Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Microsoft Company Meeting 2010

Best. Company Meeting. Ever.*

(*excluding the classic Company Meetings, especially the one where Cheap Trick played afterward.)


-- Comments

168 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just out of curiosity, what in particular made it best ever*?

Anonymous said...

I am so excited about Windows Phone 7, and I could see the excitement of the team that worked on it, Kudos to everyone participated in this project.

The best thing is we didn't have to listen to Mundie this time :P

Anonymous said...

Steve B came out as an honest and a committed CEO. Frank, hard hitting and conversational. Liked it.

Anonymous said...

As a member of Microsoft Game Studios, I would like to personally apologize for Bonnie Ross's sucking all the air out of the room.

PS: We do have products launching after November 4th of this year, though you wouldn't know it...

Anonymous said...

I agree! In my 10 years at the company this company meeting was the best. I didn't fall asleep! Even during KT's hour-long talk at the beginning! All the demos were good, and all of the speeches were insightful.
There was only one bad speaker: Amy Sedaris. Not funny, even once. I gave a few courtesy laughs, but I cringe thinking how much $ she was given for that not-funny hosting performance. Please bring someone better in to host next year!
Loved the Halo guys on stage, but man the GM lady who spoke during that was just weird and so scripted!
Good food and beer afterwards too.
Thank you Microsoft! I'm jazzed for a strong year ahead!!

Anonymous said...

Including Amy Sedaris' joke?

Anonymous said...

Well that's ominous.

Anonymous said...

How's the Kool-Aid taste now?

Anonymous said...

Best company meeting in the past 10 years (my memory fails for anything older than that). The majority of the content and genuine human behaviour more than makes up for the occasional lame theatricals and Amy Sedaris.

Anonymous said...

It was okay meeting, host sucks big time, almost everything I seen / experience before and speech where steveb talked about passion and stuff, it was very inspiring but its not really exercising, the managers needs to understand that theory.

Anonymous said...

Also, no Mundie, no Ozzie. Coincidence?

Anonymous said...

Agree, it was fun and energetic meeting ...
until Ballmer's arrival :)

Anonymous said...

Agreed. Never felt more jazzed the company was headed in the right direction.

Real innovation. Deep product integration. Divisions at Microsoft are working together, and they are making the sum of the parts greater than the whole.

The strategy management set forth in recent years is finally coming together.

I am very glad I went. I am very glad to work for this company.

Anonymous said...

The Cheap Trick meeting was the last one I attended. (Wasn't Sinbad the host?) Maybe next year I'll pop in again.

Anonymous said...

I loved it!

Anonymous said...

Where was Ray Ozzie? I found it very interesting that there was big shift towards business/marketing/sales leaders leading the show rather than technical leaders...

Anonymous said...

"Best. Company Meeting. Ever"

Glad to hear this....hope it is a good sign. We could use one.

Anonymous said...

What made it the best company meeting ever?

Anonymous said...

Awesome!!.... For all its negatives you cant name me one company on the face of this earth that has this array of products ... none!...
I was actually fired up!!!
now if only we fixed our SLT and middle level leadership and the insane ranking system... oh nevermind ... Sigh!

skatterbrainz said...

Oh yeah? Can you say why? :)

Anonymous said...

>Best. Company Meeting. Ever

Amen. SteveB rocked!

Anonymous said...

I completely agree! I am really impressed with the honestness and passionate of our people!

Anonymous said...

I had never heard of Amy Sedaris before this, which really concerned me.

Now I feel completely justified in never having heard of her.

I fully expect that some year soon we'll be getting a local kids' birthday party magician as host.

Cheap Trick, Cheap Trick, wherefore art Thou, Cheap Trick?

Anonymous said...

Demos were OK, but some of the OSD demos seems to rehash materials shown previously.

Baller was mildly amusing in a vaudevillian way - but I found myself asking "Isn't this the same hyperbole he has preached at the last N company meetings?". Nothing new. Nothing making believe this year will be any different. Nothing making any believe any changes will happen to put the company of a diferent trajectory. Stock price next year will be unchanged (and that's an optimist view).

I don't want to be a hater. I want to beleive. I want to see visible signs our management is shaking things up in a postive way. I didn't get that. Judging from response Steve got, don't think I am alone...

Anonymous said...

I agree. Great demos, no Craig or Ray, plus Windows Phone and Bing were the stars of the show!

Anonymous said...

I agree, this was pretty well done. And from what I hear, the warmest weather in many years. I was getting chilly by the time Balmer started. I've been at Microsoft 3 years and this is the first one I've attended in person. I really liked hearing from GMs, CVPs, etc. instead of the Presidents.

We've got some innovative products coming out. I feel like WP7 is a credible good start and not too little too late. I really like the progress Bing is making. Are we back on a roll again? Seems like it.

Anonymous said...

Wow, never thought I'd see Mini post something like *that*. Now I want to know -- *why'd* you think it was so damned good?

Anonymous said...

You are high. I left wondering what was so different than years past. Lot's of 'sorry stock's in the crapper - oops', 'more stuff coming, you wait, you'll see...'

It's not to take away from the great work going on everywhere. But it was a great science fair of new products all of which will not be the next $1B product line.

And no Elop replace announce? Rumors of STB/IW smash up on the way.

I think the company demo's should be regular line worker bees. Enough of the VP power teet moments. Bring up some poor schmuck 30mins before the demo at RANDOM and make them learn it and give the pitch. Until everyone down low can live it, breathe it, we wont be the inner Noonan's we want to be.

Anonymous said...

I thought Amy Sedaris was awful. Not funny at all. I recall two instances where she offered to take off her clothes; I almost wish she had...it would have been more entertaining....

Anonymous said...

I didn't go...Highlights?

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more. LOVED the demos, especially how they showed such fabulous, tight integration between products. Nice!

Anonymous said...

Really? Not even a comment on the host???

Anonymous said...

I have to reply to a painful post from a few days ago:

..they promoted me in 2008. Then all of a sudden, I'm A10 and told its not performance but because everyone in my team is over 63 - so they gave me a good review - good bonus and A/10. At the time, I didnt even notice the A/10 - mid years also good and a key player in the team. Then in 2009, I got another good review - good bonus - and another A/10 and was told it was how the stack rank fell and that I just needed growth in my new level. Then all my upper management changed, and I had to fill in for three levels of management and got a good mid-year. Then new management came in to fill in what had left - all is good until one day they invite me to a meeting and surprise me with an U10 and walked me out of the building - explaining MS is an AT WILL Company. I dont see how a company can surprise employees like that and just take away your livelyhood. Its just completely unfair because I turned down other jobs to stay in that group and now I'm on unemployment for the first time ever. I've had tons of people calling me going 'what the hell happened" as it was a surprise to them as it was for me.

This sounds like my own personal story, but the big difference was that it was one year earlier and I left for another opportunity just after the January layoffs before they had the chance to U/10 me.

I actually volunteered to take the place of one of my co-workers on the chopping block but I was told by my lead that it was 'a level thing' and I couldn't. So I left anyway and my former lead was promoted (I'm sure I was a 'good attrition' story in his promo review).

There is life after Microsoft, to voluntarily break the golden handcuffs was very painful, but I have no regrets doing it. I am now managing a team with an ISV and enjoy focusing on my job and customers, rather than on office politics.

We have a performance based review, but without the forced 20/70/10 buckets. Each of my employees have detailed SMART objectives and they know exactly what the metrics are when they are rated against each objective - absolutely no surprises.

More importantly, I don't have to force a lower ranking on any employee because 'someone else in your band achieved their commitments better' - i.e. they kissed their manager's butt more and I couldn't defend you in the calibration meeting.

What is the point of commitments and KPIs measured against those commitments if they can be arbitrarily overruled by some subjective opinion or forced bucket size? This is the root most flaws at Microsoft, IMHO.

Best of luck to all of you who cannot break the golden handcuffs, but for those of you who can (or are forced to do so), there are opportunities to be found.

Anonymous said...

Seriously? The content was great, but Amy Sedaris was pathetically bad and reading every word... *crickets*

Tejaswi said...

Leaving all products aside. I haven't seen anything like Kinect in my life. Its a master piece and imagine the possibilities.

Anonymous said...

Great, great demos. But, there were still a few cons...

- The host. Just when I thought last year's choice of host couldn't get worse... and really, do we need one?
- "Be what's next." *cringe* Good vision for the future, but currently, it's more like "Be what everyone else is doing."
- Ballmer's entrance! I think the one thing I look forward to every year is his ridiculous ADD antics around the field. No added value whatsoever, but I'll be damned if it's not entertaining.

Anonymous said...

hey everyone, what was your favorite demo?

Anonymous said...

+1

The halo build up for that girl that was just reading from the prompter was the down side...

Pretty glad they got rid of the science project part that bored and confused everyone previously...

Also what happened to the coffee in the halls? I miss the caffeine high I normally get at the meetings.

Anonymous said...

"I could read from the teleprompter about Halo all day!"

That's the sort of genuine enthusiasm you can only get from the Company Meeting!

Be Paid said...

Great, great demos. But, there were still a few cons...

- The host. Just when I thought last year's choice of host couldn't get worse... and really, do we need one?


What did you have against Seth Meyers? I liked his joke about Xbox team being jerks for making every teenager kick his bottom in Halo - at least I remember this one. This year's host - I remember nothing, and it's been two days. But surely way cheaper than Seinfeld, so makes sense for shareholders.

I have a great idea for next year - let's have Kevin Turner as a host, this is going to be a riot. And it's going to be a no cost...

Wait a minute, what did I just say about the cost?

Anonymous said...

Come'on guys, you're being mean to all the non-MSFTies that are repeatedly asking about the meeting. So here is a list.

5. It was cool to see Bing maps show us around Mars. Google is so 21st century! We're committed to China, which will have humans on Mars by the next century.
4. WP7 had awesome integration with Halo Reach. Now you can communicate with other Halo characters by calling them on your phone. Only works with WP7 for some reason.
3. Tetris on Windows Azure was awesome. If you think you are quick, try beating this one.
2. The executive version of Kinect was very creative. The user can hand wave, and yet produce cool stuff on the screen.
1. And finally, open source Windows in the works...

skc said...

lol

amusing how many people are upset that other people enjoyed the company meeting.

get a life

Anonymous said...

I haven't finished watching it, but I have liked what I've seen so far (I'm in the middle of the WP7 demo). I love that they've shown upcoming products. I don't remember that happening in the past 4 years. My only complaint is Amy Sedaris. I'm tired of fake comedians with ridiculously horrible "jokes" about technology they obviously don't understand. If we're going to use a D-list comedian (if that), can we at least find one that does tech jokes? Even a science comedian would be better.

Anonymous said...

Mini, I think you have mellowed. Either that, or the Kool-Aid has finally started to kick in.

Anonymous said...

Cheap Trick, Cheap Trick, wherefore art Thou, Cheap Trick?

Hate to be a pedant, but in Shakespearean English 'wherefore' means 'why' not 'where'. See Juliet was saying in effect that if Romeo was someone else they would not have all the problems :)

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I don't get it. What was so great about the demos? I think on a scale of 1 (bad) to 10 (good), they were a solid 6-7, BUT they were by no means mind-blowing or earth-shattering.

The two best of the show, Bing and WP7, weren't even that spectacular. Bing demo'ed a bunch of stuff we've already seen, plus a movie in the homepage. How much is the cost of bandwidth consumed by that movie going to eat into whatever revenue Bing generates? ;) Seems like a demo for demo's sake.

Also, WP7 was pretty slick, visually speaking. But where were the killer apps? Where were the product differentiating features that they keep referring to? I saw the same old feature set that every other smartphone is already capable of doing.

I'm not saying it was a bad meeting, just certainly not worthy of being labelled the best ever.

...although I do wish my manager had attended to hear Ballmer's speach on "improving" people and inspiring "passion"...as opposed to what my manager does today. :P

Anonymous said...

I understand what they were trying to achieve with the new format, and appreciate more demos this year, but I think they missed the mark. There were a few bright spots, like the one new reporting tool, Live Wave 4, IE9, Bing, and even Kinect, but where was the vision? For the most part, the demos were all for products that are just about to ship. While seeing Kinect work with real games was cool, we saw that last year. What was demoed this year that is that far out? Slates were mentioned, did we see any? Win 8 was barely mentioned. IE9 is cool, but that is in beta, we can see it for ourselves.

With regard to Win phone, it seemed to be lacking a lot of details. Why didn’t we see more devices, just the one example? Why is the date still being communicated as “by the holidays”? Isn’t it close enough that we should see a collection of devices, apps (yes, consumers will want apps), and carrier details as well as looking forward to a specific launch date? I’ve heard that we are going to spend a lot of money on marketing win phone, I sure hope we start talking about real features and other details soon, especially to employees.

I also think it is telling that a lot of the big names were absent from the stage, Muglia, Mundie, Ozzy, Sinofsky. These guys are our leaders. They should be presenting the vision. The answer to a boring presentation is not to remove them from the stage, but get them to improve the presentation.

Agree on Sedaris being a totally wrong choice.

Anonymous said...

I had to Bing Amy Sedaris just to figure out who she was, then I Goggled her. To quote Almost Live: Inexcusably Lame.

Here's a hint for the folks that create the company meeting: If you can't get first rate talent for a good price, then don't waste the money on a host and put cookies back in the box lunches and spend the time with more demos/speakers.

+1 on Cheap Trick as well. Hell, The Presidents of the United States are local and not too expensive (they were at the Windows 7 launch party).

I also miss the home-grown videos that poke fun at our competitors.

Anonymous said...

Really? Did Ballmer resign on stage and admit he hasn't been able to meet his commitments as a CEO for the past decade?

Anonymous said...

It was a great meeting, certainly the best in the recent past..

Amy was a joke, what a waste of host time. If that is the best we can get perhaps it reflects our stock price in the host market...

Great to not have to listen to any presidents but they got their ego airtime with Amy and a mic walking around... still worthless...

Best SteveB talk in a long time... felt as grounded as he can probably be, the idea to walk around at the end was genius and he executed well.

Lisa was in yet another worthless skit... do all the execs still use regular phones?

KT... what can you say... he isnt a bad speaker but just happens to have a fairly dry job to talk about... he made it work for the most part and as employees and share holders we should be aware of the information he presented. (most employees I find are oblivious which is a statement for another blog post)

Anonymous said...

Folks, the 2010 Proxy is out on the investor site. Look at how your executives did in their annual review bonus. Ballmer - 100%of target, Elop 96% of target, Robbie 100% of target ($7M bonus, up from $6M last year), and of course KT, 140% of target or a bonus of $9.8M. Guess they all got e/20's or a/70s. Looks like Chris Liddell - long gone - got assigned the 10%, and it appears that a post employement agreement was signed there where he was given $1.9M to keep things confidential - not just part of an pre-determined exit package. Wonder what went on there. Overall it appears most got some huge increases in incentive compensation.

Anonymous said...

The host was just AWFUL, not funy and obviously reading from the teleprompter (badly).

Windowsphone 7-- it's just gotta work! (and looks great!)-- Super Demo Joe.

Halo Reach-- how in the name of hell did Bonnie what's her face make such a great game look boaring... c'mon they had 4 spartans on stage and she chopped through her canned blurb with as much grace as a landslide.

KT-- good talk hitting on the "business" bits..

ChrisCap-- good demo as well, I liked how he (and many ohters) worked other teams' products into their demos to show (not tell) how the stuff integrates..

Hopeful for the future (and that we can get Sinbad back again.. at least he got true laughs!)

Anonymous said...

Mini - it looks like you've been bought or you're a "different Mini".

Best ? Not the best word to describe this year's meeting. It wasn't a bad meeting though. The good things :-
1. The SLT moved out of the way (mostly).
2. The demos were impressive, but one of the things shown off did not look as good as what the prime competitor offers.

The bad :-
1. Amy Sedaris - I have been seeing these comic hosts, these last few years. It does not work at the company meeting. Kevin Turner - you're looking to cut spending, here's another candidate for that. The lady who says "Please welcome Kevin Turner" is more than enough.
2. Steve Ballmer - The prime crib of every developer at the company is that we have too many non-technical people trying to do things that a fewer technical people could be doing (example some maybe many PMs). Steve Ballmer's entire speech sounded like a motivational speech from one of those multi level marketing meetings. If we ever have the good sense to cut non-technical overhead, start from the very top.
3. Ray Ozzie was not to be seen. Some people may probably see this as a good thing. I don't. I see this, and other things that happened at the meeting a sign that MS is becoming a company run by a bunch of airhead MBAs.

Anonymous said...

Are there any ROI tracking against the amount of money we're putting into research? Its great that we're invest way more than our competitors but companies with better focus spend less and get more out of their R&D.

Anonymous said...

Apart from the demos, and the welcome absence of Mundie, Muglia and Mr "Sync Is my one trick pony", I thought it kinda sucked.

Bonnie Ross was more wooden than Pinnocchio, and likewise Tami Reller. If you won't put Sinofsky up there, then JLG would be a better speaker. Nothing of note from MSR this year? Not a surprise... And don't get me started on Amy. Lame jokes with no research ("My knowledge of computers would fit on one side of a floppy disk!"). The only funny bit was the photo demo when the presenter accidentally zoomed into her boobs. Seth Myer last year had obviously spent a lot of time researching and preparing.

Phone 7: Weren't those guys that super excited 3 years ago when demoing 6.1 and it's "amazing" OOF setting ability too? While the rest of us rained down the boos since the iPhone had already been on sale for 3 months?

And to the guy who said "great food afterwards", were you in an exec lounge? A few plain Ruffles, cold popcorn and beer that was shutoff before 5 is not most people's idea of great.

2000 with Sinbad, Cheaptrick and Super Diamond was awesome :)

Anonymous said...

And don't get me started on Amy. Lame jokes with no research ("My knowledge of computers would fit on one side of a floppy disk!").

I completely agree. And her knowledge of comedy would fit on the other. :)

Anonymous said...

The big missing piece from the company meeting was focus on efficiency. KT talked about saving a little money here and there on material costs, but the big drain is happening in Bing data centers and probably Azure too. You can gain any amount of market share, but that won't translate into profits because your operational costs are too high. Bing marketing VP can talk all he wants about gaining market share, but unless they show how they can achieve that market share efficiently (without throwing $2500 every time someone says Bing) and can build efficient technology to service customers, we will be sinking money.

It's been 15 years since MSN went operational. How much profit do we have to show for that? Dozens of internet companies have come online since MSN started and are minting billions each quarter. Microsoft, on the other hand, changes strategy and brand name every few years and starts all over again, pretending that they are starting anew. This will go on until Windows and Office stop being cash cows.

That's what happens when you have MBAs running companies and measure success based on market share as the only metric. Have they ever questioned the technical execs why Yahoo and Google can make a profit and we aren't? How do we expect to turn the corner when billions are thrown after a failing venture for 15+ years? Will all the tens of billions of dollars of investment and lost opportunity be worth it when the Online Services division eventually breaks even and ekes out tiny profits?

Steve Ballmer said...

The meeting was indeed productive, informative and entertaining!
Are we always trimming and remapping? We're always moving people around. We try something, a project doesn't quite work, we'll cut that team, we tell people find a job someplace else in the company. We're going to continue to do that sort of thing."

Anonymous said...

wonder how Ballmer or LisaB or Mundie or Ozzie (does he still work here) went on their review... Assuming that it's fair and at every level there's a curve who was the U/10 in the SLT? Looking at their bonus results... none of them got marked down for another clusterfuck of a year

The stock price is a joke, morale at an all time low, the games of whack-a-mole "resizing" continue. The KIN disaster is being followed by WP7 that, while cool, is 12-24 months too late unless there's a 7.1 update ready in 6 months. Visual Studio is a bloated nightmare (I know developers jumping to other platforms because VS is now such an overhead) and Azure is too complex for people inside the company to understand so we wonder why customers don't grok it!

Health is touted as a trillion dollar market, but did anyone hear a mention of that division?

And don't get me started on every employee bringing iPads to meetings these days!

Bing and Kinect seem to be the shining stars at the moment.

Be What's Next ... for a lot of people that's going to be "ex employee" if the rumor of the next round of cuts it's true. Wonder what the SLT thinks it means.

Anonymous said...

"JLG would be a better speaker"

Have you HEARD JLG speak?

I'd say her demo/presentation skills could best be described as barely adequate for a Senior PM and woeful for an executive.

Anonymous said...

Bill Nye for host next year!

Anonymous said...

Re: Thursday, September 30, 2010 9:10:00 PM

My understanding is that we have a fair number of "R&D" divisions that get lumped under the R&D cost that are more development than research (i.e. product teams). The number looks big, but I believe that a fair portion of that money doesn't go to MSR.

Anonymous said...

ozzie is the brains of absolutely nothing here @ ms - no surprise he was missing.

winpho7 - will be like pho. a lot of salt and msg, but nothing really too exciting. 'may' sell more than kin.

Anonymous said...

It would be great and all if Microsoft didn't feel the need to sue its hardware partners to force them to build at least one Win7 phone. How sad.

Anonymous said...

I've heard that there were layoffs yesterday and today; and more coming next week. Any truth to this? Or are these more small group stealth layoffs.

Anonymous said...

I don't think I would call this BEST EVER. Mediocre at best. My thoughts:

1) Host was pathetic. Especially after the amazing host (Seth) we had last year.
2) None of the demos were new - I had already seen almost every demo before on YouTube, Engadget, etc.
3) Joe did a great job with WP7.. although the mock video after and before the demo were both bad.
4) Kinect - AWESOME. Between this and WP7, I think we will have a pretty good year for E&D.
5) No tablets/slates shown or talked about.. really disappointing
6) KT - I thought we will never get a more bring speaker than him last year... until I saw Amy Sedaris this year.
7) Photo - good demo.. but again, I had seen almost everything before
8) Bing - ROCKS.. but both things shown are publicly available on YouTube. Yusuf spoke well, but I don't agree with one of the statistics he gave when he started the talk
9) No Dynamics demo this year :)
10) No Craig Mundie "rinse and repeat" demos either!!!! :):)
11) No Lisa Brummel to talk about layoffs, whether we are done yet, etc :(

Anonymous said...

I am in general very optimistic about Microsoft and was hanging on hope of turn around. I am also hoping that worst is behind us in terms of products.

However, I just got depressed by the news that now we have 1 more additional president in addition to replacement for the 2 presidents the "left" the company. I would have liked to see the actual results before these promotions. I sincerely hope that Windows 7 and XBox is super successful to afford the incumbants.

I also got curious to see how does Apple's executive team at http://www.apple.com/pr/bios/ look compared to us given that they have similar market cap as ours. To my surprise they have total 11 SVP+ incling the CEO. In contrast our Exec Leadership team page http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/exec/leadership/default.aspx boasts 18 leaders inclding SteveB + 7 Presidents + CFO + COO + CSA + CSA + ... Note this page doesn't include the army of SVP that are reporting to the Presidents. On top of that we have 50 or so DE and 20+ TF.

This is a total bloat IMHO.

How do others feel?

SteveB has printed lot of these leader headcounts while our company has failed to deliver business results to the shareholders. I am really hoping that some shareholder activitist put a motion to remove him. You can count on my vote.

Anonymous said...

I loved the reference to Almost Live. And that reminds me of some potential hosts:

John Keister
Pat Cashman
Bill Nye
Joel McHale

Anonymous said...

Vote Stephen Colbert as the Company Meeting MC for 2011.

Seriously, did Amy write her own material or was it scripted for her? It seemed as if it was ghost written by someone in PR.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know: If you're "fired for cause," say, after a failed PIP, does it make it harder to contract/vend at MS afterwards than if you resigned before that happened (and, presumably, not take unemployment)?
Thanks.

Anonymous said...

> This is a total bloat IMHO. How do others feel?

Totally agree. Especially this is ridiculous when two presidents share the same P&L unit

Anonymous said...

> The KIN disaster is being followed by WP7 that, while cool, is 12-24 months too late unless there's a 7.1 update ready in 6 months.

You're kidding right? WP7 is at least 3 years late comparing feature set to iPhone v1, and that was 2007

Anonymous said...

I've heard that there were layoffs yesterday and today; and more coming next week. Any truth to this? Or are these more small group stealth layoffs.

I just noticed a former teammate disappeared off the GAL on 9/30. If he was planning to leave I figure he would have mentioned it was leaving in the elevator. Anecdotal sample size = 1

Anonymous said...

LIked the demos - hated the host. Would have been good to hear more about the Enterprise products.

Anonymous said...

I'm very disappointed with the company meeting. The lack of the iPad/Android tablet competitive story, Windows 7 on "slates", basically this means the tablet market is lost to the competition. They never learn.

Anonymous said...

Well, actually we had a Company Meeting with the Almost Live cast - back in the days of the Kingdome. Wow, that dates me...

Anonymous said...

SteveB is a tool. I quit from Windows the other day (after E/70review at senior level) because I believe that as long as Ballmer and Sinovski and their cohorts are around life at MS is going to suck big time. I am confident that as soon as MS dumps that Ballmer tool (and some other tools from Server and Tools like Jeffrey Clownshoes Snover) the stock price will be go up! I may even consider coming back, as colleagues are great tallent, but division big freak circus! Take it and go.

Sanjay Kumar said...

Note: This is my comment posted to Philip Su's blog post: "Goodbye Microsoft, Hello Facebook!" http://worldofsu.com/philipsu/?page_id=193

The comment tells the truth but unfortunatelly was deleted by the coward Mr. Su. It seems that Mini is a mutual friend of Su so let's see what happens this time.


It is a good thing for Microsoft that Philip left.

It was told that in the old good days, Microsoft people assumed the others to be stupid unless proved otherwise. Certainly Philip is one of the old schools.

In the beginning of his blog, here you are -- "I offend people inadvertently all the time, almost as a rule."

The arrogance is unbelievable. It is THE reason that Microsoft fails again and again when true competitions come.

There is a secret Microsoft 'promotion velocity' concept -- Anyone who gets promoted within the first year is seen as high potential. It is bullshit but nobody calls it. You have to agree that Philip got lucky at the start point. There is nothing wrong with that but listen to his "wise words" --

" I have no idea how to consistently deliver impactful business results without becoming visible as a side effect. "

We all know anyone who can deliver results, let alone impactful business results, has to have a certain degree of political survival skills.

When more than half of Microsoft SDEs have to kiss ass to get good assignments, Philip spits them right on the face.

If one is assigned to fix bugs in codes written by a group of genius 20 years ago, what can he do? Don't tell me that you will rewrite the 50 million lines of codes. If one's only assignment is to make daily builds, the lucky person would thank God for his so-so review from his nice manager.

We have to ask, How much is Philip's honesty and integrity? None of course.

Now let's talk about accountability.

Where is Money? Lost? Nice quick rise up from a failed product, Philip.

Dear Philip, as the development manager of tablet PC, didn't you feel ashamed of yourself and sorry for the company when IPad was out? Sure, VP made decisions. Marketing screwed up. But when you woke up in the morning and looked inside, what did you see? Is cutting tablet PC your delivery of "impactful business results"?

Now please leave Microsoft and go ahead to pollute Facebook, to the next level obviously.

Anonymous said...

Mini - are you really the original mini who started this blog? I get a feeling that that mini left (or fired) and now this blog is now being run by either lisab or ballmer or one of their peons? I am amazed at how the tone in this blog has changed in the past month or so to be completely pro msft execs!

Anonymous said...

Wow, Andy Lees gets promoted to President - what a punishment for losing a billion dollars on Kin, bravo ballmer, you keep amazing us with all the new ways you come up with to reward the execs that suck up to you. I am surprised you still haven't made Mehdi, Vigil, LisaB your President's yet. Why the delay? Oh, they need to lose a billion dollars first, oops sorry forgot....

Anonymous said...

Unless and until the ignorant, dishonest, shameless and grossly unproductive managers who have laidoff many high performing and growth contributing employees, for example in MCS east, are removed, there really cannot be any improvement in MSFT culture.

MSFT will remain to be a highly politicized environment where employees would continue to work towards just managing their performance reviews rather than producing tangible result oriented performance. Such a culture gives a free rein to mentally corrupt managers by making them visible and who then run amock unleashing their cruelty on high perming honest employees. This eventually degrades employee morale and leads to reduction of overall MSFT performance.

MSFT learn....identify and remove such corrupt managers who have spilled lot of blood. Its very easy to identify them, just check on those who have recently laid off employees, take a deep look at their unproductivity and senseless actions, and you will yourself generate a sense of intense anger towards them. You will keep asking yourself....WOW SUCH A THING CAN HAPPEN AT MSFT....THE LARGEST S/W COMPANY ON THE PLANET.

I have seen layoffs that only be described as cruel jokes and nothing else. They just made no sense except to the corrupt managers.

GOD SAVE MSFT.

Anonymous said...

>I know developers jumping to other platforms because VS is now such an overhead

If you think you can't develop for windows without using Visual Studio then you are beyond clueless. If people are 'jumping to other platforms because VS is now such an overhead' what are they jumping to? Eclipse? XCode? KDE? These are all joke/toy IDEs that quickly buckle if you try to do real work on them for any extended period of time.

Anonymous said...

So remind me what Ray Ozzie is doing? Personally I think it's a good thing he wasn't on stage; he doesn't inspire, he isn't inspiration, he isn't worth his salary. Chief architect? Balls, what leadership is he showing? Maybe he's sulking over Mesh going away (then coming back) because all he wants to do is reinvent groove, over and over again.

As for the rest of it; I got bored. I left. Where was the exciting new stuff? Once the coffee was removed it was just too hard to say awake.

Who da'Punk said...

Mini - are you really the original mini who started this blog?

Yes, same as I can be to the person who started this back in 2004.

And you do know that I'm a huge Microsoft fan, right? That's why I work there. When (from my perspective) things are going great at Microsoft I'm going to say it or just be quiet.

Overall: things are going great!

Anonymous said...

Total bloat?

I checked the executive bios page on microsoft.com. There are 140 execs at President, SVP and CVP level. Keep in mind that to justify being a CVP, you need at least 7-8 VPs (L69) and GMs (L68) to report in to you. That means at least 1000 VP/GM roles, almost all of whom are partners. Partners make seven figures as a minimum, so this group of 1100-1200 people sucks up $1.2billion in cash, stock and bonuses + benefits.

I am not a socialist but I am not seeing the value created by this investment. Can someone help me understand?

Anonymous said...

Joel McHale

Joel did grow up in the Puget Sound region. His family lives on Mercer Island. However, I doubt he's in any rush to come back. (Note that while Joel tours doing standup, Seattle is rarely on the list, but he seems to rush to very strange venues elsewhere. :) )

Anonymous said...

Well, actually we had a Company Meeting with the Almost Live cast - back in the days of the Kingdome.

I think that might have been a Tacoma Dome meeting... ?

Anonymous said...

>I know developers jumping to other platforms because VS is now such an overhead

If you think you can't develop for windows without using Visual Studio then you are beyond clueless. If people are 'jumping to other platforms because VS is now such an overhead' what are they jumping to? Eclipse? XCode? KDE? These are all joke/toy IDEs that quickly buckle if you try to do real work on them for any extended period of time.



and there's the problem... they're not developing for Windows any more... they're developing for the web in HTML(5) or they're building iPhone apps.
Back in the early days of VB it was simple and painless to knock up a Windows app and pretty much anyone could do it from a couple of samples and some tinkering. Now without a couple of months getting up to speed with C#, Managed Code, WPF and a dozen other frameworks you can't do anything approaching what you can in a jQuery powered web page.
If we keep going after an "Enterprise"/"Pro Developer" market then the audience is just going to keep shrinking ... there's all this talk of Breadth internally... but you can't tell a backhoe to someone who just wants a spoon

Anonymous said...

"Overall: things are going great!"
On what count Mini?
Lean and Mean - you wanted a lean and mean MS when you started this. Certainly there has been layoffs but the overall employee number hasn't changed and continues to grow.
Business results - While revenue has increased and the company is doing better managing costs, the stock and market valuation of the company remains flat for many years now and Apple has surpassed the company on market cap.
Competitive landscape - Missed the booming tablet market. Lost the eye on browser ball. Mobile? well you know. And a few more...
Management excellence- based on my personal experience, i don't think so but i hope i am the exception not the rule.

I agree that things are improving slowly and i think the company might have turned some corner and find the way back, but "Overall: things are going great!" definitely seems like a sizable exaggeration. I think this might be a sign that is going great for you. Looking at the change of tone in this space for quite some time, that seems to be the case. Good for you but the macro view still has plenty of grey.

Anonymous said...

To October 02, 2010 7:37:00 AM:
Yeah, WTF did Andy Lees get promoted to President? Replace 1 president w/multiple ones?

Gee, WP7 hasn't hit the market yet so we can't even say if it's a success or not. Couldn't they wait for that?

Under Lees' reign, we had the Kin fiasco, Sidekick data loss fiasco, and T-Mobile stopped selling Sidekicks. Talk about all that money and resources down the drain.

WinMo 6.5 was a poorly received. WinMo market share has plummeted while iPhone and Android have had explosive growth and by virtually all accounts are well past WinMo. In virtually every survey, nobody wants WinMo. It's not even on the radar.

As for "layoffs", I heard a dev in my division unfairly got a U/10 and quit recently, so no layoff I'm aware of. I also unfairly got a U/10 (unfair and inaccurate review) and also quit. I should've vanished from the GAL by now. I wish they were some buyout package or something. Oh well.

Steve Ballmer said...

I don't like most of you people's tone! This just reinforces the idea that most of you are not MS employees at all! I suspect that my many enemies run this freek'n blog and the whole thing is a big conspiracy!

Anonymous said...

Note: This is my comment posted to Philip Su's blog post: "Goodbye Microsoft, Hello Facebook!"

The comment unfortunatelly was deleted by Mr. Su. It seems that Mini is a mutual friend of Su so let's see what happens this time.

It is a good thing for Microsoft that Philip left.

It was told that in the old good days, Microsoft people assumed the others to be stupid unless proved otherwise. Certainly Philip is one of the old schools.

In the beginning of his blog, here you are -- "I offend people inadvertently all the time, almost as a rule."

The arrogance is unbelievable. It is THE reason that Microsoft fails again and again when true competitions come.

There is a secret Microsoft 'promotion velocity' concept -- Anyone who gets promoted within the first year is seen as high potential. It is bullshit but nobody calls it. You have to agree that Philip got lucky at the start point. There is nothing wrong with that but listen to his "wise words" --

" I have no idea how to consistently deliver impactful business results without becoming visible as a side effect. "

We all know anyone who can deliver results, let alone impactful business results, has to have a certain degree of political survival skills.

When more than half of Microsoft SDEs have to kiss ass to get good assignments, Philip spits them right on the face.

If one is assigned to fix bugs in codes written by a group of genius 20 years ago, what can he do? Don't tell me that you will rewrite the 50 million lines of codes. If one's only assignment is to make daily builds, the lucky person would thank God for his so-so review from his nice manager.

We have to ask, How much is Philip's honesty and integrity?

Now let's talk about accountability.

Where is Money? Lost? Nice quick rise up from a failed product, Philip.

Dear Philip, as the development manager of tablet PC, didn't you feel ashamed of yourself and sorry for the company when IPad was out? Sure, VP made decisions. Marketing screwed up. But when you woke up in the morning and looked inside, what did you see? Is cutting tablet PC your delivery of "impactful business results"?

I feel sick when somebody like Philip, who has never shipped a successful product but rises up nevertheless, starts talking about business impact, integrity, accountability and results delivery.

Now we're glad that you leave Microsoft to pollute Facebook, to the next level obviously.

Anonymous said...

Hello,

This is the OP who wrote the piercing analysis :) about the number of partners numbering 1100-1200 at MS.

I neglected to add that this means there is one partner for about every 9 employees. As partners earn a minimum of $1million, those 9 employees carry a $1million burden for every partner. Reminds me a bit of the Pope being carried around in a sedan chair. Or spoiled royalty of old being fanned by slaves.

Anonymous said...

"Yes, same as I can be to the person who started this back in 2004.

And you do know that I'm a huge Microsoft fan, right? That's why I work there. When (from my perspective) things are going great at Microsoft I'm going to say it or just be quiet.

Overall: things are going great!"

Thank you for saying that, Mini. Looking at the comments, people are so negative towards Microsoft.

I mean, they have reasons to be, but its not like MSFT is on the edge of bankruptcy, the net income MSFT brings in is just damn amazing, and so what if Windows/Office are cash cows? As long as MSFT can keep them relevant (Office web apps, website/web app integration with Windows via IE9), they can continue taking innovative risks (WP7 and Bing) and grow new businesses that nobody thought would've existed 10-15 years ago or at least have such powerful brand image (Xbox).

I think its time to look at MSFT from a different perspective and stop your complaining about stock prices, Wall Street are just a bunch of drama queens.

Anonymous said...

Ummmmmm...

Why was this a good meeting? I think I missed something...

Bing demos well, but still has little or no momentum versus the competition.

WP7 demos well, but has little or no momentum against the competition (unless the new lawsuits against Motorola can be considered "momentum").

Customers DO NOT MUCH VALUE "tight integration" amongst Microsoft products. They want winning products, which integrate decently with other products of their own choice. Customers have little interest in intra-Microsoft tight integration.

Steve said and did nothing that redeems himself from the last 10 years.

Someone enlighten me -- why was this a good meeting?

Anonymous said...

Note: This is my comment posted to Philip Su's blog post: "Goodbye Microsoft, Hello Facebook!"

Totally agree!

Anonymous said...

As partners earn a minimum of $1million, those 9 employees carry a $1million burden for every partner. Reminds me a bit of the Pope being carried around in a sedan chair. Or spoiled royalty of old being fanned by slaves.

Partners don't earn $1M minimum.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft, Oracle and Paul Allen teaming up against Google:

Microsoft sues Motorola in patent case

Microsoft is suing Motorola in a case that involves the mobile-phone maker's use of Google's mobile operating system, Android.

Oracle Says Google Android Violates Its Java Patents

Aug. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Oracle Corp. filed a patent- and copyright-infringement lawsuit against Google Inc., claiming its Android software for mobile devices uses technology Oracle obtained in its January acquisition of Sun Microsystems Inc.

Microsoft Co-Founder Launches Patent War

They're the everyday fixtures of the Internet experience: pop-up stock quotes on a website, suggestions for related reading near a news article, videos along the side of your screen.
Now, Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen says he owns the technology behind all these ideas, and he's demanding that some of the world's top Web companies pay up to use them.

Anonymous said...

If people are 'jumping to other platforms because VS is now such an overhead' what are they jumping to? Eclipse? XCode? KDE? These are all joke/toy IDEs that quickly buckle if you try to do real work on them for any extended period of time.

Maybe Microsoft should focus less on doing "real work" and more on competing with e.g. Apple who uses XCode. Also, last time I checked, VS wasn't heavy-duty enough for the Office and Windows groups so I wonder what kind of "real work" you're referring to.

Anonymous said...

I have resigned myself to the fact that there are a group of folks at Microsoft that just like to complain. I agree the host wasn't great, but I don't go to the company meeting to see that goof. Some people would complain if we had Aerosmith there because of the cost saying "that money could have been saved to spare a few underperforming employees".

The fact that Microsoft is a different company to some degree due to the economy does not make it any different that the typical big shop. If any of you had experience at other companies this size and saw the the drama that goes on you would count yourself lucky.

Microsoft regularly gives stock to even bottom of the shelf employees. This DOES NOT happen everywhere else. My advice: Either get with the program and perform to the best of your ability and quit worrying about what someone else got versus what you got.

Trust me. You will live longer without stressing over nonsense. We do not work on Wall Street, yet some of you act like we do. And, I doubt anyone is living paycheck to paycheck. If you are, there is another assessment to make.

Anonymous said...

If there is such an array of impressive products (in the pipeline) why is nobody buying MSFT stock even at these levels?

Anonymous said...

"Microsoft regularly gives stock to even bottom of the shelf employees."

Uhh, no we don't.

Anonymous said...

"As partners earn a minimum of $1million, those 9 employees carry a $1million burden for every partner. Reminds me a bit of the Pope being carried around in a sedan chair. Or spoiled royalty of old being fanned by slaves."

Partners don't earn $1M minimum.


Correct. I'm not sure what the minimum total comp for a partner is, but I'd imagine it's in the neighborhood of 200k base + 100k bonus + some amount of generous stock grant. I'd assume lower-ranked partners make in the neighborhood of 4-500k total comp per year.

That said, I'd imagine that most Partners are over 500k and certainly more than a few are >1M.

Anonymous said...

This is the OP who wrote the piercing analysis :) about the number of partners numbering 1100-1200 at MS.

I neglected to add that this means there is one partner for about every 9 employees.


I think Microsoft has around 90,000 employees. For there to be 1 partner for every 9 employees we'd have to have closer to 10,000 partners, right?

Anonymous said...

> As partners earn a minimum of $1million,

How exactly do you know if this 'minimum 1 million a year' cost figure? Citation needed. Also is that anyone with the word Partner in their title in the GAL or just people that are officially partner by ladder level (which, if their GAL entry doesn't reveal that and assuming they are CVP or some other lofty title how would one know who these people are)?

Anonymous said...

>but its not like MSFT is on the edge of bankruptcy

Not monetary bankruptcy, but one can argue they are at the edge or over the edge of ethical bankruptcy in terms of how they treat the vast majority of the 'rank and file' and their tactics in the overall markets they 'compete' in.

Anonymous said...

> Also, last time I checked, VS wasn't heavy-duty enough for the Office and Windows groups so I wonder what kind of "real work" you're referring to.

Ummm I never said Visual Studio was great, I simply said that people leaving the platform BECAUSE of it is a ridiculous claim with no data backing it, unless there is such data in which case please do post it so we can all examine it. Also, my comments on XCode/Eclipse/et-al were simply pointing out they are shit as well, the overall development tools space isn't great. Visual Studio is a strong offering but not ideal and does suffer from sprawl as they try to shove everything and the kitchen sink into it. If you think it is a terrible IDE feel free to post what you view as a good IDE. If you say Eclipse/XCode/Source Insight or KDE you fail right off the bat and are likely just a troll.

As for Windows/Office using, or not using, VS it likely has more to do with their convoluted and ancient build systems and refusal to use modern C++ coding practices/techniques because it wouldn't sit well in their 100 year old, exception ignorant, C masquerading as C++ code bases.

Anonymous said...

> Just out of curiosity, what in particular made it best ever*?

The goal of the company meeting is to mislead employees, by rallying them into believing that it is in their best interest to work all hours; so the executives can make an extra few bucks a share.

With that being said, I think it went very well.

Anonymous said...

Partners don't earn $1M minimum.

Hmmm ... I know that the salary for level 68 and 69 is well north of $200k. Add to that 100% on target bonus and you are at $400k in cash, conservatively. L67 is the only band I have seen published for stock and reaches to $350k, which is 50% more than for level 66. So it seems 68 could easily reach $525 and 69 $750 in stock. That strikes me as perfectly reasonable to do $1mill+, although you have to wait for the 3-year vesting.

BTW I do apologize for my bad math partner:employee ratio is actually 1:90 not 1:9. Still seems high to me.

Anonymous said...

I have resigned myself to the fact that there are a group of folks at Microsoft that just like to complain.

Spoken like a true principle / partner / E/20.

I've resigned myself to the fact that if I was getting bonuses the size of my current annual salary... I would be thinking myself and my managers are pretty fabulous too.

Anonymous said...

I quit from Windows the other day (after E/70review at senior level) because I believe that as long as Ballmer and Sinovski and their cohorts are around life at MS is going to suck big time

+1

Right behind you. Been very happy with the activity on my monster profile.

Anonymous said...

More on partner comp ... in 2009 the company issued 10 million shares at a FMV of $25.09 for the partner award program knows as the shared performance award. This was blessedly down from the 19 million granted the year prior. So with all respect to my fine correspondent who claims partners don't earn a million a year, these awards do suggest an average award of $500k in 2008 and $250k in 2009. And a quarter vests at review time.

Anonymous said...

No mention of any thing to go against ipad, playbook, android on tablets, palm web os on tablet, why not put Windows Mobile 7 on tablets if it's ready and all done?
It runs on the same processor, has developer tools, has an app store.. from the demos looks like it's well suited for a tablet form factor what more do you need!

Despite of ballmer screaming and shouting about tablets being #1 priority by the time the next Windows comes out it's going to be a couple of years too late and once again we are going to end up with a lousy marketshare in that area pretty much like the smartphones... no wonder the stock price never goes up.. the SLT is just a bunch of rich idiots..

Anonymous said...

>> quickly buckle if you try to do real work on them

I did all my "real work" at Microsoft in Notepad2. VS did not integrate with CoreXT (and don't get me started on CoreXT).

These days I use Eclipse (for C++, not Java) when I need a full blown IDE and GVim for when I don't. Works great. Costs $0. And if you don't like something in either of the two, you can fix it.

Anonymous said...

I think complaints about Amy Sedaris are legitimate. We paid her and I swear she had negative value. I'd have vastly preferred no announcer to Amy. I'd have preferred Microsoft pay extra to not have her. She was bad.

I wasn't a fan of Seth Meyers but his jokes didn't make me suicidal.

@Anonymous 6:25 PM

Maybe you need to check the Windows org again.

Anonymous said...

Re: Million dollar partners

My understanding is that everyone at Partner level or above gets a share of SPSA stock, which comes out to approximately a million a year for the lowest partners.

That said, I heard it second-hand, so take that for what it's worth.

Anonymous said...

As a European I also want to comment: strange that a lot of people are questioning Mini's comment while EVERYBODY was standing up and sheering during Ballmer’s speech... or were you just standing up to see in Amy's eyes?
Culture shock! Lol!!

Loved the company meeting!

Anonymous said...

I believe its 1 partner for every 150 employees.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft Cut From Goldman Buy List on Mobile Weakness

http://noir.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a88MvSRLRQEs

Anonymous said...

Goldman Suchs downgraded Microsoft today so those of you hoping for stock price performance may have to wait a little longer. Were there Goldman spies at the company meeting? Oh well, what's another decade, huh, Steve?

Anonymous said...

"No mention of any thing to go against ipad, playbook, android on tablets, palm web os on tablet, why not put Windows Mobile 7 on tablets if it's ready and all done?
"

The tablet strategy is hush hush because we as a company have shown that we are unable to stay off the blogs and twitter.

Anonymous said...

Yup! "Strategy set forth is coming together...." with a G'S downgrade and further loss in stock value. This is working again! Good to see as an employee and shareholder. BTW at what point in the company meeting did people have to stand up and "praise the FAT CHIEF" and go in to some sort of cult like dance frenzy...????!

Anonymous said...

@Saturday, October 02, 2010 6:45:00 PM:
> Wall Street are just a bunch of drama queens.

I believe it is worse than that.

Anonymous said...

Wow, the stock price is taking a beating.

Anonymous said...

I'm pulling for Microsoft, a number of positive developments this year. But its obvious that Microsoft will have to share something concrete and unexpected around Slate devices at the upcoming shareholder meeting or risk stock being downgraded by others.

Anonymous said...

How exactly do you know if this 'minimum 1 million a year' cost figure? Citation needed. Also is that anyone with the word Partner in their title in the GAL or just people that are officially partner by ladder level (which, if their GAL entry doesn't reveal that and assuming they are CVP or some other lofty title how would one know who these people are)?

If you read a couple of my later posts I think I answered your question. $200k minimum base + 100% on-target bonus + $500k stock. That is the entry level, most make a lot more. There is no sure way to tell, certainly not by title. All VPs and above are almost certainly partners, and many GMs. Check the parking lot, if you see a Maserati or Bentley there's a clue :)

Anonymous said...

L67 is the only band I have seen published for stock and reaches to $350k, which is 50% more than for level 66. So it seems 68 could easily reach $525 and 69 $750 in stock. That strikes me as perfectly reasonable to do $1mill+, although you have to wait for the 3-year vesting.

+1 agree with those estimates. Partners, level 68 and above, may be +/- $1M depending upon stock awards and how many years vesting, plus potential sales comp. The OP wasn't that far off.

I've seen Sr. directors (L67) who pass along the A/10-70s to their lvl 66 and 65 direct reports (same level band - conflict of interest?) make $500K with good stock grants, gold stars, and six figure starting bonuses, or large grants on start. No special technical skills. It's more right place at the right time with the right person approving the budget.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully Microsoft will reveal something concrete and perhaps even unexpected around slate devices at the upcoming earning conference call...otherwise I think the stock risks being downgraded further.

Anonymous said...

Anybody who believes Ballmer is still the right CEO and that MS’s resurgence is imminent courtesy of Bing ($700 million in losses last quarter alone and they’re increasing), IE9 (free, and whose singular advantage after two years of development will be negated long before RTM), Kinect (immaterial to MS’s results regardless of success), and WP7 (would take years to recoup just the amount lost on Kin, primarily exists to protect Windows), must be suffering from Stockholm syndrome.

Anonymous said...

I love Notepad2. It has been my default text editor for years. It has some of the cool features that VS has, but it is one executable file and loads instantly.

To me, Visual Studio is a reflection of one of Microsoft's biggest problems. It has some great features. Intellisense is awesome and I believe was pioneered in VS. However, in typical Microsoft fashion, VS is huge and bloated and regularly locks up, so a great set of features becomes frustrating to use. Not to mention the 1GB+ deployment size and 30+ minutes to install. MSDN docs are very good, but the search feature sucks. Lack of simplicity ...

On partner comp: The stock target for L67 is just over double the target for L66 - around 220K (max is only 50% more like someone wrote earlier). I expect the target for L68 is double L67 and L69 is double L68 (I'm in the principal band, so I don't know for sure). The grants also mature in 3 years vs. 5 years. I know a couple of L67s and they are in the $400K+ comp range.

I would guess that average partner (L68+) comp is close to $1M. The early years are probably $600K, but a partner is probably close to $1M by year 3. You also have to average in the CVPs and above who are making over $1M (in some cases, way over $1M). Plus, once you make partner, voluntary turnover approaches zero.

I believe that a partner who does their job well is worth $1M+ per year. Unfortunately, Microsoft doesn't have the accountability at the partner level (or any level) and some partners game the system rather than continue working hard for the company.

It's almost like there's a "wow, I've made it to partner - now I can take it easy" attitude with some partners. If there were a "Wow, I've made it to partner, now I *really* have to deliver attitude", that would go a long way to fixing many of our woes. There is definitely some entitlement at the partner level.

Our problems aren't hard to fix on a small scale, but turning an aircraft carrier takes a big-ass rudder. Unfortunately, we have thousands of medium-size rudders working independently (and competing with each other in many cases).

Anonymous said...

Numbers: How Goldman Sachs values each Microsoft division

http://www.techflash.com/seattle/2010/10/valuing_microsoft_goldman_sachs_puts_a_number_on_each_division.html

Bottom line is that OSD and ED are worth basically nothing.

Anonymous said...

What a pathetic interview in WSJ today by our leader! MSFT is on the same path as IBM in 80's defending it's cash cow businesses and applying the same business models (of platform licensing) to new technologies. That's why it's hard for monopolies to become innovators they are true busy defending their core businesses and in turn go down the "non risky" path. Eventually over time innovators push them behind and they become just another company with lower market cap. At least in IBM's case they diversified into services in a big time (not innovators but stopped the death spiral). MSFT fate was sealed the day when a non-innovator like Ballmer was put in charge of mature businesses of Windows and Office and he couldn't manage the innovation as he was just "managing" windows and office (I think Dick Brass also had a NYT article like this). But let's see how long Gates can keep his buddy going but time is coming - may be the day Windows Phone shuts down, Ballmer goes away?

Anonymous said...

I think the day Microsoft changed from options to stock grants was a clear signal given to the investors that we dont believe the stock price is going to go up - hence we are giving our big guns outright stock awards (and throw a little in the way of low level employees just to make them feel good).

I also think that in a way poured water on the innovation fuel in the company since the big guns know they will have a huge chump change over 3-4 years any way since the stock is not going to go to zero given windows/office cash streams for some time, in turn guaranteeing them cash through outright stock awards versus having to innovate to take real business risks to drive the stock price up as is required with stock options.

Anonymous said...

Partners don't earn $1M minimum.

The posters who've been citing $300K-$600K are the closest to accurate that I've seen.

If you know many Partners, then you'll also know that it has become increasingly competitive over the past few years. I wouldn't suggest that the pressure has gone higher than what I've seen many L63-L65's deal with, though.

Anonymous said...

Goldman downgrades MSFT. Here are some kudos to windows client run by Synvoksy.

Our recent CIO survey data suggests that PC refresh cycles are beginning to elongate as budget pressure begins to surface ... In addition, the rise of tablet computing adds a new risk to Microsoft’s dominant PC and Office franchises

Anonymous said...

>The posters who've been citing $300K-$600K are the closest to accurate that I've seen

I is L66 and made 300K last year.

Anonymous said...

"the rise of tablet computing adds a new risk to Microsoft’s dominant PC and Office franchises"

No. Losing an eight year head start and then being unable to respond did that.

Anonymous said...

I think the day Microsoft changed from options to stock grants was a clear signal given to the investors that we dont believe the stock price is going to go up -

No, that's a result of government forcing new accounting rules on public companies. Apple made the same change, and so did Google.

Anonymous said...

'I did all my "real work" at Microsoft in Notepad2. VS did not integrate with CoreXT (and don't get me started on CoreXT).'

Hey, now, what's wrong with CoreXT? I asssume you're referring to older versions built on the ancient NTBuild system? Compared to Razzle, CoreXT was good despite that. Current versions of CoreXT use msbuild and integrate well with VS. My team has been on msbuild-only CoreXT for the past 2.5 years, and aside from a few initial growing pains and having to unlearn some ntbuild-isms it's gone quite well. You no longer have to manage separate sources files. You create a project file that builds in VS and then that same project file will build just fine in CoreXT.

MSBuild is nice, but by itself it's not enough for larger projects. You really need something that wraps it up and ties it all together, provides targets for things msbuild doesn't natively support, etc. CoreXT fits the bill quite nicely.

There are some quirks, though. I don't like that corext tried to force msbuild into the old 3-pass build of ntbuild, which broke a lot of built-in and external targets (for example, it took way too long to get wix files building in corext with msbuild thanks to the stupid pass system that made the publicly available wix targets not work). There's also a lot of cruft and stuff that needs to be cleared out of corext. But in comparison to other build systems in the company corext is the best.

Of course you're also welcome to build and evangelize your own build system. That's how corext came about, because people didn't like razzle and wanted something better.

Anonymous said...

Quite a sobering read ...

GOLDMAN SACHS HAS dropped Microsoft (MSFT) from its list of top investment ideas, but the major significance for investors of this action has mostly escaped comment.

Microsoft's dismissal on Monday from Goldman's Conviction Buy List shows the technology giant is "dead money," a sobriquet Wall Street uses to describe stocks that go nowhere. The stock is now an ideal candidate for investors who want to sell calls against shares because the stock is unlikely to advance in the near-term.

http://online.barrons.com/article/SB50001424052970203999004575534052239495726.html?ru=yahoo&mod=yahoobarrons

Anonymous said...

...the day Microsoft changed from options to stock grants was a clear signal...

No, that's a result of government forcing new accounting rules...


True, but the effect is the same. Combined with stagnant share price MS underwent a profound transformation where employee success is no longer aligned with company success.

This phenomenon is described in "Freakanomics" where he shows why real estate agents and sellers actually have conflicting interests.

Similarly, MS employees and the company now have conflicting interests.

Anonymous said...

>> what's wrong with CoreXT

It's not distributed, for one thing. It's convoluted and poorly documented, for another. It's not conducive to unit testing of individual modules, for the third (since granularity is severely lacking).

Anonymous said...

It is sad to see Ballmer yammering on to the press about The Cloud.

Microsoft's focus should be on improving Windows.

Win7 is a slow, bloated, confusing mess that's still unmanageable to most computer users. Just because it's less slow and bloated than Vista doesn't make it good.

I have started recommending Macs to my less-computer-literate friends and family members because they will have a better experience and require less technical support (usually from me).

Microsoft could make a(nother) fortune by selling an operating system that's less feared and loathed. But instead Ballmer seems convinced that Windows couldn't be better. Reminds me of IE6.

Anonymous said...

At our senior director's All Hands meeting this morning, he had one presentation slide that listed all of the people in his org who got promotions at review time. Gee, thanks for making the rest of us feel like $@&*. I'm surprised HR would allow this.

Anonymous said...

The continued discussion of how much Partners bring in a year confuses me.

None of this is a mystery. It's been discussed, and discussed right here for years. These people are paid N times what you are paid. 'Fair' is immaterial.

Why the sudden renewed interest or surprise?

(No, I'm not of the favored gentry.)

Anonymous said...

Outstanding visionary leader has to be an exemplary human being first - amazing video to watch:
SJ commencement

Anonymous said...

hi, from mskk(jap).

we need to attend to meeting at a.m.1:00(jap time). due to time lug.

i'm tired of attending to meeting for global.

Anonymous said...

"It's not distributed, for one thing"

Define your terms, please. What do you mean by "not distributed"? Are you referring to build labs? If so, that's not CoreXT's problem, but BuildTracker's, and they do a pretty good job of rotating builds around servers. Granted you can only do a single type of build per machine (retail, debug, cover, and fxcop each on different machines), but when you have interdependencies that makes sense (machine A builds dll 1, machine B built dll 2, how does dll 1 refer to dll 2 and know that it's good?).

"It's convoluted and poorly documented, for another."

Fair point. I blame ntbuild for this, and the fact that corext is run as like an open-source project inside the company. There are a few maintainers and anybody can contribute, but nobody's day job is to maintain, document, enhance, etc CoreXT.

"It's not conducive to unit testing of individual modules, for the third (since granularity is severely lacking)"

Do mean in-build unit tests? If so, CoreXT has supported that for years (at least with nunit in ntbuild-style builds, not sure about in msbuild-style builds). I don't blame you for not knowing this, though, per point two. Personally, I dislike in-build unit tests and my team doesn't use them. Instead we build our own unit tests in VS and run them ourselves (manually from VS or automated on BVT machines). We've never had issues doing this, and we can build unit tests at whatever granularity we like.

Anonymous said...

If you read a couple of my later posts I think I answered your question. $200k minimum base + 100% on-target bonus + $500k stock. That is the entry level, most make a lot more.

But you're still wrong. Sorry, I'm not going to share the stats but each of your targets is high and you clearly don't understand the compensation model at L68+ based on your numbers. Believe it or not, I don't care. Ask someone who doesn't mind sharing this non-public info with you.

Anonymous said...

>>At our senior director's All Hands meeting this morning, he had one presentation slide that listed all of the people in his org who got promotions at review time. Gee, thanks for making the rest of us feel like $@&*. I'm surprised HR would allow this.

WTF!!? Where do we get these people? Perhaps its a "tree shaking" exercise to see who will leave in disgust and at no cost to the company.

Anonymous said...

Life sucks! Ran out of coffee this morning, so what I am drinking right now is moslty water with milk. Taskes kind of lame.

Aaaah, feels good to bitch about something, doesn’t it!

Anonymous said...

"Win7 is a slow, bloated, confusing mess that's still unmanageable to most computer users. Just because it's less slow and bloated than Vista doesn't make it good."

Umm... Win7 is not a slow, bloated, confusing mess. It's a decent OS and stacks up quite well with Mac.

This coming from a long-time Microsoft employee who would jump ship in a heartbeat if presented with a comparable package from elsewhere... I have no love for the company at all. However, I also don't bash a product just for the sake of bashing.

Win7 is not what you describe.

Anonymous said...

As for Windows/Office using, or not using, VS it likely has more to do with their convoluted and ancient build systems and refusal to use modern C++ coding practices/techniques because it wouldn't sit well in their 100 year old, exception ignorant, C masquerading as C++ code bases.

Lol, I have to agree that the C++ Windows code that I saw was some of the worst C++ code that I've seen (and I've been programming in C++ for 20 years). On the other hand, C++ exceptions are no joy either - it took years for the comp.lang.c++ contributors to answer all of Tom Cargill's issues. IMO, Steve Jobs got it right once again when he chose Objective-C back in the NeXT days. Nowadays, when someone hits me up for a job asking for C++, I think, "Loser!" I mean, I can do it, but I think you are a loser for starting a new project using it - and I will set my rate accordingly :-)

Anonymous said...

To me, Visual Studio is a reflection of one of Microsoft's biggest problems. It has some great features. Intellisense is awesome and I believe was pioneered in VS. However, in typical Microsoft fashion, VS is huge and bloated and regularly locks up, so a great set of features becomes frustrating to use. Not to mention the 1GB+ deployment size and 30+ minutes to install. MSDN docs are very good, but the search feature sucks. Lack of simplicity ...



Microsoft Research: The Influence of Organizational Structure On Software Quality: An Empirical Case Study

Table 4: Overall model accuracy using different software measures

Model Precision Recall
Organizational Structure 86.2% 84.0%
Code Churn 78.6% 79.9%
Code Complexity 79.3% 66.0%
Dependencies 74.4% 69.9%
Code Coverage 83.8% 54.4%
Pre-Release Bugs 73.8% 62.9%

Anonymous said...

"Outstanding visionary leader has to be an exemplary human being first - amazing video to watch:
SJ commencement"

Visionary? Sure.
Exemplary human being? Don't think so.

Anonymous said...

It was best ever for me: I was biking on a trail instead of visiting it.

Anonymous said...

>he had one presentation slide that listed all of the people in his org who got promotions at review time. Gee, thanks for making the rest of us feel like $@&*. I'm surprised HR would allow this.

At least it is public, in my org no one talks about it, then one day you notice the dipshit down the hall that would probably run out in front of a train if you weren't there to prevent it has gotten promoted while displaying exactly 0 of the traits the the actual CSP's call for in his new level and having shown a mastery of NONE of the CSP traits from his last level...but he has been here a long time, maybe a pity promotion. If it was public at least people (say his manager) would have to stand behind it and justify it, as is he only has to if individual employees confront him in a 1:1, and even then he can claim you are the only with the view that he didn't deserve it. Bull - shit, the clock is ticking, can't wait for the ship cycle to end (so I don't screw my teammates who, for the most part, I actually like) then I am gone! I don't care if every other place out there is the same, I REALLY need a change in environment, mainly a long vacation and escape from the blatantly incompetent management chain that exists above me as far as the eye can see.

Anonymous said...

The swipe at Windows Mobile 6.5 in the intro to the Windows Phone 7 demo was crass and disgraceful. Whether they succeeded in the marketplace or not, a lot of engineers worked hard to put that out and the Company Meeting is not the place to kick people in the the teeth. Whoever that greasy looking person doing the demo was, shame on you.

Anonymous said...

>> Define your terms, please.

By "distributed build" I mean distributed build a-la distcc, when your code is compiled in parallel on multiple machines that would otherwise sit idle. This means a full build takes one minute, and not an hour.

Anonymous said...

>> Do mean in-build unit tests?

No, I mean testing each little thing in isolation, and linking just what you need, not the whole ball of wax.

Anonymous said...

Umm... Win7 is not a slow, bloated, confusing mess. It's a decent OS and stacks up quite well with Mac.

Might want to check your info. I use a Mac and a PC with Win7 every day and there is a night and day difference in bloat. The Mac I use has inferior hardware yet performs OS tasks much faster (often several times faster) than the PC. Booting up, shutting down, logging in, logging off, going to sleep, waking up, connecting to wifi networks, switching users, connecting or disconnecting USB devices, copying or moving large numbers of files, etc.

But probably more important for people who aren't computer experts is that Macs need less maintenance. It is uncommon for Mac software to configure itself to run at startup, so you don't get into situations where you have 50 different and largely unnecessary programs running at startup and constantly in the background as you do with most PCs. Come on, when was the last time you sat down at an average user's PC and didn't see the system tray full of crap like the Flash updater, Java updater, Microsoft Messenger (probably never used), the Intel Display Adapter Whatever, some redundant 3rd party WiFi network picker, the HP Printer crap even though it's not even connected to a printer, etc. etc. etc.

I am not bashing Windows because I'm a Mac fanboy or just for the sake of bashing something. I would honestly LOVE it if I could buy regular cheap PC hardware and have a similar experience with it that I do with my Macs. It would save me a ton of money, and not only that, I'd get all my family and friends on that magical version of Windows too and it would improve their lives and reduce the amount of time I spend doing tech support for them.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree. Except for Amy Sedaris. I love her - but she wasn't very funny.

Anonymous said...

Everything except K.T. Someone needs to teach him how to speak proper english.

Anonymous said...

"The swipe at Windows Mobile 6.5 in the intro to the Windows Phone 7 demo was crass and disgraceful. Whether they succeeded in the marketplace or not, a lot of engineers worked hard to put that out and the Company Meeting is not the place to kick people in the the teeth. Whoever that greasy looking person doing the demo was, shame on you."

I COMPLETELY disagree with your statement.

One of Microsoft's biggest problems -- and one of Ballmer's biggest flaws as a leader -- is a crazy ability to pretend that everything we do is magic, and a stubborn inability to admit when we were stupid. This almost destroyed our company and is exactly why we lost the mobile market in the first place.

WinMo 6.5 was DISASTROUS, and embarassing, and a major mis-step for the company. Yes, many engineers did their best -- but it was the wrong product with the wrong features and damaged our reputation.

Bashing our own failures is a skill we need to learn.

Anonymous said...

It was best ever for me: I was biking on a trail instead of visiting it.


Ha! +1. I wonder if it was the same trail.

Anonymous said...

>"Outstanding visionary leader has to be an exemplary human being first - amazing video to watch:
SJ commencement"

Hahaha read of the history relating to him and Wozniak (who was his BEST friend mind you). He screwed that guy so many times in business deals and in not giving him credit for things he (Wozniak) clearly did the lion's share of the work on. To be an 'exemplary' human being means you can't be a douche when it suits your needs, you have to actually have integrity and some consistent code of ethics, not just 'be ethical whenever it suits me and/or when it is to my benefit'. not an Apple hater, let's just keep some perspective about Steve Jobs shall we. He is a great business man, as a human being...well he certainly has his faults.

Anonymous said...

ref. Stealth Layoffs:
How many people do you know with manufactured underperformed reviews after many years of exemplary performance and company awards? I myself know some personally, and know many others that these stealth layoffs have impacted since September. The company should be ashamed of itself for the treatment of it's best asset, supposedly it's people. Shameful!

Anonymous said...

Here is what to do if you have even the slightest suspicion of getting a 4 or a 5:

1. Invest in a good silent audio-recording app for your iPhone/Android/WP7.

2. Test the app with the phone sitting on your desk and in your pocket.

3. Determine how long your phone can record on a full battery using the audio from a TV or a radio.

4. Consider investing in an external mike as well.

5. Make sure your phone is fully charged before the meeting.

6. Record the entire review.

7. If you are getting a 4 or a 5 ask your manager to explain in detail the reasons.

8. If you were given a good review mid-year and the 4/5 is a complete surprise, get your manager to confirm that as well.

9. Get your manager to confirm any facts that support the case that this score is completely unreasonable.

10. Once the review is complete, make a written transcript of the entire review meeting.

11. Repeat 6 if you end up in a job-in-jeopardy 1:1 with your manager.

12. If you are getting a 5, consider filing a complaint with EEOC.

If you end up needing to submit proof, always use the written transcript, not the audio recording. You will use the audio recording only if the written transcript’s authenticity comes under dispute.