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:

1 – 200 of 776   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

Microsoft definitely cannot run acquisitions. The biggest problem, by far, is acquiring a company, dumping their employees in another product group, and then spending a year behind closed doors coming up with a strategy for merging the product. We saw it with Groove (which lived in half-Office limbo until Office 2010) and ProClarity (which was dumped in the Business Scorecard Manager team with no adult supervision). Now FAST has been shoved into SharePoint, but nobody really knows what parts run where or what it costs.

Microsoft needs to learn to have a business and merger plan in place *before* acquiring a company, and be open and clear with everyone involved after the acquisition happens.

Anonymous said...

I for one can't believe that no one has been axed over the Kin debacle. Billions of dollars were wasted, not to mention all of the smart people over there who spent 3 years with no return on the investment.

If Roz and/or Andy doesn't go, what does that say about our supposed value of "accountability?" I for one am tired of accountability meaning "we move them over here and give them a smaller project and hope they resign."

Anonymous said...

The contingent and vendor staff size is ridiculous. But it has always been so.
We are not really serious about anything these days. A friend of mine suggested that if we were serious about the windows 7 phone, we could have made it a review goal for fte devs to write an app - however trivial. We could have made phones available internally etc etc.
If we were serious about search, we would have forced people to join the team, we could have paid the top talent at google a lot of money to start up our search efforts or not to do anything.
On and on...
I was just talking with my wife - and hoped that I would get laid off. Maybe finally that will give me enough impetus to do a startup or something...
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!

Anonymous said...

My morale has never been lower.

A billion dollars wasted on Kin, 500 phones sold and a huge amount of ground lost in the mobile space. Everything I hear about Windows Phone is negative. Leadership is shrugging its shoulders like this disaster is no big deal.

Enterprise Agreement renewals continue to trend downward, and at an alarming rate. Even major DoD deals can't be landed. We position Microsoft for selling solutions and compensate the field for moving product. The disconnect is frustrating.

Windows 7 is a solid product, that we are marketing ineffectively. Office 2010 has launched with a quiet whimper. The CMG is as dysfunctional as a Cold War era gulag, and I can't see any value from Mitch Matthews leadership.

I have no faith in our senior leadership (Ballmer, Turner, Ozzie, Brummel), but I don't see any apparently leader that could step in and make the hard choices and forge a new, urgently needed direction, unless Bill Gates returns. Even then, I don't know if the company can be steered off of the painful path it is now headed on.

The stock price is going in the wrong direction and poorly positioned if we move into a double dip recession. Our leadership team also shrugs this off as if it isn't a major issue.

I remember Steve Ballmer promising to all at a company meeting four or five years ago, in response to an e-mail from an employee that complained about the stock price. The employee wrote to Ballmer that because of the languishing stock value he/she could not build an addition to their home. Steve B boomed that in two years he/she would be able to build a new home, never mind an addition, with where the stock price was going, and the crowd roared with thunderous applause. Where is the increased equity? What other company on the planet would have a flat lined stock price for a decade despite solid growth and not have the shareholders and board calling for the leadership heads on a platter?

Haven't seen a promo in 3 years, got an E/110 last year and hear nothing but excuses (well promos are thin, budgets are tight). I don't think anyone on my team has gotten a promo in two or three years.

Our budgets have been cut to the point that we can even support our commitments. When I follow the dollars I feel very insecure about my role and future. I've seen the overall organization get increasingly dysfunctional with each passing year.

The review process is completely broken. Calibration and compensation has already happened before employees even writes one word on how they felt they performed. How can I have any faith in the review process, where I'm told I have a voice, that peer feedback has impact, when none of it is even considered by the leadership team as they horse trade for compensation. It is a favoritism system that is riddled with inequity. I have seen incompetence rewarded and success punished. The process does a tremendous job of angering employees, who then quit and go to work for competitors with the single purpose of proving Microsoft wrong. Either that or they go to work as a vendor and get a 2X to 3X pay increase in the process.

I love Microsoft. Microsoft has clothed and fed my family, directly or indirectly for almost twenty years. I owe so much to this company. I come in, I give 110%, but I see no direction, I see no recognition, I see no future, I see no leadership.

Microsoft has become its own worst enemy, the leadership team is ineffective, and there is a huge need for house cleaning from the 64 to 68 level. I wish Bill Gates would come back. I wish a lot of bad decisions were never made. I feel that there is no way to change the negative course we are on, and Microsoft is incurably on a path to be only a shell of the company it once was.

Layoffs? Mercy killings comes more to mind.

Anonymous said...

having been in MS for only 2 years... I'm impressed with the smart ICs I have been working with... but I'm never impressed with any people managers @ Microsoft. If I start up a company, I will make sure not to hire any MS leaders. And I don't know why, but after some ICs become leaders, they become ineffective & corrupted in this company.

Not only this place is far more dis-organized than my previous companies. People have no sense of "survival" in this company. It seems they are working in wonderland of no accountability, no danger of company shut down, and can be careless for things.

It's only a matter of time for many people in my team to quit this place...

Right, most of us are only staying because it's still good on resume (though HRs need to wake)... provides great health care... have abundant resources, and to hell on giving your career path to this company - AND MORE IMPORTANTLY... WE JUST HAVEN'T GOT ANOTHER GOOD OFFER!

BillG... you gotta come back and fix things like others or watch your old empire goes to ruin!

Anonymous said...

Any idea what teams in Redwest-C might be affected?

Anonymous said...

The Kin leadership is a good example of what floats to the top in Microsoft's review system.


Don't worry.


Once Ballmer fires those dangerous 10%'ers previously referred to as "average" last year, all of Microsoft's problems will disappear.


Everybody knows HR always hires people who are 10% better than the bottom 10%, so real soon now everyone will be awesome; most of whom will be referred to as "average".


Ray Ozzie floats above all others who float. He's kind of like Jesus. He's there to inspire you.


Use the Émile Coué method.


Think to yourself "Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better.... than those dangerous 10%'ers who are ruining it for the rest of us.".

Anonymous said...

Smh at all the Windows and Office guys talking shit about the KIN.It must be really hard to hide behind monopoly businesses and not really have to do shit while criticizing the guys who have to actually compete.

Anonymous said...

Why is everyone asking for Gates to come back?He's at the very heart of microsoft's problems.Everything microsoft does has to use windows or be connected to windows.Gates has had this geek dream for 20 years now-to have his precious legacy on every PC,TV,toaster and electric shaver.He is the reason why MS can't move forward.

puff said...

It was a rather short timeframe for them to give up on their investment...

Anonymous said...

Two people I knowed in the seadragon team were let go last week. Been there for 6+ years and had no promotion velocity

Anonymous said...

Agreed, Gates isn't the solution. You just have to look at his successor, whom he championed, to realize that.

I've been at MSFT less than 5 years. I'm not on double-digits for # of managers, but I'm close (and it's not even that unusual from what I hear/see). Out of that number, I've only had one manager that didn't make me question whether being unemployed and homeless was indeed less preferable to working at Microsoft. Basically I'm biding my time until I leave the area, and you can bet I'll be wearing my "How can I screw Microsoft" hat when looking for a new job.

Anonymous said...

>over there who spent 3 years with no return on the investment.

Could be worse. They could have spent a decade in MSN/Live with no return on their investment.

Anonymous said...

To my knowledge, he doesn't care in the slightest about the enterprise businesses at the company.

Not true. I participated in one of Ray's demo days and after our presentation, which was targeted entirely at non-corporate users, he railed on us for not primarily targetting SharePoint. He was a bit of an asshole and pretty harsh but honestly he had the best advice of any executive we met with to discuss the project, and we spent time with quite a few.

Anonymous said...

Why is everyone asking for Gates to come back?He's at the very heart of microsoft's problems.Everything microsoft does has to use windows or be connected to windows.Gates has had this geek dream for 20 years now-to have his precious legacy on every PC,TV,toaster and electric shaver.He is the reason why MS can't move forward.

And why is this a bad idea?

Anonymous said...

"And why is this a bad idea?"


You're joking right?

Anonymous said...

It's sad that Microsoft has to use layoff to boost stock price. We were up 2.36% today due to the layoff rumor.

Anonymous said...

I wonder why in the wake of the Kin debacle everyone is blaming Lees, Ho and Myerson while Matt Bencke is being let off the hook. He was the one who approved the flawed business model that depended on the operators charging MORE for a Pink plan than an unlimited plan. He was the one who approved the business projections based on this fictitious assumption. He is the one who used those projections to get the Danger deal through. He is the one who sold deal to Verizon and Vodafone that Microsoft would be unable to deliver. He was the one who pushed for important features to be cut so a team could be put to work on the "international expansion" that never arrived.

To top incompetence with lack of integrity, he is the kind of person who would ask someone on his team to pay for a $1000+ Ferragamo coat (after Bencke left his on a plane) with the corporate card and expense it.

Microsoft should have never rehired him after he left the first time. There is a reason that neither his former manager nor his former skip wanted him back.

Anonymous said...

I think the only good thing about KIN strategy was super quick exit.
Just imagine draining million of $$$ on continuing failed product. Also, I am happy that I will not see crappy Kin advertisements anymore.

Anonymous said...

It's not a joke.

The ecosystem around Windows is important to the company and its partners, and it does make business sense for Microsoft to push further into this direction. That is not the reason why sometimes we ship bad products (like KIN). However, I don't see anything wrong with us building things that run on Windows and connect to Windows. Remember that we do sometimes ship things that run on other platforms if and when it makes sense. Most of these tend to be tactical steps.

Anonymous said...

Look at the Linkedin profile of Matt Bencke
This dude has degrees in Political Science, and still is a GM in a technological company

Anonymous said...

"It's not a joke.

The ecosystem around Windows is important to the company and its partners, and it does make business sense for Microsoft to push further into this direction."

And there you have it folks!

This is why MS is in trouble.It makes sense for "microsoft" and it's "partners".Jeez.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else notice that Terry Myerson has a brother named Neal Myerson? That guy is a dictator and was promoted to a Director in two years from a Senior Program Manager. Essentially the guy went from a 61 to a 65 in 4 years.

Anonymous said...

So here's a quick question for our wonderful leadership...

How the heck, in the presence of layoff rumors and our pitiful calibration process, am I supposed to explain to our intern the state of things? Should I be honest and just admit that:

A) Oh, layoffs? Yeah, Microsoft has adopted this great long-term strategy of firing the worst employees every year. It helps us to stay lean-and-mean, e.g. just look at how it motivates employees to develop world-class products such as KIN, Courier, etc.

B) Calibration? Well that's where a bunch of super smart, middle management types get together. They plaster paper over any transparent windows & doors, and then they decide your fate based on things such as fancy whiteboard drawings and super objective metrics such as how funny you look.

Given A & B, please accept our offer for employment. We promise to entice you with a decent initial salary plus additional yearly raises of 0.0-2.5% per year (I mean, 30 bazillion in the bank or not, we are after all in a recession). On top of that, we will give you a ton of stock! After it fully vests in five years, who knows?! Maybe it'll be worth 50% of what we awarded you.

I'm SOOO disgusted with what this company has become, and I feel as though we've reached the point of no return. The people with whom I work on daily basis impress me with their aptitude and diligence...it's middle-management and above who make me sick to my stomach.

Anonymous said...

Terry Myerson should be fired, for bad decisions. Have heard Windows Mobile layoff bunch of people from System Center Mobile Device Manager before and called them back... They cannot decide what they want. Now Kin failed and if not fired, God knows what we should see (failing) next (costing billions) !!!!

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else notice that Terry Myerson has a brother named Neal Myerson? That guy is a dictator and was promoted to a Director in two years from a Senior Program Manager. Essentially the guy went from a 61 to a 65 in 4 years.

Terry Myerson got into Microsoft via Intersé Corporation being acquired.

He didn't have to fight the curve on the way up. He got hired at a higher level.

He got to Exchange in later releases but he is given credit on Microsoft's website for making it the most popular messaging system.

Terry Myerson
Corporate Vice President, Windows Phone Engineering


If you parachute in at the top in time to take credit for other people's work, you'll go far at Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

Yes, i too heard about SCMDM layoff funy stories. First let them go and then call them back. Huh... They call themselves managers !! Huh !! Terry sould be fired asap.. No questions

Anonymous said...

Which teams are in Lincoln Square and Redwest-C ? Any wild guess who else might be axed

Anonymous said...

How the heck, in the presence of layoff rumors and our pitiful calibration process, am I supposed to explain to our intern the state of things?

Tell s/he to run far away... =)

Anonymous said...

"Which teams are in Lincoln Square and Redwest-C ? Any wild guess who else might be axed "

Ray's team works on the first floor of RedWC.

Anonymous said...

Kin? Accountability? How about promoting two people to partner in the last two months?

Anonymous said...

It was a rather short timeframe for them to give up on their investment...

To hear Engadget tell it, Kin was released purely to fulfil a contractual obligation to Verizon (who were already angry it was so late, hence the suicidal pricing).

Anonymous said...

Reuters reports impending layoffs: http://www.reuters.com/article/idCNSGE66604Q20100707?rpc=44

Anonymous said...

I've joined Google fairly recently after spending nearly a decade at MSFT, and I'm having to unlearn a ton of things I've learned at MSFT.

First, I had to unlearn that my opinion doesn't mean shit. Engineers do, in fact, run Google, and I'm an engineer. A LOT depends on engineers here. Barely anything depends on the management or PMs. The comfortable, asphyxating bureaucracy of Microsoft simply does not exist. It is up to you to define the direction, and execute on it. If you're good, you will also get other people to execute on it, by means of which you will establish yourself as a leader.

Second, I had to unlearn that my teammates are plotting something behind my back. As far as I can tell a few months in, they aren't. Or they're so skilled at it that I don't see the plot (which after 10 years at MSFT is unlikely). They're just building a product.

Third, there's no "jihad" against anyone. Not even Microsoft. People are discouraged from thinking in those terms. No one is trying to "kill the fucking Microsoft". No one is throwing chairs or calling Ballmer a pussy. People just build their products and services the best they can.

Fourth, there are very few people who can say "no" without motivating their answer with data. The first answer you will hear from anyone (including Legal!) is "yes". It's not blind acceptance or anarchy either, it is expected that you will motivate your changes, with data, if necessary. Want to change the way Google runs ads? If your change makes sense and you can demonstrate it, it will be accepted. Search? The same. This one is particularly hard to unlearn - after burying so many great (or at least I thought they were great) ideas because they weren't _politically_ feasible, sometimes within the same extended team.

And so on and so forth. I wasn't a bad performer at MS by any means (left the company 5 levels up from where I joined), and as a matter of fact I admire bits and pieces of Microsoft to this day, but Google made me realize just how miserable I was there. I don't yet feel Google is the ideal place for me either, but one thing is clear - it's much easier to breathe here, if you know what I mean.

Anonymous said...

I've got to say that I'm very surprised that Microsoft killed the Kin product line so early. Ballmer usually pisses away at least nine figures on a half-baked idea like that. Maybe he's just not feeling as invulnerable as he once did?

Anonymous said...

Steve Jobs once said, that when he came back to Apple, he met one of the best guys that kept working at Apple regardless of all kind of problems the company was having, and he basically asked the guy, "why the hell are you still working here?", the guy said "because I bleed in six colors"

This type of guys I can still see in Microsoft especially in the senior IC levels, those who stayed away of the management chaos and kept building as real engineers

S said...

$1B, for 500 phones: that's $2M/phone: a lot of loss. There is space for kids phones, but they need to be priced right: pay as you go, free calls within the network, etc. But for that to work you need the right network. In the UK, 3, three.co.uk do have a 3G only network and they do offer very low cost phones with facebook and skype built in. But even they are looking at android and the smartphone biz. Maybe the teenager phone with limited functionality was an idea from 2-3 years ago, not one for 2010 -regardless of pricing plan.

Anonymous said...

After it fully vests in five years, who knows?! Maybe it'll be worth 50% of what we awarded you.

If you're lucky enough to still be employed when it fully vests in five years, who knows?! Maybe it'll be worth 50% of what we awarded you.

There. Fixed that for you.

Anonymous said...

Lots of whining here... if it's so horrible inside MS (and it is, I know from experience...) why not get the hell out and do something interesting?

I did, best decision ever.

Anonymous said...

One more thing, this Windows Phone thing is going to be another debacle when it ships. I can't share anything specific, just... mark my words.

Anonymous said...

Just tangentially: It shouldn't be called Windows phone. It should be called Metro, or FingerPhone, or something not damn Windows.

And especially not Windows Phone 7, because then it gets called Windows 7 phone by Joe Average, and then why have a frickin' brand anyway?

Anonymous said...

What is with the following post on docs.com? "if all goes well, we will keep the service open"? That sounds stupid and ominous.

Anonymous said...

End of Asia day. Heard some are RIF. not sure how true. Best of luck Redmond :)

Anonymous said...

>>Look at the Linkedin profile of Matt Bencke
This dude has degrees in Political Science, and still is a GM in a technological company


that seems to be the most important qualification to get ahead @ MSFT LOL

Anonymous said...

What is with the following post on docs.com? "if all goes well, we will keep the service open"? That sounds stupid and ominous.

In this post, they are just talking about how unstable the service is. The original version was built on some sort of frankenstein's monster of Sharepoint for WAC rendering and regular web servers.

Office still wants to kill off docs.com though if that is what you are getting at. FUSE essentially jumped the gun on the web access components and stole some thunder. Nevermind that it actually generated buzz and interest in Office14 technologies, there are pissed off Office execs running around in 36 now.

Anonymous said...

SMSG India net impact is around 5 people as RIF/10% or whatever you would like to call them. However the attrition in June month itself is three times that number and most people have headed for companies like EMC, ORACLE and Google. Yet our middle management continues to swear by the age old tenets that have brought this ruin upon us.

Now we are hearing that there is possiblity of our subsidiary GM being replaced by an old Redmond hand. what is corp trying to fix in the india sub? Do they even know what is broken in the first place?

Anonymous said...

+1 to the dude with timestamp "Wednesday, July 07, 2010 12:50:00 AM". I left MS after 9 yrs and experienced the exact same things.

Anonymous said...

[To the moronic HR person this morning on the connector]

Dont be looking at (and not covering) print-out PPTs with folks joining and being dropped from HiPo lists. These might be a little sensitive.

I guess we should be pleased that you were not waving around layoff lists ...

FARfetched said...

I don't see anything wrong with us building things that run on Windows and connect to Windows.

Where it makes sense, sure. But you seriously don't want to push a desktop OS onto embedded devices, do you? If you look at an embedded version of Linux, you'll see it's been pared down to a size consistent with the limits of the hardware it's running on — and it's designed to be treated like that. If Apple had tried to put the full-zoot OSX on an iPhone, it would have died under the weight, but they designed a specific UI to work within the size and hardware limitations (and reconfigured the OSX kernel likewise).

Right now, W7 is too heavy to run comfortably on netbooks, let alone a tablet or phone — that's why you still have XP hanging around. What about Zune? I've heard some good things about it, does it use embedded Windows?

Anonymous said...

Imagine Kin is from Apple, say 'Apple Kin' or 'iKin', it might sell more than a 'Microsoft' Kin. The problem is 'Microsoft' is not known as a Cool brand for consumer, but 'Apple' is. It will be a long way to make 'Microsoft' an exciting consumer cool brand.

Anonymous said...

I left Microsoft about 4 months ago to go to a hardware/services vendor that deals with actually solving customer problems rather than dealing with salty internal politics. The team that I worked on (while I know many of them and would hope they would be placed in other areas) should have been cut or the management replaced months ago due to insufficient vision and leadership. There are many global services practices out of Redmond that are like this. The teams that are derived have very bad management teams and frankly have their heads in the clouds.

I would HOPE that most of the general management layers would be the places things would be cut for this next RIF. There are too many GM's, Directors, Senior Directors, etc that either should not be in those positions or just cause chaos to undermine efforts that could potentially eliminate their jobs.

Microsoft, please clean up the mess and I will surely return.

Anonymous said...

> Imagine Kin is from Apple, say 'Apple Kin' or 'iKin', it might sell more than a 'Microsoft' Kin.

No. The product is piece of shit, too expensive and too limited. Apple or Google just wouldn't work on such stuff.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting to see all the folks slinging arrows at Terry for the Kin debacle.

Kin reported to Roz Ho, who reported to Andy Lees. Terry did not own the product definition, or drive their engineering practices. Roz and her underlings drove all that.

Judge Terry on the basis of whether WP7 delivers a product that makes us relevant again and does so on time. Right now we are not even in the game.

Anonymous said...

So, whatever happened to the old adage that microsoft takes three attempts to get anything right? Why did you spend many millions of dollars on a product when you didnt have the balls to stick with it in the long term? What a fucking waste of time, money and resources.

Anonymous said...

STB is having layoffs today. No specifics, but the email has gone out announcing that there will be "job eliminations."

Anonymous said...

Solitude and Leadership

That’s really the great mystery about bureaucracies. Why is it so often that the best people are stuck in the middle and the people who are running things—the leaders—are the mediocrities? Because excellence isn’t usually what gets you up the greasy pole. What gets you up is a talent for maneuvering. Kissing up to the people above you, kicking down to the people below you. Pleasing your teachers, pleasing your superiors, picking a powerful mentor and riding his coattails until it’s time to stab him in the back. Jumping through hoops. Getting along by going along. Being whatever other people want you to be, so that it finally comes to seem that, like the manager of the Central Station, you have nothing inside you at all. Not taking stupid risks like trying to change how things are done or question why they’re done. Just keeping the routine going.

I tell you this to forewarn you, because I promise you that you will meet these people and you will find yourself in environments where what is rewarded above all is conformity. I tell you so you can decide to be a different kind of leader. And I tell you for one other reason. As I thought about these things and put all these pieces together—the kind of students I had, the kind of leadership they were being trained for, the kind of leaders I saw in my own institution—I realized that this is a national problem. We have a crisis of leadership in this country, in every institution. Not just in government. Look at what happened to American corporations in recent decades, as all the old dinosaurs like General Motors or TWA or U.S. Steel fell apart. Look at what happened to Wall Street in just the last couple of years.

Anonymous said...

Just got my notice. Interestingly, it comes less than a week after telling my manager I was interviewing for another position. Certainly this isn't cause and effect.

Anonymous said...

@Microsoft has become its own worst enemy, the leadership team is ineffective, and there is a huge need for house cleaning from the 64 to 68 level.

Yes, Cleaning required but for correct people. It should not be the way we do review.

Jon Hendry said...

" It will be a long way to make 'Microsoft' an exciting consumer cool brand."

Microsoft needs to learn a lesson from Gap. Gap doesn't have three chains of stores, all called Gap, one of which sells high-end Gap clothes, one of which sells the usual Gap clothes, and one of which sells cheapass Gap clothes.

They have three brands. Banana Republic for the high-end stuff, Gap for the midrange, and Old Navy for the cheapass stuff. Each has its own image, and many people are unaware that they're all part of one company.

And they don't muddle the branding by prefixing Gap to everything from Old Navy or Banana Republic.

Similarly, automakers know better than to muddle their brands. BMW owns MINI but they let the MINI brand stand on its own; despite the value of the BMW brand, they don't feel the OCD impulse to constantly say "Hey! This MINI that's so cool? IT'S A BMW!"

I would suggest that for their phone projects, Microsoft ought to take a similar approach. Integrate it with Windows, use Windows as the OS, just don't let Windows be the branding. Set up a phone unit with a different name from Microsoft, like Apple did with Claris or FileMaker.

Hell, Apple didn't call their phone the OS X Phone. Or the Mac Phone. They called it the iPhone. They called the phone's OS iPhone OS, which name has no relation to anything Apple offered prior to the iPhone. Now they're calling it iOS, but they are not offering any devices called iOS anything.

Anonymous said...

To top incompetence with lack of integrity, he is the kind of person who would ask someone on his team to pay for a $1000+ Ferragamo coat (after Bencke left his on a plane) with the corporate card and expense it.

You should report this type of behavior to 'business conduct'. There is an anonymous external link you can use. Search Business Conduct on the internal web and it will give you the options of sending an email or external anonymous reporting link. They do look into these things and typically in an scenario where someone has asked the company to replace a coat, there is more fire where there is that smoke. This one move alone could save the company tens of thousands. Thank you for mentioning it.

Anonymous said...

I have never seen a MANAGER, a PRINCIPAL DEV MANAGER or a GM as a part of layoff. WHY???

They simply get another position in other group easily.

Next year same story.

Anonymous said...

@Microsoft has become its own worst enemy, the leadership team is ineffective, and there is a huge need for house cleaning from the 64 to 68 level.

Yes, Cleaning required but for correct people. It should not be the way we do review.



What level(s) would decide that the 64 to 68 levels need to be cleaned?

They will keep blaming and laying off the lower levels writing the software for their products.

It is a way of papering over their failures by temporarily lowering personnel costs to improve quarterly results.

Ballmer set up the system and now he's reaping the "rewards" of his ideology.

He's got the revenue from Windows and Office tied to PC buying cycles to allow him to continue to believe what he's doing actually helps the company.

It doesn't matter how many other products fail; it will always be someone else's fault.

Anonymous said...

Re: Business Conduct

For reals, I was thinking the same thing. As a shareholder, if these things are true and you have specifics, please do report them on https://www.microsoftintegrity.com/

Anonymous said...

Any updates on layoffs? What teams have been impacted in Red West?

Anonymous said...

Judge Terry on the basis of whether WP7 delivers a product that makes us relevant again and does so on time. Right now we are not even in the game.

That's a good product name.

Microsoft should start a car company and call their product "Internal Combustion Engine Car 7".

Anonymous said...

The layoffs are expected to be dispersed throughout the company, the paper said.

-Reuters

Kin Lane said...

I would just like to buy the domain name and for them to stop using my name.

Anonymous said...

Where it makes sense, sure. But you seriously don't want to push a desktop OS onto embedded devices, do you? If you look at an embedded version of Linux, you'll see it's been pared down to a size consistent with the limits of the hardware it's running on — and it's designed to be treated like that. If Apple had tried to put the full-zoot OSX on an iPhone, it would have died under the weight, but they designed a specific UI to work within the size and hardware limitations (and reconfigured the OSX kernel likewise).

Sorry but just because Windows is so bloated that it bogs down on anything with under 2GB RAM doesn't mean other operating systems have followed suit.

For all intents and purposes, the iPhone DOES run a full-on version of OS X. The kernel is the same and the libraries are basically the same--the differences come down to the different interfaces, not a need to slim things down.

Windows is a massive failure of software engineering. It should have clearly defined modules and layers so it can be useful (with a command line interface) on a system with just a few megabytes of RAM and disk, all the way up to the highest end desktop PC.

The fact that Windows only runs well on high end PCs means Microsoft has basically already lost the market for set-top boxes (DVRs, etc.), supercomputer clusters that run lightweight OSs on thousands of CPUs, web hosting providers that offer lightweight VMs, arguably cell phones, embedded systems like routers and MP3/DVD players, etc. etc. All of these things without fail use Linux, or in Apple's case, OS X.

Anonymous said...

The Kin did not sell 500 units, the Kin Facebook app that's needed for it to work had around 8500 users when I looked.

Not that 8000 (a guess at subtracting review units and testing) is anything to crow about but let's be realistic when possible.

Anonymous said...

If Windows is so poorly architected, why does Cutler have such a stellar reputation?

Anonymous said...

>>>>>I would suggest that for their phone projects, Microsoft ought to take a similar approach. Integrate it with Windows, use Windows as the OS, just don't let Windows be the branding. <<<<<




The windows / Microsoft branding is currently the kiss of death for consumer products.

Just claim it was completed by MS rogue devs working in stealth mode, right under the nose of old MR B.

just as long as nobody thinks Microsoft meant to do it.
And dont use any words that can be traced back to MSFT.

let the average user think the phone was made by guys in the EU of from the valley.

Anonymous said...

If Windows is so poorly architected, why does Cutler have such a stellar reputation?

I imagine he's only responsible for the kernel, which may be great. The rest of everything is a giant mess though.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft should start a car company and call their product "Internal Combustion Engine Car 7".

That would be "Windows Internal Combustion Engine Car 7", wouldn't it?

Anonymous said...

Don't know why people are surprised by the lack of talent in the management pool. Microsoft's theory of "you're either moving up or moving out" has people applying for management positions because they have no where else to go. These people were probably very talented in their area, but have no management skills what so ever. I know, I had one.

Anonymous said...

Windows is a massive failure of software engineering. It should have clearly defined modules and layers so it can be useful (with a command line interface) on a system with just a few megabytes of RAM and disk, all the way up to the highest end desktop PC.


They tried to do that with "MinWin".

Did Sinofsky kill it?


MinWin

MinWin is a term used informally by Microsoft to describe the kernel and operating system components that form the basis of releases of Microsoft Windows starting with Windows Vista. The term was first used in 2003 to describe approximately 95% of the common components of the operating system, but has over time come to refer to a significantly smaller portion thereof. Its most recent and most well-known variation as a minimalistic, self-contained set of Windows components that shipped as part of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

After Windows Server 2003's release, Rob Short assembled a team of kernel architects at Microsoft, with the intention of documenting and disentangling the dependencies within the core operating system. The kernel development team had realized that they were having difficulty being able to "predict the impact of changes and to make broad, cross-group changes to Windows",[4] and the new kernel architecture team would aim to improve software engineering practices both within the Windows kernel itself, as well as with the other components of Windows. To do this, every component of the operating system (consisting of about 5,500 distinct files in late 2005,[4] during the development of Windows Vista) was assigned a "layer number" that represents its dependency position relative to other components, with lower-numbered components being closer to the core of the operating system, and higher numbers representing high-level components. With this information, the core architecture team began to address a range of issues where low-level components were reliant on high-level components, and finding ways to resolve those dependencies. In doing so, a number of new options for creating focused sub-sets of Windows for different purposes became possible.

In October 2007, Eric Traut, a developer at Microsoft, demonstrated a self-contained MinWin system, made up of about 100 files, on which a basic HTTP server was running.[10][11] Traut noted that MinWin takes up about 25 MB on disk and has a working set (memory usage) of 40 MB. It lacked a graphical user interface and is interfaced using a full-screen command line interface. Traut explained during the demo that MinWin would not be offered as a stand-alone product, but would instead be used as the basis for future operating system releases such as Windows 7.[12]
Several months after Traut's demonstration, some confusion arose from an interview by Ina Fried of Cnet's News.com with Steven Sinofsky, the vice-president of Windows engineering at Microsoft. Sinofsky described the Windows 7 kernel as a further evolution of the Windows Server 2008 kernel, itself an evolution of the Windows Vista kernel.[13] This was interpreted by web sites such as Slashdot[14] to mean that Windows 7 would not include MinWin. Mark Russinovich suggested that some of the confusion surrounding MinWin may be related to the imprecise use of the word "kernel";[15] MinWin is not, in and of itself a kernel, but rather a set of components that includes both the Windows NT Executive and several other components that Russinovich has described as "Cutler's NT".[16]

Anonymous said...

Windows is a massive failure of software engineering. It should have clearly defined modules and layers so it can be useful (with a command line interface) on a system with just a few megabytes of RAM and disk, all the way up to the highest end desktop PC.


They tried to do that with "MinWin".

Did Sinofsky kill it?


MinWin

MinWin is a term used informally by Microsoft to describe the kernel and operating system components that form the basis of releases of Microsoft Windows starting with Windows Vista. The term was first used in 2003 to describe approximately 95% of the common components of the operating system, but has over time come to refer to a significantly smaller portion thereof. Its most recent and most well-known variation as a minimalistic, self-contained set of Windows components that shipped as part of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

After Windows Server 2003's release, Rob Short assembled a team of kernel architects at Microsoft, with the intention of documenting and disentangling the dependencies within the core operating system. The kernel development team had realized that they were having difficulty being able to "predict the impact of changes and to make broad, cross-group changes to Windows",[4] and the new kernel architecture team would aim to improve software engineering practices both within the Windows kernel itself, as well as with the other components of Windows. To do this, every component of the operating system (consisting of about 5,500 distinct files in late 2005,[4] during the development of Windows Vista) was assigned a "layer number" that represents its dependency position relative to other components, with lower-numbered components being closer to the core of the operating system, and higher numbers representing high-level components. With this information, the core architecture team began to address a range of issues where low-level components were reliant on high-level components, and finding ways to resolve those dependencies. In doing so, a number of new options for creating focused sub-sets of Windows for different purposes became possible.

In October 2007, Eric Traut, a developer at Microsoft, demonstrated a self-contained MinWin system, made up of about 100 files, on which a basic HTTP server was running.[10][11] Traut noted that MinWin takes up about 25 MB on disk and has a working set (memory usage) of 40 MB. It lacked a graphical user interface and is interfaced using a full-screen command line interface. Traut explained during the demo that MinWin would not be offered as a stand-alone product, but would instead be used as the basis for future operating system releases such as Windows 7.[12]
Several months after Traut's demonstration, some confusion arose from an interview by Ina Fried of Cnet's News.com with Steven Sinofsky, the vice-president of Windows engineering at Microsoft. Sinofsky described the Windows 7 kernel as a further evolution of the Windows Server 2008 kernel, itself an evolution of the Windows Vista kernel.[13] This was interpreted by web sites such as Slashdot[14] to mean that Windows 7 would not include MinWin. Mark Russinovich suggested that some of the confusion surrounding MinWin may be related to the imprecise use of the word "kernel";[15] MinWin is not, in and of itself a kernel, but rather a set of components that includes both the Windows NT Executive and several other components that Russinovich has described as "Cutler's NT".[16]

Anonymous said...

Windows is a massive failure of software engineering. It should have clearly defined modules and layers so it can be useful (with a command line interface) on a system with just a few megabytes of RAM and disk, all the way up to the highest end desktop PC.


They tried to that with "MinWin". Never used it?


MinWin

MinWin is a term used informally by Microsoft to describe the kernel and operating system components that form the basis of releases of Microsoft Windows starting with Windows Vista. The term was first used in 2003 to describe approximately 95% of the common components of the operating system, but has over time come to refer to a significantly smaller portion thereof. Its most recent and most well-known variation as a minimalistic, self-contained set of Windows components that shipped as part of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

After Windows Server 2003's release, Rob Short assembled a team of kernel architects at Microsoft, with the intention of documenting and disentangling the dependencies within the core operating system. The kernel development team had realized that they were having difficulty being able to "predict the impact of changes and to make broad, cross-group changes to Windows",[4] and the new kernel architecture team would aim to improve software engineering practices both within the Windows kernel itself, as well as with the other components of Windows. To do this, every component of the operating system (consisting of about 5,500 distinct files in late 2005,[4] during the development of Windows Vista) was assigned a "layer number" that represents its dependency position relative to other components, with lower-numbered components being closer to the core of the operating system, and higher numbers representing high-level components. With this information, the core architecture team began to address a range of issues where low-level components were reliant on high-level components, and finding ways to resolve those dependencies. In doing so, a number of new options for creating focused sub-sets of Windows for different purposes became possible.

In October 2007, Eric Traut, a developer at Microsoft, demonstrated a self-contained MinWin system, made up of about 100 files, on which a basic HTTP server was running.[10][11] Traut noted that MinWin takes up about 25 MB on disk and has a working set (memory usage) of 40 MB. It lacked a graphical user interface and is interfaced using a full-screen command line interface. Traut explained during the demo that MinWin would not be offered as a stand-alone product, but would instead be used as the basis for future operating system releases such as Windows 7.[12]
Several months after Traut's demonstration, some confusion arose from an interview by Ina Fried of Cnet's News.com with Steven Sinofsky, the vice-president of Windows engineering at Microsoft. Sinofsky described the Windows 7 kernel as a further evolution of the Windows Server 2008 kernel, itself an evolution of the Windows Vista kernel.[13] This was interpreted by web sites such as Slashdot[14] to mean that Windows 7 would not include MinWin. Mark Russinovich suggested that some of the confusion surrounding MinWin may be related to the imprecise use of the word "kernel";[15] MinWin is not, in and of itself a kernel, but rather a set of components that includes both the Windows NT Executive and several other components that Russinovich has described as "Cutler's NT".[16]

Anonymous said...

Is Sinofsky the only executive competent of making solid revenue/profit generating products?

Anonymous said...

Just got my notice in SMSG - A/10 last year and most likely the same this year.

Feel liberated.... I'll enjoy the summer and contract for a bit as that market is definitely opening up.

Have no ill will against my former colleagues - some very bright and fun folks. If this is the worst thing that happens to me in my life, I should be so lucky.

The direction of the company is worrisome, especially in light of the most recent KIN disaster, but that's now not my problem except for the stock owned.

Anonymous said...

Windows is a massive failure of software engineering. It should have clearly defined modules and layers so it can be useful (with a command line interface) on a system with just a few megabytes of RAM and disk, all the way up to the highest end desktop PC.


They tried to do that with "MinWin".

Did Sinofsky kill it?


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

In October 2007, Eric Traut, a developer at Microsoft, demonstrated a self-contained MinWin system, made up of about 100 files, on which a basic HTTP server was running.[10][11] Traut noted that MinWin takes up about 25 MB on disk and has a working set (memory usage) of 40 MB. It lacked a graphical user interface and is interfaced using a full-screen command line interface. Traut explained during the demo that MinWin would not be offered as a stand-alone product, but would instead be used as the basis for future operating system releases such as Windows 7.[12]
Several months after Traut's demonstration, some confusion arose from an interview by Ina Fried of Cnet's News.com with Steven Sinofsky, the vice-president of Windows engineering at Microsoft. Sinofsky described the Windows 7 kernel as a further evolution of the Windows Server 2008 kernel, itself an evolution of the Windows Vista kernel.[13] This was interpreted by web sites such as Slashdot[14] to mean that Windows 7 would not include MinWin. Mark Russinovich suggested that some of the confusion surrounding MinWin may be related to the imprecise use of the word "kernel";[15] MinWin is not, in and of itself a kernel, but rather a set of components that includes both the Windows NT Executive and several other components that Russinovich has described as "Cutler's NT".[16]

Anonymous said...

Any word on severance?

Jon Hendry said...

Hey, MinWin guy, stop posting duplicates. You're why Microsoft is failing.

Anonymous said...

@Any word on severance?

HUGE :)

Anonymous said...

Is Windows Phone moving under Sinofsky after the Kin debacle?

Anonymous said...

Jon Hendry said...
Hey, MinWin guy, stop posting duplicates. You're why Microsoft is failing.


Blogger kept returning errors saying the comment wasn't posted.

Thanks for the constructive comment.

It's thoughtful people such as yourself that make it all worthwhile.

I'm sure you've got the reason right why Microsoft is failing.

Good job. You've cracked the case.

It's all my fault.

Have some more company Kool-aid. It's grape with a bitter almond aftertaste.

Anonymous said...

Got shown the door. EPG. Was E/110 last review, received performance award last fiscal, nominated this fiscal. Stunned.

Anonymous said...

I can confirm that an etire team in CMG (8 people inclduing manager) were let go today. One member of the team is just completely stunned, bitter, and now has an almost all-consuming hatred of Microsoft. I'm not sure how senior managerment (SteveB) can be allowed to remain in office when his response to the billion-dollar KIN failure is to layoff hardworking employees. Baffles the mind.

Anonymous said...

Imagine Kin is from Apple, say 'Apple Kin' or 'iKin', it might sell more than a 'Microsoft' Kin.

This is called brand-loyalty, and it's earned by *consistently* making your customers happy.

So yes, Apple would probably sell a truckload of iKins. But for a lot of those buyers, it would be the last Apple product they ever bought. Which is why Apple would be *insane* to foist something so half-baked on their customers.

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

Then why are Apple products so highly over-represented among alpha-geek types who really couldn't care less about coolness or fashion?

Anonymous said...

My hope is that people getting let go today are getting some sort of severance pay.

I know several people, including myself, who were just terminated and got nothing but the vacation pay due to them. I'm pretty sure all of the people I know were in the "10%" bucket.

Anonymous said...

SO ... besides CMG, what divisions had layoffs today?

Anonymous said...

I saw SMSG, EPG and CMG mentioned although I am not sure what each means. CMG = Content Management?

Anonymous said...

CMG = Central Marketing Group.

Layoffs are happening across a lot of the marketing teams company wide.

Anonymous said...

SMSG Small & Medium Business Sales Group (Kevin Turner)

EPG Enterprise & Partner Group (Kevin Turner)

CMG Central Marketing Group (Mitch Matthews)

Anonymous said...

Yah KIN always seemed half hearted.
I wasn't even able to see one at the verizon store. What a chore it is to buy our products these days..

FWIW. I met Ray in a demo days and he knew more what's going on outside MSFT than any other exec I've ever met and we had an awesome discussion about my project. IMHO Docs for facebook lets me share docs with my friends and gives the web apps some hope against goog docs (vs sharing with just my puny WL pals --srsly??!!!)

But this post is about KIN and if any Danger folks are reading this...

I hope you don't think that this is always the ways its done here, and have seen a good side of MSFT and don't leave. We need some outside blood in this place, and the sidekick's cool- and you guys made a great product and there is a need for consumer products that are beloved by youngsters. I hope you get to work on something cool at MS.

Anonymous said...

Also IW Marketing.

Anonymous said...

"Is Sinofsky the only executive competent of making solid revenue/profit generating products?"


Exactly what profit generating products did Sinofsky create?

Anonymous said...

windows 7

Anonymous said...

SharePoint marketing (within IW marketing) has about a dozen layoffs.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Mr. Sinofsky, I have read many of his internal blogs and while they make good reading, I don't think he is the leader he is projected as. This guys spins things to prove his point rather than taking a straight shot at them and pretends that he is trying to be just while the only thing he justifies is his decision. So someone please give some concrete examples of what he has done as a manager.

Anonymous said...

Not all of us commenting are Microsoft employees. The outside perception to some of us seems that under the leadership of Sinofsky, the Office group did fairly well, and his latest takeover of the Windows group has fostered a praised product in Windows 7.

I mean you guys got Walt Mossberg and many other notable reviewers to give Windows 7 praise and respect it, and though that might not be directly because of Sinofsky, you have to give him credit seeing how incompetent most other leaders seem to be within the company (this is the impression the outside world is being given about Microsoft management).

If the image of Sinofsky is something different, you can always feel free to correct us where you see fit.

Anonymous said...

One member of the team is just completely stunned, bitter, and now has an almost all-consuming hatred of Microsoft.

Seriously, that is just laughably dumb. Getting laid off is just a fact of life, like an accident or a mugging. You can take steps to lessen the risk but sometimes it just happens.

Anonymous said...

"windows 7"

Dude seriously?

Anonymous said...

I have to chime in with some other people who have mentioned other work places (like Google) compared to MSFT -- if it's really that bad, get out! I work across the pond from Redmond at Amazon in Seattle, and the kinds of turf wars and politicking that I keep hearing about would *never* pass muster here. From the day I was hired out of college, I was entrusted with important decisions (like designing crucial ordering databases) instead of doing some rudimentary dues-paying bug fixing -- the basic idea is that I was immediately given faith in my skills instead of being used as a pawn in a large game of corporate chess.

I've known other microsoft devs who have been similarly disgruntled, but they were all absolutely brilliant. So I just have to say, find a place that will value your skills! Even in just little ol' Seattle you'll find Google Labs and Amazon, and they'll more than be happy to take you and help you flourish.

Anonymous said...

In Lincoln Square, the GMO (Global Marketing Operations), which is part of the US BMO... 6 positions eliminated, levels 55-64.

Anonymous said...

OSB Finance - 5 positions. One physically escorted out of the building yelling. Seriously? Is your job at MS worth that?

SMSG Ops Finance - 3 positions

Anonymous said...

Honestly, it seems like the comments forum brings out the disgruntled people in flocks. I have plenty of gripes about Microsoft and about their processes and stuff that needs to change...but my experience overall has been different that some of the trends:

1) I have always been valued and never feel like a pawn. I work in Office and am involved in design decisions, feel that I know how and why decisions are made, and feel that my work is valued. I do have issues with some of the 'why and how' and don't always (or even most of the time) agree but I understand the decision and feel that I have input and have been able to influence decisions. I have felt this way since right out of college.

2) Team members are NOT out to get me...my team definitely puts a premium on 'making others better' and trying to steal someone's thunder hasn't been rewarded often from my team(s).

3) The stock price is not doing well, we didn't get a raise last year, we don't like the way the company is going. This doesn't mean that Microsoft is out to get us or is trying to take advantage of us. We can all leave and go elsewhere whenever we want...I have to believe that the employees are here for a reason and it isn't because MS has us handcuffed to our desks.

I do agree about the KIN debacle...and about upper management needing a hard look to see where things should be shaken up or completely blown up. I am mostly writing this in reference to the posts about how horrible it is to work at Microsoft. I have had great experiences here and while I am not in agreement with all decisions, I do feel that the employees have a lot of opportunities.

Also, to claim that bug-fixing is 'peon work' is ridiculous unless you happen to be the mythical uber-dev that writes bug-free code or if you like shipping a half baked product.

Anonymous said...

Bur seriously guys, what happened internally? why did we cut the kin?
I really don't know the story, I just heard that some dude hated the project since the beginning and took all the necessary steps to make it a failure. But I know no names, no dates, no specifics... I'm curious because, after all, I work for this company and someday I might be on a similar situation.
Thanks

Anonymous said...

" I'm curious because, after all, I work for this company and someday I might be on a similar situation."

Sorry this sentence makes it clear that you don;t work for Ms.
Anyways what you are seeking has been explained before.

jamie said...

hi mini

long time no talk (c9park guy) ;)

Re: Bill gates come back.... i wrote 2 years back - yes BUT - only to be a mentor to a new replacement ceo - who is also a young harvard drop out - with a billion plus company - that ms already invested in - that is as closed an eco-system as windows

The zuckerburg apprentice (after buying FB .. well back then anyway) would have bridged the old with new

yet once again - ranting on C9 yielded NO response.

*ps - you can all laugh - but he even looks like gates :p

nice talking to you mini!

jamie

Anonymous said...

MCS Principal Architect been with Microsoft for 8 years(E/110 last year, Circle of Excellence 2008), been at a large insurance company in the North East for the past 4 months, the contract had me through October 2010. Trusted advisor no longer.

Got called from my PDRM at 10am EST, I get vacation time, and am paid through end of today, my laptop needs to be returned to Corp by end of the week, corpnet access stops working today.

Me: stunned.

Customer: stunned and pissed off.

Account Team: Screwed. No Bench, no MSFT presence pushing OCS 14, SharePoint 2010, TFS 2010, Biztalk 2010, etc, etc.

I told my wife over the phone. She's obviously shocked...but I told her I'll be fine.

Why? Because I know partners and have a long 25+ year history in the consulting/IT industry.

It's crazy...Microsoft bought my ticket to TechReady for the end of July...but won't be getting back the 2 Grand it cost for the ticket and hotel room.

Geeze. Completely stunned. Who runs this company?

So long softies, can't wait to eat your lunch with lower rates at a partner.

Anonymous said...

In regards to: MCS Principal Architect been with Microsoft for 8 years(E/110 last year, Circle of Excellence 2008),

Who was your customer?

Anonymous said...

For the MCS guy, what region did you work in?

Anonymous said...

Our marketing sucks big ones so glad to see some house cleaning there. But based on past layoffs, it is probably the wrong marketing people that are being let go. We can't name a product (Windows Phone 7 Series? Now just Windows Phone 7) or advertise for crap. Can we stop those zombie Bing ads and demonstrate what the product can do?

I run into more people than ever that say "Hey, Bing is actually nice and I use it a lot now. But what is with those commercials?"

Regarding product names: SteveB said he wanted to call the Xbox something like "Windows Game System". He had to be talked into the Xbox brand.

One physically escorted out of the building yelling.

Maybe he is a level 65+?

Anonymous said...

MCS Principal Architect been with Microsoft for 8 years...

Sorry to hear, best of luck. Having recently resigned from MS I can say it is better on the outside!

Anonymous said...

Well we now have thoroughly examined the Ki,n debacle, however is anyone in MCB and know what the situation of Windows Phone 7 is? If this were to turn out also like Kin.... then surely heads must fall??

Anonymous said...

Woa! MCS? What region/customer?

Hotel is not charged (just a change fee), but you have yourself a free plane ticket or credit.

jamie said...

one more comment.. (sorry)

It is sad to read all this .. I must say..

I designed a new c9 logo (signed release et all) they are using... been given a 3k machine by C9 ... been mentioned in countless this week on C9's... scoble .. Rory ... et all.

It is just sad that MS is being run by marketing Carly fiorna types - from ballmer on down...

An engineer - not a droid needs to run MS

My idea was Zuckerberg (back then)
Now - Im not sure who it would be.

over and out
jamie

Anonymous said...

Getting layoff is not a fact of life. May be at Microsoft - but most other companies do a better job.

Anyway, don't be despair. Microsoft is going downhill.

Go start something small or big, take a break, go work for Google, Apple.

Join the Peace Corp and really make a difference!

http://www.peacecorps.gov/

Anonymous said...

Try being a supplier to their H&E group. They don't provide key pieces of information during product development, they think they deserve the best terms because they are MSFT, and they never provide access to Sr. Execs to help build important supplier/customer relations. Instead they play the bully role and walk all over supplier after supplier until there are none left that want to do MSFT business. Time to change and take a different approach MSFT, everyone is on to your foolishness.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft is behaving like a KID.

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??

If anyone can convince me (either way), I will be muchos grateful.

Anonymous said...

Everyone please stop whining - just quit already. Vote with your job like I did. How long could you seat there and whine.. whine... whine...? "Our senior leadership sucks! Kin is dead... things are bad..."
Find. Another. Job. There are plenty around. Every major software company is hiring. If you can't go anywhere then just shut up and suck it.

P.S: I was working in MS for 7 years. Really this is so typical of you, microsofties. Thats one of the reasons company has its issues. Nobody can do something - only whining all around.

anonymous said...

To anonymous posting at Wednesday, July 07, 2010 2:08:00 PM

You want to know what MS is like. Check out this weblink. I do not work at MS, but my girlfriend is a MS MVP. She read the following link- and she thought nothing of it at all. Her response was- well, all companies are like this.

Try checking out this link, and try to figure out how someone could respond to it in that fashion.

I've gotten to know a lot of the softies, and individually, I have found them to be good and decent and intelligent folks. But MS's internal culture is absolutely bizarre- it seems to function kind of like a religion. Check out this link. The link originates from a pro-MS website attempting to advise folks on how to deal with folks from MS. It is stunning.

http://rcpmag.com/articles/2007/07/01/minding-your-microsoft-manners.aspx

Anonymous said...

Lots of whining here... if it's so horrible inside MS (and it is, I know from experience...) why not get the hell out and do something interesting?


- Because it pays the bills. There are still not a lot of jobs out there.

Anonymous said...

Serious question. What is Ballmer good at? I know his reputation as a wacko from various notorious videos. What I don't know is, what *positive* reputation does he have? Is he good at negotiating? Strongarming? Fiscal discipline? Marketing? What are his best known accomplishments?

Anonymous said...

No, WP7 will not turn out like the KIN story. Seen from the inside there's passion and fighting spirit. We know that it's a major uphill and the survival of the org is at stake. It's us against the world and nobody is rooting for the underdog. That's more than enough to bring out the best in people. I see this every day. If only we could get some good marketing behind it, the engineering skill is definitely not lacking.

I don't think there'll be queues on release day because we're starting out with brand legacy of Windows Mobile 6. In a year's time things will be different. The product is not half baked.

Anonymous said...

Is anyone getting severance?

Anonymous said...

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

I am very happy here at Microsoft. And I'm sure someone is going to say I drink from the Kool-aid, but you know what, you do that at just about every company. Sorry, it's a way of life folks. You want to do your best and hope you get rewarded for it. When something doesn't go your way, you find every reason to bash it.

I'm sorry that good people are getting laid off. It happens. Microsoft is no exception. When you have shareholders to answer to, they want results. Folks, at the end of the day, Microsoft still rakes in a huge profit. It has some deep cash cows that are not going away anytime soon. People thought it would when all these crappy open source options became available, but has it made a dent? No. Has Microsoft missed the boat on many different product opportunities? You bet. And to be honest, just about every company does. Can you say Apple? It missed the OS market so much it isn't funny. Then it recouped, thought about a different strategy, went with it, and now it is paying off. Was Apple the first to the music player or phone market? Not even close, but they knew how to take something else (a music store) and make a vertical solution out of it. They were patient and it has paid off nicely. Who would have ever thought that people would pay $100 a month for phone service and $300 for a phone? Apple did. They kept fighting, providing smart solutions along the way.

So to answer your question, there are always a handful of people who will be disgruntled about Microsoft. Many more so on a layoff day. It just happens. Is the company headed in the right direction? In some areas, yes. In other areas, we still miss the target. In even other ones, we have no idea where the target is at. But in the areas where we do get it right, we get it right. Take a look at Sharepoint. It's a secret darling that is making the company billions every year, yet no one hardly knows about it. The health solutions is awesome. Bing is getting better everyday (still not close to Google, but come on folks, when have you ever seen Google try so hard to copy Microsoft than their home screen background image fiasco?). We always need smart people with great ideas to be persistent. To always question when they don't believe something is going well. And even when something is going well, continue to question how to make it better. We can't get complacent. And new people with fresh ideas who are not afraid to speak up will become a catalyst to some great change here.

Anonymous said...

i love working at microsoft. this blog is mostly for losers who hate life and their job, you find them everywhere but you find alot in a company with 80000 employees. i can say for sure msft is the best place i have ever worked in my life and no other place even comes close.

Anonymous said...

Plus a lot of people bitching and griping are not even employees.

Anonymous said...

[Cue "Eye of the Tiger"]
i love working at microsoft. this blog is mostly for losers who hate life and their job, you find them everywhere but you find alot in a company with 80000 employees. i can say for sure msft is the best place i have ever worked in my life and no other place even comes close.

Hi Steve, don't you have anything better to do? Oh, yeah, you don't.

Anonymous said...

"Serious question. What is Ballmer good at? I know his reputation as a wacko from various notorious videos. What I don't know is, what *positive* reputation does he have? Is he good at negotiating? Strongarming? Fiscal discipline? Marketing? What are his best known accomplishments?"

Financial engineering

Anonymous said...

"I am very happy here at Microsoft"

The first eleven of my twelve years was happy. Reorg and bad managers changed all of that....I have a Gold Star and exceeded quota every year during the last few years in a sales role.

Now I am being shown the door......

Am I bitter - a little bit.

But it's my fault for putting trust in a lousy company that promote lousy managers. I should have woke up earlier.

Lesson learned!!

Pick the company you want to work for carefully and re-asses every year.

Anonymous said...

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

Try it out, what do you have to lose? If you don't like it you can use the experience and go elsewhere.

Probably, your individual experience at MS will be highly dependent on what group you work in, your immediate manager, and the people you work with.

Personally, I found it to be an oppressive place to work but hey that's just me and people's experience are highly varied.

Anonymous said...

I must have the exception to all this talk about co-worker backstabbing and idiotic managers. Every day I come in, I get to work with brilliant people where we function as a high-performing team. My colleagues are definitely not out to get me. And my management chain is supportive and full of bright people. Sure, some days I hear about decisions that really don't resonate with me. But, most importantly, I pick my battles. When I hear about something I disagree with (assuming it's worth my time), I try to start meaningful conversations to either change it or get a good explanation.

I'm disappointed by the amount of people on this alias who express opinions, but don't offer any evidence that they've tried to change the things that bother them. Go out and work to fix it if you're that upset!

Anonymous said...

Confirmed:

15% layoff across the board...no exceptions...100% confirmed.

Anonymous said...

In regards to:


This definately sounds like non-sense. All of the reports have been hundreds not thousands of layoffs.

Anonymous said...

wrt "What is Ballmer good at? "

In the old days Ballmer provided the business and "deal-making" leadership while Gates championed product and technology innovation. Remember - Microsoft invented the OS license, the Enterprise Agreement, etc. and Microsoft's ability to monetize it's products lead to it becoming the company it is today, er, was a decade ago.

The issue now is that without Bill it's all deals and marketing and no substance on the products or technology.

Anonymous said...

Confirmed: 15% layoff across the board...no exceptions...100% confirmed.

If only this were true... ;)

Anonymous said...

Has anyone laid off today been given a decent severance package? Or is everyone being "paid through the end of the day"?

Anonymous said...

Agree with the love Microsoft comment. You guys are a bunch of whining losers! Please quit the company if your skills and talents are so good and you still have no impact. Make way for some new blood who want to work hard and make this a great place to work. GO WORK FOR GOOGLE AND GET OUT OF THE COMPANY! While you are all whining, I and others like myself will focus on bringing Microsoft back to the top.

As for Kin, yes it sucked and I am glad we killed it! Get over it. Remember the Newton? Remember the Apple Rokr, remember Vista? Sucked, sucked, sucked, but all were followed with unprecedented successes. Yes losing, we all fucking hate it. Show me someone who is ok with losing and I will show you a loser. As for the rest of you, quit crying and have an impact. If you are working on a shit product pull your fucking airhorn and have a backbone. You could save us billions and then we wont have to read posts like these anymore.

Anonymous said...

Us shortsellers want to thank Ballmer for making is quite a bit of money the last 3 months. We no longer have short positions though.

The company is imploding, Apple early 90s Copland era style.

Where is the Board of Directors? Are they dead and in suspended animation?

How is it that this company which has had billions burned in a bonfire in waste, terrible management not held held accountable by the BD?

The last 5 years the company has underperformed the Nasdaq by a large margin.

Balmer has overseen the destruction of billions of dollars in shareholder value since he has walked into the company.

He has purchased 0 shares of the company with his own money, Insiders are unloading shares left and right Officers,etc.. millions of shares.

Yet Zero buys of stock by insiders in the last year.

You know what that says when the top level folks are bearish on the company. They know Microsoft more than anyone else. And if MSFT topdogs are bearish and jumping on the life rafts dumping equity positions on the open market, that says a lot about their future outlook in the company.

MSFT will be worth in the same 20's 15 years from now as it is today and that is an optimistic outlook.

If you own MSFT stock, dump it and buy SPY ETF. Do not stick your eggs all in the same sinking basket.

Mike Cane said...

All of this perfectly explains why HP went and bought Palm and webOS. HP had to have experienced for itself firsthand just how borked MS has become. Really, when HP had to ship WinMob iPaqs that had constant problems and no updates, that was the first warning sign. They couldn't have been happy doing that nor listening to the complaints from their customers without having any ability to correct anything. How many other situations has HP found itself in, in the years subsequent to that? When Asus went with Linux for the first iteration of its netbook, that should have been a real kick in the balls to MS to wake up. Instead, they just cut the price of the XP license and ignored the pain that was up ahead: Vista. And should I even mention the UMPC disaster? A brilliant viral campaign that basically showed the *iPad* years before it existed -- yet manifested itself in overpriced, sluggish hardware and an outright user-hostile semi-touch interface. Microsoft is now the American version of Nokia. They can now circle one another as they plunge in their respective death spirals.

Anonymous said...

I must have the exception to all this talk about co-worker backstabbing and idiotic managers.

Yep, it certainly sounds like it. As well as counting your blessings, you might want to reconsider criticising other people's attitudes until you've walked a mile in their shoes.

Anonymous said...

I'm not an MS employee, but I do work in Dev for a $23B company. We currently embed MS OS in some form in most of our products.

We can't get off MS technology fast enough. It's a corporate effort.

Anonymous said...

Any news about the effect in Fargo?

Anonymous said...

Those sharing positive expressions of their experience with Microsoft, good for you. Just wait, your time is coming. Don't rely just on the comments of this blog for proof that it's a foul company, the evidence is all around.

It's been over ten months since I've left (voluntarily, thank you very much), yet reading these accounts brings back all of the anxiety and tension I remember far too well.

The biggest tragedy is the unfathomable squandering of potential in almost every direction - people, talent, products, vision, technology. It's beyond being a joke, it's dementia.

Anonymous said...

So to answer your question, there are always a handful of people who will be disgruntled about Microsoft.

I was worried it was two handfuls.

Thanks for clearing that up.

HR is so helpful.

Anonymous said...

i love working at microsoft. this blog is mostly for losers who hate life and their job, you find them everywhere but you find alot in a company with 80000 employees.

You say there are a lot of losers.

HR says it's a handful.

HR is never wrong.

Anonymous said...

@Any news about the effects in Fargo?

Oh ya, sure, you betcha!

Anonymous said...

For the MCS Person - any more details - was your utilization low, did you get into a pissing contest with someone? Do you think they just randomly pulled your name out of a hat or was something else going on? Remember that other MCS people read this and while I'm sure everyone feels emphathy and a bit of anger in hearing such - your comments may cause a great deal or anxiety and lost sleep for others. So please be kind and let people know if there might be something else (fair or unfair) that may have caused you to get singled out.

Anonymous said...

Balmer has overseen the destruction of billions of dollars in shareholder value since he has walked into the company.

He has purchased 0 shares of the company with his own money, Insiders are unloading shares left and right Officers,etc.. millions of shares.

Yet Zero buys of stock by insiders in the last year.


Executives don't need to buy stock.

They just award it to themselves for doing such a stellar job and sell it for cash.

It's not Ballmer's fault.

It's the work of the bottom 10%.

It has been more than 10 years. 35 years in fact.

Nobody wants to say "Hey, Steve. 10 times 10% is 100%.".

Here's to Steve protecting Microsoft from the next bottom 10%.

Once they're gone, everything will surely turn around.

Get in on the ground floor.

Buy now.

Anonymous said...

The only way I can see Windows Phone 7 succeeding in the current market is if Microsoft manages to attract third-party developers away from Android and iOS, by offering an opportunity to generate similar or greater revenues to that of Apple's App Store. That way, there's less pressure to compete purely on price with Android's free (as in gratis/beer) OEM licensing, which would pave the way for WP7 to dominate by spreading itself over as many handsets as possible.

Just think about the frustration that iOS developers put up with, simply because they're well aware of how awful the alternative (Android) is, in terms of financial incentive. This is a golden opportunity for Microsoft, despite all its massive fuck-ups in delivering a modern, post-iPhone mobile platform over the past three years. I just hope they can pull this off; stronger competition is always a good thing.

Anonymous said...

Oh, just one more comment from the GMO/USBMO ranks - so the HR "presence" in the room was over a conference call. The manager read a script, then introduced the HR person on the phone (whom I didn't even realize was there?!) who went over severance/termination details, then manager ended with a script. He even had a box of tissue paper and a cup of water ready, in case I needed it. If you've seen the movie "Up in the Air", it wasn't too far from the truth - I subsequently found out the HR person is based out of Minneapolis of all places!

Anonymous said...

Make way for some new blood who want to work hard and make this a great place to work. GO WORK FOR GOOGLE AND GET OUT OF THE COMPANY! While you are all whining, I and others like myself will focus on bringing Microsoft back to the top.

New blood working for Roz Ho will turn it all around.

Introducing the "Zin"...

It comes with a free bottle of Zinfandel and free refills.

Anonymous said...

My sympathies to those who are being cut today. Its hard to believe that they continue laying off good folks who do the hard work and let these VPs, GM's and Directors collect giant bonuses and stock grants with little accountability for performance (ahem SteveB). I hope they're providing you some sort of severance or job finding assistance.

Anonymous said...

So why didn't Roz Ho get shown the door today? I can't think of a single individual that has been so damaging to the MS reputation.

Kin has undermined the credibility of Win7 mobile. It better be spectacular.

Anonymous said...

So why didn't Roz Ho get shown the door today? I can't think of a single individual that has been so damaging to the MS reputation.

Execs get a few Mulligans (do-overs) 'cause they're special.

Anonymous said...

Jobs saved Apple by having a clear vision for the company. And he's being completely transparent about it. He (and the rest of Apple) wants to make the best computers for people to use.

In this time, when we already have a good enough Office and good enough browsers, it seems a clear vision is much more important.

Microsoft doesn't have a vision. It wants to make money. It's trying so hard that the point gets lost - building something great for people to use.

Did Microsoft create something great with Bing? No. They just caught up. Is Microsoft going to create something great with WP7? Absolutely not. They'll be VERY happy if they can manage to catch up. Why? Do they lack technical talent? Nope, they lack a vision.

Perhaps Bill Gates could really help.

Anonymous said...

I was one of those employees whose position was eliminated today. I've been with the company almost a decade and while there's no guarantee for a job, I didn't see this coming. It's unfortunate that this is the new reality of Microsoft. We are the new Wal-Mart with KT cutting deep with every area of the business and Ballmer unable to innovate or stop wasting money on other projects.
While Microsoft has been a big part of my life for so long it's heart-breaking to know that this company is very different from the one that I started with at the beginning of the decade. I really hope that the company can turn things around but I worry for each and every employee there with the weak leadership in place. Like many others, I was NOT laid off due to performance (I am a strong performer), someone else decided to cut many marketing positions to save a little. And I mean a little as the senior leaders there were spared.

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??

If anyone can convince me (either way), I will be muchos grateful.


I appreciate your pro-activeness reading this blog _before_ joining MS.

don't worry about the people posting on this blog.


however, try to understand the system. What is the "model" here. what is the reward system here. Once you understand how and why people are rewarded in a culture, you can yourself understand the motivation for people's behavior in MS. there is nothing good or bad about it, it is a game, understand it, evaluate it if you can play this game and decide if you wanna join it or not.

Anonymous said...

GMO/US BMO hit hard. I would suggest you stay far away from the GMO (for sure) and many parts of the US BMO and their open positions. I know that the mgr of the GMO uses layoffs to get rid of those he doesn't like (his key phrase, "I don't pay you to think, I pay you to do" seem to fall into step with the rest of MS middle mgmt).

MS can be a wonderful place to work -- but it depends on your manager. That is the bottom line.

Anonymous said...

Anyone see the large mail today, "FTE Only - Announcing the MS Employee WP7 Developer Program"?

Knowing many employees are profiting today building successful phone apps for other platforms, it's surprising that the company felt it had to create a crippling program here - it took so many pages of text to tell employees:
- Your employee agreement ... anything you create that is related ... thus you have no right to build an app or game that profits from those inventions.
- If you want, you can get a license from Microsoft for your intellectual property to be used in WP7 apps and games
- The goal of the program is for you to have fun
- It is NOT a goal of this program to enable Microsoft employees to get rich, launch startups, or compete with Microsoft.

(Did Bill Gates have a similar policy in place when he and others created patents for some of their ideas?)

How many man-years of work did this program cost legal to create? Should a Partner GPM really spend him time drafting text for a failed platform when he could be attempting to fix a sinking ship?

Given many employees are already successful moonlighting and within policy, and dealing with the legal issues, why create a program that is crippling and babying employees?

Do I not own my e-mails sent to family and friend about ideas on the weekends? Sounds like it's owned by the company and I need a license for it!

Anonymous said...

I am a Microsoft survivor. I went to Google a little bit ago and boy am I glad. Even more so today. Microsoft is a dark, dark place. I've had to detox from the experience to rediscover the gentler, nicer person inside.

I am sad for those who've lost their jobs but really, truly once you emerge from the fog and get back on your feet, you'll be amazed, absolutely amazed, at what a rock star you can be without the leg irons MS seems to put on good people trying to do good work. Happy future chapter!

Anonymous said...

It's unfortunate that this is the new reality of Microsoft. We are the new Wal-Mart with KT cutting deep with every area of the business and Ballmer unable to innovate or stop wasting money on other projects.


Wal-Mart is where Steve shops for his executives.


http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/exec/Porter/

Prior to joining DreamWorks Animation in 2007, Porter spent 25 years at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Porter held a variety of roles of increasing responsibility and seniority at Wal-Mart, culminating with the role of vice president and general merchandise manager of Entertainment.

http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/exec/turner/

Prior to Microsoft, Turner worked nearly 20 years at Wal-Mart Stores Inc., where he started as a cashier while going to college. Upon graduating from college he held various leadership positions within Wal-Mart including most recently as president and chief executive officer of SAM'S CLUB, with over 46 million members and over $37.1 billion USD in annual sales. Before this role, Turner worked for 13 years in Wal-Mart's IT department, where he reached the level of executive vice president and chief information officer, overseeing all information systems and IT operations for the company worldwide.

In 1995 at the age of 29, Turner became the youngest corporate officer ever named at Wal-Mart and in 1997 while having worldwide responsibility for all Application Development and Support at Wal-Mart, Turner became the recipient of the first "Sam M. Walton - Entrepreneur Of The Year" Award, which is the highest honor given at Wal-Mart and is determined by the Walton Family.

Anonymous said...

overall ms is a fantastic place to work. i personally am worried due to all the re-orgeing in E&D but that is life at ms, change is constant, just accept it and adapt. if you are part of the cut, my sympathies, but this is part of any good company.

with win 7, bing, cloud, office, xbox, and maybe win phone the future at ms is great.

Anonymous said...

>nobody is rooting for the underdog

We are, trust me. If you succeed PLEASE don't fall into the Microsoft trap of self-adulation/ego masturbation and become someone that is a complete douchebag due to their success. Just remain humble and keep working to make the product continously better. *Far* too many people have come from an underdog position and just turned into flaming d-bags that no one can stand. We don't need any more of those.

Anonymous said...

If anyone can convince me (either way), I will be muchos grateful.

I appreciate your pro-activeness reading this blog _before_ joining MS.

don't worry about the people posting on this blog.


however, try to understand the system. What is the "model" here. what is the reward system here. Once you understand how and why people are rewarded in a culture, you can yourself understand the motivation for people's behavior in MS. there is nothing good or bad about it, it is a game, understand it, evaluate it if you can play this game and decide if you wanna join it or not.




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Researchers Paul Babiak and Robert Hare have long studied psychopaths. Hare, the author of Without Conscience, is a world-renowned expert on psychopathy, and Babiak is an industrial-organizational psychologist. Recently the two came together to study how psychopaths operate in corporations, and the results were surprising. They found that it's exactly the modern, open, more flexible corporate world, in which high risks can equal high profits, that attracts psychopaths. They may enter as rising stars and corporate saviors, but all too soon they're abusing the trust of colleagues, manipulating supervisors, and leaving the workplace in shambles.

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Biography

Paul Babiak, Ph.D., is an industrial and organizational psychologist and president of HRBackOffice, an executive coaching and consulting firm specializing in management development and succession planning. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Harvard Business Review, and Fast Company

Anonymous said...

People see mail that employees can build Windows Phone apps, but only with legal involved?

Is there not moonlighting policies in place, and non-competes?

Anonymous said...

SDA is being disbanded now that Bach is going into early retirement and mobile and xbox are becoming their own businesses. Any of the layoffs from there?

Anonymous said...

I'm not a Microsoft employee nor have I ever been. However, I've indirectly or directly made my income from MSFT for nearly twenty years now and I want to chime in with my thoughts.

Some of the products you guys have turned out have been amazing! XBox? Windows 7? Office? Great stuff.

And say what you will about Bing, even Google is copying it. It's a great little search engine with a ton of potential.

Sure there are things that haven't gone right. The cost of failure is high - lots of people have to go. This is the way it should be.

Stick with it guys. Lots of us out there are rooting for you.

Anonymous said...

My morale has never been lower.

A billion dollars wasted on Kin, 500 phones sold and a huge amount of ground lost in the mobile space.


Cheer up. It was 503. Not 500.

http://daringfireball.net/linked/2010/07/07/kin

An unnamed Microsoftie talks to Jay Yarrow:

“We had a huge launch party on campus and I bet that party cost more than the amount of revenues we took in on the product. As an employee, I am embarrassed. As a shareholder, I am pissed. It’s one thing to incubate products and bring them to a proof-of-concept to see what works, but it’s something else to launch. I suspect we launched because we felt like we HAD to so we could save face because we were trying to build buzz, but overall — HUGE fail.”

I can’t vouch for the following, but a well-placed little birdie told me over the weekend that they sold a grand total of 503 Kins before they pulled the plug. 503.

Anonymous said...

To those who are saying its a bad idea/business having everything connected to Windows....

Have you not seen Apple tried connect everything to its ecosystem? Even the TV in your living room does not pass their attention.

What about Google? Has it not tried to make everything connectible to Google?

And how is that making everything connected to Windows is wrong in business sense?


On a different note. Windows will always be there, Office will always be there. Its just like electricity, its essential, but its background. Does this mean utility companies needs to stop selling electricity because its... well, uhmmm... boring?

All the essentials of Word Processor has been solved, all the rest that has been added overtime are just gloss. That being the case, people still needs word processor and people still needs a decent operating system to use.

That being said, Linux may one day may be a decent operating system (think 20-30 years) so Microsoft may be doing very well to raise the bar, defining whats "decent". Whats wrong with that?


On another different note, have you ever seen utility company being out of business? DO you? Do you?


Oh wait. There's Enron.


Oh well....

Anonymous said...

The 503 KIN sales number is BS: all the team know the number, and its bad, but not *that* bad. Look at Users of the KIN app on Facebook to get a more accurate idea (the app, not the fan page).

Anonymous said...

MCS Principle Arch... I see why you were let go:

"Why? Because I know partners and have a long 25+ year history in the consulting/IT industry."

Age discrimination? Wonder who they're going to replace you with? Someone younger? Hard to RIF people legally and then put someone back in your place - given the customer has a contract through Oct 2010. Wonder how HR resolves that with he EEOC.

Anonymous said...

The 503 KIN sales number is BS: all the team know the number, and its bad, but not *that* bad. Look at Users of the KIN app on Facebook to get a more accurate idea (the app, not the fan page).

Almost 9000!

Here's to reaching over 9000.

http://pocketnow.com/rumor/actually-kin-sold-more-than-503-devices

There's a rumor being perpetuated by Daring Fireball that Microsoft only sold 503 KIN devices. Many other sites are picking up this posting as though it were true. What I find interesting is that the KIN registers its Facebook app on Facebook, where anybody can actually see the total number of monthly active users of the application. The KIN Facebook app is only available on KIN devices and can only be used by people who have KIN devices. So how many people are actually using KIN devices that are connected to Facebook? 8,810 as of right now.

Anonymous said...

The Danger folks certainly seemed to have a high opinion of themselves all along. Sadly the truth was far from this. As anyone who was at the first real calibration meeting after the merger will attest, it was a bloodbath when many of the Danger folks were compared to their MS peers. Danger had some good folks, but not as many as they thought. The good ones who were unhappy with MS had lots of local job opportunities, the unhappy ones that stayed only stayed because no-one else in the Valley would take them.

Plus Sidekick wasn't exactly the gigantic success they seemed to think, even before it committed suicide by destroying its own cloud data.

Anonymous said...

> As anyone who was at the first real calibration meeting after the merger will attest, it was a bloodbath when many of the Danger folks were compared to their MS peers.

Wait, so the MS managers ranked their pre-existing employees as stronger and better than the new arrivals from an external acquisition? I am shocked! Shocked! If this tells us anything it MUST be that the Danger employees were the suckzorz!! Thank god we kept them busy building the Kin!

Anonymous said...

"Look at the Linkedin profile of Matt Bencke This dude has degrees in Political Science, and still is a GM in a technological company"


WOW. Degree in political science, and still leading a technology product/team. Only in Microsoft can this happen.

Anonymous said...

Nobody wants to say "Hey, Steve. 10 times 10% is 100%.".

An impressive display of mathematical incompetence...on your part.

I agree with the other posters: most of these posts are from trolls or losers.

Anonymous said...

Shocked! If this tells us anything it MUST be that the Danger employees were the suckzorz!! Thank god we kept them busy building the Kin!

Competitive hires don't have to build anything.

The goal is to just stop them from building products for a competitor.

You keep them busy working on some crap project.

If you can crush their spirit so they don't work in software again, it's even better because you save money by laying them off.

Anonymous said...

An impressive display of mathematical incompetence...on your part.

I agree with the other posters: most of these posts are from trolls or losers.


Microsoft lets go closer to 6.5% every year.

If the absurdity of thinking you hiring are better employees every year and getting rid of the losers until they are all gone is lost on you, you're a little bit special.

Anonymous said...

I left MS sometime back. At my new place, I was chatting with a colleague about win 7 phone. His comment - if this new phone has windows - it is doomed, if not and it (windows) is just in the name - then again it is doomed due to super bad naming/marketing. I had to agree with him.

For people hoping for win 7 phone to succeed, check out the interview with CNN's Poppy Harlow about this phone with a program manager (or maybe director) at win 7 phone division. There isnt a single feature in it that is not available in IPhone. The phone this weird differentiating concept of 'Tiles' - which in first look to me sucked. Add to it - we dont know yet the huge no. of features and apps that this phone will not have as compared to IPhone.

One thing more - Microsoftees have some delusion that world is dying to have MS office/windows features on their phone. This is what that program manager was touting in that interview. Newsflash for windows7 phone division - smartphone users dont give a crap about microsoft office. All they want is good user experience (esp. internet), good app universe and coolness factor.

Call me pessimist, but I think Mobile is probably a lost battle for Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft is a large enough company that experience in one part of it may not be applicable to other parts. (Duh). In PMX, there was no backstabbing or people out to get people. There was only poor management, a poorly designed and implemented product, and an insane delivery schedule.

Some random thoughts:

PMX was said to be a risky project. You don't fire people who fail at risky projects, because if you do, eventually nobody will be willing to take a risk. Nobody will get fired and whatever accountability there is will happen behind closed doors.

PMX was very poorly run. One HR manager involved with the Danger onboarding actually described the failure as a 'cluster f***'. Danger was lied to about the reason for the purchase and that set the tone of the relationship between ex-Danger people and PMX. It would only get worse as the project continued. The onboarding was typical of the quality of management. The MS-Poll results, some of the worst on record, were accurate, even though they were written off as "influenced by disgruntled Danger people."

The Verizon deal was made by business development folk before engineering had been consulted. There was no way a phone capable of selling in the marketplace could have been developed using Microsoft software management process in the time frame.

In addition, between inception and delivery, the market place changed dramatically but Microsoft was unable to move agilely enough to compensate.

The phone should never have gone to market. It is too poorly designed, too buggy, too incomplete, and too overpriced. When Microsoft became aware of the data plan pricing that Verizon proposed, the project should have been cancelled, saving a couple hundred million in development and advertising.

It did sell more than 500, but I doubt anyone is going to argue against the Wall Street Journal assessment that it sold fewer than 10,000.

The number '2 billion' is floating around as an estimate of the cost of PMX over its life. That number is too high, but '1 billion' is too low.

Anonymous said...

there is nothing good or bad about it, it is a game, understand it, evaluate it if you can play this game and decide if you wanna join it or not.



Spoken like a true MSFT employee.

You people need to wake up. While you kids are busy "playing games" your competitors are building products and services that customers want and need.

The "games" will continue until the printing presses called Windows and Office run out of ink. Then good luck finding another place where sociopathic behavior is tolerated like it is at MS.

Anonymous said...

According to capitalism, you have to make the best product for the lowest price. What is MS up against, what is the competition?

Desktop: Apple expensive, Google Chrome OS, Ubuntu, Other Linuxs, ALL FREE (with free bonus of security!!)

Server: Apple nada, Ubuntu, CentOS, AGAIN FREE, Redhat, (CentOS with pretty icons) very rarely needed since your capable SysAdmin can fix anything that breaks so you just rely on CentOS to get the job done and it does. Serving webpages is not moving mountains ya know.

Clouds: Seriously, Azure vs Amazon AWS and Google App Engine, HAHAHA!

So if you, MS, are going to compete with FREE or really really cheap (and secure), you better make one helluva damn good product. Are you? Can you? Will you?

What percentage of the world is staring at a Windows desktop everyday? Why cant you capitalize on that and build all those desktops into the cloud (Yes this means embracing XP, everyone still is using it cause Vista sucked and Vista7 needs new hardware to run, something people aren't keen on doing in this economy, besides if your spending over a grand on a computer your buying a Mac). Beat Google and Amazon at their game and get the cloud married to the desktops that are already out there being used. You have thousands of great engineers, how about a mutiny, get rid of management, then get some good products out the door and FIX the products already paid for and being relied upon by most of the world.

Speaking of good products, I have a question for all you (yes I work here too) at MS. How many times has your main desktop computer frustrated you in the past month? How many forced reboots, how many forced updates, how many times has your laptop not been able to use the projector in the meeting room, how many times have you been giving a presentation (assuming you were successful on the projection portion of this) and had an embarrassing popup exclaiming your forced to reboot in 10 minutes, how many viruses and malware have you had, how many spam messages has exchange let through? Now, does this crap happen on Ballmers computer, what about Ozzies? OF COURSE IT DOES. They know the crap that is being forced down the users throat cause they are users too! WHAT is being done to fix this monster called Windows Vista 7, sorry, Vista 8????

Windows is a terrible product when you COMPARE it to what else is out there. MS has had a free pass for ten years. Lucky for MS, Linuxs geek marketing sucks, but the OS is so far superior to anything out there its insane. Of course you wouldn't know this because LCA will not let you install Linux, for fear of seeing this mysterious open source code that works so damn good. Now your time is up, finally a very smart and capable David (real name starts with a G) is lifting weights at the Y getting ready for a UFC battle with Goliath. You will not win. Your already losing in fact, 160,000 Linux kernels are being powered up and happily used by the unsuspecting public EACH DAY. They don't know its Linux and they don't care, they want to use the technology NOT FIX IT.

So how do I fix MS, in 6 months? Simple, every single employee gets a spare machine running Ubuntu, then ALL MS collaboration gets moved to Google apps on that Ubuntu desktop; mail, docs, IM, the whole schmoo. Once you, MS, see the competition, you will see how computers and technology are suppose to work, because it just does that, works.

BTW, I am purposely avoiding the 800lb Gorilla in the room holding the big neon sign that's flashing *SECURITY*. MS has caused millions of dollars to be transferred to Ukraine because of a poorly architectured OS, there is no way to fix it, so just let the small businesses keep bleeding while they rush to the Google/Linux first aid kit. That is how you succeed, blame the user and watch their hard earned money goto third world nations.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone other than the "Oh ya, sure, you betcha!" smartass have information about what, if anything, happened in the Fargo offices today?

Anonymous said...

Those laid off or looking should look at Isilon Systems.

Anonymous said...

Imagine Kin is from Apple, say 'Apple Kin' or 'iKin', it might sell more than a 'Microsoft' Kin. The problem is 'Microsoft' is not known as a Cool brand for consumer, but 'Apple' is. It will be a long way to make 'Microsoft' an exciting consumer cool brand.

And that's the best way for Microsoft to fail.

Apple did not produce the branding first. They produced the products that people wanted, and made them stylish enough to be desirable.

People who believe Apple are all marketing guarantee failure when competing against them.

Anonymous said...

I haven't used any Microsoft products for 10 years now and everywhere I go I drink the milkshakes of Windows users. I had Macs I used for 3 years and they never crashed once. I had a year where I did not even have one application crash, working full-time double shifts. I-T hours: zero. Windows is a tire fire by comparison. So there is no excuse for anyone at Microsoft taking pride in their work. Kin is part of a long history of technical failure.

Anonymous said...

If Windows is so poorly architected, why does Cutler have such a stellar reputation?

I imagine he's only responsible for the kernel, which may be great. The rest of everything is a giant mess though.

Maybe the kernel was great in 1989, but it's a mess now, with all the compatibility layers and ad-hoc patches. They have NEVER refactored it to get rid of all that crud, which it desperately needed at least 10 years ago.

Anonymous said...

Sinofsky is making a run for E&D. Once he owns E&D, there will be a president of dev, president of test and president of PM.

Anonymous said...

Can someone please explain this HiPo program? I've been a lead in Office for years and never heard this mentioned.

Jon H said...

"Have you not seen Apple tried connect everything to its ecosystem? Even the TV in your living room does not pass their attention."

Sure, but they don't call it the Mac OS X TV Box. The customer has no clue what OS is running on it, just that it's easy to use. In use, the Apple TV certainly doesn't scream "I'm OS X".

Apple focuses on the functionality and usability. They realize that with what OS is on the Apple TV is, to the user, irrelevant.

(PS: I do not now, nor have I ever, worked for Microsoft.)

Anonymous said...

Maybe the kernel was great in 1989, but it's a mess now, with all the compatibility layers and ad-hoc patches. They have NEVER refactored it to get rid of all that crud, which it desperately needed at least 10 years ago.

So Rob Short's work to refactor the kernel wasn't used?

Andy said...

Thanks for the answers re: what Steve Ballmer is good at (I'm the one who posted the question).

Regarding the 503 number: I have no idea about the truth of the story, but it's *possible* that's how many had been sold at the point they made the decision to kill it. A few thousand sales may have trickled through since that decision.

Anonymous said...

iPhone app developer here, and a Microsoft customer since 1978.

I tend to think that most people who works at Microsoft are either idiots or a crooks. The quality of the company's products tends to confirm that theory. Anything labeled as a Microsoft product is garbage.

Still, Microsoft is a great American company, and I'd like to see them succeed at some level. So here is your best plan:

Steve Ballmer needs to do the right thing and retire so that someone else can lead the company. I realize that Ballmer is more intelligent than Bill Gates on the IQ scale, but he has done a lousy job leading Microsoft. Ray Ozzie and J Allard are intelligent people too, but lousy leaders, so get rid of them too. You've partially accomplished that already.

Appoint some new leadership, then let us know when you've done that. Until then, Microsoft will be cheerfully ignored.

Anonymous said...

ALL FREE (with free bonus of security!!)
I've heard this from OSS fanboys a decade ago. I'll be hearing this from OSS fanboys a decade from now, when Windows 10 is the fastest selling Windows ever.

Hasn't a decade of begging and pleading to get people to use software that's "ALL FREE" and making only incremental gains clued you kids in yet? If your software were really any good, Microsoft would have been out of business years ago. It's not even that hard to do; take it from an employee, vast swaths of Microsoft suck at making good products.

Anonymous said...

Still, Microsoft is a great American company, and I'd like to see them succeed at some level. So here is your best plan:

Microsoft was a great American company.

It is now a multi-national company.

If Ballmer could figure out a way to move software development to China and India to save money, he would.

Anonymous said...

HiPo: Best 2% of the company, always E/20, but it has to be earned - IE your entire management chain on board. On most teams this means the Pm is HiPo, the dev might be, but yeah.

These are people whose names HR knows even when times are great.

And if they try to move to Google Kirkland... be ready!

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