Thursday, July 22, 2010

Microsoft FY10Q4 Results

FY10Q4 Microsoft earnings are upon us. So, what's been going on since last we met over the quarterly results?

  • The KIN phone collapse put WP7's future in doubt. Would WP7 meet the same fate? Is it under the same level of mismanagement? Fortunately, some fairly positive takes on pre-release WP7 have been coming out ahead of earnings to shore up confidence and excitement.
  • Market Cap - yes, Apple passed us by and there was an abundance of articles and postings questioning just how much longer Microsoft would have to endure Mr. Ballmer as CEO (hint: a long loooooong time).
  • Itsy-bitsy-layoff-committees: targeted small layoffs to kick of FY11 team budgets. If they are that low key and only disclosed on some random bit of the blogosphere, do they really amount to much accountability on Microsoft's sake? Again, our contingency hiring is out of this world so it's not like we're saving a bunch of money - we just have folks on the payroll we can easily cut loose as needed.

What kind of questions might be / should be posed during the earnings call?

  • Dates: firm dates for WP7 devices and Kinect and associated Kinect titles beyond the kind-of-interesting launch titles.
  • Win7 + Office 2010: are the cash cows still, err, bringing home the bacon?
  • Bing / Ad-center: is Bing on the upswing? Is Bing / Ad-Center doing anything more than eating the bacon that our cash cows bring home?
  • Legal: it's been very quiet on the European Union front. Office 2010 was released without a single investigatory squeak, as far as I know. Is this all behind us for now? That would be great.
  • WP7: application developers in the queue? We need to re-enforce the cool apps that we'll have ready when WP7 is launched. In a move that has totally delighted me, Microsoft is giving every employee the ability to write and deploy WP7 applications (and, what, ability to get a device at launch, too?) - wow! Now's the time to truly show off your stuff and write for WP7 and get your app out the door.

The glow of Windows 7 has dimmed and Office 2010 and the VS2010 eco-system need to pick up the steam as we head to WP7 and Kinect launch. Apple is rolling in the moolah being a content delivery channel and our story, other than some Xbox features, is still pretty fuzzy. For instance: Windows Media Center is one of those crown jewels we've let plop out of the crown and get kicked around the court. I love WMC but it seems to be a neglected feature, caught in the chop between E&D / Zune and Windows. After a phone, it's the next experience we should bring out some reference hardware for to easily DVR HD channels off the air and plug right into your HDMI system and watch it go.

My usual suspects for earnings discussion:

(I'll update the post later if there are interesting developments from the earnings release.)


-- Comments

520 comments:

1 – 200 of 520   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

*Microsoft Interview for CEO Position*

Q: What do you think went wrong for a company's stock price that's been stalled for a decade?

Q: How do you create a competitive working environment & a culture of quality?

Q: Your Online Services Division has been failing and not generating profits for the past years. How do you plan to turn this around?

Q: What do you think of the fact that Apple's revenue is surpassing Microsoft's?

Q: Your hardware partners are starting to ditch Windows 7 for their netbooks & tablets products, and go for Android. How do you plan to turn this around?


If you are SteveB, what will be your answers? ^_^

Anonymous said...

You think Windows Media Center is a "crown jewel"? You're crazy. It's a POS piece of software, and the team that produced it thinks they are awesome because so many units have shipped. The fact is a lot of units have shipped because it is bundled with Windows. What % of users that *have* WMC actually have set it up and *use* it? That team has now been scattered all over Windows and E&D and Enrique is gone.

Anonymous said...

> *Microsoft Interview for CEO Position*
>...
>If you are SteveB, what will be your answers? ^_^


If you are SteveB, nobody will ever be able to to hold you accountable for those answers, unfortunately.

Anonymous said...

A couple years ago I went to the on-campus Tech Fair and talked to the guy who was demoing WMC. I told him the list of features that I would consider necessary to compel me to purchase a box and use the platform. He just gave me a vacuous "uhhh, I just work here" response. Love the innovative spirit...

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 8:32AM -

My mother has a Windows 7 PC in her bedroom I built for her at launch.

She recently asked me what was a good affordable TV for the bedroom, and rather than let her clutter up the room with another piece of electronics, I picked up a TV tuner and a remote, hooked it up to the cable in the wall, and setup the Windows Media Center that she already had.

Now she not only has a TV, she also has a DVR and much more, and was able to learn how to use it with minimal instructions.

I'm not sure how many people buy an upgraded Windows edition specifically to get that set of functionality, or how many buy the PCs with the TV tuner built in, and so forth, but I have to say that the software provided with Windows worked amazingly well for her.

Anonymous said...

I just started as a L64 in EPG. Attending MGX and I can tell you that I believe in Microsoft. This is going to be a great year and I'm looking forward to making a ton of money on UC!

Anonymous said...

More voices calling for Ballmer's head:

Senior Microsoft executives, disenchanted with the company's stagnant stock, have been secretly discussing how to kick Chief Steve Ballmer, and maybe the board, to the curb.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-07-21/will-microsoft-ceo-steve-ballmer-be-fired-for-low-stock-price/full/

Anonymous said...

I'm fully prepared for the usual drill: Microsoft reports really great earnings that surpass analyst expectations by a small margin, and the stock price gets hammered tomorrow.

I should sell some ESPP right now ahead of the plunge, but I keep hoping that the stock will finally get a lift.

I mean, I've been a the company ten years and the stock has lost 50% of its value while revenues have doubled. Every time we put some "drag on the stock" behind us (breakup order, DOJ settlement, Vista, etc) I delude myself into thinking that finally we'll get out of the doldrums and at least get some steady growth, but alas no.

I'm feeling cautiously optimistic but I've been there before many times.

I don't think Ballmer's the core problem though, except to the extent that he hasn't been aggressive enough about firing execs who don't deliver. We need a culture of accountability in a bad way.

Anonymous said...

With respect the WMP/TV comment: You just nailed the problem with Microsoft with the consumer. Certainly you can hook up a Win7 computer with a tuner and have a viable home entertainment service. But you have to be a geek to do it. My mom couldn't. My brother couldn't. My wife couldn't. As long as stuff isn't plug and play, there's a lot of useless functionality that is under the covers and inaccessable.

Anonymous said...

The comment by Annonymous at Thursday, July 22, 2010 11:05:00 AM about being a geek to do some of these things really hit a chord with me.

I read all of the posts here from fanboys and trolls on the reviews - positive and negative - on Windows Phone 7. I read all of the discussions on the relative advantages/disadvantages of C++ or C# or any number of alpha-numeric coding schemes.

Realize this, NONE OF THOSE THINGS MATTER TO THE MARKET! MS can give away 90,000 phones to its employees. Why not? Google did. Apple did. But the real test is if the consumer buys into it. Will your mother, or wife, or daughter, or cousin,(you know, the NON-geeks in your life, and have no idea who CNET) going to buy the phone? And if enough of them buy the phone(s), then the developers will follow and develop apps for the device.

Look at the history of the PC versus Apple. The PC has a much larger footprint in the real world, hence a lot more apps for the operating systems, in spite of all of the arguments of whether Windows has advantages over Linux or Mac. Guess what, iPhone enjoys the same market advantage.

And don't sit on your "we own the enterprise" laurels. Every enterprise I know had to adjust its policies to allow iPhones simply due to the demands of its employee base. MICROSOFT included.

Also, giving away phones does not guarantee success. Look at Nexus One.

One final thought on competition, giving employees your device is fine, but what are you doing to understand the competition? If I were Andy Lees, I would force every one of my PM's to use an iPhone. How else would they know what they are shooting for? I met a guy at New Emplyee Orientation who was coming into MSR. He was tapping away on a MacBook. He got some grief for it, and he shrugged it off and asked, "if I don't understand what the competition is doing, then what are you paying me for?" Hmmmmm....

Anonymous said...

"Senior Microsoft executives, disenchanted with the company's stagnant stock, have been secretly discussing how to kick Chief Steve Ballmer, and maybe the board, to the curb."

This is blog speak for someone with a "Senior" title. Perhaps a L63 PM. I was first referred to in the press as an "executive" years ago because I was a L60 test lead speaking at WinHEC :).

Anonymous said...

The reason for the lagging stock is because the outstanding share float is so huge. At 8 billion shares outstanding, the stock will no longer move.

Google has 318 million shares outstanding
Apple has 909 million shares outstanding

The law of supply and demand plays huge when they announce their earnings and new products. As for Microsoft, Greg Maffei and the board were stupid enough to allow a 2-1 split of MS stock when the float was at 4 billion.

If analysts, shareholders and employees are wondering why the stock does not move as much, they might want to relook at the amount of shares MS has outstanding.

Investors can only buy so much of MS stock, only buy to a threshold if MS lacks new products.

The stock should have not gone through the last stock split.

The Board of Directors got a little greedy in "wanting" more shares and forgot about the small investor.

Anonymous said...

one of the biggest complaints that i have about working at msft, and i've been working here for more than nine years, are immature and impatient managers. these people were promoted to management positions because they were either (1) good as an IC; (2) took up the company on a MBA offer; (3) have a MBA and no tech experience whatsoever; (4) are level climbers for the sake of money. If you happen to work for one of these guys, or gals, and they like you - congratulations. if not, then you stand in their way of reaching their further goals of promotion and whatever committments they have set. and if they are inarticulate enough to poorly explain your job responsibilities and continually step in to do your job, it's not because you might be an underperforming employee (though you could be), it's because they don't know how to manage, delegate, and grow IC's. Why does msft have so many employees? because it has so many managers. why does it have so many managers? because so many of them are mediocre. why are so many of these managers mediocre? it starts at the top and continues with the lack of accountability throughout the entire company.

Anonymous said...

Re: stock float - it's pretty much irrelevant in terms of long-term trend of the stock. It can affect short-term volatility but just do the math - they could do an 8-for-1 split tomorrow and have the stock at $3/share and nothing will materially change in terms of the valuation of the stock. Sure there are some psychological factors associated with stock price but they have a very small affect and certainly you can't be arguing that if Microsoft hadn't gone from 4 billion shares outstanding to 8 billion, the stock price valuation would be much higher? Sorry, makes no sense.

Anonymous said...

“We saw strong sales execution across all of our businesses, particularly in the enterprise with Windows 7 and Office 2010,” said Kevin Turner, chief operating officer. “Our transition to cloud services is well underway with offerings like Windows Azure and our Business Productivity Online Services, and we look forward to continuing our product momentum this fall with the upcoming launches of Windows Phone 7 and Xbox Kinect.”

No mention of Kin, I see. So much for lessons learned. Onward!

Anonymous said...

I have been in MSFT for 6 years now, I love it, and most of the people I know love it too, field and corp. We have our fair share of challenges and mistakes but also we have another fair share of very positive things. Too bad this place is full of trolls and disgruntled employees or ex-employees

I love this company and I want to make the world a better place.

Anonymous said...

Well if the stock is not moving, and given the huge pile of cash MSFT is sitting on, isn't it time for some dividends?

Anonymous said...

Microsoft fourth quarter net income up 48 percent but revenue up only 22 percent.


What overhead did they eliminate to get those numbers?



Microsoft 4Q net income surges 48 percent

Revenue rose 22 percent to $16.04 billion.

Anonymous said...

I love this company and I want to make the world a better place.


You must be pretty young. For your sake I hope you're still in your 20's because if you aren't and still believe that MSFT is a place where you can change the world, you're naïve at best.

MS _is_ "the world". The companies that will change the world are the ones that will successfully compete with your current employer and send it on the road the irrelevance.

paulsc@exmsft.com said...

Want more Windows Phone 7 applications for your marketplace? Eliminate the fees.

Anonymous said...

Well - make it a Zune Media Center then.

Keep the core TV and video stuff, dump or Zune-I-Fy the GUI, and integrate it with an online store a-la Zune on XBL.

Helps the Zune branding, helps expose Media Centre to folk that haven't seen it before, and leverages the synergy of content delivery branding.

In countries that have a Zune store worth anything (of course). So not Australia.

Anonymous said...

Media Center died when Media Player got integrated with MTV URGE in MP 11 and then URGE got killed by Zune.

Anonymous said...

Force the pms to use an iphone, now that's funny! You obviously haven't been around msft very much. There are too many people who don't care if they create a great phone or not as it is!

They should force people to use a WM phone and Zune and then maybe they'd be invested enough to make sure the core scenarios work!

Anonymous said...

Media Center is an almost great product. The core scenarios and the stability isn't quite where it should be. I do use it, but it's a shame that we don't put a little more effort into it. That being said, it's much better than MSTV interface for cable although the MSTV cable boxes are more stable.

Anonymous said...

BING DIE

Anonymous said...

I believe in Microsoft. I do. I've been in the company 10 years, worked my arse off. I've had great colleagues, bad colleagues, great managers, bad managers and indifferent managers.

Yes, we could have done better with the consumer.

Yes, there has been missteps.

Yes, the stock has stayed where it is.

But I refuse to be a victim. I want to be a part of the solution.

I believe in Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

I believe in the Easter Bunny

Anonymous said...

Anyone in adCenter think the yahoo migration will go well?

Anonymous said...

Media Center is a missing oppotunity when Microsoft is actively talking about three screens.

Anonymous said...

How about give away Media Center and Game for Windows to E&D and provide it as a free downloadable application like Windows Live? This will make everycopy of Windows virtually another XBox.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft FY10Q4 Results: Would you like fries with that.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if our bonuses will be a few hundred dollars lighter this year to pay for the phone.

It reminds me of this scene from Austin Powers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgOYMCtv1aw

"So in essence I'm buying the [phone]"

Anonymous said...

Dates: firm dates for WP7 devices ....


Are you kidding. Look at the mail sent by Andy Lees. "A phone will be made available to every employee." It does not mention if this is free or the employee will have to buy it. If this is the ambiguous level of communication from a VP, how can you expect a firm release date

Anonymous said...

Santa enters a store that sell curtains.

He tells the salesman, "I would like to buy a pair of pink curtains."

The salesman assured him that they had a large selection of pink curtains. He showed him several patterns, but Santa seemed to be having a hard time choosing.

Finally, he selects a lovely pink floral print.

The salesman asked what size curtains he needed.

Santa replies, "Fifteen inches."

"Fifteen inches?" asked the salesman. "That sounds very small, what room are they for?"

Santa tells him that they aren't for a room, they are for his computer monitor.

The surprised salesman replies, "But, sir, computers do not have curtains!"

Santa says, "Hellllooooooooo........I've got Windows!"

Anonymous said...

"
Yes, we could have done better with the consumer.

Yes, there has been missteps.

Yes, the stock has stayed where it is.

But I refuse to be a victim. I want to be a part of the solution.

I believe in Microsoft."


I would have been with you 6 years ago, but believing in Microsoft now, with no indication that anything is changing for the better, is just self-destructive.

Anonymous said...

I have been in MSFT for 6 years now, I love it, and most of the people I know love it too, field and corp.

I loved MSFT at 6 years, loved it at 10 years, loved it at 12 years.

Somewhere between 13 and 14 years I started gagging on the koolaid:
* I became the 10%. Yeah, it colors some of the comments that follow.
* The stock seemingly diving everytime Ballmer says something to the press, I thought 1999 was a fluke but it turned out to be a re-occuring event.
* The seemingly reckless gluttonous increase in head count in the mid-2000's.
* Watching the exec's cash in their stock each fall while revenue slowed, with the stock price going no where for my comparatively few shares.
* Dismay with the first layoff, and for the layoffs that followed.

I would not trade for anything the interesting work I had the opportunity to do, the teams I was a part of, the team members I have known, and the generally upbeat and positive atmosphere. I would like to have continued to contribute, but I was designated a "Kim".

For those looking to come to Microsoft it is a great place for at least the first few years. What a great job just out of college. You will see the pack start thinning as you move through the years. It does get tougher as each year goes by due to the stack ranking and that many top out at level 63 or lower which will eventually lead to a 10% ticket. Know the risk in length of employment going in, learn everything you can, enjoy the time you are here, and keep an eye out for outside opportunities.

Anonymous said...

"Microsoft fourth quarter net income up 48 percent but revenue up only 22 percent.

What overhead did they eliminate to get those numbers?"

Total OPEX actually increased YOY, but at a much smaller rate than the revenue gain. That plus normal leverage off a fairly high fixed cost base explains the income result.

Anonymous said...

Windows Media Center is one of those crown jewels we've let plop out of the crown and get kicked around the court.

mini you lost a lot of credibility with this one. it sounds like you're just another techhead who doesn't grok consumer experiences that rock. wmc does not rock.

Anonymous said...

Where does 'Kim' come from? Is it an acronym? Or was there a famous person named Kim that got right-sized?

Anonymous said...

This is the message I am getting:

-In addition to being available during core hours; working evenings/weekends, being available 24/7 over RAS at your own personal expense is expected. Feel guilty about taking vacation time.

- Work scheduling tools are really just used to mask illegal labor violations for LCA and to pretend there is a work-life balance for the managers that don't do any of the real actual hard work. Here is how it really works for the rest of us. For obvious legal reasons- your manager will never directly tell you that you need to work for free. Instead they will just give you 10 simultaneous projects that they know you can't possibly complete within a milestone, book you for brainless meetings during the day so your coding gets pushed to after-hours, and most commonly aggressively schedule you for one set of work items; while adding more work as the milestone unfolds without costing for it.

- No, you are not really valued even after 5,10,15,20,25 years at Microsoft. Experience doesn't count. Yes, we see employees as cheap. You should all be happy just to work for Microsoft - because it's Microsoft. Do not expect any professional respect between groups, triads, or peers. Thank H1B visas, the economy, indebted CS grads, executive greed, and the math which says it makes sense to hire you back on contract for less. . What we will never do - make our leaders accountable for throwing billions away making big costly bets on stupid ideas.

- There is a counter point to every argument which is valid when it suites your manager, their manager, their manager, and HR payroll. You did your job great and met all your commitments, but you didn't have enough wider impact. You got a good review, but that doesn't mean you did well. You did well, but are not advancing fast enough. What it all really means- Microsoft is a thankless company to work at and as an employee you really aren’t and will never be genuinely valued here.

- Delivering superior results, rocking the boat, or in any way going against the status quo is definitely not valued and is detrimental to your career.

- Here is how you really advance at Microsoft: Spend less time coding and doing real work. Learn to play the corporate ladder game. Learn your org chart - and spend most of your time kissing peer butt, preparing effective e-mails, and most of all getting good at manipulating your leads and fitting in with the good old boys. Remember, it's not really what you do, it's all about how they FEEL about what you do. It’s perception, not reality. If you are lucky maybe you can ride someone's coat tails to the top.

- We all know that MS Poll results make it clear that rank-and-file employee morale looks like BP's stock price. But don't let facts get in the way- just pucker up and drink the Kool-Aid. Windows 7 sales are strong, so you'll be rewarded with a 3% cost of living adjustment next year while some GM plans his exit strategy. ::rolls eyes::

Anonymous said...

Not many comments today. Seems like Mini's loosing his patrons

Anonymous said...

Not many comments today. Seems like Mini's loosing his patrons

Mmmm well it could be that he's "loosing" his patrons or more likely he just posted this thread today.

Anonymous said...

I keep seeing enthusiasm over the rollout of Windows Phone 7, pointing out good early reviews of our beta.

But ... can anyone show me how this will have any impact on our bottom line?

Let's say we sell 50 million phones the first year (which would be amazing, I think) that only puts about $500 million our pockets, since we only charge around $11 per license.

Why is everyone so excited by this?

Anonymous said...

Anyone been to Lisa's listening tour? Got anything to share?

Anonymous said...

Why do people continue to want to ask SteveB about the stock price? Steve could care less about the stock price. Have you ever watched him? He is more passionate about the company than any rabid sports fan about their team. Steve is about winning and has never defined winning in terms of the stock.

Steve has failed at a number of things over the years but I bet our stock price never kept him awake at night.

Anonymous said...

Well... AdCenter is still eating up money with non-productive leadership. Just count the number of "PRINCIPALS" this org has and need not to say 90% are not even worth of level 60 in terms of their capability to make a difference.

Most of them are thrown out of other orgs (windows, office etc.) and took shelter here.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous :: Thursday, July 22, 2010 10:55:00 PM
...
- No, you are not really valued even after 5,10,15,20,25 years at Microsoft. Experience doesn't count. Yes, we see employees as cheap. You should all be happy just to work for Microsoft - because it's Microsoft. Do not expect any professional respect between groups, triads, or peers.
...


Exactly!

Anonymous said...

Adcenter has some of the best principal devs around. I have worked in Windows, sql and now in adcenter. Nothing comes close to Adcenter in terms of talent and dedication

Anonymous said...

"Adcenter has some of the best principal devs around. I have worked in Windows, sql and now in adcenter. Nothing comes close to Adcenter in terms of talent and dedication"
haahaha...really, look one more principal here....this is what they do...help each other..dont care about anything.

Anonymous said...

"Why do people continue to want to ask SteveB about the stock price? Steve could care less about the stock price. Have you ever watched him? He is more passionate about the company than any rabid sports fan about their team. Steve is about winning and has never defined winning in terms of the stock."

And therin lies the problem. A hefty portion of Steve's job as CEO requires him to define winning in terms of the stock. But he's basically a car salesman and always has been, so the only thing he cares about is the how much money we're selling.

Great, Steve wants to make money and cares about it a ton. Yay.

What Steve doesn't care about is pretty serious, though: the image of the company in the eyes of everyday people (as witnessed by our criminally fragmented marketing and branding), the stock price, the ways we can push technology into new business areas.

Steve needs to go, and he needs to be replaced by someone who understands ALL of the CEO's responsibilities, not just the "let's sell a bunch of shit" bits.

Anonymous said...

"Microsoft fourth quarter net income up 48 percent but revenue up only 22 percent.

What overhead did they eliminate to get those numbers?"

Total OPEX actually increased YOY, but at a much smaller rate than the revenue gain. That plus normal leverage off a fairly high fixed cost base explains the income result.


I'm not in finance.

Are you saying they buy fixed assets and derivatives?

Anonymous said...

"But you have to be a geek to do it. My mom couldn't. My brother couldn't. My wife couldn't."

It's ironic that this is the very same charge that is so often levelled at Linux on the desktop, and proffered as proof that it can never hope to prosper there.

Anonymous said...

"Are you kidding. Look at the mail sent by Andy Lees. "A phone will be made available to every employee." It does not mention if this is free or the employee will have to buy it. If this is the ambiguous level of communication from a VP, how can you expect a firm release date"

This is one of those "if we can put a man on the moon, then surely we can develop psychic powers" type quotes. The one has nothing to do with the other, and if you're trying to communicate some subtle connection, you're doing a worse job than Andy Lees did.

(yes, it was just ambiguous enough that you weren't sure it was free, but the link in Andy Lees' mail shows that a phone for whichever carrier is in fact free to FTEs in their list of launch countries, and the data plan is not free)

Anonymous said...

""But you have to be a geek to do it. My mom couldn't. My brother couldn't. My wife couldn't."

It's ironic that this is the very same charge that is so often levelled at Linux on the desktop, and proffered as proof that it can never hope to prosper there."


Exactly, just as WMC is not prospering due to the complexity.


What was your point?

Anonymous said...

I believe in the Easter Bunny


The Easter Bunny is an angry god who rules through fear.

The Easter Bunny hates you.


Steve Ballmer is a sweaty god who drools.


The Easter Bunny rules.

Anonymous said...

"a risk-averse bureaucracy has grown up that stifles innovation" sounds like someone talking about Microsoft.

They are talking about Nokia.

A former senior Nokia executive wrote a book proposing a solution.


Rescuing Nokia? A former exec has a radical plan

A couple of months ago, a book appeared in Finland which has become a minor sensation. In the book, a former senior Nokia executive gives his diagnosis of the company, and prescribes some radical and surprising solutions. Up until now, the book has not been covered at all in the English language. This is the first review of the proposals outlined in Uusi Nokia (New Nokia - the manuscript) and draws on three hours of interviews with its author, Juhani Risku.

It’s very, very timely – and even if you don’t follow Nokia, mobile or telecomms it’s a fascinating exercise in business analysis and organisational studies. Enjoy.



The diagnosis is largely one that others have made. Essentially, Nokia has forgotten how to bring innovative products to market. This is despite a rich R&D base, which has pioneered many of the innovations competitors now feature. Instead, a risk-averse bureaucracy has grown up that stifles innovation – it makes progress slow or non-existent. For example, he cites Maps as an example of where a huge investment was bypassed by faster-moving competitors, and by using engineers, not designers, in product development.

This diagnosis may be familiar, but the proposals quite radical. Risku proposes a dual-leadership role with an innovator – a Finn who understands the corporate culture – in a kind of “Steve Jobs” role. This would clear the many obstacles that stand between the lab and product concept and products. There would be a bloodbath of middle managers – starting with 300 to 500 staff at senior VP, VP or director level. This he calls a GRO program, or Get-Rid-Of.

Anonymous said...

I really thing MCE is great and cant find anything on the market quite like it. Its just "underdeveloped". It could/can have a much larger relevance in the marketplace (specially embedded devices) if it had the basic features being asked for years and the right hardware partnerships. If I read mini post correctly, it was a crown jewel. And I think he is right. It was, had a lot of potential, better than anything like it in its own category, but we failed to create the market for it mostly on our own mistakes, unfortunately. Well, maybe theres time yet if we get things right this time.

Anonymous said...

"But you have to be a geek to do it. My mom couldn't. My brother couldn't. My wife couldn't."

It's ironic that this is the very same charge that is so often levelled at Linux on the desktop, and proffered as proof that it can never hope to prosper there."

Exactly, just as WMC is not prospering due to the complexity.


What was your point?


My point is as stated: it is ironic that Microsoft, historically a purveyor of user-friendly software, has in WMC a product whose shortcoming mirrors that often ascribed to its less-fancied open source bete noir.

(I bet the Easter Bunny could do it, though :-)

Anonymous said...

" Here is how you really advance at Microsoft: Spend less time coding and doing real work. Learn to play the corporate ladder game. Learn your org chart - and spend most of your time kissing peer butt, preparing effective e-mails, and most of all getting good at manipulating your leads and fitting in with the good old boys. Remember, it's not really what you do, it's all about how they FEEL about what you do. It’s perception, not reality. If you are lucky maybe you can ride someone's coat tails to the top.
"
I can't say it any better and can't agree with it any more. I would be surprised if Microsoft still exists in 20 years and still has the same impact as today. People will say:"Remember that company Micro..." It is just sad to see a great company die slowly and surely. It will take a miracle to see the revival of MS. I can't say it will never happen because Apple did it, but I haven't seen any sign of it. If I am a trader, I will short Microsoft stock from now on. It is in a declining and bearish trend. So long!

Anonymous said...

"Remember, it's not really what you do, it's all about how they FEEL about what you do. It’s perception, not reality."



This nicely sums up the review process.

Anonymous said...

The WMC stuff is silly. It became xbox! There's your WMC, your third screen, your living room beachhead! They won't sell a discless xbox with a tv tuner for who knows what reason, otherwise it would be even more obvious.

Probably because with their 1000s of employees, MS still has to outsource design (which they did for the 360).

WMC should be on dedicated hardware, with a remote. Otherwise, it's confusing, laggy and contentless on a Windows PC. Hulu and Netflix in a browser is a better experience. And that's why appletv, boxee, roku, and cable set-top boxes are more popular. And that's why Windows is just the bottom part of the browser stack to me.

For God's sake, when they get Kinect going in volume, sell a kinect media center box. There are millions of people who won't buy xbox+kinect, but would pay the same amount for a 'bluray player' or 'media center' with the same capabilities.

Anonymous said...

Adcenter has some of the best principal devs around. I have worked in Windows, sql and now in adcenter. Nothing comes close to Adcenter in terms of talent and dedication

This guy is definitely a principal and he seems to fit the process as well. He was first thrown from Windows and than SQL. Now he seemed to be happy in getting visibility in adCenter because anyway this is junk yard of entire company.

Anonymous said...

Ok review trolls, why is it that *your* perception is fact, but your manager's perception is to be flippantly dismissed? I know there are all sorts of managers out there, reasonable and otherwise, but this sounds like a bitter and arrogant generalization. Come on now, the model's barely locked. Can't we wait until late August for these comments?

Anonymous said...

I would agree - AdCenter does a good job in hiring crap talent at Sr level. Why are you only focusing on PRINCIPALS? There are equal number of partners as well who are completely disengaged with their team and totally focused in managing up.

BTW - First question to ask is who made them partners?

Anonymous said...

...... There is a counter point to every argument which is valid when it suites your manager, their manager, their manager, and HR payroll. You did your job great and met all your commitments, but you didn't have enough wider impact. You got a good review, but that doesn't mean you did well. You did well, but are not advancing fast enough. What it all really means- Microsoft is a thankless company to work at and as an employee you really aren’t and will never be genuinely valued here.......

Well said! You are just a tool and don't expect any respect a human being deserve!

Anonymous said...

@"Remember, it's not really what you do, it's all about how they FEEL about what you do. It’s perception, not reality."

In our group M1 and M2 both talk about this perception and they feel proud also.

Though one good news everybody got and people are excited to get Win Phone 7.

Anonymous said...

honestly, I don't like that Bing is put in questioned by a softie.

Bing is CRUCIAL! should be embraced by all! All softies should use and recommend it!

I am constantly amazed about how softie knows little about MS products and services. It is time to change that.

Bingmaps for instance, is just AWESOME!

GO BING!

GO Bing!

Anonymous said...

If softies start going out after bing they will shoot they own feet!

Bing is awesome! Full of innovation! /reference /finance /maps /visualsearch

GO BING!

Anonymous said...

If I am a trader, I will short Microsoft stock from now on.

That's a big "if", apparently.

Anonymous said...

The Achilees heel of this company is the review system. It is a carreer and me-centered company where EVERYONE is bound to eventually be thrown under the bus. You may have 1, 2, 3, 4 great years, hard-ass working years, and then you get thrown under the bus because the "perception" and "visibility" that you were a rock star is no longer there.

Here are the priorities of a sucesful MS employee:
1.) Me
2.) My career
3.) My manager
4.) His/her manager.
5.) His here/ manager's manager.
6.) My peers - those who can say good or bad things about me.
7.) My team, IC's, or others in the group that can't have as much impact on #1,2,# & #4.
.........
............
.........
#n.) Customer.


7

Anonymous said...

"I have been in MSFT for 6 years now, I love it, and most of the people I know love it too, field and corp. We have our fair share of challenges and mistakes but also we have another fair share of very positive things. Too bad this place is full of trolls and disgruntled employees or ex-employees

I love this company and I want to make the world a better place."


Really? Any objective person would take a deep breath and read these disgruntled comments and look around to see if they ring with any truth. If they are from ex-employees, then why did they leave? Logic dictates that not everyone leaves because they fell in love with iPhone one day. Or got fired for drinking too many of the free soda pops. In any large company there are going to be serious cultural rot somewhere. And you are blind, or choose to be blind, if you don't see the turf wars and ego driven management that are spoken of here so often.

You want to make the world a better place? Why don't you start with where you are at, and change the culture of Microsoft to where not so many managers manage with their egos and personal prejudices? Start by telling the SLT to start treating people like people, instead of numbers. Start telling Lisa B. that her legions of HR specialists and that attrocious review system does nothing but create a climate of fear and little to help the company or the workers. Go tell Sinofsky and Lees to stop with the land grab way of building products and try to think of Microsoft first, and their division second. Go tell Ballmer to stop wasting money on online as we are sucking wind there.

I think if you do decide to do just that, you may become one of the disgruntled and ex-employees very soon.

Anonymous said...

"I keep seeing enthusiasm over the rollout of Windows Phone 7, pointing out good early reviews of our beta.

But ... can anyone show me how this will have any impact on our bottom line?

Let's say we sell 50 million phones the first year (which would be amazing, I think) that only puts about $500 million our pockets, since we only charge around $11 per license.

Why is everyone so excited by this?"

Windows won the 90s by capturing the developers to build on the platform. Apple and Google own that space now and all new applications are built towards those platforms. The Mobile device is the new platform. Developers won't come unless there is an audience. That's why it is important.

Anonymous said...

Windows media center is hopeless. I did develop app for a few content websites and then I realized that I will need to develop an app for every content provider that my family visits regularly. And there are many.

The funny part is that we never used to watch online content before WMC. Once we got used to that, I dumped WMC and got a wireless mouse and we have been happy ever since then.

WMC will not go anywhere unless someone comes up with WMC compatible site layout which will convert any site content WMC compatible without a need to write special code.

Anonymous said...

"One final thought on competition, giving employees your device is fine, but what are you doing to understand the competition? If I were Andy Lees, I would force every one of my PM's to use an iPhone. How else would they know what they are shooting for?"

Um, what phone do you think his PMs (and devs, and testers) are using? You can bet it's not WM6.5.

iPhone and Droid phones are pretty much all you see in E&D land.

Also note that this "market reasearch" thinking can be counter-productive. It often leads to "me-too" products rather than ground breaking innovative ones.

Yes, we need to understand what our competitors are doing, but too often we set up our sucessful competitors as the benchmark and just focus on building parity with their current offerings. By the time we're ready to ship, they release their next model with innovations that leave us in the dust.

Too much safe tail-light chasing, not enough innovative risk taking is becoming a hallmark of Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

WMC has gone from being cool and innovative to the biggest POS in an otherwise great WIN7 release. Add to that how problematic Xbox 360 extenders have become with WIN7 and someone should be fired for releasing the experience to the public. To this day WMC Extender can't properly access mapped shared drives, provide a smooth UX without lag (even over fat wired connections) and the combination of XBOX and Windows making assinine decisions like not making Internet TV fully available on the Extender vs. just on the host PC or not having consistent codec support in the Extender vs. Xbox's native media controls

Another great example of how Apple will have to come from behind and bitchslap MSFT with a future version of Apple TV to get MSFT to fix this mess and innovate again

Mikhail said...

I just posted the link to the recording of today's Linked:Seattle radio program about Microsoft.

Listen to ex-Microsoft employees discuss how the company is addressing the challenges and opportunities before it today, and what lies in store. Is Microsoft headed to genteel decline, or is it about to embark on a new era of growth and technological development?

http://bit.ly/cT2PxO

Anonymous said...

"The WMC stuff is silly. It became xbox! There's your WMC, your third screen, your living room beachhead! They won't sell a discless xbox with a tv tuner for who knows what reason, otherwise it would be even more obvious.

Probably because with their 1000s of employees, MS still has to outsource design (which they did for the 360).

WMC should be on dedicated hardware, with a remote. Otherwise, it's confusing, laggy and contentless on a Windows PC. Hulu and Netflix in a browser is a better experience. And that's why appletv, boxee, roku, and cable set-top boxes are more popular. And that's why Windows is just the bottom part of the browser stack to me."

Confusing? My 6 year old daughter knows how to record and view content in Media Center. Laggy? Sounds like you need better hardware (or need to upgrade to Windows 7 Media Center). And you fail to mention that none of the highly-touted solutions you list (barring cable set-top boxes) allow you to record content - only view from a limited selection of streaming archives. Also, the cable set-top box is foisted upon the public by cable companies who have no real vested interest in embracing competing technologies like CableCard.

As a long-time user (since Freestyle) of Media Center, I'll stick with my very reliable and easy-to-use Win7 CableCard HTPC system, thanks.

And no, I'm not now, nor have I ever been a member of the eHome team.

Anonymous said...

"My point is as stated: it is ironic that Microsoft, historically a purveyor of user-friendly software, has in WMC a product whose shortcoming mirrors that often ascribed to its less-fancied open source bete noir."

Sorry, but when was Microsoft ever a purveyor of user-friendly software? ;-)

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit confused about these comments - we have record revenue, Windows 7 rocks, Windows Phone 7 appears impressive, Bing is gaining share, Office sales are up, and we're *not* just sitting on our laurels planning on building another upgrade cycle of the same old client software and apps.

I understand frustration for the great suxorzness of 2005-2009 but I have to say I'm proud of the fact that we've been able to turn around and produce some exceptionally high quality products and customers are responding, and the fact that we are working to adapt as the nature of our business changes. Compared to companies like General Motors, we pivoted pretty fast and worked hard to address our problems. Sure there are still plenty of problems but let's be fair.

Sure the stock price hasn't grown for quite a while but our business has. Stock valuation is as much voodoo and hype as actual analysis and we just don't have the same buzz that newer companies (or recently rejuvinated companies) in their initial upswing will have. But eventually they'll peak too. If you compare us to Google for the past 3 years, our movement has almost been the same. Apple is still riding the iPodiPhoneiPad wave but it won't last forever.

What MSFT needs to do to fix the stock price is win. We're winning again on Windows, we need to make a dent on phones, take a leadership position in hosted services and the financial stuff will take care of itself.

Anonymous said...

...Windows 7 sales are strong, so you'll be rewarded with a 3% cost of living adjustment next year...




I've seen the numbers. Its more like 1.5%

Anonymous said...

KIM = Keep It Moving

Anonymous said...

"You think Windows Media Center is a "crown jewel"? You're crazy."

To Anonymous @Thursday, July 22, 2010 10:30:00 PM: I have to defend Mini-Microsoft here. As a non MS geek I remember how well WMC worked on the PC I purchased, how considerately it was engineered. All right, the small touches that I appreciated went unremarked in the buzz of the time, but it is clear that the engineering team behind WMC was bypassed in favor of some other product team.

When Windows Media Center, a good product from Microsoft is unremarked by the media, in favor of a POS (fill your sore spot here) that is pushed aggressively to the media, then someone at MS is dropping the ball.

And to the rest of the sincere posters here, remember that it is possible to make a living in your field, outside MSFT. Speaking for myself, I made enough $$ on my own to have retired from the geek field some years ago, on my own terms. For me, Life is Good(R); the rest of you need not live in fear. Life can be good, if you open your eyes.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous @Friday, July 23, 2010 1:55:00 AM Total OPEX actually increased YOY, but at a much smaller rate than the revenue gain. That plus normal leverage off a fairly high fixed cost base explains the income result. can be translated into English as

Total operating expense actually increased year over year, but Windows 7 and Office had enough revenue gain to offset the fairly high fixed cost of developers etc.

Anonymous said...

"The WMC stuff is silly. It became xbox! There's your WMC, your third screen, your living room beachhead!

I'm sorry, both suck. Too complex, too slow to nagivate, and too damn noisy.

Having a large collection of music with some 11000-plus tracks, the navigation is horrifically slow on xbox and almost tolerable on Windows7. Having to run XBox in my family room to listen to music is crap due to the white noise of the fans and the heat the Xbox generates. For a "home theater" or family room component, it needs to be quiet and not have the heat generation of a solar event.

Anonymous said...

>>This would clear the many obstacles that stand between the lab and product concept and products. There would be a bloodbath of middle managers – starting with 300 to 500 staff at senior VP, VP or director level. This he calls a GRO program, or Get-Rid-Of.

When you get to a point where any good engineering happens *in spite* of poor leadership (as opposed to due in part to good leadership), that's the turning point.

Pretty much everyone I work with is incredibly busy trying to keep to ludicrous product promises made in the managerial stratosphere. We're all capable of , much, much more sophistication, but never given the opportunity to actually do so. Ironically, this same lack of sophistication is used as a stick to beat engineers with at review time.

Any attempt to improve process (which almost always means getting off the treadmill for at least a short while) is met with suspicion and accusations of "negativity"... is someone going to have to "unpromise" a deliverable to their VP? Now and again, these folks do get caught out, but there is never any consequence (apart from a ritual reorg).

So in short, our ability isn't hampered by lack of raw engineering talent. Its hampered by a layer of senior managers that need to promise ever-more ludicrous deliverables to keep themselves in the style to which they've become accustomed.

And in so doing, we needlessly squander billions of dollars -- due to abysmal execution of something that was probably ill-advised in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Let's say we sell 50 million phones the first year (which would be amazing, I think) that only puts about $500 million our pockets, since we only charge around $11 per license.

Why is everyone so excited by this?


Platform silly. Always the platform.

Anonymous said...

>>But I refuse to be a victim. I want to be a part of the solution.
>>I believe in Microsoft.

Love your passion, kiddo. And you might actually help move the needle just a bit.

Just watch your neck, though. You can get the layoff-sword decending anytime. Have seen it happen to enough passionate, hardworking, 20% types, who have made a difference within MSFT. After which these folks realize there's actually more to life. So, just make sure you have a plan B, while you're investing your life in MSFT.

Things to consider for plan B? Just how marketable are your skills? Are you too locked into MSFT technologies? Such as the PC platform, .NET? How are you ensuring that you're continuing to grow your skills? Might be good to do interviews with companies outside MSFT just to see where you stand in the outside world. Build a network of people within and outside MSFT.

Anonymous said...

>>I keep seeing enthusiasm over the rollout of Windows Phone 7, pointing out good early reviews of our beta.

But ... can anyone show me how this will have any impact on our bottom line?<<

Pretty sure someone is/was asking the same question at Google surely?

Anonymous said...

"Here are the priorities of a sucesful MS employee:
1.) Me
2.) My career
3.) My manager
4.) His/her manager.
5.) His here/ manager's manager.
6.) My peers - those who can say good or bad things about me.
7.) My team, IC's, or others in the group that can't have as much impact on #1,2,# & #4.
.........
#n.) Customer."

This is very true. We were told "Customers are second" by the GM/Partner of a n# Billion Dollar product. Partner is still around despite taking months to find new role after new role and no longer being over a n#Billion dollar product, though working in a group where there he had no prior experience. If I mentioned the product, many would know him. Steve and Bill know him, but allow him to hang around at what cost to the Company, and good employees, Lisa?

Anonymous said...

Bingmaps for instance, is just AWESOME!

GO BING!


I bike when possible. Can you show me bike route from Kenmore to Redmond using Bing maps? Or do need to power up your photocopier?

Anonymous said...

The interface for WMC is slow and confusing. If you press a button on your remote, WMC requires 2-4 seconds (on a fast computer) to even start to do anything. You just sit there wondering if it received the button press at all. Shoddy coding and very bad user experience. And the user interface is unintuitive. It's hard to jump between different sections of UI on the screen (left, bottom, etc.). Why not use flat lists like TiVo?

I don't mean the user interface LOOKS bad... the color scheme, transitions, sounds, etc. are all quite nice. But form should follow function.

Anonymous said...

My careful. It only takes working for one weak manager to destroy a good career around here. I've seen a lot of good performers go from A list to Sh-- list pretty much over-night.

Lately, it seems like everyone is looking to throw everyone else under the bus.

Anonymous said...

Looks like OSD lost around 700M again and E&D which showed some profit last Quarter is back to losing money, this time 250m. That's almost close to 1B from the two divisions.

Worst thing is I don't see a roadmap as to how they are going to start making money...throwing more money at them is only increasing the losses as the increases in revenue are being badly offset.

Anonymous said...

Ok review trolls, why is it that *your* perception is fact, but your manager's perception is to be flippantly dismissed? I know there are all sorts of managers out there, reasonable and otherwise, but this sounds like a bitter and arrogant generalization.

Because any review based on the premise that 10% of all employees must be labeled a failure each and every review cycle is inherently flawed. Why is that so hard to comprehend?

Anonymous said...

"Ok review trolls, why is it that *your* perception is fact, but your manager's perception is to be flippantly dismissed? I know there are all sorts of managers out there, reasonable and otherwise, but this sounds like a bitter and arrogant generalization."

Obviously you haven't been in the industry for very long; those who have understand well that the problem with the average manager is that they're below average. This is the same in all large companies, to a greater or lesser extent. Microsoft is a classic example - its management ranks are overflowing with machiavellian mediocrities. If you can't perceive that by observation, you should be able to work it out by deduction: what do you think is the quality of management in an organisation that actually releases a product like the Kin?

So the posts here are not from bitterness or arrogance; they are simply statements of fact, and the generalisations are made simply because they are generally true.

As for "trolls", just read the posts: some are articulate and well-reasoned, whereas others are full of exclamation marks and sunshine. It's not really hard to figure out who is telling the truth.

Anonymous said...

In the midst of record profits, Microsoft may one day come to regret Lisa B jerking their employees off the last few years with the towel and review games once the economy turns around.

I've got the extra tall crystal and I've never seen things this bad at the company. Employees aren't just confused or frusterated, many are really upset with the management direction.

I forsee brain drain and an exodous of veteran specialized talent across all levels and disciplines that might not be as easy to replace as they think.

Anonymous said...

Longtime lurker here...

As someone (1) in MCB working on WP7 and (2) who was just at MGX this week ,a few observations.

1. W/r/t phone give away: you have no idea how hard this was to get. everything we are doing right now is about driving up apps & games in Wp7 Marketplace at launch. We have some of the best developers here; we are hoping to demonstrate why they should be excited about the app plat opportunity in WP7.

2. MGX. Now, i tend to be pretty middle of the road; i love Microsoft but HATE when we do stupid things. I have historically HATED Ballmer's blind booster-ism at MGX and company meeting.

That Ballmer was not at MGX this year. This was a radically new Balmer.

In addition to actually, believably breaking down on receiving a 30 year award, he invited a new-ish MS UK person to interview him on stage, no holds barred, and she grilled him. Right out of the gate: "tell us what happened with KIN?" Balmer was humble and admitted mistakes, and detailed mistakes and learnings. This is completely unprecedented in my experience.

Next,in his general discussion, (after providing his obligatory boosterism), he back peddled and gave a few minute talk on the fact that 'our competition is very good, and very tough,' and we have to be realistic and understand that WP7 gets us back in the game, but make no mistakes, we have a multi year journey ahead of us, to get back to being not only relevant, but into a thought leadership position.

we may not pull any switchers from iphone; but the smart phone adoption curve and financial models they incessantly quote indicate we don't need to, given how many new people globally are moving to what used to be called 'smartphones'. what we do need to do is get in every relevant market ASAP.

Anonymous said...

The 10% deal is a miserable system from people's perspective. Just cut and fire, and lay off this internal hate exercise... It's a cold, legal exercise, nothing humane about it, might as well change the title HR to Resources only.... When cattle gets butchered it's quick, when people get sacrificed it's slow and agonizing, putting a huge strain on a person's home and work life..

Anonymous said...

Really? Any objective person would take a deep breath and read these disgruntled comments and look around to see if they ring with any truth. If they are from ex-employees, then why did they leave? Logic dictates that not everyone leaves because they fell in love with iPhone one day. Or got fired for drinking too many of the free soda pops. In any large company there are going to be serious cultural rot somewhere. And you are blind, or choose to be blind, if you don't see the turf wars and ego driven management that are spoken of here so often.


Many of the ex-employees in this forum were riffed in the last few rounds and are angry and extremely biased. Most people spewing venom do not care about the company - they do it because they are generally pissed at MS and at themselves.

Moreover, they seem to specialize in one-dimensional comments: How can $500M from Windows Phone 7 be a big deal? Try adding Bing searches, small but growing mobile advertising, a rich array of applications, tempering of Google and Apple momentum.. the list goes on. It is not the fact that a $200 phone made the employees ecstatic - it is the fact that for the first time, MS had the confidence in its own product to do it so openly.

You really think we are not aware of Apple's revenues going through the roof? While you guys are fixated on Apple and Google, there is Oracle, there is salesforce.com, and there is VMware, and Facebook and more. We have competition in pretty much everything we do and some are definitely doing much better than we have been.

But guess what – this kick in our behinds is what will propel us further. On the consumer side, Win Phone 7 is very competitive – and for those who think the battle is lost, there are < 200M smart phones out of a total of 5 billion mobile phones. The battle has just begun! IE8 has finally turned around and gained share in April & June; IE9 is really cool to use.. BING has a long way to go but if my daughter and her friends switched to it, it must have done something right. Hotmail (370M unique users versus 260M for Yahoo Mail and 160M for Gmail) has a new version coming out soon.

For every one of you venom spewing trolls, there are hundreds who are productive and happy at Microsoft and no - it may be shocking to you so called wise folks, but we do not have our heads stuck in sand.

For a company whose products are used by over 1 billion people around the world... a company that actually did bring a computer into your home... a company that followed the debacle of Vista with Windows 7 that sells 7 copies per second... you guys sound pathetic and pitiful.

I suggest you folks go into therapy.. do Yoga or something and let us fix the issues that we face in a constructive manner. It will only help the value of the stock that you hold in Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

" Here is how you really advance at Microsoft: Spend less time coding and doing real work. Learn to play the corporate ladder game. Learn your org chart - and spend most of your time kissing peer butt, preparing effective e-mails, and most of all getting good at manipulating your leads and fitting in with the good old boys. Remember, it's not really what you do, it's all about how they FEEL about what you do. It’s perception, not reality. If you are lucky maybe you can ride someone's coat tails to the top.
"
I can't say it any better and can't agree with it any more. I would be surprised if Microsoft still exists in 20 years and still has the same impact as today. People will say:"Remember that company Micro..." It is just sad to see a great company die slowly and surely. It will take a miracle to see the revival of MS. I can't say it will never happen because Apple did it, but I haven't seen any sign of it. If I am a trader, I will short Microsoft stock from now on. It is in a declining and bearish trend. So long!


Spot on! Leave while you are still valuable to other company and not while you are not unvaluable in MS and then look for companies who will value you to maintain your own credentials. It may be too late if you wait till you are in the A/10 or U/10. Do not let MS destruct you. Do not forget, age is also a factor to consider. Hence do not wait if you are smart enough. Market s picking up!

Anonymous said...

I have been in MSFT for 6 years now, I love it, and most of the people I know love it too, field and corp. We have our fair share of challenges and mistakes but also we have another fair share of very positive things. Too bad this place is full of trolls and disgruntled employees or ex-employees

I love this company and I want to make the world a better place.



Not trying to be cynical, give yourself another 3 years and then tell us that. you'll get your day.

Anonymous said...

Now, I think WP7 may have a chance.

I have fate in MS developers, we always invent stuff to make our life easier. If all of us get a WP7,I guess if 1% of them end up writing app, WP7 will have lot of useful apps.

Anonymous said...

Ok review trolls, why is it that *your* perception is fact, but your manager's perception is to be flippantly dismissed? I know there are all sorts of managers out there, reasonable and otherwise, but this sounds like a bitter and arrogant generalization. Come on now, the model's barely locked. Can't we wait until late August for these comments?


Sounds like something Dan Quayle would say.

"The future will be better tomorrow." -- Dan Quayle


It's the same review system every year.

Trying to dismiss the opinion that the review system is flawed as coming from "bitter and arrogant" "review trolls" sounds "arrogant" on your part.

What makes you the person who should decide what we talk about and when?

Anonymous said...

"One final thought on competition, giving employees your device is fine, but what are you doing to understand the competition? If I were Andy Lees, I would force every one of my PM's to use an iPhone. How else would they know what they are shooting for?"

Andy Lees doesn't want you to understand the competition.

That is not why he is giving employees the WP7.

He just wants the average "worker bees" to write apps for WP7 in their spare time for free to make him a success.

You're just a resource.

If he can convince you work for free, that just makes him a better executive.

He and the "top 20%" get more rewards. You get the warm and fuzzy feeling of "making a difference". Win. Win.

Anonymous said...

"Ok review trolls, why is it that *your* perception is fact, but your manager's perception is to be flippantly dismissed? I know there are all sorts of managers out there, reasonable and otherwise, but this sounds like a bitter and arrogant generalization. Come on now, the model's barely locked. Can't we wait until late August for these comments?"
>> Dude you are living in fool's paradise to believe that the model is barely locked. It is a done deal by now and if your manager is telling you otherwise then don't trust him. It is best for you to find another job.

Steve Ballmer said...

I guess THIS proves I am competent!

meni said...

Hi all,

1- I'm not an employee
2- Not an MBA or like that
3 - Just an open-standards fanboi

First let me comment, as i commented before on another post, that from the outside, not all is bleak about Microsoft. I envy your ecosystem around the 'bet the company' DotNet, which on some days look better the Java. (Then again on other days Java looks better especially the quantity and quality of the libraries).

Now some suggestions:
More and more people are into open standards. For example HTML5. It generates a lot, i mean a lot, of buzz. I realize that openness might conflict with your business model, as in "why would they buy our platform", but really i think you should, as you do with IE9, follow and contribute to open patent-free standards. I feel that now is a very special time regarding standards.

As a small example of the inevitability of standards, take all those proprietary LAN protocols of the 90's. IPX, lan manager, and more. They all fell before the open TCP/IP and thank God for that.

Don't push Silverlight as a solve-all solution to your partners. They'll hate you for this later. Silverlight might have it's place, but i find it's territory diminishing.

Apple is also a closed kind of company, BUT they contributed a lot to HTML5!


I realize one might argue "Only the underdogs route (sp?) for standards, to level the playing ground", but the benefit of standards to humanity (yes) is enormous. Where would we be without ASCII :-)

Have a good day friends.
-meni

Anonymous said...

I suggest you folks go into therapy.. do Yoga or something and let us fix the issues that we face in a constructive manner. It will only help the value of the stock that you hold in Microsoft.


Being critical of bad ideas and lackluster leadership is not the problem.

People working on crippled products and not saying anything because they fear being labeled a "venom spewing troll" and losing their job or chance for promotion is a problem.

Saying "positive" things about a piece of crap will not fix it.

Anonymous said...

Generally, I agree with your sentiment but...

Moreover, they seem to specialize in one-dimensional comments: How can $500M from Windows Phone 7 be a big deal? Try adding Bing searches, small but growing mobile advertising, a rich array of applications, tempering of Google and Apple momentum.. the list goes on. It is not the fact that a $200 phone made the employees ecstatic - it is the fact that for the first time, MS had the confidence in its own product to do it so openly.

I think the real concern here is that the $500M is optimisitic AND more importantly is it realistic to expect the OEM fees to stay the same when Droid currently offers a superior implemenation at ~$0. We've already thrown alot of money into this pit and to me it looks like Droid may push the potential returns to zero.

On the consumer side, Win Phone 7 is very competitive – and for those who think the battle is lost, there are < 200M smart phones out of a total of 5 billion mobile phones. The battle has just begun! IE8 has finally turned around and gained share in April & June; IE9 is really cool to use.. BING has a long way to go but if my daughter and her friends switched to it, it must have done something right. Hotmail (370M unique users versus 260M for Yahoo Mail and 160M for Gmail) has a new version coming out soon.

Okay I agree there are signs of optimism. Win7 for example. But IE9, Hotmail, and Bing are problematic. None of these contribute sigificantly to the bottom line. But so what? I'm mature enough to know we need to "spend money to make money." What really bothers me is that the innovation in each of those products was driven from outside MS and I came *here* to change the world. I've heard it said that we're supposed to be fast-followers and not true innovators, but lately I feel that is really an excuse for a slow-moving behemoth who likes to wait and snatch up ideas once they've been proven by nimbler competitors.

For a company whose products are used by over 1 billion people around the world... a company that actually did bring a computer into your home... a company that followed the debacle of Vista with Windows 7 that sells 7 copies per second... you guys sound pathetic and pitiful.

You sound like my partner-level GM. He started working here 4 years ago yet now takes all manner of credit for the success of Win7. For a tech company we are now relatively old, and our progenitors had fantastic success which has given us a bountiful monopoly. Where would this company's current leaders be without that dowery? As a thought exercise remove Win7 and Office from our revenue stream and calculate how much money the company loses per second. Part two of that exercise: How many nimbler, more innovative, productive startups could have been funded from that money?

While I do agree with your general sentiment, just a warning: don't drink the kool-aid too much. I made that mistake and it took me reaching all the way up to principal before I looked around and realized that there is much truth amdist the trollishness.

Anonymous said...

@So the posts here are not from bitterness or arrogance; they are simply statements of fact, and the generalisations are made simply because they are generally true.

tough to accept the reality...especially by Microsoft as they think they are the best.
Of course Microsoft really contributed well to the universe but there are lots of internal issues.

whenever we read some comments which talks about issues within microsoft...we always try to prove that it is from U/10.

This is really SAD. There is nothing wrong considering criticism and working on it.

Anonymous said...

@Steve Ballmer said...
I guess THIS proves I am competent!


pls check this -

AAPL - Market Capital@Today - 237.45B
MSFT - Market Capital@Today - 226.19B

Anonymous said...

I suggest you folks go into therapy.. do Yoga or something and let us fix the issues that we face in a constructive manner. It will only help the value of the stock that you hold in Microsoft.

Are you one of the E/20's who gave us... Live?, Vista that had to be "rebooted" and still came out Vista?, Kin?, the XBOX rrod?, Windows Phone 7 that had to be "rebooted" and still isn't released?, the unbelievably bad Seinfeld ad campaign?, 10 years of no stock growth and a relatively meager dividend?

You think that it's a bunch of bitter 10%'s who are griping here but there are a lot stockholders and former employees who left on good terms that are upset with how the company's poor management practices have squandered the company's good name.

Anonymous said...

The cost of living and taxes are so high around here, I feel like my salary is worthless. It's like give me a break - unskilled King County Metro Bus drivers make 75K today. I know software engineers that made more that this in 1988.

I am seeing opportunities through-out the country at a comparable or often better pay rate. The big difference is you can buy a nice house for half the price. No traffic mess. All equals higher quality of life, and you can't put a price on that.

Plus, getting the satisfaction of not contributing to the era of big dehumanizing corporate machines that will work you to death in your 20's/30's and fire you when you go bald... priceless.

Anonymous said...

On Microsoft's flat stock price-

Microsoft is not a growth company at this point. It is a blue chip stock and at $25, 40, even $60 per share is going to be priced accordingly to reflect this fact.

Wall Street and MS executives with a lot of stock or options on the stock don't make their huge piles of cash without big market swings one way or the other.

I'll sum it up in on line: There is pressure from some already very rich people to have the company make even riskier moves for their own individual benefit.

The people on the bottom like the rank and file employees here; maybe you'll take home some extra peanutes if everything pans out but know that you have the most to lose if it doesn't. Their is no human factor - you are just numbers on a balance sheet to these people.

Anonymous said...

"On the consumer side, Win Phone 7 is very competitive [...]

I suggest you folks go into therapy.. do Yoga or something and let us fix the issues that we face in a constructive manner. It will only help the value of the stock that you hold in Microsoft."

Good luck with WP7, and in fixing the many other issues you have. For my part, I've invested in Google and Apple (with rather nice returns, thank you) and have asked my financial adviser to make sure that I have only a trivial position in MSFT. But, you know, good luck.

Anonymous said...

"we may not pull any switchers from iphone; but the smart phone adoption curve and financial models they incessantly quote indicate we don't need to, given how many new people globally are moving to what used to be called 'smartphones'. what we do need to do is get in every relevant market ASAP."

I fear that this may be our deadly strategy, to think that all we have to do is get into every relevant market ASAP instead of doing a great job in a few markets.

In the last decade or so, we've gotten into lots and lots of ancillary businesses in which, frankly, we had no business. You all know the list. You all know the results.

I would like to say that we should just get out of the businesses in which we've clearly lost: search, phones, tablets, mobile advertising, etc. Sadly, these are the growth businesses, so we probably can't just give them up and milk our cash cows, even though those cows are still the vast majority of our business.

What we need, I think, is a visionary who can get us into new businesses that no one else has seen yet. I wonder who that will be?

Anonymous said...

"Steve has failed at a number of things over the years but I bet our stock price never kept him awake at night."

That would make an excellent evaluation for Mr. Ballmer during his tenure as CEO. I hope the Board of Directors read that.

Anonymous said...

>>Lately, it seems like everyone is looking to throw everyone else under the bus.

The review system encourages this. There is no value in taking responsibility when there was no accountability to begin with. And Microsoft is so matrixed, there is always an excuse.

Jon H said...

"He just wants the average "worker bees" to write apps for WP7 in their spare time for free to make him a success."

I wonder how that'll work in reviews. Will some managers be all "spent a lot of time working on phone app nonsense. clearly not dedicated to this team"

Anonymous said...

Every time I hear KevinT, SteveB, or any ohter senior executive say that "our employees are our most valuable asset" I want to puke. You don't flush your "most valuable asset" into the streets on a regular basis, especially when you are pissing off billions of dollars on things like Kin, not to mention the millions we are paying buffoons like KT. Geez. Just typing this makes me sick.

Anonymous said...

So, setting aside all the "Rah, rah, Microsoft! Rah, rah, WP7! We've got the greatest developers" cheerleading, I have a genuine question:

What exactly is the incentive that would convince a handset vendor or mobile carrier to adopty WP7? Seriously. Google is paying carriers to use Android. MSFT is trying to use the same per-unit licensing model that worked on the PC. Let's say that again: Using WP7 is an expense, while using Android is another source of revenue.

Why would a handset maker do that?

In the good old days of the desktop, the answer always was "because it allows the OEM/IHV to take advantage of being associated with the MSFT brand." But given MSFT's long history of failure in the mobile space (not to mention the recent Kin fiasco), why would a handset manufacturer pay to be associated with MSFT?

Does anyone really believe there's going to be some kind of groundswell grassroots demand from smartphone users for a WP7 phone? Is that what's supposed to convince vendors to use the MSFT OS? People are going to run into T-Mobile or Verizon stores and refuse to buy phones that don't have WP7 on them? Really...? C'mon, I mean really...?

The high-end phone space is owned by Apple. The cheap-but-good space (equivalent to the IBM PC territory of the 80s and 90s) already belongs to Android. What exactly is the value proposition for handset vendors and mobile carriers that's going to get them to push WP7?

Again, this is a real question.

Anonymous said...

>>What exactly is the value proposition for handset vendors and mobile carriers that's going to get them to push WP7?

The developers, carriers, and OEMs don't want a one or two horse race. Having a single supplier (Microsoft for Windows, Intel for CPUs) didn't play out very well for anyone except Intel or Microsoft. You bet Oems & Carriers will take Microsoft's money, ride their advertising, and use their retail store space and let them get 15 to 20% of the market. Microsoft has already announced they are going to buy this market and they, more than anyone else, have the pockets to do this. I'll stand in line and get some. If it works out, great. If it doesn't, no matter, it was Microsoft's dime.

HTC has announced they will support Windows Phone 7 but will still include their brand and HTC Sense, their UI, in it - so they aren't letting their brand fall by the wayside. The joint advertising Microsoft will do with HTC is worth the cost of the license.

Microsoft is a bitch with money. Ride her

Anonymous said...

I have historically HATED Ballmer's blind booster-ism at MGX and company meeting.

That Ballmer was not at MGX this year. This was a radically new Balmer.

In addition to actually, believably breaking down on receiving a 30 year award, he invited a new-ish MS UK person to interview him on stage, no holds barred, and she grilled him. Right out of the gate: "tell us what happened with KIN?" Balmer was humble and admitted mistakes, and detailed mistakes and learnings. This is completely unprecedented in my experience.



The radically new Ballmer sounds the same as the old Ballmer with the part about the "multi-year journey".

He couldn't copy the iPhone 4 or a Japanese smart phone instead of the older iPhone model?

If anything, the engineering talent available at Microsoft is underutilized and wasted.

If he couldn't find a team at Microsoft to write a multi-tasking OS to compete with the iPhone 4, he wasn't really looking.

If the people who could have done it weren't labeled "average" so he could save money, they might have volunteered.

Where did Steve come up with the magic "top 20%" number? GE? Why not "top 21%"?

Radically new Ballmer is just as disappointing as old Ballmer.


Why Japan’s Cellphones Haven’t Gone Global

TOKYO — At first glance, Japanese cellphones are a gadget lover’s dream: ready for Internet and e-mail, they double as credit cards, boarding passes and even body-fat calculators.

But it is hard to find anyone in Chicago or London using a Japanese phone like a Panasonic, a Sharp or an NEC. Despite years of dabbling in overseas markets, Japan’s handset makers have little presence beyond the country’s shores.

“Japan is years ahead in any innovation. But it hasn’t been able to get business out of it,” said Gerhard Fasol, president of the Tokyo-based IT consulting firm, Eurotechnology Japan.

The Japanese have a name for their problem: Galápagos syndrome.

Anonymous said...

"My point is as stated: it is ironic that Microsoft, historically a purveyor of user-friendly software, has in WMC a product whose shortcoming mirrors that often ascribed to its less-fancied open source bete noir."

Sorry, but when was Microsoft ever a purveyor of user-friendly software? ;-)

Touche! Perhaps the more correct phrasing would have been "[...] purportedly a purveyor of user-friendly software [...]".

If I were a Microsoftie I'd blame the slip up on the Kool-Aid fumes...

Anonymous said...

http://seekingalpha.com/article/216361-superior-management-manifested-in-value-creationgood-bye-mr-ballmer?source=yahoo

Anonymous said...

Does anyone really believe there's going to be some kind of groundswell grassroots demand from smartphone users for a WP7 phone? Is that what's supposed to convince vendors to use the MSFT OS?

What there will be is a grassroots demand from enterprise IT managers who want the control (TM) that Microsoft lets them have over handsets, if WP7 has the same kinds of control features Windows Mobile did/does.

Microsoft's strategy may be, we don't have to sell millions of consumers, just a few thousand enterprise accounts. You remember this strategy. Think 1980's IBM mainframe market, while departments were bringing in Apple computers with Visicalc precisely because that lack of overlord control let them get things done faster. That strategy may work for another iteration or two by Microsoft. I would be surprised if it still worked a dozen years from now, though. IT managers will eventually do the same calculations that they did in the mainframe days and conclude that they can no longer "business justify" less "user friendly", more time intensive to use technology just because it offers managerial control that other technologies don't.

Anonymous said...

>Itsy-bitsy-layoff-committees: targeted small layoffs to kick of FY11 team budgets.

Why is it that MSR seems to get a free pass on layoffs? On last check, the org was >1k people whose primary accountability is still to publish papers rather than technology transfer to teams which could benefit from their expertise.

Why not at a minimum evaluate them on tech transfer to make sure that there is sufficient ROI from MSR?

Anonymous said...

"The cost of living and taxes are so high around here, I feel like my salary is worthless. It's like give me a break - unskilled King County Metro Bus drivers make 75K today. I know software engineers that made more that this in 1988. [...]"

In a nutshell, this is at the root of a lot of frustration at the company. I've been working for 10y at MSFT and I am asking myself why I have no personal life and still can't afford a nice house. All that keeps me going really is how much I already have invested in blood sweat and tears.

Anonymous said...

Interesting developments from the earning release: "Microsoft offers updated operating expense guidance of $26.9 billion to $27.3 billion for the full year ending June 30, 2011."
So that's a 30% cut. Seems like further layoffs are inevitable. Is this the year we see Microsoft get to the 75K headcount the execs are apparently targeting (excluding vendors of course). Further insights anyone?

Anonymous said...

>>I forsee brain drain and an exodous of veteran specialized talent across all levels and disciplines that might not be as easy to replace as they think.

While I totally agree, I think the likelihood of any of the SLT "regretting" anyone leaving is practically zero.

Given that the level of technical depth of our buisness leaders is apparently at an all time low, I doubt they'll notice until it becomes almost impossible to execute and recruit. By which time the Tuscan villa will have been made ready anyway.

The problem is simple. We have no visible technical visionaries. All we have is business people. We need both.

Anonymous said...

"What exactly is the value proposition for handset vendors and mobile carriers that's going to get them to push WP7?"

Looking at the recently announced WP7 launch partner line up, maybe you can ask this question from Samsung, HTC, Dell, Asus, Sony Ericson, Toshiba and LG.

Anonymous said...

>>What exactly is the incentive that would convince a handset vendor or mobile carrier to adopty WP7? <<

Thats a pretty dumb question considering hardrware partners have already been announced.

You should be asking that question to Samsung, HTC, Asus and others.

Anonymous said...

"Or do need to power up your photocopier?" RE Bing - Bike routes!

You don't get it! Bing SDK, Photosynth are all there to do a better job, an AWESOME job. It is underrated, and under-used.

Of course, Bing is starting, and it is starting strong. Should be embraced not treated w/ disbelief and w/ excessive expectation. Bing need support specially from the Microsoft community. That was what I was comenting.

Bingmaps apps are amazing. Only a fool would not see that google is paying attention and responding to it.

GO BING!

I repeat:

GO BING!

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that Bing/Yahoo partnership will start to pay out in the next month. Bing iPhone app was a success. Bing on WP7, Bing even on droid. I love this group. Bing is new, is open minded and it is delivering new stuff in a impressive rate. new apps, new services. amazing!

go bing!

btw, could you guys imagined what would look like bingmaps on Kinect!?

AMAZING!

GO BING!

Anonymous said...

What exactly is the incentive that would convince a handset vendor or mobile carrier to adopt WP7?

Customers might ask for it. My list of WP7 features which give it a chance of survival:

1. .NET. There's a lot of corporate code written in .NET which will easily transition to WP7.

2. Office.

3. Security. Don't laugh. By moving all app development to .NET, and implementing a high fence around the sandbox, I'm guessing that WP7 will be the most secure phone which runs installable applications. Once iPhone Conficker arrives, this will become important.

4. Automatic cloud synchronization with PC, XBox, and autobackup.

Anonymous said...

E&D had a loss for the quarter presumably because of the Kin write-off. Profit for the year is still up significantly over FY09.

====
Interesting developments from the earning release: "Microsoft offers updated operating expense guidance of $26.9 billion to $27.3 billion for the full year ending June 30, 2011."
So that's a 30% cut.

====


What? Opex was 26.99 billion in FY10. The guidance is basically flat.

Anonymous said...

HTC Sense is not coming to WP7. Read the original quote, not Engadget's mangled one.

http://www.mobiletechworld.com/2010/07/25/htc-sense-as-we-know-it-is-not-coming-to-windows-phone-7

Anonymous said...

I would not be surprised if Ballmer stays as CEO for at least 14-15 more years.

And MSFT trading at 26.75 in 15 years.

Anonymous said...

Fine, I'll bite.

Me: "Ok review trolls, why is it that *your* perception is fact, but your manager's perception is to be flippantly dismissed? I know there are all sorts of managers out there, reasonable and otherwise, but this sounds like a bitter and arrogant generalization. Come on now, the model's barely locked. Can't we wait until late August for these comments?"

Someone: "Trying to dismiss the opinion that the review system is flawed as coming from "bitter and arrogant" "review trolls" sounds "arrogant" on your part.

What makes you the person who should decide what we talk about and when?"

I didn't say the review system was perfect. Sure, it's flawed. Incessant griping in general terms about being misunderstood on an anonymous blog is pretty flawed as well. It isn't helpful to yourself or others, and I have a better shot at helping here vs. changing the MSFT review system. (fat chance vs. slim chance?) It doesn't matter whether I dismiss these comments, they won't affect the quality of my manager or other managers at MSFT one way or the other. I say I've got a good one, you say I just don't understand. Ok, we're not going to agree. Seems it would be handy to batch this all up for the inevitable thread where people gripe about their numbers once they're revealed, since there's no substance here.

Someone else: "Dude you are living in fool's paradise to believe that the model is barely locked. It is a done deal by now and if your manager is telling you otherwise then don't trust him. It is best for you to find another job."

Groups lock models at different levels at different times. I've been watching in the model as the listed approver heads upward, so I know exactly when the model locked in my world, even if that's quite different from yours. But paradise sure does sound nice :-) I guess if I were to look around, you probably wouldn't hire someone as clueless as me?

Anonymous said...

Coming from someone who knows SteveB personally, there's no one else at the company who cares more about our long term success, and is more selfless about doing the right thing for Microsoft. He is truly a man of strong character. I'm proud to have him as our CEO.

Anonymous said...

Why not at a minimum evaluate them on tech transfer to make sure that there is sufficient ROI from MSR?

Developers get credit for work they do; not using somebody else's work.

Some of them are hostile when you suggest they use MSR technology calling it "buggy".

MSR publicizes what technology is available to the entire company but not what technology was transfered and is being used in shipping products.

Like everyone else, they only have to be "visible" to the people who decide whether they have a job or not.

Besides demonstrating new technology, MSR could demonstrate the technology that got transfered in the past year.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft's strategy may be, we don't have to sell millions of consumers, just a few thousand enterprise accounts

I can't see enterprises clamoring for WP7 given its features. On top of that, many enterprises are invested in WinMo 6.5 and there seems to be no path for moving 6.5 apps to WP7. So, good luck with that.

Anonymous said...

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


If the model is "barely locked" on what were managers and HR basing the most recent "layoffs". If these people were already 10% at mid-year why weren't they let go then? If the model is "barely locked", why are they now laying off people? Based on what, then?

Anonymous said...

Any idea what should be the last date I need to be here at MS to get my Bonus for the review.
I know Aug 31st is to get vesting stocks.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ Sunday, July 25, 2010 10:11:00 PM

If you've been here 10 years and you neither have a life nor can afford a house, what have you been doing? I've been at MSFT for 10 years as well. I've not gotten the best reviews (had a bit of a slump after a couple of years, but pulled out of it), but I was able to afford a nice house in a good neighborhood back in 2003. It's not Redmond around campus, but then I don't want to be that close to work anyway.

You failing to get in the real estate market at the right time isn't exactly Microsoft's fault.

L64EPG said...

to the guy that started at L64. I've been a L64 for 4 years in EPG. I make $141k plus about 50 - 60% every year (got E/70 and E/20 consistently). I have about $300k worth of stock (current value anyway). I also have about $150k in retirement

I did the math and considering the hours and my divorce, I would have been better sticking with my in between job at REI. At least I was happier.

Anonymous said...

"Thats a pretty dumb question considering hardware partners have already been announced."

That is not a dumb question at all. Just because WP7 has hardware launch partners does not mean it has hardware launch partners willing to pay anything significant to license the WP OS. Why would they? Microsoft has no market share and what it has is dropping. Its brand is a net negative in the space, even more so after the Kin debacle. Its only real asset is its checkbook and the handset makers would be fools not to insist that it use it.

If I am a handset maker I tell MS I am happy to make a Windows Phone so long as you make it worth it to me and that means heavy subsidies. Kind of like the search toolbar deals with the OEMs. Microsoft is so desperate in mobile it has no choice.

Windows Phone 7 may be a hit, but I say it would be a long shot at this point given the competitive headwinds. What I think it is a certainty though is that there is no way MS is making any money on WP7. Any profits, like the search game, are uncertain and down the road at best.

Anonymous said...

Which quarter does the expense of the Black Eyed Peas show up in the balance sheet? MGX is an amazing drain on the company's travel and entertainment budgets; yes, it's sales, so you need to brainwash peoeple more than the engineers in Safeco. But at what cost?

Anonymous said...

For every one of you venom spewing trolls, there are hundreds who are productive and happy at Microsoft

Of the happy hundreds, some will eventually get to experience the joy of a 10%. Someone always has to lose since we do not have as many valid 10%'ers as is needed each year to fill the required bucket.

Steve Ballmer said...

Microsoft is on top and shall remain on top! All who question my leadership are fools!

Anonymous said...

For every one of you venom spewing trolls, there are hundreds who are productive and happy at Microsoft

My response to that would be to ask how many 4.5-5.0's have you gotten over the decades? I'll make it easy and say that if it's more than one then we have something in common we can talk about.

...

Anonymous said...

"Coming from someone who knows SteveB personally, there's no one else at the company who cares more about our long term success, and is more selfless about doing the right thing for Microsoft. He is truly a man of strong character. I'm proud to have him as our CEO."

-> you must be either YusufM, HankV, JonDeVaan, LisaB, KTurner. You missed the point completely, he might be caring for the company, strong character, blady blah blah blah; BUT he does not have the talent nor the VISION to lead a technology company of the 21st century. He is no visionary. The only way he can get that is if he does a brain transplant from someone who does - these things can not be learnt, nor taught. Sorry he is better of cheer-leading the sales force with his monkey dance...

Anonymous said...

In a nutshell, this is at the root of a lot of frustration at the company. I've been working for 10y at MSFT and I am asking myself why I have no personal life and still can't afford a nice house.

The OP has an excellent point. Wages have been stagnating at the company for years. Stock options are all underwater or gone. The stock awards are worth holding at most 24 hours. Maybe living in a 700sq foot condo is some professional geeks dream, its not mine.

They want softies to work their butts off and scrub having a personal life- for what? So some principle/partner/exec can buy his 3rd house while if you are lucky you get a 3% cost of living increase?

No thanks.

Anonymous said...

"Coming from someone who knows SteveB personally, there's no one else at the company who cares more about our long term success, and is more selfless about doing the right thing for Microsoft. He is truly a man of strong character. I'm proud to have him as our CEO."

Steve, can you just give yourself and Lisa a U/10 and go away instead of wasting your time here?

Anonymous said...

Coming from someone who knows SteveB personally, there's no one else at the company who cares more about our long term success, and is more selfless about doing the right thing for Microsoft.

If he was really selfless about doing the right thing for MSFT, he would've resigned years ago. He knows that it is really the right thing to do. He was always the wrong guy for the job.

Anonymous said...

Coming from someone who knows SteveB personally, there's no one else at the company who cares more about our long term success, and is more selfless about doing the right thing for Microsoft. He is truly a man of strong character. I'm proud to have him as our CEO.

Yeah, he's a saint.

It's always fun when someone dead inside shows up. They say the funniest things.

Thanks for the laugh.

Anonymous said...

Just because WP7 has hardware launch partners does not mean it has hardware launch partners willing to pay anything significant to license the WP OS.

Doesn't it mean exactly that?

Anonymous said...

I didn't say the review system was perfect. Sure, it's flawed. Incessant griping in general terms about being misunderstood on an anonymous blog is pretty flawed as well. It isn't helpful to yourself or others, and I have a better shot at helping here vs. changing the MSFT review system. (fat chance vs. slim chance?) It doesn't matter whether I dismiss these comments, they won't affect the quality of my manager or other managers at MSFT one way or the other. I say I've got a good one, you say I just don't understand.

Lisa Brummel already tried a few relabeling exercises with the review system.

I'm sure she'll dust off her thesaurus again the next time she fixes the review system.

So, as you say, there is a slim chance the review system will be actually be fixed.

You say you have a good manager. Good for you.


You griping about people griping about the review system isn't going to change anything.


You've got a slim chance of people not talking about it because you think that's what is best.


What are your options?

Anonymous said...

Coming from someone who knows SteveB personally, there's no one else at the company who cares more about our long term success, and is more selfless about doing the right thing for Microsoft. He is truly a man of strong character. I'm proud to have him as our CEO.


President George W. Bush expressed the same confidence in FEMA director, Michael "Brownie" Brown.


Given all the self-serving things SteveB says, you or he might be confused about the definition of "selfless".


People thought Tiger Woods had "strong character". Unless you know everything about him, you might want to try some less ambitious hyperbole.


SteveB has been in the 10% bucket longer than anyone else.

skc said...

>>That is not a dumb question at all. Just because WP7 has hardware launch partners does not mean it has hardware launch partners willing to pay anything significant to license the WP OS. Why would they?<<

Umm maybe because WP7 is actually a decent phone OS? By the majority of reviews so far this isn't really in doubt any longer.

The one big handset maker that has come out and specifically shunned WP7 is HP, but they've just as vehemently shunned Android so it's not as simple as you make it sound.

I would imagine the other handset makers are playing a wait and see game which is wise considering MS's current failings in this market.

But personally I think HTC and Samsung especially are going to make a killing on WP7 phones and then we're likely to see the more cautious handset makers quickly scrambling to get something together.

Anonymous said...

He just wants the average "worker bees" to write apps for WP7 in their spare time for free to make him a success.

Although I understand your cynicism I think of this more as a way to get the WP7 market to have a lot of apps available as soon as the phone hits the market.

As for the "worker bees", this could be an opportunity for all the bees to create an app that might lead to a startup. Take the opportunity instead of complaining that a manager will also benefit. If you're writing apps on your own time the company should have no claims to it. Your name would be attached to the app, so you get the credit.

Microsoft will destroy the potential of this if they put restrictions up (i.e. MS owns the apps, you can't charge for it, you can't take it and start a company, etc.) We'll have to see the details.

Anonymous said...

Reading the comments, it sounds like once a 10% is on your record, there is no future to move into another organization, even if your prior record is stellar, and even after getting out of the 10%, Is there anybody posting on this blog that earned a 10% at one time in Microsoft (or knows somebody) and was was later hired by another group in Microsoft?

Anonymous said...

Coming from someone who knows SteveB personally, there's no one else at the company who cares more about our long term success, and is more selfless about doing the right thing for Microsoft. He is truly a man of strong character. I'm proud to have him as our CEO.

I don't know Steve personally, but I've heard similar assessements from people who do.

The false premise here is that Steve KNOWS what the right thing is. I don't believe he does a great deal of the time. Nor does he appear self-critical enough to realize this and correct it.

Management is making sure things are being done. Leadership is making sure the right things are being done.

Ballmer is a manager, not a leader. At least when it comes to Microsoft. If he headed up a sales org, it would probably be a different story (and the stock might actually have some positive trajectory).

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that the criticisms leveled at MS upper management and its failed products (Kin, Live! etc) plus poor stock prices and poor morale at the lower levels, are almost identical to the criticisms leveled at Ebay's upper management by sellers on the community boards. You have the failed but extremely expensive projects that should never have been taken on (Skype, etc), The only thing Ebay lacks is Microsoft-style "reviews", but they make up for that in coded nonsense, that permits buyers to leave 'honest' negative feedback while leaving sellers without a defense, and the stupid DSR system, where buyers can 'ding' a seller's performance star for any or no reason, and destroy their business....all in the name of a "better buying experience".

It must be something about super-big and super-rich corporations, that their upper management is so out of touch with "ordinary people" that they jump feet-first into lots of Wonderful! Fabulous! Come on everybody, this will be GREAT!" projects, while crushing the enthusiasm, the creativity, and the very soul from the people who do the vital groundwork.

I don't know what's to be done about it, but the parallels would probably make somebody a good Doctoral thesis.

Anonymous said...

Look at Kevin Turner's insightful comment about Wmware - even the guy mowing my lawn could have said something showing more ownership and leadership.


From: Kevin Turner
Sent: Monday, July 26, 2010
To: Kevin Turner Direct Reports
Subject: FW: VMware Q2 Earning Release Analysis

This is incredible! VMware’s business is growing like crazy!!!

kt

Anonymous said...

Yes, they absolutely might.

McKinsey, BCG, Bain and other consulting firms; Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and other I-banks (in whatever form they exist); General Electric, 3M, Pfizer, Intuit and many other corporations do the same thing. Some call it “up or out,” and some call it “maintenance of excellence.” And they do quite okay – please do not tell me about the performance of these companies; the point is that they are all blue chip corporations.

I am not talking about an undeserved placement in the bottom 10% or even such a forced performance curve; I am talking about the concept of outplacing the bottom 10% (assuming you measure this in an effective way) as a tool that does not diminish brand or long term company performance.

Here is a question for all the disgruntled ex-employees (please, don’t hide behind your stock in the company to show that you care): Would you rather spend time with a sunny, bright, and pleasant person or with a sulking, complaining, and brooding person.

I do not know of many rational employees that drank the MGX Kool-Aid or do not feel skeptical of management mis-steps, but they do have a right to feel good about themselves and their careers. It is asinine, and very small, and simply rude to tell them things like: “Wait 5 more years and you will become a depressed suicidal person like everyone else on this blog”.. or “so what if one stolen/copied feature in product X is working now, wait till competitor Y kills you in the next few weeks/months/years.”

I suggest a long walk in sunny weather, or watching a funny movie, or taking a small vacation with family and friends or anything else that will put a bright smile on your face.

Anonymous said...

Coming from someone who knows SteveB personally, there's no one else at the company who cares more about our long term success, and is more selfless about doing the right thing for Microsoft. He is truly a man of strong character. I'm proud to have him as our CEO.

No doubt. There are lots of us who care about Microsoft's "long term success". When Steve says "I love this company" I for one believe he really means it.

Trouble is, Steve has not delivered. The company continues to struggle with its future, its stock price remains flat (and that's being kind), and we have not been successful in new markets like search and mobility. Steve is the CEO and overall these things are his responsibility. He has fired or forced out a whole bunch of people - Raikes, Johnson, RobbieB, Allard are examples.

The best thing Steve can do is help the company find a new, energetic CEO who can make the changes that are necessary, yet Steve does not have the heart to make.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know what the story is with silverlight? My team got a direct message not to use the technology.

Anonymous said...

"For every one of you venom spewing trolls, there are hundreds who are productive and happy at Microsoft"

I've probably been at the company far longer than you have and I probably know a lot more people than you do.

Chief, your ratio of haters-to-fanboys is way out of whack. There are few people who have been at Microsoft longer than a year or two who are what I'd call happy -- lots of people are at peace with the fact that Microsoft isn't a great place to work but better than being unemployed, so they feel like their lives are reasonable given the options.

Don't mistake that for being happy.

Anonymous said...

Of the happy hundreds, some will eventually get to experience the joy of a 10%. Someone always has to lose since we do not have as many valid 10%'ers as is needed each year to fill the required bucket.

Imagine a company that fires its worst performing (based on subjective evaluation, for sure) 10% one year, then another 10% the next year, then another 10% the next year, and another 10% the next, and so forth. Then the company complains that it can't hire enough qualified people so it must hire from outside the United States.

My thoughts:

1. The company must be doing a lousy job of screening prospective employees.

2. Bullsh*t on the "can't hire enough qualified people" nonsense.

Microsoft has no credibility. Not as an employer. Not as a purveyor of consumer goods. Period.

Anonymous said...

Dude you are living in fool's paradise to believe that the model is barely locked.

The stack rank being completed at your manager's level does not equal the model being locked for the division.

Anonymous said...

>> Which quarter does the expense of the Black Eyed Peas show up in the balance sheet? MGX is an amazing drain on the company's travel and entertainment budgets; yes, it's sales, so you need to brainwash peoeple more than the engineers in Safeco. But at what cost?

Speaking of wasteful spend..What of Techready and company meeting... When you speak of MGX as wasteful expense, why not include these extravaganzas... or are these ok since you are invited. Just for the record I am in sales but have never gone to MGX.

Anonymous said...

There is a saying:

Love is like life in a castle, those inside want to break out ....
.... for those outside they want to charged in.....

This is the love and hate about Microsoft Corp... :)

Anonymous said...

interesting article on bing's rise in share v\s cost

http://www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-is-trashing-us-for-not-eating-enough-crow-about-bings-market-share-gains-so-well-eat-a-bit-more-crow-2010-7

Anonymous said...

I am not talking about an undeserved placement in the bottom 10% or even such a forced performance curve; I am talking about the concept of outplacing the bottom 10% (assuming you measure this in an effective way) as a tool that does not diminish brand or long term company performance.

Replacing the bottom 10% with what?

Year #1: "outplacing" the bottom 10%

Year #2: Hired people to replace the bottom 10%. "Average" people either moved up the curve or down depending upon who got hired and who left for other reasons.

"outplacing" the new bottom 10% which is now made up of "average" employees or new hires.

Year #3: Do it all over again.

etc.

How many years has Microsoft been trying to get rid of all the employees that are such a menace?

HR must be hiring them faster than SteveB can get rid of them.

Anonymous said...

>>Reading the comments, it sounds like once a 10% is on your record, there is no future to move into another organization, even if your prior record is stellar, and even after getting out of the 10%, Is there anybody posting on this blog that earned a 10% at one time in Microsoft (or knows somebody) and was was later hired by another group in Microsoft?

This changed when the layoffs started. Prior to that it was more difficult, but certainly not virtually impossible as it is now.

Basically, the meaning of *any* 10% rating now means "underperformed", given the fact that you'll be lucky to get informationals, let alone a loop.

I did get a loop, and without the 10% would have been hired. But a hire for 10% requires GM/VP-level approval in all divisions I'm aware of, and your loop needs to have been completely flawless from the POV of all interviewers.

I wish I'd been told about this before the loop, but at the time, most hiring managers weren't aware of the VP-approval thing.

So from a manager's POV, 10% is a great way to imprison folks who you either want to manage out (rather than let them find a better fit), or you think might be a flight risk and cause you a ding for "bad attrition".

If that wasn't bad enough, every day for the past year, I've wondered if my card key will still work. The change in the meaning of any 10% rating is a profoundly negative turn of events.

Might be just me, but it seems that calibrations are now all about "who can we push out?" rather than "who can we reward for a job well done". At the senior level in particular, I see zero interest from managers in career growth. Perhaps that isn't coincidental.

Anonymous said...

PERFORMANCE REVIEWS: THE DILEMMA OF FORCED RANKING

Here’s the dilemma: Forced distributions do differentiate
employees from one another, and they eliminate rater leniency, but evidence
indicates that they tend to be associated with lower effectiveness of
performance management systems, particularly when appraisal results are tied to
termination. Proponents of forced rankings argue that they facilitate budgeting
and guard against spineless managers who are too afraid to jettison poor
performers. Forced rankings, the thinking goes, force managers to be honest
with workers about how they are doing. Critics say they compel managers to
penalize a good but not great employee who is part of a superstar team.
Conversely, a mediocre employee on a struggling unit can come out looking
great. Most companies guard against this problem by refraining from rigidly
applying the distribution to smaller teams—but this means the spread has to be
made up somewhere else. The result: Different managers spend hours haggling
with one another to meet the overall distribution requirements. According to
one middle manager at Microsoft, this horsetrading process can be frustrating
and time consuming. While the company says it does not require managers to
assign a certain percentage of employees to each level, the middle manager says
there is unspoken pressure to do so.
Another area of contention is the ranking criteria. In
contrast to objective criteria, such as sales revenue generated or error-free
products produced, many organizations use fuzzy, qualitative criteria to
evaluate employees. While there is no doubt that teamwork and communication
skills are vital, they are tough to measure. After all, one manager’s team
player is another’s yes-person. Indeed a senior manager at one large firm
admits that the company’s ranking criteria are “very subjective,” adding,
“There aren’t easy labels for what type of person someone is.”
So is this spate of new forced-ranking systems an anomaly or
a taste of things to come? One employment lawyer predicts a lot of litigation
surrounding this issue. Managers had better get ready.

Cascio: Managing Human Resources: Productivity, Quality
of Work Life, Profits, Seventh Edition

Anonymous said...

>>Imagine a company that fires its worst performing (based on subjective evaluation, for sure) 10% one year...

If you're new to the company or to a group, and get a 10% because your were simply ramping up... what the hell does that mean?

Where I work, it seems to mean that people don't change group, they change company rather than end up in that situation. Is it me, or does that seem like a bit of a problem?

Anonymous said...

McKinsey, BCG, Bain and other consulting firms; Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and other I-banks (in whatever form they exist); General Electric, 3M, Pfizer, Intuit and many other corporations do the same thing. Some call it “up or out,” and some call it “maintenance of excellence.” And they do quite okay – please do not tell me about the performance of these companies; the point is that they are all blue chip corporations.


Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs still under a microscope

Goldman earnings tumble 82% in Q2

Goldman Sachs to Pay Record $550 Million to Settle SEC Charges Related to Subprime Mortgage CDO

RBS may still sue Goldman Sachs for $740m over 'fraud'

Goldman's "Fabulous" Fab's conflicted love letters

Tourre, a Goldman Sachs bond trader, also wrote in the emails of the impending collapse of the subprime mortgage market and how he was masterminding ways at Goldman to make money from it.


Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley Settles Massachusetts Lending Case for $102 Million


Pfizer

Pfizer Pays $2.3 Billion to Settle Marketing Case


etc.


By "maintenance of excellence", you mean they made a lot of money.

Anonymous said...

Steve is the CEO and overall these things are his responsibility. He has fired or forced out a whole bunch of people - Raikes, Johnson, RobbieB, Allard are examples.

By process of elimination, Steve will eventually come to the conclusion it is God's fault.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know what the story is with silverlight? My team got a direct message not to use the technology.

Received the same message in Windows Live. HTML 5 is P1.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous ...
Reading the comments, it sounds like once a 10% is on your record, there is no future to move into another organization, even if your prior record is stellar, and even after getting out of the 10%, Is there anybody posting on this blog that earned a 10% at one time in Microsoft (or knows somebody) and was was later hired by another group in Microsoft?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010 9:59:00 AM


For first time ever … I am getting more and more nervous this year…especially after the most recent RIFs on 7/7/2010. Instead of likely A/70 (from my perspective) the up-down and horizontal calibration could put me on the A/10 or the U/10 buckets.
If someone did it, then how hard was to get out of the jail respectively for U/10 and A/10 ? /* never heard of E/10!?! */
Is leaving the CORPORATION the only “get out of the 10% jail” option?

Anonymous said...

If you're writing apps on your own time the company should have no claims to it.


Go dig up the employment agreement you signed on your first day. You might be surprised.

Anonymous said...

As for the "worker bees", this could be an opportunity for all the bees to create an app that might lead to a startup. Take the opportunity instead of complaining that a manager will also benefit. If you're writing apps on your own time the company should have no claims to it. Your name would be attached to the app, so you get the credit.

I would write an app for an iPhone if I was going to write a mobile phone app in my spare time.

There's a bigger market.


If Microsoft is paying ISVs to write WP7 phone apps, why not pay employees for doing the same thing?

Anonymous said...

Microsoft will destroy the potential of this if they put restrictions up (i.e. MS owns the apps, you can't charge for it, you can't take it and start a company, etc.) We'll have to see the details.

I hate to be the one to break it to you (well, not really), but there's no need to put a restriction up: MS already owns all of the code you write even if on your own time on your own machine. It's part of your employment agreement. You need VP approval to get a "release of interest" from MS such that you own the code you write.

Anonymous said...

Another one bites the dust...

http://www.healthdatamanagement.com/news/microsoft-his-amalga-hospital-overseas-40669-1.html

Background: Microsoft bought a ten year old inhouse developed VB3 system, without noticing that over those ten years it has accumulated exactly ... one (1) ... real customer; the hospital that paid for developing it in the first place.

Back in Redmond, the hard reality slowly began to sink in. Three years later with hundreds of millions of $$$ down the drain later they're finally shutting it down over a five year period.

Ripoff? Ya bet. Some people are laughing all the way to the bank.

Anonymous said...

My response to that would be to ask how many 4.5-5.0's have you gotten over the decades?

Ah, a litmus test. I was always fairly OK at test-taking in school, so I'll give this a go.

Answer: Two. And it certainly didn't take "decades". I worked for Microsoft for just under 5 years before being laid off due to getting stuck under a psycho lead, and being unable to escape to another team when they forbid me from transferring, official policy irregardless.

In a game of "put up or shut up," I've put up. I suspect I'm not the only one. If anything, it's the high achievers I knew at Microsoft who were most annoyed when "the system" got in the way of them improving products and increasing their own efficiency. These people were also most often targeted by "appearance is all" managers who were threatened by real results.

Anonymous said...

Is there anybody posting on this blog that earned a 10% at one time in Microsoft (or knows somebody) and was was later hired by another group in Microsoft?

I know two people who have been in the 10% more than once, who are both still employed at MS.

One got 3 years of 10% scores from the same manager who had let's say a "diversity issue". He only got out when a friend who knew his organizational value, and was willing to fight for him, transitioned to management of another team and had a position open. Five years later, he's still on that friend's team.

One, after his first 10%, spent an entire year interviewing other teams in an effort to avoid ending up in another cluster----. He eventually found one that worked for him. A year later, he was in a reorg that put him under another problematic manager, and it took him another couple years to get out after that second 10%. He's been on his current team for several years, been promoted at least once, and all is well.

What both of these stories appear to indicate is that once you've received one 10% and stayed around to take the inevitable abuse for it, managers realize they can give you another one without much risk that they'll lose you, so your odds of being the unlucky one on your team go up even if your performance is OK.

Anonymous said...

"He has fired or forced out a whole bunch of people - Raikes, Johnson, RobbieB, Allard are examples"

Apart from maybe Raikes, they are all excellent firings! Maybe ex-aQuantive think Johnson was great, but only because he paid $6bn for your crapware.

Anonymous said...

I know two people who have been in the 10% more than once, who are both still employed at MS.

One got 3 years of 10% scores from the same manager who had let's say a "diversity issue". He only got out when a friend who knew his organizational value, and was willing to fight for him, transitioned to management of another team and had a position open. Five years later, he's still on that friend's team.

One, after his first 10%, spent an entire year interviewing other teams in an effort to avoid ending up in another cluster----. He eventually found one that worked for him. A year later, he was in a reorg that put him under another problematic manager, and it took him another couple years to get out after that second 10%. He's been on his current team for several years, been promoted at least once, and all is well.

What both of these stories appear to indicate is that once you've received one 10% and stayed around to take the inevitable abuse for it, managers realize they can give you another one without much risk that they'll lose you, so your odds of being the unlucky one on your team go up even if your performance is OK.


I thought the 10% has only been around starting with 2006 reviews. When the new review system it was actually ok to get a 10%/II since it just meant you were doing your job. With the downturn in the economy since last year 10% is pretty much the kiss of death especially if you have not been promoted in awhile.

Anonymous said...

I suggest you folks go into therapy.. do Yoga or something and let us fix the issues that we face in a constructive manner.

Microsoft Management has shown, year after year, that they are incapable of fixing the issues at all, much less in a constructive manner.

Cite voices here as 'whiners' all you like; those same voices will still point out the ineptitude of executive management.

Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to the fired/laid-off/managed out ex-MSofties and the current U/10 folks quaking in their boots and waiting for their day at the guillotine. I understand the vitriol being spewed on this blog. You were "wronged", you are bitter and it shows.

I didn't always have this sympathy. Afterall I worked with some of you and wondered why MS didn't start layoffs until recently. My wife was just laid off too and she is bitter as hell. She could have written all the posts here damning MS, Ballmer, and all managers. She was a hard worker but didn't have the hero mentality that is vital in MS.

You don't have to listen to me but find a way to let it go and find other employment. If you are currently U/10, start searching outside. You will go too, more or less. Not everyone has to work at MS. Ranting at Minimsft will not cause the company to lose a penny. You can tell the world not to buy Windows, Azure, SQL, WP7, etc, but it will make no difference.

Suck it up. It is hard. Better luck managing your career in your next gig. Remember Microsoft once hired you. That means you are smart and can rise again. Yes some of us are having a great time working at MS. Predicting that will be all be fired or unhappy with time is the lashing out of the depressed. Of course each person will have their ups and downs, and if they are vigilant, they will see the warning signs and plan accordingly.

As for the ABM Trolls that preach Ubuntu and such crap here, GFY.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft will destroy the potential of this if they put restrictions up (i.e. MS owns the apps, you can't charge for it, you can't take it and start a company, etc.) We'll have to see the details.

MS has relaxed moonlight policy for WP7. But if you read carefully, they do hold rights to your work even if done on own time and resource. MS can stop or make difficult if your app is runaway success and you want to go do startup with it say to publish on bigger iphone or android markets.

That is not to say don't write app. Just realize value of idea and don't give away good idea to MS for peanut.

Anonymous said...

"Basically, the meaning of *any* 10% rating now means "underperformed", given the fact that you'll be lucky to get informationals, let alone a loop.

I did get a loop, and without the 10% would have been hired. But a hire for 10% requires GM/VP-level approval in all divisions I'm aware of, and your loop needs to have been completely flawless from the POV of all interviewers.

I wish I'd been told about this before the loop, but at the time, most hiring managers weren't aware of the VP-approval thing.

So from a manager's POV, 10% is a great way to imprison folks who you either want to manage out (rather than let them find a better fit), or you think might be a flight risk and cause you a ding for "bad attrition".

If that wasn't bad enough, every day for the past year, I've wondered if my card key will still work. The change in the meaning of any 10% rating is a profoundly negative turn of events."


This is identical to the situation I find myself living with these days, word-for-word. Ditto the card key issue -- every day I wonder if it's going to still be working.

I spent months trying to find a team that would interview me and I aced the loop -- the hiring manager told me so himself. The hiring manager's boss made me a verbal offer to start in 2 weeks, and 3 days before the date arrived I received a call stating that the GM vetoed it due to my A/10 from 2 years ago.

The one thing this did was illustrate that I'm in a full-on adversarial position with the company: there's no benefit to trying to succeed at this point, I'm just collecting a paycheck until I can find something cool on the outside.

I know there are quite a few people in my position around (strong performers who had one ding on their record, and due to official policies were never able to recover) who are leaving the company with considerable hard feelings and a grudge. Microsoft appears not to care at all, and indeed is strengthening the policies that lead to this situation.

Seems ill-advised in the long-run.

Anonymous said...

"I know two people who have been in the 10% more than once, who are both still employed at MS."

While I appreciate this detailed poster's answer to the question many of us have, it does leave an issue unanswered: Can one recover or get a new job with a RECENT 10% on their record? The two examples provided sound like people who got 10%(or 3.0's - which meant bottom 20-25%) several years ago, or at least it appears the examples given had a handful of years SINCE their bad score. The sustaing issue is - it is RECENT 10%s - those issued under LisaB's new guidelines since ~2006 where people are impacted today. Years ago, a 3.0 was not a death sentence, like the 10% is today. There was an attitude that maybe you were under a bad/not right manager (for you) and possibly not in the right role, so you were given a second chance, and the whole picture was considered - even when assigning "excedes" Management actually looked beyond the score to actually _read_ that review, versus just passing it along, like typically unread, and unanswered email (another culture practice started by SteveB). But now, as a much earlier poster commented, the 10% has taken on a life of its own, with a new behavior towards "10's that has emerged as if the 10% is the plague, not even worthy of an answer, and other HR supported lack of courtesy tactics allowed against these folks, and a freeze-out mentality that the 10%'s must all be bad. It's so bad that the upper ranks do not assign 10% to 10% of the Company. So, the quesion remains. Anyone with an RECENT (Last 3+ years) A/10% been able to find a new role? We'd all love to hear the details.

Right now, HR would love you to think you have no choices so you'll just quietly go away. They need the "good attrition". Before you take any "I'll just leave" action, speak to an employment attorney or the EEOC, to understand your rights and what MS cannot do. Stay employed until you find something new.

What I don't understand is what does "Achived" mean if MS only focuses on the 10% - only the A/U should be revealed to the next manager. You either did your job or you didn't, per commitments, not pass along the subjective death sentence from a wrong role or bad manager. So, given that qundary they are now assigning only 'underperfomed' to 10%, regarless of whether they actually achieved on their commitments?! Why have commitments, that one is supposed to judge objecively, if there is already an assigned quota of underpeforms that must be awarded? I always had hope that MS being a technical company would overcome this lack of logic. Sadly I've been wrong.
Though I'm not a fan of LisaB's management, I don't believe that she insituuted this anti-10% behavior - it cropped up organicaly by other Thought Leaders not subject to the 10% rule and they instituted the "hire no 10%s in my group". I think she meant it to be for a career professional in place. This cancer cropped up when we started shoving all the rewards upstream to the top 20% only. Throw money at the high end, gave birth to the "people at the bottom" deserve no reward, they're trash. When you create one extreme, it gives birth to an equal and opposite effect.

Though other Companies have performance review systems, they are not so egreious of this behavior. I've worked for a few of those companies. MS is the worst. Even strong achievers may not want to leave roles since they don't want to re-risk their reputation in a new group. So, we are paralyzed. Take no risks.

Disclosure: This author has a 4.5, several 4.0's, Achieved, and no 3.0s, or 10s, and a host of high level awards, so I'm not the "embittered venum spewing 10%" RIF'd employee that HR would love to think are the only complainers.

Anonymous said...

Is there anybody posting on this blog that earned a 10% at one time in Microsoft (or knows somebody) and was was later hired by another group in Microsoft?

Yes,I had the dreaded U/10% 3 review cycles ago. It was a combination of a bad fit for me, a manager who imploaded, and some big personal challenges.

Over two years ago, I was trying to leave that U10% group and found a fit in a group that really wanted my unique domain expertise. And I lost a bunch of opps due to the 10% also.

So, I was able to pull it out, but I had to have a unique set of skills and knowledge for the target position. Oh, and I had a lot of 'splaining to do about the circumstances...all messaging and positioning.

Now, I'm up again to transfer and even now, that 10% still haunts me. Some managers won't consider due to this...OK, don't want to work for. Others rely on the last 3 reviews (which are all Es) and ignore the "aberration."

At the end of the day, some managers are reaonsable and some aren't. Don't let the latter ruin your life or work.

Anonymous said...

Ahem, Which is the most profitable entity in microsoft. I am totally lost ?
Do we have any at all..

Anonymous said...

Someone said "MS already owns all of the code you write even if on your own time on your own machine. It's part of your employment agreement. You need VP approval to get a "release of interest" from MS such that you own the code you write"

Sir, you are posting completely wrong information about WP7 app development by employees. Moonlighting policies have been amended recently, specifically to make room for WP7 app development. You own the WP7 app you develop, and you make the money on it - not Microsoft. This exception is only for WP7 app development. (There may be some rules like you cannot use company's resources to develop apps etc). Before posting misleading information just for spreading negativity, I suggest you get all your facts right.

Anonymous said...

"If Microsoft is paying ISVs to write WP7 phone apps, why not pay employees for doing the same thing?"

Aren't they already paying you? Plus, they are waving the registration fee, and you get to make money on the apps you sell. I guess nothing is good enough for some people.

Anonymous said...

>>interesting article on bing's rise in share v\s cost

http://www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-is-trashing-us-for-not-eating-enough-crow-about-bings-market-share-gains-so-well-eat-a-bit-more-crow-2010-7<<

Whats funny about that post is that most of the people commenting are not buying Blodgets argument. They're calling him out on his BS. It's ironic that the only people buying it are in this comments section

«Oldest ‹Older   1 – 200 of 520   Newer› Newest»