been rated as one of the "20%" of the company, i felt lousy after coming out with the way she was non-chalant about the whole thing...

I think yours was a very typical exit interview experience. I don't think the HR-conducted exit interviews are intended as an opportunity to hear from upset employees. By the time you get to that point it's a done deal anyhow. The time for hearing your grievances has long since passed.

The HR exit interview is simply a time to remind you about your NDA, tell you about/answer questions about your benefits/COBRA/etc, and collect your badge, keys, parking passes, and so on.

Don't take it personally.

Anonymous said...

>PM-envy does make sense

So the only possible reason you can imagine that someone may dislike the role of PM is envy? That is fascinating. As for being part of 'the vision', well it takes more to be a visionary than a job title, just like it takes more to be a leader than a job title, but some people don't understand this minor detail.

Anonymous said...

There are good and bad in all disciplines - testers who's contribution to the planning process is to double any dev estimate, pm's who don't focus enough on the business and customer side of the equation and spend all day in meetings and of course developers who want to invent something new rather than fix something old.

If SS get's hold of mobile then the much needed innovation will get squashed and replaced with a ribbon and train timetable.

Anonymous said...

Can anybody please answer this:
What's the date that promos are locked in for FY11? I have heard July 6 in one div. Should be the same across the company, right? what about Windows Mobile?

Anonymous said...

@MS is now $201B in market cap.
Who wants to guess when it'll drop below $200B?

No need to guess…for sure it will drop below $200B soon.

Anonymous said...

@If someone says you are getting a 10% because you can't advance... ask "so why are there so many GMs and VPs that have been GMs for 6+ years, and what about KT or Steveb, are they getting a 10%?

Hilarious.....hahahaaaa

Anonymous said...

Do you honestly believe that people in these orgs haven't used competing products? I mean, I bet most people in the Windows org don't own Macs at home, because that's an expensive demand to make on somebody's personal space, but I'd be shocked if the halls of IE and Office weren't full of installs for competitors. And a lot of people who work for Xbox are probably big gamers...

Well, consider yourself shocked. I know for a fact that none of the PMs in my group have even seen the competition, let alone tried to use it in any serious way. Friends in different groups report the same for their PM teams.

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to note how fast management acts to take the "Kin" leadership credit, out of their posted bio's.
Robbie' is a very smart guy - Sealed his severance agreement before this hit.
You got to hand it to MS to make the decision quickly, versus allowing other failures to stick around as long as they do.

Anonymous said...

Interesting comment thread on Hacker News about the Kin announcement.

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1476303

Anonymous said...

These comments raise an interesting question: Does the "hire a large, fresh team of smart young people who get things done-- motivated by a short-term, politically driven reward lottery--but who don't have a freakin clue about the domain they are working in and who will flee to the next project asap" model of Microsoft program management still work? (Assuming it ever really did...)

Seems to me a small team of experienced people who are experts in their domain--motivated by their passion for their work and thrilled to stay put as long as their contribution is respected--will kick their asses every time in a normal, competitive market.

Is this what is happening now? Perhaps the past formula for success was based on a fluke of circumstance.

Anonymous said...

Re: Kin

Check this from October last year.
Yet it still got released

http://www.mobilecrunch.com/2009/10/05/microsofts-project-pink-might-be-dead-in-the-water/

Anonymous said...

"Can cooler heads prevail and somebody bring back Billg?

Who is running the helm of this meandering oil tanker?

Microsoft is the new IBM. The new GM. STOP running a software company like a bloated car company!

- Pissed Off Employee & Shareholder"



This comment could not be more out of touch, and I'd be truly surprised if you were actually an employee.

First: you have the distinction of being the latest in a long, long line of people both internal and external over the last 15 years calling Microsoft "the new IBM" -- we started saying that around the halls soon after Windows 95 shipped and everything came to a screeching halt as we shifted into "shareholder value" mode.

At this point, my friend, we've been IBM for so long that other companies are now disparagingly referred to as "the new Microsoft". Get with the times.

Secondly, BillG is every bit as out of touch with the modern world of computing services as Ballmer. Bill started losing his edge in the late 90s because he fundamentally does not get the brave new world of the Internet, and it's Bill who's directly responsible for us missing a host of early opportunities that could have set us up for success over the last 10 years.

We don't need Bill, we don't need Ballmer, we need someone 20 years younger who understands the way the world works today and where it's heading tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

This is insane. We have competent employees being forced out just for being in role longer than is now deemed acceptable. But Steve can go from one major strategic failure to another and jeopardize the company's very future with impunity.

It's good to be king.

The best thing for Microsoft would be for everybody labeled "average" by the review system to get a second opinion by leaving and getting a job at another company to see if they actually are "average".

At which point, Microsoft would be left with superstars most of whom would be labeled "average" by the review system.

Repeat until management gets a clue .

Anonymous said...

"Add another billion dollar failure to Steve's resume. How can the board ignore abuse of company resources on this scale?..."

Yes, it’s appalling. The stories leaking out indicate an almost total breakdown in leadership and culture. Multiple conflicting and incredibly expensive efforts allowed to continue with little apparent oversight or coordination. Infighting and sabotage condoned and maybe even encouraged.

This wasn’t some minor project led by some junior executive. This was one of the company’s most strategic areas under the supposed direction of MS’s highest paid executive of last year. Now I understand why almost everything in E&D has been such a failure. What I don’t understand is why Bach wasn’t fired, why in fact he’s still receiving a paycheck, and how Steve could have been so oblivious to everything that was going on.

There are just no good explanations here. If the board lets this one slide like they have all the others, they will have lost any remaining credibility. And more importantly the company won’t identify and begin solving the issues that are preventing it from successfully evolving into new areas.

Anonymous said...

Good news to see Microsoft make the choice sooner than later.

A failed "kin" hanging around when win phone 7 launches would have been bad.

At least this way the stink will have cleared away come oct, nov. And perhaps the extra staff could work hard to help make winmo7 a win, after this phone7 is going to have to be better than better, it going to have to rock.
Otherwise the media will be tripping over themselves to laugh MS out of the market.

Anonymous said...

$700 million spent on Kin
7000 units sold
= $100,000 per unit

Where are the grownups? Where is the accountability? Roz Ho and JohnMat need to be escorted out the building right away.

Anonymous said...

And now sidekick is gone too
http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-20009475-56.html

Whoever made the $500 million dollar deal to acquire danger needs to go

Anonymous said...

The mobile strategy seems to be falling apart
1. Kin failure
2. T-mobile stops selling sidekick
3. OneApp project gets cancelled
http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-20009426-56.html?tag=mncol;posts

Anonymous said...

Sinofsky will own Windows Mobile
Sinofsky will own Windows Server
Sinofsky will own Office
Sinofsky will own Microsoft

in that order.

Anonymous said...

Infighting and sabotage condoned and maybe even encouraged.

Sinofsky is the main instigator of sabotage. How is he doing? Very well, thank you.

Anonymous said...

>But with dev, dev leads are sometimes so subjective and so critical and have such egos on “my design is better than yours” that they would even undermine their own reports work often, which is why dev’s career velocity is not that good.

You have made the case why dev is overpaid at Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

Kin: from what I read on Engadget the initial plan for Kin was very good. Then came the killer mistake, repeated again and again over the last decade: "the company didn't want a project that wasn't directly connected to its Windows kernel"

Mobile had a former Motorola exec at one time, who advised to develop WinMo from scratch, and not worry about WinCE so much. Guess what happened next: exec quit. These were the days that analysts actually thought MS would gain a healthy share in the smart phone market...

Sad, sad, sad,...

Time for a new generation tech management indeed.

Anonymous said...

I am flabbergasted by the PM envy in this forum. Come'on! OfficeLabs showed that highschool interns can write Office software. PM is the future of Microsoft, stupid!

Anonymous said...

The internal fights between the execs and a drain of money is now out in the open.

http://www.geek.com/articles/mobile/microsofts-kin-was-killed-due-to-internal-bickering-2010072/

Anonymous said...

Just googled "Andy Lees kin". Boy he is one lucky guy. Screwed up to the tune of 1 billion dollars and still has a job. Dude show some accountability

Anonymous said...

Good news to see Microsoft make the choice sooner than later.

A failed "kin" hanging around when win phone 7 launches would have been bad.

At least this way the stink will have cleared away come oct, nov. And perhaps the extra staff could work hard to help make winmo7 a win, after this phone7 is going to have to be better than better, it going to have to rock.
Otherwise the media will be tripping over themselves to laugh MS out of the market.
Kin(Pink) has been long known as DOA because it is nothing more than a contractual obligation in the view of some SVP.
And don't count on WP7 either --- a dysfunctional group like WinMo which has a long history of shipping craps can just simply turn around and ship something great without major shakeups at the top. The politics been played in that group is simply disgusting.

Anonymous said...

Just came out of the exit interview and left lousy as hell? Been rated as one of the "20%" of the company, i felt lousy after coming out with the way she was non-chalant about the whole thing...
I have been told that exit interview is "optional" and if I have something else to do, "it is OK not to do an exit interview". So don't take it too seriously.

Anonymous said...

It used to be search, but now E&D is by far the biggest embarrassment of MS. Who's next?

SLT followed closely by the Board of [cough] Directors [cough].

Anonymous said...

I too am an A/10. I think we should form some secret AA meeting for us.

Or startup your own company. Can you imagine a group of people more motivated to succeed and kick Microsoft's ass?

Anonymous said...

Does this mean that I could be screwed in terms of getting a bonus for the work I've put into the past year?

Ummm, if you can't figure this out yourself then maybe letting you go was the right move.

Anonymous said...

Mini, time for new post. Wake up dude

Anonymous said...

she just made me feel like i was being fired and not that i was resigning after being disgusted with some of the things that happen here...In the end, i said i wanted to tell her on why i wanted to leave and rattled off my grievances while she pretended to scribble them down...boy!is she going to take some serious action about them?
I'm amazed at how stupid people are. First you accept the exit interview meeting, Second, you actually show up in person, Third you rant to her, and fourth, you post your "experience" here.
YOU TRULY DESERVED TO BE FIRED.

Anonymous said...


So, my last day as MS is around mid-July and I had been told by HR that I am still eligible for the FY10 annual review and can possibly receive a bonus. My manager told me that I would be have gotten a 70%/Exceeded but now that I'm leaving, they're considering putting me in the 10% bucket so someone else in the 10% can move up to the 70%. Does this mean that I could be screwed in terms of getting a bonus for the work I've put into the past year?


Either a troll or good attrition - if you are leaving the company in mid-July the 70% vs. %10 distinction makes zero difference to you economically. Unless you are already planning to come back and care about how your permanent record looks to your next hiring manager?

Anonymous said...

>> What teams are good at the moment?

I hear there's this "Google" team in Kirkland that's pretty good. No permission to interview required, either.

Anonymous said...

Microsft has become a laughing stock now

Ever seen this
http://kinrip.com/

Anonymous said...

Someone said:
Replace him with Ozzie (was ne not billg's chosen heir apparent?). He *GETS* it. We need a product guy asking the hard technical questions in product reviews. Someone needs a visionary finger on the pulse of our product line. Someone to bring together the product groups and STOP the infighting and turf wars.

It's time to have an Ozzie discussion, methinks.

IMHO, Ozzie is equally complicit in the problems that are going on at the company. BillG was deeply involved in the products. He had his finger on the pulse of everything at the company, and he brought with it an amazing sense of business (i.e. how to make money). Ballmer was never that guy, and both Gates and Ballmer knew it. Ballmer is the guy that knows how to run a hugely complex corporation. Gates was the guy that knew how to build products and build businesses.

So when Gates left, he brought in his replacement, Ray Ozzie.

The problem is, Ray doesn't see himself as the "Chief Software Architect" of the company. He sees himself as the "Chief Visionary Officer" (to borrow someone's phrase from early comments). He sees his job as being the person who regularly kicks "old" Microsoft in the butt to wake them up to whats going on in the world.

All of his behavior lines up with this: His correcting of Ballmer (in public!); His team's building Mesh, an expensive, buzz-generating, science-project app beloved by those who know about it, but irrelevant to those who don't (which is 99+% of the planet); More recently, his team's building of Docs.com -- another expensive, buzz-generating app that has no business model and no path to ever having one (if you need an indication of how pointless an exercise docs.com is, just look at the visitor trends for it since launch: http://trends.google.com/websites?q=docs.com).

Meanwhile, Ozzie has made enemies of most of the leaders of the actual products that pay for his "Labs". He's made no secret of the fact that he thinks that Windows is run terribly, or that Office is dead technology. Behind closed doors, he is openly dispariging of Microsoft development practices and Microsoft technology. His efforts to build product display a stunning lack of a caring about how much things cost to run, or whether they will ever make money. To my knowledge, he doesn't care in the slightest about the enterprise businesses at the company.

Don't get me wrong. I think it's a good thing to have a Visionary around. The problem is, since he's taking up the "Chief Software Architect" role, and isn't doing the job, nobody is.

It's all well and good to assert that a system is wrong, but he plays the role of outsider throwing grenades, instead of a member of the team, trying to fix the problems.

That is dangerous and morale-destroying behavior. Having talked to friends on both teams, he is universally despised in the Windows Live and Office orgs. And in most other divisions, he's viewed as a curiosity (which is probably the way he views most of the rest of the company).

What's *most* dangerous here is that it's inevitable that he will either leave the company or be put in a different role, and since he has been cast (and has cast himself) as the visionary savior of Microsoft, any change in his role will be viewed as a failure for Microsoft.

I like the guy. I like to listen to him talk. But he is the wrong guy to be the "chief software archiect" for the company. We need someone who openly and demonstrably cares about the company and its products, and cares about fixing its problems, not just about pointing out flaws.

Bottom line, Ray Ozzie is not the right guy for the job he has. I'd love for him to keep running his multi-headed research groups, but we need someone to actually *be* an over-arching architect (one who, by the way, should have the authority to shut down idiotic products).

Anonymous said...

Failure of acquisitions is nothing new for Microsoft. Remeber Microsft acquired Getco which became OneCare before OneCare was canned after spending millions.



It is Gteko and it was a good acquisition .. but was duplicative of other internal efforts (original onecare, A1, pchealth).

They were making good money .. bundled with HP, Dell, Intel, etc and had a large customer base.

Guess what we wanted .. the customer based and OEM contracts.

the technology was not too elaborate .. Ping with a GUI and a duplicated PC anywhere stack.

Anonymous said...

After using the Mac for the past 9 months, I can say that I will never purchase a PC again. Not only is the OS incredibly stable, it is also easy to use. When you couple great software with a solid user experience, it becomes fairly obvious why Apple is now the number one tech company.

You're not alone. Most of the people I know who quit Microsoft also switched to OS X and won't use anything else now. Including a couple Windows devs.

Everybody in the Windows org should be forced to switch to OS X for 3 months so they can learn what a quality operating system is supposed to look like. Because I think most Microsoft employees have their head in the sand when it comes to the competition--just like you up until 9 months ago.

Anonymous said...

My manager told me that I would be have gotten a 70%/Exceeded but now that I'm leaving, they're considering putting me in the 10% bucket so someone else in the 10% can move up to the 70%. Does this mean that I could be screwed in terms of getting a bonus for the work I've put into the past year?

Pretty much. You'll share a 10% with other departing executives folks. What's sad is if you ever want to come back to MS, they'll see 10% as you last review, even thought it would not have been true. The 10% will dictate your bonus too, unless it is an RBI which is based on a solid revenue metric, you will not get as much as if you would have stayed until the numbers were locked, probably around August.

That's another problem with the review system too. You cannot move half the year and get what you deserve, otherwise you'll be put on your new manager's model, if you leave at end of year, and your new manager ain't handing out an excede to you, even if he likes you, pulling away his good scores for his team he's been with a longer while. As an A/70, I even got 25% less stock than a U/10 when I had to move at end of FY, and we were the same level. My new manager probably thought I wouldn't notice, and wanted to be generous with his team. I got exactly 'at plan' so it wouldn't come out of my new manager's budget, nothig more, nothing less, though he even told me my review read like "an exceed".

How can the review system be at all fair when those up above know these problems and will not work them out? I had to change jobs at year end or be left with no job come the new FY, even though the team was growing, all because a Director decided to change some roles around, and then he was pushed out the door, after some disaster to cover problems in another area of the world.

Anonymous said...

Thinking of Kin. OSD gave the reins of an important product management area to a corp. strat. guy with zero product experience. Being friendly with the decision makers of your division really well can cover up deficiencies in experience also really well. The next few releases will show how history will repeat itself.

Anonymous said...

About KIN demise....

All I can say as a former Windows Mobile employee who is now working for a competitor in the phone space is that this is good news for the rest of us. While it maybe (or maybe not) makes sense from a Microsoft perspective to have just one platform, time to market and being competitive with a shipping product (and not some product that will ship in a few months assuming there are no further delays)is absolutely key! Maybe it would have made sense for my former employer to overinvest in KIN, add services and possibly roll the Windows Phone 7 team towards enhancing the KIN platform and not the other way around. Throw some more money at marketing, add some more services and help Verizon subsidize the product even further. In addition really push the global launch in other markets to build an installed base. The rest of us are not going to sit still and wait for Windows Phone 7 to come to market. We will invest in better products and as decisions are being made by carriers for the pivotal holiday 2010 sales period, we will have products for them to add to their current range of phones. Overall this will mean that when Windows Phone 7 does finally come to market, we will have a wide variety of phones to compete with the one or possibly two 7 phones. With KIN, Microsoft had products in market and sales figures aside, we were all closely watching what Microsoft was doing with the phone and its services.

All in all, lots of wasted effort, money and time for the rest of us to keep building our business.

Personally I quit because of the frustrating management and autocratic decision style of Terry Myerson and Andrew Lees. The only exec in the team myself and other folks respcted was Tom Gibbons who is now sidelined. Lees and Myerson don't know consumer products or phones. Gibbons at least knows consumer product development. We often talk about how Andrew Lees still has a job but Microsoft's loss is a gain for the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mini, thought will get you guys super upto speed on the love of MS India- Consumer and Online...the poor lil lean cousion of Rajan's unroductively huge team. Lets just start by saying that that these guys had the lowest WHI this year..what with the C&O GM busy trying to wear some heels to cover for his look- at- your- feet- and you- shall- see- me -structure as he cruised golf courses across continents on the already basemented P & l. Hired some jerks in the LT and cribs in semi drunken states on how he deosnt really want to be here...one breakthrough and he will also move to the next best place... Under this overgolfed out GM is a super-loser who got de-levelled and now as my dear friends in his team put it " will grow a tail and wag it" if the GM was to ask him to wag his tail..the whole team is on its way out under his able leadership...WHI drops:) WTF not?
The MSN team, where Lahiri like a poor lost pup is trying to whine and be accepted despite his good-for-nothingness and zero breakthroughs, Trehan is busy writing semi porn crap to massage his Poetic balls on public viewing..recommend a read for everyone who could do with a laugh...and the sales team is as hopeless as it could be..these guys are doing a great job in India atleast on their penchant of External Hiring to get in great talent while rolling the red carpet for the existing team to walk out while they pay some crazy amount of money out of an already bleeding P&L to jerks who just send congratulatory mails the whole day to eachother and the LT alias on arbit Sales inventory being sold on MSN...Its your job folks..wake up and smell the shit..fairly shameful to have done absolutely nothing in one full year..and if Tami is listening...maybe you should wake up and make them smell it..its your business afterall.

Anonymous said...

And let's not forget that Windows at least has now mandated timecards for FTEs to track their work by the hour.

If this is true, I have to wonder if companies like Apple or Google or Pixar do this - and how timesheets will get Microsoft back to greatness.

Anonymous said...

Re: "The culture of do nothing, say nothing, mean nothing has permeated from the top down."

people who do nothing got rewarded. Anyone who try to do sothing got punished. those who had done something are abolished.

Anonymous said...

Just came out of the exit interview and left lousy as hell? ... She just handed out the papers to me and said is there anything else that you want to say? I was expecting the reasons on why you want to leave and so on, but nothing...She said that there is some survey that they usually hand out, but she cannot do it since it was too short of a notice...i wonder what other important things she is supposed to do other than collecting information on what makes people leave?

She's just some HR drone, what did you expect?

Besides, there haven't been any meaningful changes to Microsoft corporate culture, strategy, politics, processes, etc. in the last 10 years at least. Management is obviously happy with how things are being run so why would they give a s*** why you're leaving. If anything, this gives them an opportunity to replace you with a college hire who will put in more hours for less pay, and they wouldn't want to look that gift horse in the mouth.

Anonymous said...

"Roz Ho was in charge of the entire PMX/Pink effort. This was her very first (and assume last) mobile effort. Previously she was in charge of the Mac office efforts at Microsoft. I have never met a less competent leader. She was shallow and completely self absorbed and will find any excuse to talk about herself. She made it clear to the entire team that she has a lot of money and loved to talk about it. She has houses in Redmond, the Los Altos Hills, a condo at Squaw Valley and an apartment in Chicago. She has more than 4 cars one of which is an Audi A10. We only knew these details because she was always talking about them. Nobody cared but she couldn't help it. The ultimate expression of her clueless pomposity was than during the heat of the development battle, when the project was struggling mightily with technical and personnel problems, she took three weeks off to hike to the top of mount Kilimanjaro. And while going on vacation at that time was poor timing for a leader of a troubled project, she made it 1000 times worse by calling attention to it. She wanted a Pink prototype to be given to her so she could call the team from the top of the mountain. The damn thing was so unstable at the time and the team had to get on a conference call at midnight to hear her call in. The call never came through and we were supposed to get on the call the next night because she wasn't at the top yet or something. The call didn't come through again and we were told she couldn't get a signal. But the entire episode was text book incompetence. Nero, if you are done with that fiddle, Roz needs a turn.
"

http://arstechnica.com/microsoft/news/2010/07/a-post-mortem-of-kins-tragic-demise.ars?comments=1&start=80#comment-20579376

I am really sorry for the brilliant engineering teams at Microsoft who have to work for such incompetent leaders.

Anonymous said...

>Every PM is a leader with vision and design. Dev is a cog in the wheel. Leader gets paid more.

Dev is a cog eh? Brilliant, how is that strategy working out for you guys? I mean, wow, you are really taking the world by storm with all your run-away success. Luckily dev-centered shops like Google aren't laughing at you all the way to the bank. Worthless. Now, wait, worthless AND arrogant, what a combination. Have fun running a once great company into the ground. Maybe for the next round of layoffs you can fire all devs, outsource their work to the lowest bidders in India and split the savings between all the PMs? Think of how great it will all turn out!

Anonymous said...

>Sinofsky is the main instigator of sabotage.

How so? I am honestly asking, not trolling. I haven't heard any specifics around his duplicity, just vague insinuation. So I would love to be educated here.

Anonymous said...

Will the new WinMo rock? Maybe. But it doesn't matter because the real question is "will people want it?". Most likely not, or not enough to make a difference. Look at the Zune HD. It's an awesome device. I have two in my house (and I haven't been an MS employee in years). It beats any iPod hands down. Yet it's not selling well. The Zune line was doomed the second the device became an easy target for sitcom writers (watch Chuck or Big Bang, you'll see)
WinMo has the same problem. The reputation of Windows phones is so bad, most people (myself included) won't take a chance on the new stuff, no matter how awesome it supposedly is.


I tend to agree with your assessment. So the question is what can we do about it? Is it literally hopeless? Microsoft just isn't cool so nothing we do in the consumer space will ever be successful? Is the only viable option to spin off a company and re-brand?

Anonymous said...

The pink project is a success overall for Microsoft and Danger. MSFT got the IP portfolio from Danger. Danger benefited by getting paid above market value for a system that wouldnt have survived on its own.

Time to boycott said...

Here's a suggestion - all those who believe that we need a leadership change (read Ballmer) should boycott the company meeting this year. While we don't have a union to represent our collective needs, it's time for folks who believe this needs to happen to have a uniform voice. I mean what better way to send a message to the board that time for action is now!!!

Anonymous said...

This explains the key difference between Microsft and Google environments

In 2008, Microsoft acquired a startup, Danger, that had built popular mobile phone software, hoping that technology would revitalize its waning phone software business. But Microsoft stumbled as it took longer than expected to create a new product with the technology. In April, Microsoft finally introduced the fruits of this labor when it unveiled the Kin phones.

In contrast, Google, a chief Microsoft rival, also bought a mobile technology startup — Android. Both Android and Danger were co-founded by Andy Rubin, who joined Google.

Google has since turned the Android software into the foundation of a fast-growing mobile phone empire with carriers all over the world releasing products that use the technology.

Microsoft, however, has folded the Kin development team and put them to work on Windows Phone 7, yet another mobile phone platform, expected later this year.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft does not need this 10% forced curve thing.

It is stupid and encourages backstabbing.

There is no job security with microsoft anymore, that is a sad thing. Gone with this, are also the pride and allegiance we all once held toward this company.

Anonymous said...

Andy Lees began running the Mobile Business Unit in February 2008 (http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/exec/lees/wpc2008.mspx he confirms this in a speech to partners).

Windows Mobile 6.5 was introduced under Andy's watch at Mobile World Congress Feb 2009 (http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/exec/steve/2009/02-16MWCPressConference.mspx). We now know that was a disaster and a dead end for everyone - devices, developers, OEMs, and customers.

And now Kin is killed *after* it has shipped in June 2010. You can bet Andy was involved in the development of Kin, the partnership agreements with the OEM, Verizon and most importantly the "ship it" approvals all along the way. And Microsoft discovers its a bad idea after it blows up in the broad market. Absolutely no thanks to any pro-active decision making on Andy's part.

Now there is spin that Andy killed kin to put all the wood behind Windows Phone 7. Er, the guy was in charge for two years of Kin development. He could have made this decision far earlier.

Similarly Windows Phone 7 has two years of development under his watch. Based on his past performance, 99% chance this is also going to be a total catastrophe. It further doesn't help that much of the Windows Phone 7 leadership team was kicked out of Windows when they screwed up Vista.

Why is Andy Lees still in charge? When will Microsoft reboot their mobile project with fresh IQ and common sense from the outside?

Anonymous said...

A failed "kin" hanging around when win phone 7 launches would have been bad.

Sinofsky is the beneficiary of "kin". Sinofsky will kick out Balmer.

Anonymous said...

What do you guys have against PMs? We are a strong, focused and smart bunch. Give us 12 months, some decent devs and a couple testers and we WILL beat the Ipad thingy into oblivion.

1. How? I would be genuinely interested to hear a broad-strokes outline covering OS, UI, hardware, 1st-party apps, 3rd-party developer story, and marketing. Most importantly, what's your competitive advantage? Given that your competition in 12 months time is probably iPad v2 + iOS5, let's assume a front-facing camera (implying facetime), some social network integration, widgets, and an additional layer of that famous spit-and-polish.

2. MS has been plugging away at tablets for a while now, what do you feel has been the missing ingredient so far? Lack of decent devs, lack of testers or lack of time? Or something else?

Anonymous said...

What do you guys have against PMs? We are a strong, focused and smart bunch. Give us 12 months, some decent devs and a couple testers and we WILL beat the Ipad thingy into oblivion.

1. How? I would be genuinely interested to hear a broad-strokes outline covering OS, UI, hardware, 1st-party apps, 3rd-party developer story, and marketing. Most importantly, what's your competitive advantage? Given that your competition in 12 months time is probably iPad v2 + iOS5, let's assume a front-facing camera (implying facetime), some social network integration, widgets, and an additional layer of that famous spit-and-polish.

2. MS has been plugging away at tablets for a while now, what do you feel has been the missing ingredient so far? Lack of decent devs, lack of testers or lack of time? Or something else?

Anonymous said...

Any groups in MS shared their MS Poll results...the high and low lights...or any fixes they are planning to do for the concerned raised by people?

Anonymous said...

"Every PM is a leader with vision and design. Dev is a cog in the wheel. Leader gets paid more."

Great leadership. "You are all just cogs in a wheel": what excellent motivational skills.

Attitudes like this mark the most worthless of PMs. I actually like most PMs. Not you.

Anonymous said...

And maybe that's why Verizon won't launch the WM 7 phone.

Verizon won't launch WM7 because it doesn't work with CDMA, dumbass. Get your facts straight.

Anonymous said...

I wonder whether these Kins can run Linux. I wouldn't mind getting one for cheap.

Anonymous said...

As a 13+ year Microsoft vet, I think the real issue is accountability. I am going through my 3rd org in 3 years. It is to easy for Sr Mgrs to hide when we reorg. I say do a 3 year freeze. No promotions, no changes. If someone leaves, bring someone from the outside. Bonus and stock is given based on your TEAMS performance. After 3 years, we will quickly see who they should keep and who they should let go.

Anonymous said...

Next week is going to ugly good luck to all, Mini is getting half his wish.

Anonymous said...

At this point in MSFT's evolution, it isn't about effectiveness, it is about results. What if Kin was even remotely successful? You'd have some weird two headed mobile monster, and folks like Roz Ho would be gaining relevance.
As far as I can tell, things just aren't that bad. Kin was kaput whether it would have been successful or not. Danger/Pink/Kin solely existed to gain some cloud services IP and momentum into WP7.
The only kind of CEO that could do any better than Ballmer would be a GE/LG/Samsung type that didn't give one crap about "vision". We are talking about managing multiple multi-billion dollar industries here. Steve's biggest problem is that he hasn't really had to deal with widescale failure. Most great CEOs go through much more significant lean times.
Mini's- we need to give up on the idea that we can shrink MS. Successful mega-corps have tons of bloat, it is just impossible to avoid. The only reason Google isn't suffering this is that all of their side projects are designed for page-views and not revenue. Apple probably won't get bloated because they'd kill the Mac division before becoming something too big for SJ to put his stamp on every litte thing.
What I'd like us to do is to stop rooting for MS. Pick a division or something. Rooting for MS is like rooting for the USA. Too much guilt-by-association, accepting all of the bad with the good while few can see the ultimate wisdom if it exists at all.
We need to realize we work for a company within a company, all united by proximity more than by integration.
When your division has a bad quarter, you are picked up by the other divs and vice versa.
If the Mini mantra were truly followed, we'd have gone IBM long ago, morbidly hawking Win and Office through a monotonous totalitarian future. We'd probably go ahead and stick it on the iPad, though.
Maybe at the next big meet in Safeco, try not to go pee during the boring parts. Those are actual businesses with actual ecosystems that need someone rooting for them, and if you think you know better what SteveB should be doing, you should have an answer in those industries as well.

Anonymous said...

Hey, all PM supporters! Why do we need so many to give vision? I see one PM giving vision to 1.5 devs. Why do we need people to manage "the leaders" with GPM, VP of PM etc.?

The PM herds can benefit from some culling. It will make Microsoft a better company.

Anonymous said...

is the July 2010 layoff news true???

Anonymous said...

Layoffs confirmed for tomorrow. I see long meetings booked by HR-types in Lincoln Square and RedWest-C. Didn't go through all the calendars for you main-campus types.

Sent from my Kin

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous,

"As a 13+ year Microsoft vet [...]"

Please forgive me, but when I read this I couldn't but help chuckle to myself as I wondered if a Microsoft vet works on Microsoft dogs ;-)

Anonymous said...

The review system encourages people to move to different groups within Microsoft about every 18 months. And this very encouragement improves the odds to getting a promotion. Its gives you the ability to tought the "great ideas" to get the promotion but not enough time to actually deliver a product as you can be gone before the product is recognized to be in a mess. Really, I'd rather hang out in a group that is successful and promotes loyalty with team type committments.

Anonymous said...

Interesting math showing the differences in revenue profitability between APPL and MSFT:

AAPL - 35000 employees. Revenue per employee $1.45million. Net profit per employee $309k.

MSFT - 89000 employees. Revenue per employee $674k. Net profit per employee $194k.

The layoffs will continue until morale improves ... and Mr. Ballmer will continue to reorganize the deck chairs on the Titanic. The real issues of trying to dominate all markets, bloating headcount to do so, while allowing clueless execs like Andy Lees free rein over billion dollar disasters with zero accountability will never be addressed by the CEO or the toothless board.

Maury said...

Wow, I had heard of Kin but really had no idea what it was all about. Most of it seems forgettable, but Kin Studio looks downright fantastic! I wish I had the same thing on all of my machines, synced together. That way I could quickly reconstruct threads of thought that make no sense 24 hours later. I think this would make me more effective when multitasking.

Anonymous said...

What do you think, is this Microsoft?

MSNBC: Ten signs you work in a fear-based workplace

Anonymous said...

Its a viscious cycle - MS is failing in producing which causes layoffs which causes fear which leads to politics. Because of the politics and backstabbing, it can't produce.

Something needs to break the cycle.

I was reading something lately that outlined how great it is to work at Apple these days because everyone feels like they're changing the world. They also outlined how miserable everyone was at apple in the late 90s as that ship almost went down. It took something drastic - NEXT acquired Apple ;) and folks started believing. If for nothing else - they were on a different and drastic path. A path that at least had hope.

Something drastic has to happen. Ballmer must go. If for no other reason, a different path at least offers hope and may spark something. You have to do it on principle and accountability.

Anonymous said...

>Verizon won't launch WM7 because it doesn't work with CDMA, dumbass. Get your facts straight.

Kin worked on Verizon. Clearly Microsoft has the people and technology to make this happen. As well, didn't Ballgame criticize Apple for not working with Verizon? I would expect Verizon to be jumping all over WM7 to differentiate versus iPhone.

Anonymous said...

Apple reported revenue of 15.7 B with a 3.25 B net for the 4th quarter. Wall Street estimates MS making 15.3 B with slightly better net. Unless MS smokes that number, we're looking at another major loss for the fat guy on the left. MS may have won the PC war but that is not the device the profit-producing public is looking for. Apple made a major PR mistake and the drones still line up to buy more. MS makes a mistake and since there was no line, no one really notices.

Anonymous said...

"You don't want every project to be like Forza. Willy-nilly feature development without stringent peer reviews and pre-checkin testing: dumb."

Ummmm... what does that mean.
To me it seems like Forza is one of our hard hitting products that stands out in innovation and pushing tech barriers. They may not have deep process and discipline, but enough to hit their schedule as planned and with high quality. Yet, that is only half of the success story. The other half is in the leadership. Balancing the right priorities, choice of features, user-centric design, entertaining ideas from the lowest levels and empowering ICs to have true impact on the product is something the Forza leadership gets right. It's a product thats built with pride and passion and it's peformance in the market shows it.

Anonymous said...

http://rcpmag.com/blogs/the-schwartz-report/2010/08/hps-hurd-had-to-go.aspx
Internal candidates to replace Hurd include Todd Bradley, who turned around the company's once-struggling PC business. Ann Livermore, who runs HP's huge services business is another oft-mentioned possibility. Outside candidates include two Softies: Microsoft COO Kevin Turner and Stephen Elop, president of the company's Business Division.


Oh how I wish that Kevin Turner gets selected to be the CEO of HP. That way he will be out of here and unlike Microsoft, HP has no issues with firing CEOs who don't fit with the company or perform as expected.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft... Please change CEO!
when it is not too late yet...

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