Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The KIN-fusing KIN-clusion to KIN, and FY11 Microsoft Layoff Rumors

Get out of the way Microsoft Bob, you have a replacement that Microsoft's Gen-Y employees can claim for their own! It's spelled K-I-N.

KIN's demise can't surprise anyone. When I looked at the phone's features, I thought: alright, an incomplete Facebook experience that I cannot improve by installing new applications... and I pay $$$ through the nose for a plan. But I've got a green dot and KIN Studio... maybe that will be enough to sell enough units to justify the Danger acquisition and the person-years of work behind getting KIN out. What the hell where all those people doing? I couldn't imagine anyone wanting the resulting iffy feature-phone at a smartphone cost, but KIN wasn't made for me. I was willing to let the market be the judge of KIN.

Verdict? Guilty, guilty, guilty.

The original Zune/Pink phone had interesting momentum but it all got squandered. What's the one ThinkWeek paper I want to read this year? Lessons Learned from Microsoft KIN and How Microsoft Must Change Product Development. You can't have a failure like this without examining it and then sharing what went wrong, all with respect to vision, execution, and leadership. How big was the original iPhone team? How big was the KIN team? Why did one result in a lineage of amazingly successful devices in the marketplace, and the other become a textbook extended definition for "dud" ?

Interesting comments:

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. [...] 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.

And

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.

And finally, one Danger-employee's point of view of why they became demotivated:

To the person who talked about the unprofessional behavior of the Palo Alto Kin (former Danger team), I need to respond because I was one of them.

You are correct, the remaining Danger team was not professional nor did we show off the amazing stuff we had that made Danger such a great place. But the reason for that was our collective disbelief that we were working in such a screwed up place. Yes, we took long lunches and we sat in conference rooms and went on coffee breaks and the conversations always went something like this..."Can you believe that want us to do this?" Or "Did you hear that IM was cut, YouTube was cut? The App store was cut?" "Can you believe how mismanaged this place is?" "Why is this place to dysfunctional??"

Please understand that we went from being a high functioning, extremely passionate and driven organization to a dysfunctional organization where decisions were made by politics rather than logic.

Consider this, in less than 10 years with 1/10 of the budget Microsoft had for PMX, we created a fully multitasking operating system, a powerful service to support it, 12 different device models, and obsessed and supportive fans of our product. While I will grant that we did not shake up the entire wireless world (ala iPhone) we made a really good product and were rewarded by the incredible support of our userbase and our own feelings of accomplishment. If we had had more time and resources, we would of come out with newer versions, supporting touch screens and revamping our UI. But we ran out of time and were acquired and look at the results. A phone that was a complete and total failure. We all knew (Microsoft employees included) that is was a lackluster device, lacked the features the market wanted and was buggy with performance problems on top of it all.

When we were first acquired, we were not taking long lunches and coffee breaks. We were committed to help this Pink project out and show our stuff. But when our best ideas were knocked down over and over and it began to dawn on us that we were not going to have any real affect on the product, we gave up. We began counting down to the 2 year point so we could get our retention bonuses and get out.

I am sorry you had to witness that amazing group behave so poorly. Trust me, they were (and still are) the best group of people ever assembled to fight the cellular battle. But when the leaders are all incompetent, we just wanted out.

I guess we need another ThinkWeek paper on how to successfully acquire companies, too. Between this and aQuantive, we only excel at taking the financial boon of Windows and Office and giving it over to leadership that totally blows it down the drain like an odds-challenged drunk in Vegas. And the shareholders continue to suffer in silence. And the drunks are looking for their next cash infusion.

Dude, Where's Ray? You see more and more yearning for the days of BillG at the helm, perhaps because at least he was an uber geek that could drill your team's presentation like nobody's business and understand what your team was doing. And occasionally get enthralled by technology choices that would confound your average user (WinFS). Ray was supposed to serve as a replacement architect at Microsoft's technical helm, yet his impact seems to be superficial (and pretty disparaged if you chat with any leader in the company). Here's a snippet of a great comment about Ray and his impact at Microsoft:

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.

Dude, Where's My Job? Folks have been talking about ongoing stealth layoffs and the impending July FY11 layoffs reacting to teams with reduced budgets. I've scanned some various HR calendars and found some interesting appointments more around next week vs. this week, but the layoff rumors have spilled over beyond here and into TechFlash: Microsoft pruning more jobs. A follow-up by Ms. Mary-Jo Foley: More Microsoft job cuts coming ZDNet. So I'd expect more news next week than this week, but one commenter has noted:

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.

If Microsoft is doing this to appear fiscally responsible, they really can't tell just this half of the story. The other half of the story is the number of contingent staff positions, which if you open up Headtrax for yourself to investigate be prepared to tell Elizabeth you're coming to join her, because it about gave me a mild heart-attack.

If you learn anything, please comment regarding the group and the size of the hit and any impression about the folks impacted (e.g., 10%'ers, long-term employees, etc).


-- Comments

776 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   601 – 776 of 776
Anonymous said...

So setup-wise you are obviously clueless. Where Linux does have issues is the desktop looking and behaving differently to Windows, but most people could get round that ... if they wanted to. But why would they want to? They buy a new PC and Windows is on it. Thus it has been, and thus it shall be.

Your "clueless" comment is exactly the kind of comment seen on Linux support forums.

Linux customer support brought to you by Kelso from That 70's Show.

"Burn."

Thanks for making my point.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone been in this position?
I assume that nothing good comes of such a refusal, but I don't know that that would amount to.


I was presented with a bad review, and it was filled with details that were objectively, factually incorrect. I had plenty of supporting documentation that could easily disprove many of the things in the review (e.g "you missed a deadline for deliverable X on date Y" - and I had a long audit trail of email and items posted to sharepoint sites showing that I delivered X on time).

I pointed a few of these items out to the manager, and I told him that I disagreed with the review, and asked what would happen if I chose not to sign the review.

He told me if I didn't sign in right then and there, my paychecks would be withheld, effective immediately.

I was laid off about 12 months later. The manager went on to enjoy promotions.

The review process is simply an exercise that has absolutely no relationship whatsoever to the quality of the work one does.

Anonymous said...

So KT calls the iPhone 4 the "Vista" of Apple.

What. A. Jerk.

I am embarassed for all of us.


My favorite part of Kevin Turner's comments are how they are structured to remind everyone about Vista's failure every time they are repeated.

Genius.

With leadership like that, what could possibly go wrong?

Anonymous said...

Mr Karetnikov might have been looking for advance word of vulnerabilities in Windows or other Microsoft programmes, which would help agents hacking into computers running that code, according to Dave Aitel, formerly of the National Security Agency and now a private researcher.

Microsoft gave Russia's spy agency access to the Windows 7 source code so the guess as to why a spy ended up at Microsoft is incorrect.

Maybe Microsoft's very own Russian spy wanted to be a manager when he grew up. It's a great way to foul the operations of a company.


Microsoft turns over all Win7 and server source code to Russia's new KGB

It seems absurd. Microsoft, America’s preeminent software maker, provides the operating system for more than 90% of the world’s computers — including those used by the U.S. Government.

That’s why a little piece of news covered by ZDNet UK’s Tom Espiner is so astonishing.

According to Espiner, Microsoft has turned over all its source code for Windows 7, along with its source for Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2, Microsoft Office 2010 and Microsoft SQL Server to Russia’s Federal’naya sluzhba bezopasnosti Rossiyskoy Federatsii. The FSB is present-day Russia’s successor to the infamous Soviet-era KGB.

As has become quite apparent over the last week, Russia is far from out of the espionage business.

As Espiner reports, this is all about business, rather than state security. Microsoft has a Government Security Program where it allows governments access to its source code, ostensibly as part of the company’s various bids to sell software to international governments.

From a security perspective, this is an astonishing act. The agency that took over from the KGB and which has been just recently proven to be conducting long-term spying operations against the United States now has access to Windows source code — while at the same time, most American IT operations don’t.

Anonymous said...

Do yourself a favor and get a copy of Ubuntu and install in a VM.

I would get my grandmother to do it but she looks confused when I say she'll have to configure rc.init as part of setting up Ubuntu in a VM.

Printer manufacturers and other peripheral manufacturers aren't on board yet with producing Linux drivers for all their products currently being used on Windows.

You can get a pretty good driver for HP printers but it doesn't let you take full advantage of the hardware.

Steve Ballmer said...

I'm getting sick of all this whinning!

Anonymous said...

If iphone 4 is Vista, what will it say if WM7 doesn't sell as well as iphone 4? What an ass

Anonymous said...

I heard from a credible source that the next round of lay offs are planned this week (Wed, July 14) and then another round in Sept.

I sure wish there was a way of volunteering. Seriously.


+1

Anonymous said...

"It would help if everyone gives a constructive suggestion on how to improve any specific product, rather than just vent out [sic] their anger."

To improve MS products it will be necessary to:

a) Sack the board, the SLT and around 98% of middle management.
b) Abandon loss-making ventures.
c) Desist from engaging in unconscionable business practices.
d) Shut down all overseas outsourcing operations.
e) Throw out the ranking system.
f) Open-source all MS software under the GPL and allow only the fittest code to survive (assuming that any of it can).
g) Move to a services-based business model.

The alternative is, at best, irrelevance. At worst, it is oblivion. The Kin disaster is a clear portent that MS ignores at its peril.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of accountability, what ever happened with the Volume Licensing Solutions Center (VLSC) debacle of 6 months ago?

I was just listening to the recent .NET Rocks podcast where they had Mary Jo Foley as a guest and the subject of the disastrous VLSC launch came up. The site was down for weeks after being launched in December, costing Microsoft resellers millions in lost sales and generally pissing off our biggest customers.

Mary Jo said she was sure that some heads rolled but wasn't sure who. So, who was accountable for this epic fail? Why are Mario Pipkin and Jason Kap still employed?

Did Mario or any of his MSIT lieutenant-GMs pay a price? Or how did the powers that be reward Jason and his team, responsible for creating the ever more complex web of licensing rules and systems in attempts to accelerate or marginally increase license revenue at the cost of customer satisfaction? Both of these guys had to have "signed off" on the VLSC launch (and apparent lack of viable, tested rollback strategy).

Anonymous said...

I don't know why everyone is so wound up. It's such a bright sunny day.

Anonymous said...

>> If Windows had the UX of Linux, people would stop using it--overnight

Microsoft people talking about Linux - just stop it, you're embarrassing yourselves. Remember, Ubuntu releases _every six months_. It supports MORE hardware out of the box (including printers) than Windows, no driver install necessary. The only sore spot as far as hardware is concerned is scanners - few are compatible.

UX-wise, the problem is the lack of MP3 and h264 support out of the box, but when you try to playback the files Ubuntu will now ask you whether you want to install the software required to play them back.

Unless you want to, there's no need to mess with any of the config files. Heck, even multi-monitor, sleep, hibernate, power management -- all just work. There's been TREMENDOUS progress in the past two years, and there's an observable snowball effect as more and more people use it.

Finally, I would argue that the UX in Lucid Lynx is actually BETTER than in Windows, and more polished.

For what it's worth, I have switched my parents to Karmic Koala over a year ago, and it works just fine for them (yes, including the somewhat obscure Samsung printer).

Anonymous said...

So KT calls the iPhone 4 the "Vista" of Apple.

Microsoft wishes it had a problem like the iPhone 4. Aside from the antenna issue (admittedly a boneheaded mistake) the new phone is way better than the old one in every way and has received glowing reviews from every news provider almost without fail. Even with the antenna problem, iPhone 4s are still flying off the shelves, customer satisfaction is through the roof, and the wait list to get one is still 3 weeks long. If Microsoft released products like this you can bet our stock price would be way higher right now.

Anonymous said...

"I heard from a credible source that the next round of lay offs are planned this week (Wed, July 14) and then another round in Sept.

I sure wish there was a way of volunteering. Seriously.

+1"

Since the last round only received accumulated vacation you can certainly volunteer. It's called quitting.

Anonymous said...

Azure is a great case in point. It's an over-engineered nightmare that's got a steep learning curve and a prohibitive cost model yet we still wonder why it's not beating AppEngine and EC2. Visual Studio alone is a bloated unstable monster that takes longer to install than an HTML5 webapp takes to build!


I'm not a MSFT employee.

Visual Studio is heavy. But it does a lot, and is generally acknowledged as the premier IDE. VS2010 - for me on several beefy desktops, laptops, and some VMs - installed much faster than VS2008. I was actually quite impressed. Sorry your experience was worse.

As for clouds, I have been looking into a cloud for my next project. Azure offers features AppEngine does not, e.g. database storage. AppEngine also requires Google Apps membership and charges per user. Azure, OTOH, offers an entire platform - apps, file storage, SQL - and doesn't have a per-user model. I actually have been unable to find another cloud with the same currently avl. features as Azure, though pointers would be welcome.

I don't know about Azure being "over-engineered". Do you say this because it does more than other clouds, or because you have inside insight and can convincingly attest that it isn't as simply built as it could/should be?

The little learning I have done so far doesn't really point to a "steep" learning curve for Azure. Quite the contrary, actually, since developers can apparently use familiar tools and metaphors (Visual Studio etc.)

I would actually be interested if you could back up some of your statements with fact, since as I mentioned I am about to launch into a project that - for now - will be Azure-based.

(One other factor in Azure's favor - for us - is that code built for it can probably be backed out and run on owned servers if Azure doesn't work out. That seems less possible on AppEngine etc. - i.e. preserving most of a coding investment.)

Anonymous said...

I was laid off about 12 months later. The manager went on to enjoy promotions.

The review process is simply an exercise that has absolutely no relationship whatsoever to the quality of the work one does.


I think almost everyone know this by now. I think you ended up in better off not working there.

Have you ever seen anyone who left Microsoft that is not happier now?

I have not - everyone I met is alot happier!

Anonymous said...

I see colleagues who spend most of their time on internal marketing and arranging internal / external events are promoted very fast. They are mostly HiPos. If you want to grow at Microsoft, spend most of your time at the internal networking and do self marketing and organize events, parties, farewells, wellcomes, etc. Dont be fooled by doing technical innovations or increasing your sales or mastering your products. At MSFT spend your time on internal marketing, networking, events, parties, farewells, etc (and similar bullshits where customer does not see any value).

Anonymous said...

Someone mentioned they wanted suggestions for how to improve Microsoft's products.

Here's a list of suggestions for WP7 that will be ignored by people like Kevin Turner.

Missing features won't get in the way of Kevin Turner's belief that WP7 will triumph over iPhone 4.

Terry Myerson arrived at Exchange when it was already well on its way to being successful and got credit for its success.

It doesn't sound like WP7 is in the same position. Terry's timing is off on this one.

If Kin had not already crashed and burned, Terry could have looked forward to being given a second chance to get WP7 right in a later release.

Which Microsoft exec is going to be put in charge of "crushing" Apple next?

Windows Phone 7: Don't bother with this disaster

Inexcusably old technology limits Windows Phone 7

But under the hood, Windows Phone 7 gets worse. The core problem is its backward set of technologies, which will fundamentally limit IT, developers, and users alike. Here are some of the more egregious examples of Windows Phone 7's time warp:

Its browser is Internet Explorer 7, with some IE8 capabilities added -- that means it does not support HTML5, as the iPhone, Android, WebOS, and Nokia Symbian all do. Didn't anyone on the Windows Phone 7 team know about IE9 and its embrace of HTML5? Why isn't Windows Phone 7 using IE9?

It does not support multitasking except for Microsoft's own first-party apps, meaning the browser, email client, SMS client, and other such preinstalled applications. When you switch applications, they shut down -- just like the iPhone did until iOS 4 was released this spring. Android and WebOS, of course, supported multitasking more than a year ago, and Google and Palm mercilessly attacked Apple for not supporting it as well. Yet Microsoft didn't build multitasking into Windows Phone 7 at the outset?

This lack of multitasking also means there's no such concept as interapplication communication for third-party apps, not even for a primitive work-around such as the iPhone OS 3.2's "Open In" feature. Thus, apps can't work together à la in WebOS -- even though the UI that Microsoft has shown off seemed designed to do just that. The only thing that Windows Phone 7 will do is let third-party apps call first-party apps, so clicking a URL in a text message will launch the first-party IE browser to show the URL. Of course, doing so closes the app that had the text link in it. (First-party apps can call other first-party apps, and these would all continue to run in parallel.)

It doesn't support copy and paste. Here again Apple was a much-criticized laggard, supporting the capability only in summer 2009. Microsoft says it didn't have time to get this feature in for the first release (!) but will have it in a future version. Too bad there's not likely to be a future for it. And how could Microsoft not have copy and paste working in Windows Phone 7? After all, it had copy and paste in Windows Mobile 6.1.

Anonymous said...

Kevin Turner mocks the iPhone4 but fails to mention that the WM7 phone can
barely make a call let alone keep one going. In the game? I doubt it. I
also find it highly funny that so many FTE's at MS, including FTE's in the mobile
division are carrying, iPhone...

Anonymous said...

Linux customer support brought to you by Kelso from That 70's Show.

"Burn."

Thanks for making my point.


Don't be so angry. These negative feelings are bad for you.

Perhaps if you re-read what I wrote it might make sense. I called you 'clueless' because you said Linux is hard to install. Which it is not. The look and feel is different to Windows which will make users uncomfortable, and as the refresh cycle of PCs is 5-6 years on average, people would rather feel comfortable with Windows than save a few bucks and choose Linux. For your peace of mind we will ignore the endless upgrades, reboots and spending more than the OS each year on AV and malware protection.

Now ... don't you feel better? Breathe ... in with the good air ... out with the bad air.

Say hello to Gram-Gram for me. BTW, does she know Joe the Plumber?

Anonymous said...

I remember a short time after vista's launch, Ballmer claimed that it would be hard to repeat vista's success (this was in face of all the criticism that vista was facing).

And now Kevin Turner is claiming is IPhone4 is Apple's vista.

Now whom should we believe - the monkey boy or the Walmart boy?

Anonymous said...

You can search interally for "Office Ribbon Report". This is a monthly report put out by a team of people who track satisfaction with the ribbon. According to the latest report things are doing well and trending upward. People who dislike it are very vocal though.

Anonymous said...

I was presented with a bad review, and it was filled with details that were objectively, factually incorrect. I had plenty of supporting documentation that could easily disprove many of the things in the review ...


At risk of outing myself with too much detail provided, +1 to this.

My lead had already targeted me as the team's next Kim to be done away with despite my still being in demand on other teams to which they would not allow me to move. The difficulty for him was that I'd actually delivered more than most of my colleagues during the FY. If you've been at MS for a while, you may have heard or experienced that that can be worked around by managers skillfully avoiding any discussion of objective metrics in the review. To counter that, I included objective data on my review so that they'd see to ding me they'd have to ding 75% of the team as well. I also did this so that if there was an eventual legal challenge, they wouldn't be able to claim that they didn't know at the time that my performance was as high as it was.

The two primary complaints were these.

a)) What nerve you have to compare yourself to your teammates! That is not in your job description or commitments and you shouldn't have spent time compiling those statistics, and where did you get the data anyway?

I had guessed that if I didn't spend the time, no one would, and this turned out to be a good guess. Doh.

b)) Fact foo that you claim here as being an accomplishment of yours is incorrect, as it was assigned to someone else and couldn't have been done by you. You attempted to lie on your review. Poor poor form you accomplishment-inflating Kim.

The reaction when I contested b)) during the review meeting made for a pretty satisfying 30 seconds, although of course it didn't change the outcome for me. There was a 3-level manager+skip+skip-skip hierarchy in my review because they were wary about my ability to defend myself too well, plus someone I think was an HR attorney, presumably because I had so effectively put my manager on the spot during the mid-year that they wanted lots of backup for him this time. I told my manager his claim was incorrect and, aware that I was communicating with 3 not just 1 layer of management, informed them that that was just typical of the inaccuracy of his ongoing evaluations of me, and asked how long was he going to be permitted to be spreading misleading negative information about me. The skips looked very surprised momentarily then turned to the manager with angry expressions that non verbally communicated "You stuffed up this simple witchburning! If you're going to trash a direct, what you say either has to be too objective to disprove or be both objective AND provably true," before one of them politely asked him for clarification. Watching him dance to defend himself in front of his manager and skip was a bittersweet way to spend 30 seconds after what he'd put me through over the last 8 months.

Unfortunately, it had been clear to me for most of the prior 8 months that facts that got in the way of his conclusions didn't matter, and that Microsoft was going to find some way to back him up to avoid being legally liable for his mistakes.

Also clear was that managers were not used to a direct who could so capably parry blows by a managerial malcontent. Possibly this toxic management activity has continued as long as it has, because it's just usually far too easy to get away with.

He told me if I didn't sign in right then and there, my paychecks would be withheld, effective immediately.

Based on the experiences of three people on different teams, this is not true but is a common threat.

I was laid off about 12 months later. The manager went on to enjoy promotions.

I lasted 6. The manager is still there, damaging others' careers, but according to reports has been far more cautious in his actions since tangling with me and getting his hands burnt.

Anonymous said...

WalMarTurner calling Apple ...


WalMarTurner, ha ha That's funny

Anonymous said...

Wonder how stupid the people who bought Kin might be feeling now.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps if you re-read what I wrote it might make sense. I called you 'clueless' because you said Linux is hard to install. Which it is not.

I just said Linux requires more knowledge than Windows to install.

Linux, despite all its improvements, still requires more knowledge to set up than Windows.

You somehow spun that into an attack on your firmly held belief that Linux is awesome and cannot possibly be improved.

Anonymous said...

If anyone believes that the Russian and Chinese governments don't have our source code, and Oracle/Apple/Google's etc too, they are seriously deluded. This guy was just the one who got caught.

Anonymous said...

Hey Linux fans, Ubuntu has come a long way compared to distros of the past but it still has a lot of behavior that normal end-users would find baffling or outright hostile like if you need to install non-OSS drivers to get audio or wifi and the dialog tries to guilt you into not doing it.

Also Mark Shuttleworth is a terrible person to have in charge of user experience, he just copies Apple look without understanding why. It's cargo cult UI design and it's pretty much the worst way to do things.

Like I said desktop Linux has made leaps and bounds but it's still miles from "it just works".

Anonymous said...

>>Since the last round only received accumulated vacation you can certainly volunteer. It's called quitting.

Wow - really? No one was offered severance as was the case in earlier rounds?

I was one of the first 1400, although I was fortunate enough to keep my badge and find another spot. I, and my colleagues who were also laid off were all offered severance.

I know that it is not an entitlement, but it seems unnecessarily harsh once the precedent was set...

Anonymous said...

It supports MORE hardware out of the box (including printers) than Windows

Take your lies and go troll elsewhere. Windows is #1 here by FAR.

Anonymous said...

Kevin Turner mocks the iPhone4 but fails to mention that the WM7 phone can barely make a call let alone keep one going. In the game? I doubt it. I also find it highly funny that so many FTE's at MS, including FTE's in the mobile division are carrying, iPhone...

This is more true than most know... WM7 will not be on time.

Meni said...

RE. poster at July 15, 2010 1:36:00 PM Talking about Azure vs AppEngine

I am also NOT an employee, and not the orig poster, in fact i am an open-source fanboi, so feel free to ignore this post,

But, to compare Azure to AppEngine is on big LOL and here's why:

AppEngine takes a wholly different approach to hosting, breaking with the past and concentrating on scalability. It's moto is "Build it to be scaleable". And then Google goes on to tell us ITS experience in this field (I'm sure they have some :-), AppEngine is the sum of their recommendations.

including their advice against using SQL server for this purpose!

Lookup "NoSQL" for current trends in hosting.

Also with AppEngine you DO NOT HAVE TO THINK ABOUT OS AND LOADBALANCING

Azure, on the other hand, says: bring us your existing (unscalable) app, we'll host it for you with SOME extra services added. Oh, and we'll charge you more then others. Of course this is nothing like app engine. This means that micrsoft is in the commodity server business. How sad for them.

I'm 100% psitivly sure Microsoft will copy Google on this to the bone, some time on the future, (maybe even implement it better i must confess), but right now MS is chasing Google, having a lag of a few years.

So, go ahead, use the shinny VS2010 to create old-school apps that are either obsolete now, or will shortly be. Just like you prob did with VB6.

As you see I can talk about this on and on...

Anonymous said...

You can search interally for "Office Ribbon Report". This is a monthly report put out by a team of people who track satisfaction with the ribbon. According to the latest report things are doing well and trending upward. People who dislike it are very vocal though.

An internal Microsoft group says the Ribbon is super. Case closed!

Anonymous said...

"NOBODY loves the ribbon other than the people who designed it. "

Not true, I love it and I didn't have anything to do with its design. It only takes a few minutes of use to realize it is better. The only downfall of the ribbon is that it still can be hard to find things, just like in 10 menus, 25 sub-menus and 103 sub-sub menus. A menu maze isn't better, it is just text.

Anonymous said...

". Remember, Ubuntu releases _every six months_. It supports MORE hardware out of the box (including printers) than Windows, no driver install necessary. "

Oh ... so you never really have installed Ubuntu on many different computers. It is better than it was, at least you don't have to text mode to install in a VM now, but compared to windows install, it is still pretty lame.

Anonymous said...

Based on comments here - I think MS is irrepepairably damaged co. My bad that I kept accumulating shares through espp. I hope stock market gives a little push to stock to reach 30 again so that I can unload all my holdings. As long as Ballmer is at the helm I think it probably will never cross 30.

Anonymous said...

I see colleagues who spend most of their time on internal marketing and arranging internal / external events are promoted very fast. They are mostly HiPos. If you want to grow at Microsoft, spend most of your time at the internal networking and do self marketing and organize events, parties, farewells, wellcomes, etc. Dont be fooled by doing technical innovations or increasing your sales or mastering your products. At MSFT spend your time on internal marketing, networking, events, parties, farewells, etc (and similar bullshits where customer does not see any value).

Very true, I remember how people who set up stalls during the Giving Campaign were given promotions while the developers working their ass off on products were let go.

Anonymous said...

Watching him dance to defend himself in front of his manager and skip was a bittersweet way to spend 30 seconds after what he'd put me through over the last 8 months.
It means that your manager and the skip-manager already decided to "manage you out". Your skip manager just wanted to create an appearance of unbiasedness. Now your former direct manager owes more to the skip manager that the latter definitely enjoys an will use when neccessary.

Anonymous said...

Galen Gruman of Infoworld, who was initially optimistic about Windows Phone 7, now calls it "a waste of time and money".

http://www.infoworld.com/d/mobilize/windows-phone-7-dont-bother-disaster-211?page=0,0

Anonymous said...

To the person -
Thursday, July 15, 2010 7:50:00 PM

+1
Don't want to give any details but I can feel the pain of anyone who has been wronged by the managers and the review system.

Anonymous said...

"But: are we sure Microsoft's top executives don't already include a foreign mole saboteur? How could we tell?"

None of Micrsoft's top executives are clever enough to be accepted by an intelligence agency.

Anonymous said...

"Linux ain't [sic] going anywhere on the desktop [...]"

You're fighting the last war - the new front is mobile devices.

Perhaps you would care to give us your opinion of the Linux UX experience a la Android in the light of its burgeoning market share? (Of course, Microsoft's humiliating experience with the Kin serves as an interesting counterpoint to Android's runaway success).

In the tablet arena, the iPad is selling like hot cakes, Microsoft's Courier never saw the light of day, HP has canned plans for a Windows 7-based tablet and opted for WebOS instead (ouch!), and several other manufacturers have now stated their intent to come out with tablets that will run Android.

Wakey, wakey! The rest of the world is eating Redmond's lunch while some Microsoft employees are busy reading the breakfast menu.

Anonymous said...

Myerson's NIH culture built with his Windows-reject leadership team is biting him in the ass. Despite being failures, Zune, WinMo 6.5, and Kin are not contributing value, IQ, or code to winpho 7. WinPho 7 builds upon CE7 abomination and everything else is from scratch. No wonder it is half done and completely shoddy. Andy has no business (mis)managing so many engineering teams.

Anonymous said...

>Dude, even a monkey could have come up with the visions of Pratley.

Pratley is the visionzilla of Office. PJ has thousand PMs but Pratley is a step ahead.

Anonymous said...

Windows Mobile 7 should be KIN'ed!

Windows Phone 7 is a waste of time and money. It's a platform that no carrier, device maker, developer, or user should bother with. Microsoft should kill it before it ships and admit that it's out of the mobile game for good.
http://www.infoworld.com/d/mobilize/windows-phone-7-dont-bother-disaster-211?page=0,0

Anonymous said...

Anyone that posts that Galen Gruman article is an obvious troll. The guy clearly says things that are entirely wrong and even admits to having never used the phone. Add that to his former stint as editor of MacWorld and it isn't terribly hard to figure out his angle. Though, just like the Tea Partiers I am sure you Apple Fanbois will take anything that Fox News, I mean Galen Gruman, will dish out.

Anonymous said...

To the person -
Thursday, July 15, 2010 7:50:00 PM

1+

Anonymous said...

@Steve Ballmer said...
Such negativity!


Dear Mr. Ballmer,

Do you pay attention to MS-Poll or WHI surveys for MSIT, India? What did you fix so far?
Negativity doesn’t come in a day or two. I hope for a talented person this much hint is enough.

Anonymous said...

It means that your manager and the skip-manager already decided to "manage you out". Your skip manager just wanted to create an appearance of unbiasedness.

Oh, no. I'd already called them on bias, so it wasn't going to create an appearance of unbiased action no matter what. Based on the angry reaction, pointing out the alleged "lie" was a poor attempt at legal cover. Which failed.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft stock awards should be killed. Investors and employees are simply not aligned in upside. Employees benefit when stock stagnates or falls. It encourages a management and workforce that abhors risk and new markets because that actually involves work and little additional upside. Microsoft seems to be one of the few companies getting away with this. I am surprised shareholders haven't complained.

Anonymous said...

"For what it's worth, I have switched my parents to Karmic Koala over a year ago, and it works just fine for them (yes, including the somewhat obscure Samsung printer)."

lmfao

let me guess...2010 is the Year of Linux?

sorry, having heard your claim 1000 times in the last 10 years, I'm always amazed by how it never changes..."setup is easy, the UX is BETTER THAN Windows and Mac, and EVERYTHING supports it"

yet no one uses it, there is zero buzz except from Linux nerds, and it couldn't maintain traction in the ultracheap netbook market

PLEASE EXPLAIN

Anonymous said...

Galen Gruman of Infoworld is a former editor of MacWorld and has an axe to grind. The fact that he now claims to hate the things he was "intrigued" by in Feb is the tell. Take his blog posting (that's all it is) with a grain of salt.

Anonymous said...

*********
Galen Gruman of Infoworld, who was initially optimistic about Windows Phone 7, now calls it "a waste of time and money".
**********

For people who don't know this: Galen Gruman is a former Executive Editor at Macworld. This guy is more than a little biased towards Apple products.

Anonymous said...

Take a chill pill everyone. It's all random anyway. Well at least according to this guy:
http://creativefisher.blogspot.com/

So relax.

Anonymous said...

From the comments on an article in "Hacker News"


Is Google at Risk of Becoming the Next Microsoft? (techcrunch.com)
12 points by abraham 4 hours ago


2 points by DavidSJ 7 minutes ago
How much things have changed, where "becoming the next Microsoft" is seen as an undesirable outcome.

Anonymous said...

Hope this is not true
http://blog.seattlepi.com/microsoft/archives/214873.asp?source=mypi

Seems like Microsoft hasnt tested the Windows Phone 7 crap with acutal users yet and are planning to ship in 4 months. The Win7 phone will be Microsoft's "Vista V2"

Anonymous said...

New strategy to spend billions
http://blog.seattlepi.com/microsoft/archives/214855.asp

Make Bing your default engine, get $3 to donate to charity

Microsoft needs to realize that it is insulting pepople with these cheap offers. It seems likely that the executives just want to play a numbers game

Anonymous said...

It looks like HTC is releasing a WP7 phone later this year.


Microsoft is paying developers to write apps for WP7 in an attempt to catch up with Apple.


Since this phone isn't marketed specifically to teenagers, Steve is back on familiar ground and will try to push it on companies already buying Microsoft products to get the number of WP7 phones sold to look less embarassing. Then, rely on people interpreting the number of WP7 phones sold as individual choices to use the WP7 phone rather than a company purchase decision.


A "company phone" wouldn't really fly at Microsoft. Microsoft PMs use their personal cell phones since Microsoft's voicemails, emails, etc. are subpoenaed when a government sues Microsoft.


Massive 2010 Manufacturer UK Roadmap Revealed: HTC Gold, Nokia E7, Samsung Cetus Due Q4?

HTC ‘Gold‘ – Rumoured to be the Taiwanese manufacturer’s first bite at the Windows Phone 7 cherry (Ace permitting…), we all want to see what they can do with Microsoft’s shiny new phone platform.


Microsoft Pays Mobile App Developers to Catch Apple

July 14 (Bloomberg) -- Microsoft Corp. is paying developers to build mobile applications for its Windows Phone 7 system to help it narrow a lead by rival products from Apple Inc. and Google Inc.

The company is providing financial incentives ranging from free tools and test handsets to funds for software development and marketing, said Todd Brix, a senior director at Microsoft who works with app developers. In some cases, Microsoft is providing revenue guarantees, and will make up the difference if apps don’t sell as well as expected, he said.

Anonymous said...

I highly recommend you guys watch this:

http://www.wimp.com/surprisingmotivation/

I think this summarizes the situtation we are in nicely...

Anonymous said...

Galen Gruman of Infoworld, who was initially optimistic about Windows Phone 7, now calls it "a waste of time and money".

http://www.infoworld.com/d/mobilize/windows-phone-7-dont-bother-disaster-211?page=0,0

Friday, July 16, 2010 12:24:00 PM


It sounds to me like Galen Gruman just doesn't like Microsoft. He might be right about WM7 (not a WM fan), but much of his post sounds like it could have come from SlashDot (an Apple forum would likely be more accurate).

I read his earlier article about WM7 and while that article is more balanced, it still takes a few potshots at Microsoft.

Oddly, in the new article he claims that WM7 is an OS from 2007 whereas all the other mobile OSes have made dramatic advances. However, in his earlier article (March) he claims that ALL the OSes (Android, WebOS, Blackberry) except for Apple's are from 2007. Apparently Google, Palm and RIM have made some huge advances in the past three months. Makes it tough to take him seriously.

Also comparing his previous article with the current one, he now seems to be complaining about features that he initially really liked. I'm not sure what happened in the intervening three months, but whatever it was it seems to have made him very angry.

He also seems to be ignorant of history. Some of his statements just make me cringe with their ignorance:

"In the case of Windows versus Mac, Microsoft kept plugging away and ultimately shipped Windows 95, which drew close enough to Apple's Mac OS to end the competition. The same thing happened with the Internet and the battle between Internet Explorer and Netscape, which the company first ignored and then made a successful mad scramble on."

Even if you ignore the inaccuracies of the two statements separately, putting them together and claiming that they were "the same thing" is at best hyperbole and at worst disingenuous.

It almost seems as if he wrote his original optimistic article so that he could be free to bash WM7 (and Microsoft) in the future.

My opinion is that he should be ignored by everyone except the mobile team. They should look at his comments, see if they merit any investigations or changes and act accordingly. Everyone else should take it for what it is: an Apple fanboi's rant against Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

Anything LCA can do for wrong performance review?

Anonymous said...

@Steve Ballmer said...I'm getting sick of all this whinning!

Most of the MS employee are also sick of you and MS culture.

What action have you taken against the odds?

Anonymous said...

former stint as editor of MacWorld

If you took the time to google him, his 'stint' was 12 years ago (1994-1998), way before Apple recovered, came up with the iPod, iPhone etc. Saying someone is biased for what he covered 12 years ago is like saying BillG is a college drop out and that he can never run a successful company.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"Anything LCA can do for wrong performance review?
Sunday, July 18, 2010 9:20:00 AM"

Certainly: LCA can advise the manager involved how best to protect the interests of the company (that's their job).

If you want a legal opinion on your situation as an employee, its your duty to get that from an outside attorney. LCA doesn't advise employees with-respect-to management.

Anonymous said...

I thought it would be fun to write a screenplay about my career at Microsoft. However, my agent pointed out that Tina Fey already did Mean Girls.

Anonymous said...

There is already a solution for expensive cell phone plans but cell phone companies don't like it since they can't charge you.

Some cell phones have VOIP and data support over WiFi. When you're near a WiFi hot spot, your phone uses VOIP over WiFi for voice calls and WiFi for your phone's Internet connection instead of your cell phone company's network.

It is showing up on Android phones.

If Microsoft was creating a phone for teenagers, they could have created a phone that connected to the Internet and made phone calls in a way that was affordable to teenagers.

Steve Ballmer is focused on maximizing profit for cell phone companies rather than maximizing value for consumers.

This time the consumers were teenagers and designing a phone to cost consumers as much money as possible to operate backfired.

Google Voice + Sipdroid = Transparent Free International Calls

No VoIP In New Nokia N-Series Phones? Is Nokia Turning Its Back on MobileVoIP?

Verizon to Microsoft: Take Back Your Kins

Microsoft's Kin is dead, and Verizon just put the final stake in the heart of the tawdry technological affair. According to Electronista, the company has opted to return all unsold Kin devices to Microsoft as of Monday. All online sales of the Kin One and Kin Two have been suspended, and Verizon is only offering accessories for either device at this point.


We describe Microsoft's great 'Kin mishtakes - How to ship a "dead in the water" mobile

Your network provider has to pay ball.

Verizon did more to sink the 'kin than anything else. It insisted that there was a $30 monthly data plan for the 'kin - similar to smartphones. The only problem was that the 'Kin was not a smart phone and $30 a month was expensive for something that did not support third party apps and did not have a calendar. Verizon said that $30 was fair enough because the 'Kin had high resolution still and video cameras and stored this data in the cloud. This concept was a little too obscure for the great unwashed and particularly teens.

Anonymous said...

Guess ... people are now more open to call the previously known yearly re-organization as layoff... Great to see Microsoftians realize that they are not in a different world....

This year cuts have been just to get the numbers right. I worked in a high perf team, where the GM was very spcific about performance. He would challenge us that without our blue badge what impact we could create for Microsoft. Slowly and steady over the last 2 years we were able to move a small but significant enterpise customer base towards us... But then the budget number were assigned, this team was asked to be cut.... All the guys in this team got other opporunities within 2 weeks (99% of this team was formed by 20 perceters from other teams)... I am now under a equally good leardership but would certainly missing working with my previous team where every day we had to address a new challenge to make an impact in enterprise world... Microsoft needs to hire or encourages new thought & focussed GM's and not the politician GM's to avoid this annual cuts and make the company truly #1.... ofcourse we must cut a very large % contigency / vendor staff... They are huge drain ( bigger than gulf oil spill)

Anonymous said...

Re Anonymous @ 9:20am July 18....

Yes. They can find some way to justify it as valid so that you can't be successful at suing them for (whatever some attorney comes up with as grounds based on the review content).

Don't go there. Don't even bother to think about it. If you think HR exists to protect management, what do you think LCA is for?

Anonymous said...

Anything LCA can do for wrong performance review?

LCA works for Microsoft; not you.

If they're playing games with your reviews, they don't want you there.

If the bottom 80% of employees left, 16% of the former top 20% would form the new bottom 80% and 4% would form the new top 20%.

If the bottom 10% of employees left, Microsoft would have to consistently hire employees worse than everyone already working there for people who were labeled average to not end up in the bottom 10% during the next review period.

It's a goofy system designed to save Microsoft money in compensation.

If you're looking for some kind of validation of your abilities from the performance management system Steve Ballmer copied from GE, you've got other problems you should be working on.

Anonymous said...

>> 2010 is the Year of Linux

Yes it is. Those Android devices? Linux. Kindle? Also Linux. Palm webOS (soon to kick WP7s ass). You guessed it, Linux.

By EOY, there will be a profusion of Android and webOS tablets and a huge number of Android phones will be sold, too.

So you could kind of say it's the year of Linux, yes.

As for my parents, they could not tell the difference between Windows XP and Ubuntu Linux. They don't care if the Windows logo shows up when they turn on the PC. They browse the web, read email, read/write/print an occasional document. For those things, Linux is more than adequate these days. And for me it's better. It cost me zero dollars, and there's no ongoing effort - it updates itself and sends me logwatch reports every now and then.

Anonymous said...

"My team has been told in no uncertain terms by our GM that not attending the company meeting is a career limiting move"

Start a campaign to boo when Baldmer takes the stage.

Anonymous said...

"Microsoft Pays Mobile App Developers to Catch Apple"

Last time I check, Microsoft have tons of developers, why pay other to build app for WP7?

Anonymous said...

>>Anything LCA can do for wrong performance review?

That's not what tthey are there for, at least, not in support of you (against the company - manager == company). Don't even go there.

The only thing that can be done in response to an unfair review (in 99 cases out of 100) is to suck it up. If you're being managed out, complainign only accelerates the process.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

First the market cap; now Steve Jobs is taking over the Evil Empire franchise from Steve Ballmer:

(Computer animation from Chinese news station)

Reality distortion field remains strong with Steve Jobs after antennagate


Poor Steve Ballmer.

skc said...

I think it's VERY telling about what this blog comment section has become when people keep linking and relinking to the negative WP7 review and refusing to link to Engadgets take.

Let me guess...doesn't jibe with your M$ sucks worldview?

lol.

http://www.engadget.com/2010/07/19/windows-phone-7-in-depth-preview/

Notice how Engadgets review is an ACTUAL hands on review. And for a first gen mobile OS, the review is mostly glowing.

Carry on though.

Anonymous said...

"[...] the dialog tries to guilt you into not doing it."

Guilt is a *noun* (you do know what a noun is, don't you?). Please tell me that you're not an employee of Microsoft.

"Mark Shuttleworth [...] just copies Apple look without understanding why. It's cargo cult UI design and it's pretty much the worst way to do things."

Perhaps Mr Shuttleworth sees himself as a "fast follower". I'm really glad that Microsoft isn't so silly as to play that game.

'[...] Linux [is] still miles from "it just works".'

It seems that the same thing could be said about your brain.

Anonymous said...

Notice how Engadgets review is an ACTUAL hands on review. And for a first gen mobile OS, the review is mostly glowing.


Mostly glowing?


Engadget has some nice things to say about the UI but there are several features they mention are missing.

If Microsoft plans on shipping for the holidays, they aren't leaving a lot of time to test everything if it wasn't available for the hands-on review.

Windows Phone 7 in-depth preview

(a) There are two big omissions here, in our opinion. The device won't support copy and paste, and won't support third-party multitasking of apps.


(b) If that kind of philosophy reeks of Motorola Blur or Palm Synergy, you're on the right track; as soon as you add a Windows Live, Exchange, or Facebook account, it pulls in every contact associated with that account and disperses associated content throughout your entire phone -- there's nothing you can do about it.

(c) Of course, the real kicker is that you don't get HTML5 support either, which makes the browser situation somewhat painful. There's not even a YouTube app on the phone! Microsoft -- you've got to step it up on the video front if you want to play this game.

(d) Though Word seems to do a decent job rendering pages onto the small display, the editing capabilities are weak at best -- you can't change fonts, for example, and you can only choose from four font colors: orange, green, red, and black. Though there's a spell-checker (you'll recognize the familiar red squiggly lines), there's no copy / paste capability -- and in an app like this, it's hard to imagine being too productive without any sort of clipboard whatsoever. Excel seems similarly gimped, though it's got a pretty solid set of built-in functions; we don't know what percentage of the full app's functions are supported, but it's a long list.

(e) Wrap-up

What we've been presented with here doesn't exactly feel like a complete mobile operating system in many ways. Some parts of Windows Phone 7 are more like a wireframe -- an interesting design study, an example of what a next-gen phone platform could be.

Anonymous said...

Last time I check, Microsoft have tons of developers, why pay other to build app for WP7?

Microsoft's developers are busy maintaining and supporting multiple versions of popular software products as well as developing new versions.

Microsoft doesn't pay overtime and only the "top 20%" would get recognized for the effort.

Online MBA - Apps Marketplaces

Windows Marketplace 1083 apps

Android Market 70000 apps

iPhone App Store 225000 apps

skc said...

Oh and whats this? Another positive review of the WP7 tech preview, this time from ZDNet.

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/cell-phones/definitive-guide-to-the-microsoft-windows-phone-7-technical-preview/4286

Could all the people that posted the one negative review (which wasn't even a hands on review unlike the ones I'm posting) but could you guys explain WHY you're not linking to any positive reviews?

*crickets*

Anonymous said...

"Guilt is a *noun* (you do know what a noun is, don't you?). Please tell me that you're not an employee of Microsoft."

This must be very embarrassing for you, but guilt is also a verb and it was used properly.

skc said...

My goodness, the reviews of the WP7 tech preview just keep rolling in.

Yet another positive review, this time from Apple Fanboy central, TechCrunch.

http://www.mobilecrunch.com/2010/07/19/pre-review-preview-windows-phone-7-2/

Again, I have to ask the people that keep relinking to the lone negative review...why are you not posting these positve reviews here??

Again...*crickets*

Anonymous said...

"For those things, Linux is more than adequate these days. And for me it's better."

Great! No reason to read a blog about that ol' dinosaur Microsoft! See ya!

Oh, that's right, you're here to trooooooooollllllll ;-)

skc said...

And finally, a full roundup of all the major WP7 tech preview reviews.

http://thenextweb.com/microsoft/2010/07/19/windows-phone-7-reviews-round-up/

The OS and user experience are good in spots, excellent in otheres and top iOS and Android elsewhere.

Now, thats not to say the phone won't bomb, it very well could fail the same way the Palm Pre failed despite being well recieved on a technical level.

But you can quit with the 'MS can't build a mobile platform and experience'

Now back to your regularly scheduled whining

:)

Anonymous said...

"So you could kind of say it's the year of Linux, yes."

Sorry, I missed what you said about netbooks chasing Linux out of that segment...Linux, you remember, the OS of 2010...

Anonymous said...

@It's a goofy system designed to save Microsoft money in compensation.

Let's see how long and where this company will go in future.
If any company is not growing...no one can save their money.

Anonymous said...

LCA role on performance review

Thanks for all the suggestions.
Landed in a wrong group or may be to the wrong Organization.

Anonymous said...

While everybody seems to have their undies in a twist over that InfoWorld article, there is almost no mention here of the one factual piece of data it provides: the low attendance at the WinMo7 session relative to other platforms. You can argue the finer points of UI design all you want, but low developer interest will kill an OS faster than awkward menus or missing features.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the layoff, I've heard some rumors that we are going to sell the MCS business. Anyone has comments?

Anonymous said...

I'm the one who posted about the Ubuntu driver install screen and Mark Shuttleworth's lack of understanding and how it's wrecking any chance it has for increasing Linux mindshare.

You can make fun of my grammar all you like but that doesn't change the fact that I'm right. This:
http://cdn.ngohaibac.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/screenshot-hardware-drivers.png
is a terrible experience for end users. It turns having working wifi into a "risk" to your computer.

Smug defense of ideological purity is the primary downfall of most attempts Linux devs make at user-friendliness. Try to shoot the messenger all you like, that doesn't change the message.

And no, I'm not a Microsoft employee, I work somewhere where I can do my job of improving end user experience instead of watching my back. My review and goal setting takes about 4 hours total yearly and I get a fat cash bonus every year. The irony is that it's an org with 3.5x the headcount of MS. I read this blog for pure schadenfreude value, especially since the Xbox group spent 6 months courting me a couple years ago.

Anonymous said...

"Program Management in Bing is good. Brian MacDonald is one of the only leaders in OSD I highly respect. His boss, Satya, not so much but that may not affect you. Avoid adCenter PM at all costs. A third-rate org at best"

Is there any specific insight on which GPM within Bing runs a good healthy team? - Darrel/Darryn/Derrick/Gurpreet/Jeff/Jordi/Mario/Steve?

Anonymous said...

It's hard to tell how Danger would have fared if the Sidekick was the premier product but I can tell you that the braintrust lost to Apple and Google Android devastated the company and innovation was stalling out badly.

Acquisitions are funny things. Sometimes you're getting gold egg laying geese. Sometimes you're getting eggs.


Those golden geese fly where they please.

Steve Ballmer said...

MS management does a flawless job! These griping so called employees are not typical!

Anonymous said...

Maybe Mini can comment based on IP address originations, but IMO the number of non-troll employee comments have dropped to an all time low - perhaps under 10%. Anyone else seem to notice the number of employee posts that have non-native speaker grammatical formations or sound like a teenager? (I know we hire foreigners and the young, but they learn fast how to communicate.)


The spike may be a result of the Apple/KIN news and all the online "journalists" that used the to the Mini site as a source - albeit usually with a weak caveat.

Plus people on campus tend to bitch and moan about 1/10th as much as they do here. I hate to say it as a Mini fan, but the comments are becoming void of useful information or commentary. (And no, I'm not HR.)

FARfetched said...

I'm always amazed by how it never changes..."setup is easy, the UX is BETTER THAN Windows and Mac, and EVERYTHING supports it"

yet no one uses it, there is zero buzz except from Linux nerds, and it couldn't maintain traction in the ultracheap netbook market

PLEASE EXPLAIN


Not the OP, but I can explain it in one word: marketing. Microsoft has it. Linux doesn't.

I'm willing to be corrected on this, but once heard that MS sent more money marketing & advertising W95 than they did actually developing it. Even if that's not true, you can buy a whole lotta buzz with MS's marketing budget. Where would Linux be if there was 10% of that kind of money pushing it in the marketplace?

Anonymous said...

>>If the bottom 80% of employees left, 16% of the former top 20% would form the new bottom 80% and 4% would form the new top 20%.

Eventually, the very best individual will be faced with getting their left arm laid off, although the right leg will be working the pedals of a nice new BMW :-)

Anonymous said...

it's VERY telling about what this blog comment section has become when people keep linking and relinking to the negative WP7 review and refusing to link to Engadgets take.

When were the comments about praising Microsoft's offerings? That's what the PR dept and Walturner are supposed to do.

Most comments are trying to point out or fix MS failings that Baldmer refuses to admit or do.

Also, maybe you didn't read the summary:

doesn't exactly feel like a complete mobile operating system

putting out a product that's half-baked risks alienating early adopters at the worst possible time

if the WP7 team put their heads down and added a clipboard and some rudimentary multitasking, Microsoft could have an exceptionally solid version-one product in Windows Phone 7

The last one isn't going to happen, so you could draw your own conclusion.

Anonymous said...

At Microsoft India, performance review is a joke as objective assessment gets subverted in the name of "diversity". Two employees in similar roles one is a "diversity candidate" the other your regular johnny. In the latest reorg both of them only qualify for only one specific role. the "diversity candidate" has a contribution rating of 10% the other chap has 70% guess who is told to walk... As a company we will retain 10%ers where it suits and let go of decent performers, all in the name of DIVERSITY. Ms Brummel's contribution to Microsoft... thank you very much. Please highlight any similar cases so at least the folks here know how common this practice is.

Anonymous said...

"Notice how Engadgets review is an ACTUAL hands on review. And for a first gen mobile OS, the review is mostly glowing."

Reviews are wonderful things, as far as they go, and a good review is certainly preferable to a bad one. However the thing that counts in the end is what happens in the marketplace, and Microsoft has not engendered confidence in any quarter with the Kin disaster.

Maybe your view will be vindicated, and WP7 won't be that bad - perhaps falling short of the iPhone, but close to the equal of Android. If that turns out to be the case, the interesting thing to watch will be if WP7 can actually compete with Android, given that Android is free and has over 70,000 applications.

Given Microsoft's abysmal track record in mobile over the years (and considering that the execrable Kin has been the nadir), I would definitely be remaining circumspect until we see the proof of the pudding if I were you. After all, Kin was an ACTUAL market failure, wasn't it?

Anonymous said...

Those Android devices? Linux. Kindle? Also Linux. Palm webOS (soon to kick WP7s ass). You guessed it, Linux.

It always amuses me that OSS fans manage to claim embedded Linux as victories with a straight face. Wake up, people; the OEM chose Linux, not the user. They could switch to BSD, OS/2, or even OS/360 on any of the devices you listed tomorrow and consumers wouldn't give a fig as long as the UI troweled on top was just as good. And that UI is proprietary to the hilt, mind you; nothing libre there.

WP7 is likely going to get it's ass kicked, little doubt about it, but to say Linux has anything to do with it, well, sorry, but I just have to laugh.

Anonymous said...

skc said

Well, how about from CNET

It's absolutely mind-boggling that Windows Phone 7 is missing some very fundamental features, like copy/paste, third-party multitasking, and universal search.

Anonymous said...

@Monday, July 19, 2010 1:12:00 AM:

I was right with you up to:

"And for a first gen mobile OS, the review is mostly glowing."

Pray tell, if it's first gen, what do you think the "7" is in the name for?

Anonymous said...

Mini, strongly urge you to do a rundown on our most innovative and highly profitable organization called Win Live:

How come there are never layoffs in this org?

It will be good to know our answer to Facebook, Gmail, Skype, Twitter

It will be good to reflect on what engineering innovation has this monster size org done in years. Live id? MSN? Social Feeds? Hotmail?? Messenger? Spaces? SkyDrive? Each and all are light years behind competition

It will be good to know how is 2 years release cycle working when competition is shipping every day

It will be good to reflect on how and why are partner level politicians like John Sca and Ramesh Manne are allowed to become feudal lords without adding anything to the bottom-line

Good to know how is latest yet another reorg working for folks

Anonymous said...

>> that doesn't change the fact that I'm right

Dude, they have shipped TWO RELEASES since then. They ship every six months. Madwifi is long gone and forgotten. It Just Works now™. I type this from a Thinkpad T400 running Ubuntu Lucid Lynx and I never saw that screen.

Anonymous said...

Hi Everybody,

I thought the Mini-Microsoft community might enjoy this T-shirt I just created at Zazzle. http://www.zazzle.com/10_tshirt-235750788540088429

Humbly,

Andrew

skc said...

>>I was right with you up to:

"And for a first gen mobile OS, the review is mostly glowing."

Pray tell, if it's first gen, what do you think the "7" is in the name for?<<

I meant to say for a tech preview. My bad.

skc said...

>>Well, how about from CNET

It's absolutely mind-boggling that Windows Phone 7 is missing some very fundamental features, like copy/paste, third-party multitasking, and universal search.<<

Interesting how out of that entire review you specifically choose to only post the second last paragraph.

Why is that?

Also, read the comments for reaction to the review. Notice a pattern?

skc said...

>>When were the comments about praising Microsoft's offerings? That's what the PR dept and Walturner are supposed to do.<<

So then why the links to the negative WP7 review and none for the positive ones which just so happen to be the majority?

Interesting no?

Anonymous said...

"This must be very embarrassing for you, but guilt is also a verb and it was used properly."

You are wrong. Guilt is not a verb, it is a noun. You cannot "guilt" someone (that is why there are such phrases as "he made me feel guilty").

I assume that you are American. If so, you should be a little more circumspect, given the linguistic ignorance and affectations that characterise discourse in your country. For example: "target" is a noun, not a verb; "source" is a noun, not a verb; you cannot "grow" anything that does not grow of its own volition (that is, you can grow a tree but you cannot "grow" a business); "begs the question" does not mean the same thing as "raises the question"; "back to back" is a term used by those whose attention span cannot cope with four-syllable words such as "consecutive"; "momentarily" does not mean "in a moment"; "careening" does not mean the same thing as "careering", and so on ad inifinitum.

If you wish to correct my English you will need to first master the subject, and if you have a dictionary that claims that guilt can be used as a verb you should return it and get a refund.

Anonymous said...

Again, I have to ask the people that keep relinking to the lone negative review...why are you not posting these positve reviews here??

How about: the first (bad) review came out, and a bunch of people linked to it. Then several positive reviews came out and a bunch of people linked to THOSE.

The links to the bad review more or less stopped once the good reviews were released, so WTF is it exactly that you're complaining about?

Anonymous said...

Not the OP, but I can explain it in one word: marketing. Microsoft has it. Linux doesn't.

The fact is that Linux (in its desktop incarnation as e.g. Ubuntu) sorta sucks.

It works great if you want to surf the web and check your e-mail. Or do almost anything else that's found in the package installer. Which admittedly is thousands of things.

But, get one step off the beaten path and you're screwed. Want to download and install a program from the web, instead of the package installer? Get ready for the ride of your life if you're not a command line ninja.

Or, what if you want to do something dead simple like format an external USB flash drive and drag-and-drop files onto it? Simple in Windows and on the Mac but get ready for some obtuse command line permissions-modification action in Ubuntu.

I could go on and on like this for hours. And I'm not a Linux hater. I really want Linux to be a viable alternative to OS X so I can stop paying the Apple tax. But it's just not there and no amount of marketing will get it there. Shuttleworth needs to turn on the Apple photocopier and crank it to max.

Anonymous said...

"Well, how about from CNET":

"It's absolutely mind-boggling that Windows Phone 7 is missing some very fundamental features, like copy/paste, third-party multitasking, and universal search."


OK troll, that was the one harsh criticism in a largely positive and quite optimistic review.

Take your trolling elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

"Wake up, people; the OEM chose Linux, not the user."

This is a truly stunning assertion given that Redmond's monopoly has been built on OEMs choosing (or being "persuaded" to choose) Windows for PCs.

"WP7 is likely going to get it's ass kicked, little doubt about it, but to say Linux has anything to do with it, well, sorry, but I just have to laugh."

This is a very surprising conclusion. If the only viable product is "A", then "A" will obviously be the product used. If alternative products "B", "C", and "D" are also available, then it comes down to relative merit (Microsoft's dubious business practices notwithstanding). So if "A" loses market share (or fails to gain market share) because of the alternatives available, then whatever alternatives are used
are responsible
. Ergo, if manufacturers choose Linux over the equivalent MS offering for particular devices, then it is indeed Linux that is responsible for taking share from Microsoft in that market.

I would have thought that this would be self-evident. Am I missing something here?

Anonymous said...

One Windows group was told during last month's calibration process that for an employee to receive an A/10 rating an "exception" had to be approved. The rationale is that if an employee is rated as 10% they are automatically underperforming -- a U/10. This rule was apparently in place for the first time during this year's MYCD rankings. I do not know if this is a Windows-wide rule, but it does sound like something that would come from Sinofsky.

Anonymous said...

"At Microsoft India, performance review is a joke as objective assessment gets subverted in the name of "diversity". Two employees in similar roles one is a "diversity candidate"
This is the same in any Country where there exists federally or state protected classes, including the US and is one of the reasons there is such a large lag of time between when they "calibrate" (May STB) and when the money is handed out (September). HR does its scrub to make sure equal or at least defense-able (to US EEOC and other legal actions) quotas of protected classes are represented equally among the bands and scores. It's not all about performance, it is about making sure protected classes are represented to some extent equally in the review score process, (but no, they don't give 10%s to 10% of the population once you get above a level 65 - that's HR Marketing that there is some sort of fair review system in place, and that it truly represents your performance).
Also, given protected classes are more expensive and harder to recruit, (less population in those groups) there is less of a chance they will be laid off or thrown out of any HiPo grouping (females). Thus, even if they really don't belong there, the system will continue to reward them for being there.
Yes, this absolutely does mean that some people deserving of a better rating will have their review score impacted and may be managed out altogether since they landed in the wrong group, having nothing to do with their performance. But MS just thinks they can get a new person to replace that 'managed out' employee at any time. They don't begin to contemplate ramp up costs, and costs of replacing a 'good' employee. It's all about the HiPo's and top 20%. If you're in the bottom 80% - last two reviews - you're not seen as valuable.

Anonymous said...

@Monday, July 19, 2010 9:45:00 PM

True.

I have never seen a DIVERSITY going out of MS for UP rating or as a part of layoff.

Anonymous said...

Start a campaign to boo when Baldmer takes the stage.

Steve will just cancel the company meeting which is known as a "free day off" for the truly smart employees. Don't spoil it.

Anonymous said...

All Microsoft employees to get Windows Phone 7 devices
http://blog.seattlepi.com/microsoft/archives/215365.asp

Is it true? Is it true?

Alex Johnson of msnbc.com reports, however, that the worlds "free" and "given" never crossed Lees' lips. I'm trying to get more information on that.

Guess we'll just have to wait for the details.

Anonymous said...

Wow - a lot of negativity about MSFT here, so I want to share my $0.02. I really enjoyed working there as a product manager. At a young age I was given a huge amount of responsibility over a new product. I got to work with colleagues in Redmond and around the world every day. I got to see the direct impact (in incremental revenue) that my decisions had on how the product was marketed and sold. My manager and skip level were terrific and rewarded me with E/20 (highest review rating) in my last few years there. I left to go to grad school but still look back fondly on my time at MSFT, because I grew a lot in the process and was well compensated to boot.

Perhaps one's experience at MSFT depends on where you work and who your managers are, but my experience was very much a positive one.

Anonymous said...

I have an offer to start at MSFT in Redmond starting Aug 09.

But the comments on this blog are getting me to have serious second thoughts. Problem is, I am just not sure if the majority of Microsoft employees are disgruntled and unhappy or if it just a handful and somehow, coincidentally, only this handful MSFT EEs post here??

>>> These comments are not the norm and do not reflect most employees. I love Microsoft and most of my peers do too. We're disfunctional at times like any big company, but even on its worst day, it's pretty good. Don't believe this mess. Lots of venting from disgruntled folks here...

Anonymous said...

The original Zune/Pink phone had interesting momentum but it all got squandered. What's the one ThinkWeek paper I want to read this year? Lessons Learned from Microsoft KIN and How Microsoft Must Change Product Development. You can't have a failure like this without examining it and then sharing what went wrong, all with respect to vision, execution, and leadership. How big was the original iPhone team? How big was the KIN team? Why did one result in a lineage of amazingly successful devices in the marketplace, and the other become a textbook extended definition for "dud" ?

Agreed Mini. However all of the above would demand accountability, and the willingness to say "Hey, we got it wrong. We made a mistake. Here's what we learned ..."

How likely is that with the Turner/Ballmer cavalcade? Not very. Unfortunately a billionaire managing millionaires is not a recipe for success. Too many egos.

Hope the earnings are good!

Anonymous said...

All Microsoft employees to get Windows Phone 7 devices
http://blog.seattlepi.com/microsoft/archives/215365.asp

Is it true? Is it true?

Alex Johnson of msnbc.com reports, however, that the worlds "free" and "given" never crossed Lees' lips. I'm trying to get more information on that.

Guess we'll just have to wait for the details.



Does the "free" WP7 come with a free calling plan?

Or, do Microsoft employees get to pay for the privilege of padding the number of WP7's shipped the first year?

If WP7 doesn't fix the complaints seen in the hands-on reviews before it ships, spending a few million on WP7s to survive a few months until the OS is updated is a good idea.

There's a way to push OS changes to WP7 similar to Windows Update?

Anonymous said...

RE the free phone:

"I am thrilled to announce that a new Windows Phone 7 will be made available to every Microsoft employee as we launch in each market around the world"

That could be one per-group to play with, or you can have one if you pony up $200 to AT&T. "made available" doesn't sound like free, though I hope I'm wrong!

Anonymous said...

>> dead simple like format an external USB flash drive

WTF? 99.99% of "normal" people don't know what "format" means, let alone know that you can "format" the USB drives that come pre-formatted.

Anonymous said...

. The problem is 'Microsoft' is not known as a Cool brand for consumer, but 'Apple' is.

You've confused the causes and effects. Apple's brand is "cool" because they have a track record of shipping first-rate products.

Anonymous said...

To: I have an offer to start at MSFT in Redmond starting Aug 09.


Microsoft isn't perfect but the benefits and pay aren't bad. The company is becoming more and more internally focused as folks worry about their job security following our layoffs. Too much internal ass covering and not enough attention to customer needs in my opinion.

Our senior execs are too far removed from day to day individual contributor concerns to fix things. I suspect Microsoft will continue to slowly bleed. It's not a bad place to work but definitely could be better.

In this economy its hard to complain when you are employed. If you have options great, if not, MSFT is a fine place to work.

Anonymous said...

>>One Windows group was told during last month's calibration process that for an employee to receive an A/10 rating an "exception" had to be approved. The rationale is that if an employee is rated as 10% they are automatically underperforming -- a U/10.

It might as well be true, because if you do get A/10, you aren't welcome anywhere else, as is the case with U/10.

You won't find it written anywhere, but:

1. Its extremely difficult to get an informational with a 10;

2. If you do get a loop, you have to ace every single interview AND get VP-level approval to get hired.

The second reason is why almost no-one will bother giving you an informational, unless you have someone really going to bat for you.

So the situation now is that we have "10 jail" - a new mechanism to keep people from moving around even when the real issue is a poor fit.

The effect this has on morale is profoundly bad, which I imagine is exactly Kevin Turner's intention. Nothing like a bit of fear and loathing to keep the troops in line, right Kevin? That's the Walmart way.

Anonymous said...

"These comments are not the norm and do not reflect most employees. I love Microsoft and most of my peers do too. We're disfunctional at times like any big company, but even on its worst day, it's pretty good. Don't believe this mess. Lots of venting from disgruntled folks here..."

Actually these comments are anything but a few disgruntled employees.

Microsoft is a giant, complex system with its good points and bad points -- but there's no arguing the fact that in our current state we are largely not a healthy culture or that we don't have some extremely severe systemic problems that should make anyone think long and hard before accepting an offer here right now.

Anonymous said...

Azure offers features AppEngine does not, e.g. database storage. AppEngine also requires Google Apps membership and charges per user.

all this azure/cloud talk is off-topic and i'm sorry to be contributing to that but these points are factually wrong. thirty seconds reviewing the api documentation will clear up misconceptions on the first point, reading the google apps faq will clear up any confusion on their free "standard" edition.

(One other factor in Azure's favor - for us - is that code built for it can probably be backed out and run on owned servers if Azure doesn't work out. That seems less possible on AppEngine etc. - i.e. preserving most of a coding investment.)

app engine supports java and python. not sure how much less "less possible" that could be.

Anonymous said...

Problem is, I am just not sure if the majority of Microsoft employees are disgruntled and unhappy or if it just a handful and somehow, coincidentally, only this handful MSFT EEs post here??

Remember that MS has 90K+ FTEs and many contractors. Even if 10% FTEs are unhappy, that's a large number. So a few hundred venting here is not surprising.

I think this is my first post on this blog. I usually just read and am getting good at quickly filtering out the useless posts (which are the majority, unfortunately. Probably includes this one :) )

If you liked the team you interviewed with, you should not worry.

I worked in a team I didn't like for 1 year and quickly moved. 6+ years since then and I am quite happy. Lot of bad decisions by Microsoft, but it is a business where I contribute, learn, get better at what I do and I get paid. If it's a good deal for you, you stay. Simple.

Anonymous said...

I have never seen a DIVERSITY going out of MS for UP rating or as a part of layoff.

You were apparently working in a different area of Microsoft than I was in 2009, because older employees and female employees were disproportionately chosen for the layoff pool in the areas I saw.

Anonymous said...

All Microsoft employees to get Windows Phone 7 devices... Alex Johnson of msnbc.com reports, however, that the worlds "free" and "given" never crossed Lees' lips. I'm trying to get more information on that.

The precise phrasing is: "A new Windows Phone 7 will be made available to every Microsoft employee as we launch in each market around the world." Sounds a little parsed to me, but we'll see.

Anonymous said...

If we are giving out "free" phones, it's not as simple as it sounds. As its probably above a certain value, it's a requirement for MSFT to report this on your pay-stub and have taxes apply. Of course, different people are are different marginal tax rates, and on it goes. I had first hand experience with this a few years ago when everyone who worked on the 360 received a "free" Xbox, games, controllers ... etc.


In this case, no tax was paid, and everyone simply got hit with the 'tax' on this gift on their next paycheck. Not a huge deal for most, but I recall some people being violently upset that they had been taxed extra (on many 100's of dollars of stuff), so essentially took home less pay that month. Maybe they didn't want to console, so they mandatorily had to pay tax on an item they had no use for (or at best, had to sell to recover the costs).

Don't even get me started on the additional hassles associated with the international people who were offered the same bonus.

If we do elect to give free 7 phones, I hope those upstairs think about the implications of this before forcing them down.

Making it opt-in to get a free one would be the smartest thing, but then sadly, it will be pretty telling of the product to see how many people adopt this offer.

Would not it be sad to find the adoption rate of 5% of employees. I can see the headlines now. All MSFT employees were offered free new 7 phones, and only 5% elected to take advantage.

Since most of the cost of a phone comes from the monthly plan, a couple of months afterlaunch, most smart phones can be picked for small change anyway.

Anonymous said...

I assume that you are American.
Well, you assumed wrong.

If you wish to correct my English you will need to first master the subject, and if you have a dictionary that claims that guilt can be used as a verb you should return it and get a refund.

Oh, all those fancy dictionary books are wrong! Just a bunch of paper and words!

Anonymous said...

I have an offer to start at MSFT in Redmond starting Aug 09.

But the comments on this blog are getting me to have serious second thoughts. Problem is, I am just not sure if the majority of Microsoft employees are disgruntled and unhappy or if it just a handful and somehow, coincidentally, only this handful MSFT EEs post here??


It depends upon where you end up in the performance ranking curve.

The E/20 product manager who left a comment had a great time.

The bottom 80% is a little more variable.

It is also variable across product groups as to the quality of management.

If you worked on Kin, you might not be feeling too good about the end result especially if you made suggestions to improve the product that were ignored.

If you look at the definition of "disgruntled", someone who worked on Kin could be legitimately "dissatisfied" (disgruntled).

"disgruntled" is usually used in a pejorative sense by a company to discredit a former employee by suggesting that they had no legitimate reason to be "dissatisfied".

There is also a site called Glassdoor that ranks multiple companies based upon employee evaluations.

Anonymous said...

If you wish to correct my English you will need to first master the subject, and if you have a dictionary that claims that guilt can be used as a verb you should return it and get a refund.

Languages are malleable. The way you speak and write would not be considered "correct" by, e.g., Shakespeare, or the Germans who invented English 1500 years ago. If dictionary.com now lists "guilt" as a [transitive] verb (it does), exactly what authority do you have to challenge them? Typical Microsoft mentality, you answer some brain teasers successfully on an interview loop and now you think you're an expert at everything.

skc said...

>>How about: the first (bad) review came out, and a bunch of people linked to it. Then several positive reviews came out and a bunch of people linked to THOSE.<<

Complete bullshit, considering I'M the ONLY one that posted the links to the positive reviews here.

Try again.

Anonymous said...

"I have an offer to start at MSFT in Redmond starting Aug 09."

I say go for it. Don't take the stuff you read here as totally accurate. A large percentage of those posting claim to be "unfairly" in the bottom 10% due to bad managers and various other conspiracy theories. Well, by definition only 10% of the people are in the bottom 10%, so that gives you a good idea of the population regularly posting here.

Microsoft isn't perfect, but having worked at a number of other large companies as well, the politics are average and the benefits/talent/etc are above average.

Anonymous said...

>>> These comments are not the norm and do not reflect most employees. I love Microsoft and most of my peers do too.

The first question you ask should be whether the company has a future, if you plan to stay for a while. When IBM went through their near death experience, I am sure many sticked around. They got lucky. Of course, changing CEO also benefited too.

Anonymous said...

"I have an offer to start at MSFT in Redmond starting Aug 09.

But the comments on this blog are getting me to have serious second thoughts. Problem is, I am just not sure if the majority of Microsoft employees are disgruntled and unhappy or if it just a handful and somehow, coincidentally, only this handful MSFT EEs post here??

>>> These comments are not the norm and do not reflect most employees. I love Microsoft and most of my peers do too. We're disfunctional at times like any big company, but even on its worst day, it's pretty good. Don't believe this mess. Lots of venting from disgruntled folks here..."

These comments are the norm of the MS employees. MS Human Resources has been doing an exceptionally bad job of setting up a system that encourages back stabbing - and nothing else. If you come from an environment that values your actual skills and reward you for what you contributed to the company revenue-wise, you will not comprehend why this place operates the way it does - apparently for the last 10 years+.

Anonymous said...

I was laid off about 12 months later. The manager went on to enjoy promotions.

The review process is simply an exercise that has absolutely no relationship whatsoever to the quality of the work one does.



I think almost everyone know this by now. I think you ended up in better off not working there.

Have you ever seen anyone who left Microsoft that is not happier now?

I have not - everyone I met is alot happier!


I will attest to that! Cheerio!

Anonymous said...

I see colleagues who spend most of their time on internal marketing and arranging internal / external events are promoted very fast. They are mostly HiPos. If you want to grow at Microsoft, spend most of your time at the internal networking and do self marketing and organize events, parties, farewells, wellcomes, etc. Dont be fooled by doing technical innovations or increasing your sales or mastering your products. At MSFT spend your time on internal marketing, networking, events, parties, farewells, etc (and similar bullshits where customer does not see any value).

So very true! The more actual value you bring to the company, the more they label you as "worker bees" and possessing no "leadership" quality.

Leadership? LOUDERship, more like.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps one's experience at MSFT depends on where you work and who your managers are

This is exactly the case. I've seen multiple colleagues be treated like dirt at review time on Team A and then like a rock star on Team B. Performance of the individual didn't change, Team B had a manager who was more mature and understood business value. With all of the re-orgs, there are alot of people set up to be screwed in September.

I had this issue hit me personally this review cycle. Promises were made at mid-year, I knocked it out of the park (well documented) all year, won awards, and just found out that I won't be getting what I expect in September.

In the past several years I've seen clear examples where review scores and promotions are not tied to performance that is both documented and widely acknowledged.

When performance reviews aren't based on performance, but are instead based on fiefdom politics, you only keep the people who are syncophants, afraid, or tied to the company due to immigration status.

If Lisa Brummel is paying any attention to this blog, you should have a red phone that people can contact you on (email address, phone, etc.) where they can report this nonsense. This is happening more and more often - not only are people seeing this and leaving in disgust when it happens to them, but so are their colleagues. And guess what? They're going across the street to competitors like Amazon and Google, where they feel more confident that there's pay for performance vs. pay for politics.

Anonymous said...

I have worked for three Fortune 100corporations, most recently Microsoft, for 10 years (left in 2006). I have noticed that each organization becomes, eventually, a victim of its own culture; it is very difficult for successful companies to avoid developing attributes which have worked well for them, to the extreme. And too much of anything is inherently destabilizing. When I arrived at Microsoft, I experienced it as the closest thing to a meritocratic culture. As time progressed, and I moved deeper into the bowels of the major product groups, it seemed that a disproportionate percentage of anyone's time, L62 and above, was spent managing the political aspects of the job, and planning to land on one's feet after the next reorg. It was randomizing, destructive, and impacted the integrity of product. (I left during Vista.) The solution, IMHO, is striving for sufficient cultural diversity that you have balance, and promoting management which has demonstrated true managerial talent - whether it is in making the hard business decisions in a data-driven way, or cultivating people to maximize that critical investment in intellectual capital. Underutilizing your talent is a cardinal sin in such an environment. And rewarding political prowess inevitably leads to underutilization. I love the company, but I would rather work there as a contractor.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what would be different today if Microsoft had been split into the three companies that was being discussed during the DOJ proceedings a few years ago.

BillG argued that the company needed to stay together so that it could innovate, if i remember correctly.

I wonder.

Anonymous said...

what do u gusy think about online service div in last quarter?

revenue up 10%, good to see, but meanwhile the operating loss widened 20% more...

how our traffic acquistion cost compares to google?

Anonymous said...

Well, by definition only 10% of the people are in the bottom 10%, so that gives you a good idea of the population regularly posting here.

The "bottom 10%" is not some static population of former employees.

Every year people are let go after spending some time in the "bottom 10%" shifting some people who were good enough last year into the "bottom 10%".

Every year a certain percentage of people leave for reasons unrelated to performance (employee turnover).

So, if someone "better" leaves, there is a chance for someone else to move up instead of down. When someone moves higher on the curve it means someone else moves down the curve.

When people lower in the curve leave, that makes more room for current employees in the "bottom 10%" when everyone's performance is fit to the curve.

The population of the "bottom 10%" is repopulated every year with the "average".

Anonymous said...

I spend 7 years in MS a decade ago and at that time the trouble was already foreseeable. Its sad to read the comments from all the confused and misguided employees trying to make sense of all the mess and convince themselves there is sill hope. But lets get real. Gates did brilliant job securing the two huge core markets that feed the company. Things are slowly deteriorating, but the situation is not bad enough yet for drastic change. Look at IBM in the 90s. Things had to go to the rock bottom for the company to turn around. Microsoft is heading the same fate. There will be many more failures and until the company looses its main source of revenue (Win/Office) thing will keep dragging on. And with smart phones starting to take a bite off the Win dominance (think Android, 1B smart phone users in China in few years) the PCs will gradually get less and less important to the average Joe. Office with follow OS destiny. If I had to make a prediction - give MS 5 to 10 years, thing will get real bad, dramatic change will follow and things will turn around for good. Its not going to be fun for the employees thought.

Jon H said...

New Oxford American Dictionary:

guilt
verb [ trans. ] informal
make (someone) feel guilty, especially in order to induce them to do something : Celeste had been guilted into going by her parents.

Anonymous said...

"Have you ever seen anyone who left Microsoft that is not happier now?

I have not - everyone I met is alot happier!


I will attest to that! Cheerio!"

Absolutely not true -- *many* people leave Microsoft in search of greener pastures only to return a few years later after discovering that life on the outside isn't quite the utopia they imagined... and they frequently return 2 levels higher than when they left, which has been an advancement strategy for many years now.

So yeah -- lots of people are happier after they leave, but lots of people decide that Microsoft is better than the alternatives and return.

Nothing is quite so black and white, chief.

Anonymous said...

"If you do get a loop, you have to ace every single interview AND get VP-level approval to get hired."

I received a A/10 in 2008 after moving to a new division and discovering a poor fit that I was unable to work around. I worked extremely hard and came very close to an E/20 in 2009, which was even noted verbatim in my review -- "You really turned it around and just missed top 20 and, are at the top of the 70 stack"). I also have over a decade of stellar reviews, all but this one A/10.

Let me tell you -- I am SOL. Almost nobody will talk to me after seeing that 10 -- most teams simply stop responding to mail, a few decent people actually take the time to tell me that they don't interview anyone with a 10% on their record. One team finally invited me to interview, I was told that I had strong hires from everyone including the AA, I had a partner-level recommendation from a former manager, and the hiring team rescinded a week after making me a verbal offer. Confirmed that it was due to my 10% with my current manager.

As far as I can tell, the taint of that one 10% will prevent me from moving anywhere in the company forever regardless of what else I do unless there's a magical alignment of cosmic forces. Sadly, after all these years and a career of great work, I need to leave the company because of this one incident.

Anonymous said...

Just loving my first two weeks outside of MS...I heard of the layoffs coming back in April and was quite anxious to have the summer off. Many years at MS allowed me to work with some really great, nice (and yes, smart)people, but the low value placed on people management skills that permeates the culture was just killing me. Managers are only rewarded for up-managing, and being a people-first manager was a sure way to become unpopular. Most GMs I worked with only cared about being the smartest person in the room, and preferred not to have anyone on their team that might create a perception that they weren't.

If MS figured out how to show genuine appreciation for good people managers and invested in them, it could still be a great place to work.

Anonymous said...

RE: Come on now, the model's barely locked. Can't we wait until late August for these comments?

I don't know where you are, but in Windows the three performance "buckets" were populated back at mid-year review. The only changes since then have been due to managers haggling to make sure more of their own reports don't slide down the scale.

It's not about your performance. Really. It's about your value to your manager, your manager's willingness to fight for you, and your perceived value to your skip-level and above. Your skill, your experience, your history with the company -- even your past accomplishments -- carry very little weight.

At Microsoft, below a certain level in the hierarchy, you're never more than one review cycle away from being fired. This is especially true if you're an non-PM IC, because you don't have as many opportunities to schmooze.

Anonymous said...

> Or, what if you want to do something
> dead simple like format an external
> USB flash drive and drag-and-drop
> files onto it?

Just so you know, I am writing this from an Ubuntu 10.04 system with a USB device plugged in, and describing the exact steps involved.

Steps are:
1. Right click on the USB thumb
drive icon
2. Select "Format" from the menu.
3. Dialog appears: Select file system
type (default is FAT) and name.
4. Press the "Format" button.
5. When the format is finished, drag
your files to the USB thumb drive
icon.

I never needed to open a bash shell, let alone be a "command line guru", although I knew my way around it if I had to. No "obtuse permission" stuff needed. I never have to do anything more complex than type my sudo password once if I am doing something that affects the system.

I use a Windows 7 VM at work (running under Ubuntu 9.10) less than 5% of the time, most of my work is done on the Linux desktop, as is the case with all engineers. And I am a firmware developer at a fortune 500 company, that migrated off a MS development platform many, many releases ago.

Anonymous said...

I don't know where you are, but in Windows the three performance "buckets" were populated back at mid-year review. The only changes since then have been due to managers haggling to make sure more of their own reports don't slide down the scale.

That's not true. They were populated, but not locked. There were PLENTY of chances to make substantial changes once the calibration meetings began or managers actually read review forms.

Anonymous said...

"As far as I can tell, the taint of that one 10% will prevent me from moving anywhere in the company forever regardless of what else I do unless there's a magical alignment of cosmic forces. Sadly, after all these years and a career of great work, I need to leave the company because of this one incident."

LisaB - you have to fix this. I'm not a troll, a RIF'd ex-employee, never a 10%, but have seen this happen over and over to many solid people, since many GM's and VP's have the "no 10%s here..." policy, and people I've seen ruined by this system in many calibration meetings (many of them happen in May folks...). One friend I know, emblazoned with wearing a 10% on his lapel was even told by HR "well, you can still interview because that [the "no 10%s" policy] is not a 'written' policy", in the HR rep's attempt to dismiss its existance. What a weasel response from HR, Lisa. The heck it isn't a written policy. If one manager has written in email that they will not accept 10%'s it _is_ written policy, and shows that HR is accepting of the counter-official-policy since they refuse to do anything about it. Or, it is truly official policy and thus should be published? Which one is it? Lisa, instead of lecturing to everyone @ MGX about how great your manager SteveB is- please do somethig that moves the Company forward. You could start by assigning a full 10% of the 67+ ranks the 10% score themselves, by level band, rather than allowing them to push those scores downward into the lower org., so even exec's can see how runinous this system is. No points given for assigning 10%'s to departing or already departed exec's.

Anonymous said...

"New Oxford American Dictionary [...]"

There's your problem - the third word: "American".

I come from an English-speaking country, whereas the U.S. is an English-mangling country. For example, many people in the U.S. can't even pronounce the word "the" correctly (they don't know that the pronunciation changes depending on whether the following word commences with a vowel or a consonant).

You can rest assured that I'll never be troubling myself to take advice regarding my mother tongue from a nation of affected ignoramuses who think that misusing the English language in ever more risible ways somehow betrays cleverness. In case that's not clear enough, let me repeat: guilt is a noun, it is not a verb.

Anonymous said...

There were PLENTY of chances to make substantial changes once the calibration meetings began or managers actually read review forms.

I'm a long-time people-manager at Microsoft, and the employee’s self-assessment in the review document is almost entirely irrelevant to the outcome of the review process. For me, I already know what my people did or didn't do via weekly conversations throughout the year, and more importantly, how they are doing in the high school popularity contest that is the review system.

I try to educate my team about the reality of the system as best I can; that honesty has limited my managerial career growth and may someday lead me to “spend more time with my family”, but I don’t care. My job is to defend my people from the system and avoid giving unjustified U/10%. Sometimes I fail.

I dream of the days when my job was to promote sound engineering practices and team cooperation and delivery solid products, but hey, the money and benefits still slightly outweigh the soul-sucking aspects. Besides, I’ve been here too long; I no longer feel employable in the real world (at least not at a place I’d want to work).

The review document is often read by hiring managers when you change jobs inside Microsoft. You should be self-promoting yourself like there’s no tomorrow. It’s your internal resume. Don’t be honest and self-critical; if you end up in the U/10% category (or on the fringe) and have anything critical to say about yourself, you are giving HR more ammo against you. The bigger the gap between what you write and any negative message your manager is trying to deliver, the more nervous HR/LCA get about immediately showing you the door, especially if you are in a protected class.

Anonymous said...

That's not true. They were populated, but not locked. There were PLENTY of chances to make substantial changes once the calibration meetings began or managers actually read review forms.

How many managers used those chances to make substantial changes after they read the review forms?

Anonymous said...

How many managers used those chances to make substantial changes after they read the review forms?

All of the good ones.

No matter how well managers think they know what you did throughout the year, it always helps for them to see all of your accomplishments written down in one place to remind them.

Anonymous said...

"That's not true. They were populated, but not locked. There were PLENTY of chances to make substantial changes once the calibration meetings began or managers actually read review forms."

That's not what my manager told me. He told me that it was set in stone before we even filled in our review forms.

Anonymous said...

From Italy.

KIN debacle is not new for people like me with +15 years in te company. Seemed a vision more than one FY is forbidden in our company and I still user a marvellous program like Reader in my Tablet and Smartphone and customers are asking to me for Origami yet (Remember iPad).

About people I can see more and more new guys in C&O to get some bucks and firing EPG guys with years of experience and growing quota every year but seems office and Windows aren't cool so...

Concluding I'm preparing my resume.

Anonymous said...

Ah, reading through all of this is just one more reminder of why I am happy to be on the outside. Don't get me wrong: I was devastated and shocked to be cut last summer. At mid-year, it was nothing but glowing. My directs were all performing above and beyond, the lion share of commitments completed and we were into gravy-time of doing stretch activities. and I was told that I was exceeding. So to find myself on the outside a handful of months later just hurt.

But let's see here....a 20k raise, similar bonus, control of my team and influence over our products, crappy but acceptable benefits, and a complete lack of bureaucracy.

Not everyone is a fit for the MS culture. It doesn't mean you're not brilliant, it doesn't mean you can't deliver. More than likely you just have a really crappy manager, or you don't know how to play the politics. But there's a big world out here. A better world.

Anonymous said...

"That's not true. They were populated, but not locked. There were PLENTY of chances to make substantial changes once the calibration meetings began or managers actually read review forms."

I have never seen a group where the needle moves in any significant way after the model is populated -- a few border cases get swapped, that's all. Once those calibration meetings are done it's a career-limiting move for a manager to continue pushing a case s/he believes in.

And then, of course, as the model gets pushed up the org ladder, more and more people fall into the lower categories to meet the curve.

It's a ridiculous and arbitrary system, it's always been broken and it's more broken every year.

Anonymous said...

"New Oxford American Dictionary [...]"

There's your problem - the third word: "American".

I come from an English-speaking country, whereas the U.S. is an English-mangling country.


You may come from an English speaking country, but you are lacking grasp of your own language.

The Oxford English Dictionary cites examples of guilt being used as a verb dating to 825 AD.

You wish a prescriptive definition of English, but it has never been suited to such a definition, as it is always changing, even in "English speaking countries."

Anonymous said...

.....Have you ever seen anyone who left Microsoft that is not happier now?

I have not - everyone I met is alot happier!

I will attest to that! Cheerio!...

I know about a dozen former employees (I'm one of them), not a single one regrets leaving or being laid off. The toxic environment at MS continues.

Anonymous said...

"There is so much technology can do today! I still hope that being a microsoftee is the best way to do technology for the masses and make a difference!"

Aw, ain't that cute. But it's wrong.

Frankly, I'm amazed people still believe this; to anyone outside microsoft it's been glaringly obvious that even before the antitrust suit this wasn't, this couldn't possibly be true. And the reason is painfully simple: The core clientele of microsoft isn't people, it's corporations, big ones. If you care to look close enough you can see it's woven right into in your own policies.

Yes, technology can do so much, about a gazillion things more than we're managing to get out of it. Mainly because the biggest "OS" vendor is also the biggest innovation stifler around. Look at the computing power the apollo missions sported. Those things clearly were pressed to the max to get every last bit of use out of it. Now? Most cycles are wasted on things that nobody really needs, on eyecandy.

The eyecandy is a figleaf, it's a religious offering to the belief that "intuitive" will save the day. It doesn't. Somebody said, "the nipple is intuitive, everything else is learned". That person clearly wasn't a mom. Intuitive is developer buzz-speak for "our model maps to something else the user already has learned, seamlessly". That's a hell of a lot of assumptions right there. And microsoft makes it a gigantic sales point of *not* requiring users to learn anything new. Because buying managers don't also want to spend on training. The result is that most users can't use what they're given.

That makes the software more capable than the user. Adding more features on top then doesn't achieve anything. Yet that's what microsoft has been doing. Chasing that killer feature permeates microsoft, and has for decades. It's simple, really. Believing you're making a difference as a teeny tiny cog in a gigantic machine that itself doesn't go in any useful direction is nothing short of delusional. Stay at it and it becomes the very definition of insanity.

Amazingly it still makes sacks of money and sits on an obscene hoard of money raked in earlier. Mostly because of network effect, of happening onto a monopoly and ruthlessly using that to gain more monopolies. Now you know how ballmer got to be top dog. That sort of thing is what he's good at. Only he had nothing left to leverage. The cupboard turned out bare. Whoops.

You make better money out of working there than I do writing this, of course. I get nothing, as does the world. So take the money, and be happy with it. For less delusional ideals, look elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

I know about a dozen former employees (I'm one of them), not a single one regrets leaving or being laid off. The toxic environment at MS continues

Ditto to that. The review system is a joke - no relationship to performance. That's my observation as well - people get their sanity and health back.

MSFT is not the best tech companies or even close to the best companies in town.

Anonymous said...

Look into the WP7 training kit, and I am very disappointed.

Almost all examples inside the training kit can't handle the landscape and portrait view correctly.

If an example can't do it right, how can MS expect the WP developer to get it right?

Choosing Silver Light as the development language was a mistake.

Anonymous said...

If a person gets A-10 rating for the first time in Microsoft, does it mean that the person is an automatic target for layoff ?

Brandon said...

We need to <a href="http://www.fixmicrosoft.com>Fix Microsoft</a>, dont you think? What can someone like me do to help be part of the solution?

MayhemWA said...

"I guess we need another ThinkWeek paper on how to successfully acquire companies, too." There is such a paper: Look up "The Myth of Synergy" from 2008. Note especially Billg's comments.

Steve Ballmer said...

Everything is just hunkey-dorey at Microsoft, thank you very much!

Anonymous said...

WPC - FTE - 10% cut

Anonymous said...

If you listened to Kevin Turner's WPC keynote - to the 8,000 external partners who make Microsot billions - Azure was every fifth word because it is literally the only modern (<10 years) product we have with a chance of being a billion-dollar business. Guess who we have to thank for that? Ray Ozzie. So STFU.

Anonymous said...

"The other half of the story is the number of contingent staff positions, which if you open up Headtrax for yourself to investigate be prepared to tell Elizabeth you're coming to join her, because it about gave me a mild heart-attack."

You're joking, right? Cut contingent staff? Who would do all the crap work you arrogant FTEs won't touch with an 11-foot pole? Who will keep the company running while you're off at inumerable morale events patting yourselves on the back en masse? Methinks that before you start hacking away at the ones doing the bread-and-butter work, you should get your own house in order and deal with the obvious FTE bloat within Windows.

John Dudley said...

this is very informative article.Best skin specialist in delhi

«Oldest ‹Older   601 – 776 of 776   Newer› Newest»