Thursday, October 28, 2010

Microsoft FY11Q1 Results

How about some FY11Q1 Microsoft earnings!

My usual suspects for earnings discussion:

Once more, with feeling.

I expect that we'll have yet another break-out quarter, a better idea that Kinect is poised to be a great seller for the holidays (sell-out pre-orders and screaming Oprah audiences can't be too wrong), and some glow from reasonable WP7 reviews (oh, and yes, we all realize that it doesn't have copy and paste - and yet the apocalypse will not arrive).

So this seems like a do-over with more good news from the last quarter. Will Wall Street react with the same "Meh?"

An interesting pre-earnings release article: Sleepy in Seattle - Microsoft learns to mature.

Again, not much love for Mr. Ballmer. So, since the last quarterly earnings, Ms. Friar at Goldman Sachs dropped a bomb on Microsoft and there's been serious concern that Mr. Ballmer is clearing the executive bench at Microsoft. Or is it cleaning house? Since we're unable to criticize any mistakes our departed leaders have made, it remains a big unknown.

iPad, iPad, iPad!

Once it was "Google, Google, Google." Now it's Apple's iPad meant to be Microsoft's undoing. First of all, major props to Apple's continued success. It's been a long journey for Steve Jobs and Apple - especially for those of us who read The Journey is the Reward back when it was new. I like my iPad. It's fun. It's also no notebook replacement. I'm not even going to use it for writing tweets on Twitter, let alone writing emails. It's for screwing around, and I like screwing around... so I like my iPad. I'm blessed that I've got the spare cash for such a luxury device and the spare time to play with it.

It's a new, quick consume experience that our Tablet vision failed to realize because our Tablet vision (like all visions of that time) was so firmly shoved up the Enterprise's butt we didn't care for consumers who'd pay good money to have a fun device to facilitate their screwing around.

We continue an expensive lesson in enlightenment. And spanking: Microsoft's consumer brand is dying.

And goodness help us if Apple TV takes off. Our inability to string together a coherent TV strategy (despite having been in the TV realm for over a decade) is yet another dropped pants embarrassment waiting to happen and represents the anxiety that Wall Street has about our future despite having successes in the present.

Bloodletting

Cost cutting's slippery slope continues. I'm sure if we don't talk about continued overhead management (people, benefits, etc) that it will be an analyst question. I still believe we need to chuck about 15,000 positions (and half of our super-ballooned contingent staff) rather than continue the slow squeeze around the company that's making this an ordinary job with some extraordinary wonderful people who just haven't given up on the company. Yet. I hope that the analysts realize that continued, consistent bloodletting because a negative for hiring, and (allow me to be pro-hiring for a moment) if we can't bring in deep-talented new blood to replace the departed dead wood, our future is doomed to mediocrity.

And that doesn't get you a good dividend.

New Talent

And we're losing the battle for hiring new talent. If you review who we're losing to, it's a big surprise. You look at who is ahead of us in preference and you say, "Really? Graduating students think they are a better place to work than us?" It's a cold splash of reality that makes me - they guy who said we've turned things around and things are going great for our major initiatives - wonder if things are worse outside of the Microsoft bubble than I thought.

Frank, you're fighting an epic battle.


-- Comments

655 comments:

1 – 200 of 655   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

Joining Microsoft today is like joining IBM in 1990. Your salaries are mediocre, your stock is flat, the work you have to offer is all playing catch-up to Apple, Google, and whoever the next enemy-of-the-month turns out to be.

It's not at all surprising that MS lobbies so hard for more H1-Bs. Over in China and India, they haven't figured out yet that MS has gone to seed.

Anonymous said...

Does anybody know how the Windows Phone 7 overseas sales are going? I think they are just horrible from the information I hear from people who monitor data center traffic. How can we have any hope for Microsoft's future thinking about that?

Anonymous said...

>I still believe we need to chuck ... (and half of our super-ballooned contingent staff)

Oh, yeah, that'll be good. That's mostly the QA staff who do the hands on testing. The end result will be that our products will pass all the developer unit tests* and all of the automated tests from the test team with flying colors; they merely won't work.

* By the way, do you know what the primary motiviator for developers to write unit tests at MS? It's to hit their code coverage percentage requirements.

Anonymous said...

I think we should really be hedging out bets on Kinect, Wii sales are cratering and Nintendo just posted their first quarterly loss in seven years. People are screaming on Oprah because they're on Oprah getting free stuff and we're about to spend half a billion dollars marketing this thing while the latest Halo game tops the charts and actually makes us money. The price point is high and at least the demos I've done have been neat but it just doesn't scream "game changer" to me.

It's kind of like Windows Phone 7, it's a "pretty good" product in a market with a dominant competitor that it will always be judged against. I guess that billion dollars in ad buys (half Kinect, half WP7) are supposed to make up the difference.

Anonymous said...

The sea change we've seen in 2010 is the mainstream media coverage of MSFT's business future being considered in doubt. It seems very similar in tone to the way people were talking about IBM back in 1994/1995 when Microsoft was the up-and-coming contender to their business.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mini, not sure if you're aware of this but the field EPG sales group is currently under a hiring freeze. Lots of key sales roles are currently unfilled. There seems to be confusion about why but the rumor is it has something to do with how Chris Weber was running things. Talk is about more RIFs in the next 3 months.

Anonymous said...

I did a four year stint at Microsoft, and the three year anniversary of my departure is coming up next month.

As the distance grows, I'm realizing more and more that the only thing that could bring me back would be having to make a choice between homelessness or employment at Microsoft.

Between the rampant, unchecked bureaucracy, the death march ship cycles, mediocre pay, and a sense that the other shoe has yet to drop on benefits-cutting, you guys have a really serious problem.

Anonymous said...

I say Wall Street will say "Meh" to today's earnings. What will be interesting to know is if earnings will be impacted by the "iPad effect".

Anonymous said...

I'm disappointed Mini, dismissing the iPad as just a toy, that is very typical of MS, and here I thought you where different

Anonymous said...

Really, Mini? I'm all for getting rid of actual dead wood, but do you think the 'deep talent' is going to look at our current system of forced turnover and think 'I got to get me some of that'? The product coolness is gone, corporate culture is toxic, and benefits are on the way out.
If you want deep talent, give them a reason to come over.

Anonymous said...

Layoffs+cost cutting+stock buy backs+cookie jar accounting+accumulating debt=BULLSHIT EARNINGS!

Anonymous said...

Mini, you say:
"Really? Graduating students think they are a better place to work than us?"

I'm really surprised you're surprised!!

Why would a kickass sharp newly minted Comp Sc. grad want to come to work for a company that's:
- stuck in 90's technology
- is (still) laying off it's employees
- has stock that has flat-lined
- is bureaucratic with layers of managerial hierarchy
- is cancelling new initiatives
- with a CEO who has absolutely no style

Anonymous said...

I second the losing talent part. I am a senior at cmu and Microsoft is the least favorite company my friends want to get into. It's either Facebook, google or some startup in the bay area . I think until ballmer proves that he cares about making a good and excitig product rather than barking about crushing competition and generating revenues, the talent will keep passing over

- A former intern and returning full time

mazola said...

"Make no mistake about it, we're all in," Ballmer declared. "I get all kinds of questions about 'what if you don't do this or that,' or blah, blah, blah. BOOM, baby, that's what we're going to do!"

Well I'm reassured!

---

http://money.cnn.com/2010/10/28/technology/microsoft_pdc/index.htm?source=cnn_bin&hpt=Sbin

jon said...

Good quarter. Pity about the online division. I think that pushes it to about $5B in losses since 2009. Oh well.

You look at who is ahead of us in preference and you say, "Really? Graduating students think they are a better place to work than us?" It's a cold splash of reality that makes me - they guy who said we've turned things around and things are going great for our major initiatives - wonder if things are worse outside of the Microsoft bubble than I thought

Yeah really. Everybody who's been there for a while should try to spend a lot more time outside the bubble. Here are the kinds of questions people ask me from outside:

- Just how good does MS look in a resume these days anyhow?

- Is it really as political as everybody says?

- Who are the stars at Microsoft that I want to be like when I grow up?

- What are my chances of working on a product exciting enough that my friends and family will care?

- Who are the female, black, Latin@, etc. role models?

Given that, it's impressive that the company does as well as it does on the recruiting side.

Anonymous said...

"I like my iPad. It's fun. It's also no notebook replacement. I'm not even going to use it for writing tweets on Twitter, let alone writing emails. It's for screwing around, and I like screwing around."

Mini, please remove the blinders. It's easy to make it better than the arkane laptop for productivity apps, imagine projected keyboards/display and with cloud it will a notch above laptops. Businesses driving innovation is behind now consumers are driving it with connected devices and apple is on the forefront here.

- Also another good quarter for MS driven as usual by uptick in business spending for Windows and Office, nothing new. The longer this keeps happening, the more delay in truly driving the change at the company to drive profits from new businesses. Remember Apple really turned around from their dependence on Mac when their board threw out their scumbag CEO and brought back Jobs in the late 1990s to bring the focus back on innovation. If MS does not develop non-windows/office profits quickly, the quarter where MS misses the rev the stock will tank dramatically with the double whammy. Time for change by the board is NOW, when things are not bad profits wise and not when they will look terrible.

Anonymous said...

Ballmer delivered a great quarter! All bow to "da-man" for a great follow-up to the company meeting. Stock up after hours!

Anonymous said...

I've heard that Microsoft tweak their figures for the consumption of Wall Street et al; the all-too-common "pea and thimble" trick as applied to corporate accounts.

Does anyone here have inside information regarding this, and, if so, are they able to comment?

Anonymous said...

Kudos to Sinofsky for stellar windows client revenue! He will reinvent iPad and take over consumer divisions.

Anonymous said...

yup.. it is going to be MSFT's toughest year @ college recruiting.

Anonymous said...

A good application for Azure - Pixar uses Azure for rendering their movies.

Microsoft and Pixar Team Up To Bring RenderMan On Azure

If it is affordable for small animation studios to use, it could do really well.

Anonymous said...

Mini, *you* might not want to Tweet from your iPad, but every single one of my students not only Tweets, but Facebooks, e-mails and texts from their tiny little phones.

You're kind of outta touch here, and your comments sounds a lot like our old insistence on how the stylus was far superior to touch.

Anonymous said...

I've heard that Apple tweak their figures for the consumption of Wall Street et al; the all-too-common "pea and thimble" trick as applied to corporate accounts.

Does anyone here have inside information regarding this, and, if so, are they able to comment?

Anonymous said...

Mini,

much as I appreciate your post - like most of yours -, I think you got it wrong on the impact of the iPad.

I think no-one today knows or even guesses what this piece of technology will do to consumers or businesses. Bill McDermott, for example, carries one around most of the time, and SAP has actually some very nice apps that are easy-to-use, impressive frontends to analytical business data in their backend. If you combine a tool as intuitive to use as the iPad with state-of-the-art, "real" real-time data access and analysis (think in-memory databases; look up "HAMA" for a start), you get something that the industry has not seen before.

I would definitely not dismiss the iPad. Not for the consumer, not for the business user.

jon said...

By the way I am working on a retrospective blog post about Ray and Gary, tentatively titled "The Antibodies Kick In". Any perspectives from Mini's readers would be very welcome. I'll probably have a draft up sometime next week and will drop a link once it's ready.

Anonymous said...

About iPad being a toy... Consider this, our partner SAP's sales reps are giving iPads to C level execs at our enterprise customers loaded with the SAP BO tool. It is devastating to our stack at the executive level. Oracle backend, SAP middle, iPad presentation. Sure, that won’t hit most rank and file information workers, but having iPad become a success symbol that all the C's carry, then Directors carry, then Managers carry is slow death.

I keep hearing “Cloud, we’re all in” but it seems like we haven’t figured out “Cloud” means I don’t need much horsepower on the presentation end. The game has changed again as it did with the iPhone and we are having the same response of willfully sticking our heads in the sand about it.

Anonymous said...

Suing Linux vendors over patents is not going to help bring in fresh new talent out of universities.

This is really one of the key actions that defines Ballmer's approach over Gates's. Gates said all those lucite cubes were for defensive purposes, not to try and hurt competitors with.

Anonymous said...

>> I've heard that Microsoft tweak their figures for the consumption of Wall Street et al;

yup. The BBC says:

"But Microsoft said that in the same quarter last year it had deferred some revenue from Windows sales. Had it not done so, its net profit would have been only 16% higher in comparison."

So, 16%, not quite as good. But sometimes you need to hold something back in the good times so you get a even-huger bonus just before you retire. Or is that wishful thinking :)

Anonymous said...

oh wow, giving campaign numbers are atrocious in BJ's org (building 35) - could it be that cuttting benefits and then asking workers to give money to make execs look good is NOT a winning combo?

i'll give the day after the campaign ends, but i wont help those clowns in their oneupmanship games

typed from my macbook, i'll check replies on my iphone later :)

Anonymous said...

I'm very surprised by Mini's latest blog on current events. I don't think the iPad is a toy, I think it is a legit threat. If I were a recent grad Microsoft would not be on my A list of places I would want to work. Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple and NetFlix all come right to mind for me. Not everyone laid off was dead wood. I know people laid off who had star awards, exceeds and promotions and were highly respected and connected, inside and outside of Microsoft.

Maybe I'm too cynical, but three weeks after I'm told that $700 million in healthcare costs is killing the bottom line, and I need to start paying deductibles, Microsoft makes $5.4 billion in profit. I'm not seeing that profit in my stock, bonuses, or the pay increases handed out.

I had predicted that when the company picnic got axed that health benefits will be next. I'll make another prediction, you can kiss the 401K match goodbye next, or it will be put on a vesting schedule before finally being eliminated. Keep chipping away those benefits and the advantages of working at Microsoft.

Creativity is not rewarded. There is now a culture of fear with stealth layoffs. Key functions in product management and marketing are increasingly being handed off to vendors, who take their knowledge with them. The real problems are not being addressed and a great company is fading away.

Anonymous said...

> reinvent iPad

This right here perfectly describes the present Microsoft product strategy, as well as why it fails so hard.

Anonymous said...

Interesting perspective on the quarter.. http://techcrunch.com/2010/10/28/microsoft-online-business/

Anonymous said...

I personally enjoy working at Microsoft and is an exciting place to be. The recent results were excellent and beat the street. The enterprise upgrade cycle has hardly started. The Win7 phone will be a great market presence start - (with many other versions coming out - smart phones are in their infancy). Same with tablets. This is all being addressed as we speak for the near future. I won't count out Microsoft in the near or long term as the best software and enterprise - consumer products have not yet happened. This company has a very respected Worldwide presence. Not many corporates have a AAA rating.

Anyway Microsoft will gain more respect - you may be burned if you think otherwise as the company has deep resources and alot of diverse smart people.

Anonymous said...

More layoffs coming next weej November 2nd or 3rd unfortunately. Mini could you please post so that people can comment. This isn't fearmongering (I wish it was)

Anonymous said...

>>* By the way, do you know what the primary motiviator for developers to write unit tests at MS? It's to hit their code coverage percentage requirements.

Absolutely correct. We have almost 100% code coverage, yet most of the unit tests call constructors and check members are set, likewise with properties. For the most part, there are no tests of logic.

You get the behavior you reward.

Anonymous said...

oh wow, giving campaign numbers are atrocious in BJ's org (building 35) - could it be that cuttting benefits and then asking workers to give money to make execs look good is NOT a winning combo?

There used to be "Give Blood" posters in building 42. I remember walking by them everyday and not help thinking: "WTF? I give blood everyday -- I work here!"

Jon H said...

Anonymous wrote: "A good application for Azure - Pixar uses Azure for rendering their movies."

I doubt they're using it for their own movies. Pixar sells their Renderman software for other companies to use too.

Pixar has plenty of money, and plenty of reason, to host their own render farms. They also have the technical know-how to make Renderman run optimally.

Plus when they're doing a movie, they probably use in-house versions of Renderman with new technology that they haven't yet put into the version they sell.

I just can't see Pixar giving up so much control over their competitive advantage.

Renderman on Azure makes a lot of sense for lower-budget productions from other companies that don't have Pixar's money, technical wizards, and Renderman's developers on staff.

It's a pretty sweet deal for such productions.

Anonymous said...

"More layoffs coming next weej November 2nd or 3rd unfortunately. Mini could you please post so that people can comment. This isn't fearmongering (I wish it was)"

Really? Not fearmongering? Where did you hear it? Who told you? What groups are affected? Provide some details. Or, be quiet. No one - not anyone, really - needs to consider something as vague and potentially made up as this. I mean really?

I think the world is going to be pounded by giant asteroids, after which we will be invaded by aliens who will enslave us to mine an element that only exists on planet hthh^tyll. Please post this, Mini, so people can comment. As for me, I will go out to the garage and get my shovel, in preparation for mining (gosh, I sure wish this wasn't actually going to happen...)

Anonymous said...

Hi Mini,
Like a few others, I think you are WAY off base on the iPad. More specifically - any device like the iPad.
I grew up professionally in old school industries. A reason there are so many XP machines out there isn’t simply because IT Pros balked at Visa. That’s huge of course, but the other part is because XP does what they need it to do, which is to support a front end for the tools their employee's need. They collect data, they present data from some bespoke industry specific app – they are not creativity device. How many Powerpoints do you think the folks changing oil need to do? Do the merchandisers filling the shelves with beverages care about creating a Visio? Does your pharmacist need to make ghant charts?
A cheap, ARM based, simple UI device performs just as well and WAY more simply than a PC for a huge % of business user needs.

Up till probably 2 quarters from now, Apple and ilk have mostly just embarrassed MS and made us look slow and lumbering and goofy with our proclamations. The big $$ they’re making on phones and early phase iPad has simply been money that MS WANTS to expand into collecting.

In a couple quarters, the $$ they’ll be making will be stripped from our market share. It won’t be pretty.

I’m preparing now to act shocked and dismayed so that I can pretend no one could have predicted it so that I don’t make my chain of command look bad. I cannot do anything that’ll make my standing on the curve slide. Luckily there will still be some continuing strong years of earnings. Since MY competitors are my peers I’ll be fine.

Anonymous said...

Regarding: I've heard that Microsoft tweak their figures for the consumption of Wall Street et al; the all-too-common "pea and thimble" trick as applied to corporate accounts.

Several posts later, you simply replace "Microsoft" with "Apple".

What are you trying to accomplish? Forget about it...I'm pretty sure I already know. You should get a new hobby. Consider reading a book or doing a crossword puzzle. Far more productive.

Anonymous said...

MS is apparently an industry leader in one respect - buying our politicians.

http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/67948

Anonymous said...

Ex-Microsoft now drone in Corporate America here.

My team is doing mobile computing planning for our mid-sized org. The users from GM levels to line worker levels are saying things like:

1. We want ipad because labor's very competitive in this town and if we give them a tool to use that they won't like they'll just go to another company. It's not the 80's or early 90's any longer.

2. We want snazzy visuals on the screens. (Uh oh, now we need design geeks on staff in addition to database coders.)

3. We want the app to be pick-list driven as much as possible, scroll through the options the way you scroll on an ipod Touch. Using the keyboard or writing anything is last resort for many users toward the very top (dashboards, summary views, zoom in for detail) or very bottom (the guy in the warehouse pressing a button to send an email to a distributor that an item is in stock) of the org chart. It's the middle managers who want and need full laptops with keyboards.

4. We want fast graphics because it annoys our users to wait. They're used to ipod and iphone graphics speeds now, and won't accept less. See point 1 as to why we care about pleasing our users.

5. We don't want something that takes 5 minutes to boot. They think of iphones and ipods as computers, and know that the ipad is pretty much on from the word go, and see anything less as also-ran technology.

And maybe most interesting:

6. Why are we still term serving into old client/server apps when we're using them remotely? If our supplier isn't keeping up with the times (translation: supplying a web version with all functionality of the fat client version, so that RDP is no longer required), maybe we need to evaluate alternatives.

The ipad UI seems to be yanking managers who didn't care about ancient business app UI's designed around Win95, into the 21st century. Suddenly nasty old VB Access form type UI's, with non-intuitive click sequence behavior in places due to poor programming by low-level drones or toolkit bugs, that are found all over corporate America are being seen as a problem, at least at our organization.

And what they're saying is that a modern UI is a feature, and that if their supplier can't meet their UI bar, it's time to at least look at other suppliers to see if they can.

This could put pressure on vertical market MS partners to consider UI rewrites, and perhaps the rewrite would have the goal of targeting multiple web devices rather than just Windows fat clients.

Anonymous said...

Gates said all those lucite cubes were for defensive purposes, not to try and hurt competitors with.

..

Uh huh. I remember when Microsoft reached there 10,000th patent and shipped! What an accomplishment that was! The US Patent system didn't crash.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10157884-56.html

Anonymous said...

"I personally enjoy working at Microsoft and is an exciting place to be. The recent results were excellent and beat the street."

Dude, sober up. Check AAPL revenue vs. MSFT

Anonymous said...

>More layoffs coming next weej November 2nd or 3rd unfortunately. Mini could you please post so that people can comment. This isn't fearmongering (I wish it was)

What is our record of predicting layoffs now? I think we have successfully predicted 10 of the last 3 layoffs.

Anonymous said...

Layoffs are confirmed for November 3rd. Check the conf room bookings....very scary.

Anonymous said...

RE: Microsoft/Pixar, RenderMan on Azure

If it is affordable for small animation studios to use, it could do really well.

This is a tiny, tiny, tiny niche market. The Microsoft business model depends on selling a hundred million of something. That's how MSFT amortizes the cost of all those engineers. A ten-person company could make a profitable business out of RenderMan/Azure; MSFT can't.

Anonymous said...

Peter Klein's commentary on the quarterly results...

In his remarks, Klein highlights the fact that the rate of EPS growth was actually higher than the rate of top-line growth -- due to the company's "management of its cost structure."

Translation: "We improved our numbers by squeezing a little more blood out of our employees."

Welcome to Walmart, lads...

Anonymous said...

Gordon Bell: On the demise of DEC

In an analysis of the downfall of Digital Equipment Corp, Gordon Bell cites as a major contributor the fact that fewer and fewer of DEC's corporate-level managers knew anything about computers; other than Ken Olsen (who wasn't really in touch with current trends), they were all sales-and-marketing types. As a result, more and more decisions were based on trying to protect existing revenue streams, rather than trying to innovate. This transition from technology company to sales company reached its zenith when Olsen was replaced by Robert Palmer (a.k.a "Mr GQ") -- who carved up the company and sold the pieces.

Sound familiar?

Another DEC story: In the mid-1970s, DEC and Western Digital co-developed a PDP-11 on a chip (the LSI-11). Somebody pitched the idea to Olsen of producing small, single-user computers; he killed the project, saying "who would ever want something like that on their desk?" Who, indeed.

SteveB's decision to fire Ray Ozzie and not refill the CSA role will be remembered as a similar failure of judgment.

Mark Lucovsky said...

Wow, what a dissatisfied bunch. So much has changed since I my time (1988 - 2004)

I'm reaching out two two of you and offering a 180-degree change in your job satisfaction trajectory :)

I'm Mark Lucovsky, Microsoft Alum 1988-2004, Google 2004-2009. I have been at VMware now for a bit over a year. It reminds me of Microsoft back in the early 90's (a.k.a., the good old days...)

I'm flexible on location between Palo Alto -OR- our brand new Eastside Engineering Office.

Looking for two experts in AD. One must be an expert in topology, testing, etc. Make sense? Can discuss more via phone and email.

If you are interested, send me (markl) and krishnag an email

markl@vmware.com
krishnag@vmware.com

Thanks

Mark Lucovsky
CTO, Cloud Services Division
VMware, Inc.

Anonymous said...

Phenomenal comments. Comment quality has really been great lately.

Mini... Shame on you for becoming a dinosaur and "not getting" the iPad. To stay relevant as a technologist you need to think outside of your own box.

If not, at least just look at sales figures. Your "luxury toy" view of the iPad doesnt jibe in any way with its ENORMOUS sales or its lightning fast incursion in the enterprise.

In my last days in the field at MSFT (Ive voted with my feet - sorry guys... and I suspect my spot will remain unfilled for a looong time), I saw the iPad being adopted at *mid levels* at *all* of my customers enthusiastically.

In the new world where IT wants to run lean and mean and DOES NOT want to be in the "hardware refresh" or "deploying Windows to help Microsoft" business, the iPad presents HUGE opportunity.

The poster that wisely pointed out that NO ONE at MSFT wants to face the reality that "all IN BABY!" means you do NOT necessarily *need* a big fat desktop OS for a huge chunk of users/workers was SPOT ON.

Good luck with that fantastic desktop OS running on yet another incarnation of the slate format approach! Just a few months ago Sinofsky felt the iPad would be a non-event. LOL. Now that it has released and is killing a chunk of potential Windows share, his tune has changed and he will now be the guy to "show how its DONE!"

Yeah ok... keep believe the dream.

On WP7... Nice that you focus on Copy/Paste. How about not having S/MIME or RMS support? Or multi-tasking? Or a healthy app store?

You dont think that coming to the party this late, utterly NUKING the legacy base (quite happily too), having parity only with the revision 1 incarnations of the current competitors, and having ZERO brand credibility is going to matter?!?!

The iPhone is a product. Google's Android gave the lagging handset manufacturers the injection they needed to become instantly relevant in the Smartphone game. The world was changing and they had a big problem ("they" being Moto, LG, Samsung, etc). They were incapable of producing compelling smartphones and no one was offering them an OS that could match RIM. Then Apple came along with a closed ecosystem and things started looking GRIM.

Well Android timing and Google were EXACTLY what they needed and were perfect. So now you have the iPhone, or the Moto Droid. Or Samsung Galaxy. Or HTC whatever. Even HTC said "F Microsoft". They simply could not keep waiting and MSFT strategy and biz practices in mobile are horrible.

Now along comes WP7 and, while no carrier or manufacturer is quite ready to say "no thanks" yet, neither are they willing to "bet big" on it. You can see that already. Its "ok, we'll make one and ok, we'll stock one, and if someone is interested I guess thats ok".

This is the LAST SHOT for a mobile Windows and it is entering waters FAR worse than the original WinMo entered.

ANY handicap is a death sentence.

But again... keep keeping that faith! Part of the problem at MSFT is there is a refusal to see that there is a LOT of mediocrity and a GENUINE belief that mediocrity really isnt mediocre of MSFT is the one pushing it.

Anonymous said...

Finally see something positive on this blog.

I need to say that I am a big fan for SteveB. Why?

1. CEO

The job of a CEO is to provide vision and leadership.

So far, majority of MS failures are related to execution other than vision, I think MS pick almost everything right. If people should be accountable, it should be us, who failed to execute.

Also, as a leader, Steve basically take all the blame, and continue on what he believe is right. If this is not leadership, what is?

2. Stock price

If MSFT have the same P/E ratio as ORCL, MSFT should be value like 70-80 dollars.
If MSFT have the same P/E ratio as ADBE, MSFT should be value like 100+ dollars.

You will need to convince me why ORCL or ADBE is any better than MSFT?

I will give more credit to Steve, since as an investor, I can load up more MSFT.


3. Consumer market

Is ORCL or IBM in consumer market?

I almost can't believe myself when I saw someone say having successful products like Window and Office is a bad thing.

I feel people always compare MSFT, GOOG and APPL mainly because they fell MSFT is winner and it should win in every case on every area.

----------
As an employee, nothing can boost my morale more than allow us to choose whether we want to take stock option instead of stock award.

As an stock holder, nothing will please me more than buying back share. I will be thrill if we can get into P/E ratio like 5. Who care about the stock which is already shoot up, I want something which I can load up more.

----------
I agree that MS have many challenge, however, which company doesn't?

Apple? Its CEO is already a problem. If he retire, what will happen? Its company size is another problem. I will be surprise to see APPL go up 25 times again with its current side.

Anonymous said...

You have to be kidding? A fan of SteveB? The only reason he is CEO is because he owns a chunk of the company, Bill does not seem to care anymore, and he managed to squeeze whatever is left to squeeze out of the Windows/Office franchise. The blunders in any other areas, mobile comes to mind, are a direct result of his lack of leadership, lack original thought, lack of direction and no commitement to win. Microsoft has never been in such a bad place as it is in right now.

I have heard of so many people and entire teams just sitting around and doing nothing for months. I know of so many senior and talented people (a lot of senior women)who have been pushed out or given up and decided to take their leadership and experience elsewhere.

There are so many cases of Sinofski calling the shots everywhere (as in other divisions) and having Steve do his bidding, getting rid of good people who disagree with Sinofski and still had some remains of original thought and imagination...

The biggest difference between Microsoft now and 15 years ago is the utter lack of leadership that followed Bill's departure, and lack of hope that things will get better. Focus is not anymore on doing great thing, but on span of control... Thanks Steve (either Steve)...

Anonymous said...

@More layoffs coming next weej November 2nd or 3rd unfortunately. Mini could you please post so that people can comment. This isn't fearmongering (I wish it was)

source?

Anonymous said...

MS Competition recruiting via comments at Mini site? Nice! that is a new one...

Do you want to hear an honest assessment of the iPad and its impact to the company? Go and have a candid discussion with any OEM executive at MS. I did, the response: "the iPad is crushing us".

Anonymous said...

The experience of working at MS has degraded considerably in the 4 years I have been here. The great people that I trust are few and too many new hires are just "yes men" who take 6-12months to be useful and within another year will have found employment elsewhere cooler. The lack of raises and morale events combined with the fears of layoffs and bad, stressed out middle management no longer make this a good place to work.

Too often now I hear things like, "There's no way I can do X. I already never see my kids." How sad and unsustainable!

Fix the review system so it doesn't piss people off, give people more time for training or individual projects and MS might be on talented peoples' radar again. The fun is way gone and the spirit is now negative. The majority of the smiles I see are from clueless PMs.

As it is I hope I get laid off next week but I doubt it- I know too much of a domain that isn't even close to my team's charter. I do fear for my career buddy (8+yrs) with two little kids and a mortgage who was thrown under the bus for working as instructed by management after many years of good reviews.

Anonymous said...

Now that Windows division employees are paying for their own laptops, I see many employees with iPads and Macbooks. Maybe managers don't see the competitive threat yet, because they enjoy company paid laptops, and thus are not considering fulltime use of other devices.

Anonymous said...

>Several posts later, you simply replace "Microsoft" with "Apple".

Or perhaps that was not the OP but someone else pointing out how his criticism of Microsoft's undoubted number games is equally valid applied to any other corporation in the world, like say Apple. Everyone plays accounting games with numbers, it is the only way to deliver the 'consistent growth' that Wall Street demands. Who honestly thinks ANY company can grow at the rate Wall Street wants perpetually? You think Apple will? We shall see, we shall see.

Anonymous said...

"As an stock holder, nothing will please me more than buying back share. I will be thrill if we can get into P/E ratio like 5."

You might be some top gun inside Msft, but you sound like a financial naive at best or financial idiot in worse case. When a stock goes down to 5 PE, there is a very good reason why it goes that way. For e.g. just look at Drug industry, their average PE has come down to around 10 from mid-teens. You want to know why? Because of the uncertainty caused by potential govt. takeover and most of the blockbuster drugs' patents are expiring. The future earning power of those companies is diminished.

If you are a true fan of SteveB and a MSFT well wisher, you would never wish that the stock goes to PE of 5. If it does, you'll have bigger troubles than trying to fish out the stock at bargain basement.

Anonymous said...

Regarding: I've heard that Microsoft tweak their figures for the consumption of Wall Street et al; the all-too-common "pea and thimble" trick as applied to corporate accounts.

Several posts later, you simply replace "Microsoft" with "Apple".

What are you trying to accomplish? Forget about it...I'm pretty sure I already know. You should get a new hobby. Consider reading a book or doing a crossword puzzle. Far more productive.


I'm the OP; the first post was mine, the second post *was not*, so please don't be so hasty to rush to judgement on the basis of an assumption :-)

Perhaps the second post regarding Apple was by someone who knows that Microsoft indulge in "creative accounting", and thought that the best defence was that old school yard stand-by: "But Miss, he was doing it too!!!".

Anonymous said...

Dude, sober up. Check AAPL revenue vs. MSFT

Why? He doesn't work for AAPL. And he enjoys his job, don't be bitter just because someone does.

Anonymous said...

Good results, but you still want to layoff....what' sthe logic. The fear still exists more so because incompetent, political and corrupt managers who hardly contribute and just rule by fear still rule the territory.

Anonymous said...

Why do most best-and-brightest grads avoid Microsoft? The same reason many best-and-brightest industry hires avoid Microsoft:

The negatives vastly outweigh the positives.

- The 'reward' system used to be a portfolio of options that had been rocketing for years and would continue to do so. Today, it's a salary/bonus/stock system that is totally unrelated to merit.

- Innovation is punished, not rewarded. Corporate culture supports culling all forms of dissent, even positive forms. Sit down, shut up, do what you're told, act elated to be doing it, and be sure to voice to everyone who'll listen why the Director/GM/VP's vision is flawless!

- The cuts in benefits merely underscore a trend at Microsoft. The Best-And-Brightest know that unless they happen into the right political circle, they'll be considered a replaceable cog at best.

Sadly, the best thing I can say about Microsoft today is that Puget Sound Real Estate prices still pale in comparison to the Bay Area.

Woo. Hoo.

Anonymous said...

Could someone from AdCenter please fix the settings page in the Silverlight UI abomination you guys released? At least on a Mac, once you get to the settings page there seems to be no way to get back - the links simply don't work.

Anonymous said...

I think I finally understand... why MS Stock stays so low. After beating analyst expectations and seeing a tiny rise, couple with my past year working at MS, I tend to agree with Mini - SteveB and KevinT are not failing in vision - the company below him is failing in execution. And the primary reason is the middle and lower management structure in many areas - unexceptional people leading exceptional people. This is the only company I have ever worked at where putting in extra time and effort to assist others in going after revenue is not rewarded or even looked up to. Instead, it is actually frowned upon and makes managers angry as "It's not YOUR responsibility!". This type of leadership is amateurish at best and ivory tower at its best as well. Until the upper management recognizes such and takes some positive action, the stock will continue to stay down where it is. The analysts want Microsoft to illustrate new market leadership. When goals are set so myopically and management DNA will take no risks and do little to create new types of revenue producing opportunities and corporate teams stay in their Ivory Towers - good things simply fail to happen. Need a good cleaning here - and some talented managers from outside.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I know a lot of people at MSFT read this blog and comments, and this one has nothing to do with the post, however i am hopping to catch the attention of the author to make a post about what i am about to ask or for other commenter to help me out here.
I am a SDE looking to move to other team (I am bored with my current one) however I don't want to go do the awkward way of doing this at microsoft, I friend of mine told me about "stealth" interviews, and how his current team hire him using a "stealth" interview and when he got the job, then they started the normal "circus" that Microsoft requires of letting your manager know and do a fake interview, etc.
I want to know if this is very common among teams in MSFT, which teams do it, and how can I find teams that would do this?

I am also considering the ridiculous and more "practical" way of switching teams within MSFT, by quitting, working at other place for a year or so until I find a team/position at MSFT that I actually enjoy.

any advice would be appreciated, thanks.

Anonymous said...

This is a tiny, tiny, tiny niche market. The Microsoft business model depends on selling a hundred million of something. That's how MSFT amortizes the cost of all those engineers. A ten-person company could make a profitable business out of RenderMan/Azure; MSFT can't.

Is it a niche market because of a lack of interest in making animated movies?

Or, because it is so expensive and time consuming to get a high quality render?

Aniboom

Xtranormal

Anonymous said...

Now that Ozzie is gone, perhaps time for a new slogan?

"We're all in.. a bit heaping pile of sh*t and we're never getting out of it"

On the interns discussion.. Most interns are learning Java, Python, and Linux at school. That's one additional reason why they want to go to Google and Facebook and not MS. And there are many other reasons.

P.S. Trying to run Bing on Win 2k8 is a death march.

Anonymous said...

Remember Apple really turned around from their dependence on Mac when their board threw out their scumbag CEO and brought back Jobs in the late 1990s to bring the focus back on innovation.

Nonsense. Jobs became interim CEO in ~1996 and the iPod wasn't released until 2001.

Jobs initially turned the company around not by diverging from the Mac, but by focusing on it. He got people excited about the G3 and G4 chips. (Remember the "supercomputer on a chip" ads?) He got Apple to make iMacs, iBooks, etc. with cool, sleek designs made out of colorful lucite. What late 90s TV show DIDN'T feature an iMac prominently?? And meanwhile he was transitioning the Mac to OS X, which is the basis of Apple's success today with the iPhone and iPad.

So your example doesn't prove that Microsoft should "innovate" outside of Office and Windows. Actually it indicates the opposite.

If Microsoft wants to follow the Steve Jobs school of management, it will focus on making Windows and Office AMAZING and cut all the confusing, money-losing extra BS they're doing.

But of course nobody at Microsoft wants to hear that. You all think Windows 7 is great and can't imagine how it could be improved since it's all you know. So you're all grasping for "innovation" and ignoring your core business while it turns (even more) stale.

Anonymous said...

I am a big fan for SteveB. Why?

The job of a CEO is to provide vision and leadership.

So far, majority of MS failures are related to execution other than vision

"CEO" stands for Chief Executive Officer. In other words, the CEO is the one person who is ultimately responsible to the Board for the EXECUTION of the business plan.

Also, as a leader, Steve basically take all the blame, and continue on what he believe is right. If this is not leadership, what is?

How is he "taking the blame"? This year, after a decade of failure, his bonus was only THREE times your salary -- instead of the usual SIX TIMES your salary.

Even more to the point, the CEO's job is not about taking blame. It's about getting results -- about being a leader.

A leader takes action. A leader wouldn't have let the company stagnate for ten years. A leader would act for the good of the company rather than putting his cronies in positions of power and supporting them beyond all reasonable limits.

Example: A leader would have done one big, well-considered layoff and then helped the remaining employees to recover and move on.

Another example: Robbie Bach's decade-long failure to impact the mobile device market; a real CEO would have stepped in and done something a long time ago. Instead, MSFT is left playing catch-up in a market that it pioneered.

2. Stock price

If MSFT have the same P/E ratio as ORCL, MSFT should be value like 70-80 dollars.

But it doesn't have the same P/E as ORCL, does it? And why is that? P/E is about the perceived ability of the company to grow its future earnings. The low P/E is telling you what the market thinks of MSFT's earnings potential.

You will need to convince me why ORCL or ADBE is any better than MSFT?

It doesn't matter what you think about MSFT vs. ORCL/ADBE. Like I said, the market is already telling you what it thinks the stock is worth. And when it's time for you to sell your stock, it's the market's view that wins; not yours.

I will give more credit to Steve, since as an investor, I can load up more MSFT.

So your argument is: "The stock price hasn't gone anywhere in ten years, and that's good because it means I can buy more of it."

Owning the shares doesn't make you wealthy; selling the shares does. If the share price doesn't go up (or even worse, if it generally trends down), the transaction is at best break-even. For people who've received stock grants over the last five-seven years, it's a loss. That's not a good way to get rich.

As far as the share buybacks go, if MSFT dumped half its available cash into share repo's today, the stock price would only move about 15% -- up to the $30-31 range. There are about seven billion shares of MSFT stock in the market right now. The float for ORCL is only half that, and ADBE is about 500 million. AAPL's float is under a billion shares; GOOG's float is 245 million. Microsoft's ongoing share buybacks aren't going to make a significant difference in the stock price in your lifetime.

A cheaper way to move MSFT's stock price up would be to give back some of that cash to shareholders as a hefty regular dividend with annual increases; that would attract some new investors (the "income" crowd) to the stock.

Anonymous said...

To the folks questioning the quality of mini layoff rumors... here is a news flash... just because YOU werent laid off... or just because there wasnt an ANNOUNCED lay off... doesnt mean LOTS of people didnt get laid off.

The first big block were VERY lucky. They were OSHA announced and got packages.

EVERY time a "layoff" has been announced here Ive checked around. And low and behold... Yep... plenty of people quietly axed.

These are STEALTH layoffs knuckleheads. Managers have been given carte blanche to 10% out anyone they choose, essentially.

I can tell you that in the field, folks have been disappearing steadily every review cycle I can also point to *specific* cases where folks were axed out and the spots are staying unfilled either as a result of yet ANOTHER reshuffle or simply just sitting as open heads (that are sure to vanish next reorg)

The endless, and horrific, reorg culture in the field provides a perfect cover for this behavior. Keep rearranging the deck chairs and no one really notices so much that the staff is shrinking. Plus everyone is self focused and managing up and covering their own ass anyway.

No one is going to provide evidence on a blog like this for fear it will burn them. I can tell you, though, that GMs and higher are under a *lot* of pressure to "clean house" on roughly 5-8% *every* cycle.

I also heard that a certain high lvl exec asked a certain high lvl HR person for another XXXX cuts and received a green light for 50% of XXXX.

Again, if YOU feel this is BS b/c YOU didnt get fired, congrats! But please take your head out of your ass and if you have any network internally ASK AROUND.

Or maybe most of the "positive" posters here are all new and HAVE no "internal network". That may be part of the plan. The folks that have been around long enough to be ABLE to ask around and probably high on the list to axe. Better to have the blissfully ignorant stick around.

Anonymous said...

So what is the deal with Silverlight? According to Bob Muglia @ PDC - Silverlight is dead for the web. http://www.zdnet.com/blog/microsoft/microsoft-our-strategy-with-silverlight-has-shifted/7834

Anonymous said...

It's a major concern for investors that a software company would cut benefits while making billions of dollars. It's senseless. Your real assets are your software developers. If you're not treating them right, it doesn't matter your profits or products, you'll be finished soon.

Ozzie, Bach, Allard, who knows how important they were, but they were software celebrities and they had value outside of MS' corporate structure. They were magnets for new talent. They left.

Ballmer's moves this year were correctly interpreted by investors. He's gutting the company and I can't understand it. It's worse than IBM.

Anonymous said...

"MS is apparently an industry leader in one respect - buying our politicians.

http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/67948"

Was I the only one thinking that we have a tradition of shoddy acquisitions?

Anonymous said...

Why I quit Google to join Facebook: Lars Rasmussen

Big company v small company

Rasmussen said another reason for leaving was that Google was becoming too unwieldy. He made several comments about Facebook's smaller size and how this made it easier to make an impact and get things done.

While Google employs 25,000 staff members, Facebook has about 2000.

"The energy there is just amazing, whereas it can be very challenging to be working in a company the size of Google," Rasmussen said.

Last year Google designer Douglas Bowman famously quit, complaining in a blog post that the company had become obsessed by data and minutiae.

"I had a recent debate over whether a border should be 3, 4, or 5 pixels wide, and was asked to prove my case. I can't operate in an environment like that," Bowman complained.

Anonymous said...

I guess just a couple of days ago there was a guy asking for some advice because he had a tiff with his manager, well that guy is no more at MSFT.

HE WAS INDEED TALENTED AND CONTRIBUTING TO OUR GROUP. BUT THE MANAGER PLAYED GAMES AND LAID HIM OFF.

IT'S A SHAME.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said..
I need to say that I am a big fan for SteveB. Why?

The role of the CEO is 1) mission and values, 2) leadership/people development and 3) results – a/k/a increase in shareholder value. First, mission answers one question, how do we intend to win in business? I really like Microsoft’s mission of enabling people and businesses around the world realize their full potential. Values are the behaviors – or the how – for achieving the mission. How many Microsoft employees know the company’s values. The only one I can think of off the top of my head is open and respectful communication. These should be communicated and reinforced to us at every level, starting from the top down. Half a strike for Mr. Ballmer. Second, leadership development. Microsoft’s leadership development process is a joke. Most of the manager’s a Microsoft are that – managers! They have no idea how to develop the next generation of leaders. Ballmer’s leadership bench has been purged. If another Microsoft at Microsoft lost that many direct reports in the same period of time, HR would ask, what is going on with this guy. Strike two for Mr. Ballmer. Third, increase in shareholder value. Microsoft has only lost shareholder value when comparable companies have increased it. If any other CEO on Wall Street handed in these shareholder results, he would have been out on his @$$ within 24-36 months (probably sooner). How can we hold ourselves accountable when Mr. Ballmer does not? Not great leadership by example. Also, you are dead wrong about not linking Ballmer with execution. Execution in its simplest sense is getting this done – results. Enough said.

Anonymous said...

These "great" quarter results are just going to make the pain longer and deeper. Everyone will say: "See the great results, Steve Ballmer is a great CEO, he knows what he is doing".

While ... he is so clueless. I wish he would keep his mouth shut when in public. He will be a lot "better" CEO that way. The stock will do better too.

Anonymous said...

CTO suggests 7 will be the last windows large enterprises ever deploy:

http://bankervision.typepad.com/bankervision/2010/11/the-last-windows-ever.html

Anonymous said...

I guess just a couple of days ago there was a guy asking for some advice because he had a tiff with his manager, well that guy is no more at MSFT.

HE WAS INDEED TALENTED AND CONTRIBUTING TO OUR GROUP. BUT THE MANAGER PLAYED GAMES AND LAID HIM OFF.

IT'S A SHAME.


On one hand, even one of these incidents is too many. Especially because I was the target of one in 2009.

On the other hand, MS is a place with 100K employees. What are the turnover stats? I might guess at 5-10K per year max. And I don't know how many of those are "not by the employee's choice" departures. MS has to screw up a good percentage of those departures for that to deprive the company of enough talent for it to be a problem top management will care about.

Could it be that that percentage is still low enough that management is letting it slide as a non-problem?

Anonymous said...

So what is the deal with Silverlight? According to Bob Muglia @ PDC - Silverlight is dead for the web. Microsoft: Our strategy with Silverlight has shifted

Adobe is recognizing that HTML5 will end up replacing Flash Player in many cases.

Adobe showed a prototype where they used the HTML5 canvas but added support for animation.

Adobe Shows Off Prototype Tool for HTML5 Animation

Adobe Flash was used by animators for making short 2D animated movies but animators are moving to other software since Adobe is so slow in adding features animators want.

Synfig is free and can be used to create animated movies.

Silverlight got to the party way too late.

Anonymous said...

>I can tell you that in the field, folks have been disappearing steadily every review cycle

Hmmm, so review cycles are happening in November now (the next predicted 'layoff date')? News to me. As for people saying they are BS because it doesn't happen to them, no they are saying it is BS because it is fear mongering. If you want to live your daily life under a cloud of doubt and fear go right ahead, enjoy the stress related medical conditions. I personally prefer to look around, see what needs to be done in my team and start working. If my manager wants to lay me off (he probably does, we don't get a long terribly well) I know with 100% confidence that would be a TERRIBLE decision for my team and Microsoft, and not because I am such a rock star but because I do SO much above and beyond (lots of extra hours) to make sure every little thing gets done on my team. If management doesn't appreciate the work there are numerous other local companies that will, and I am not terribly concerned about my ability to find another job.

Anonymous said...

It was a great relief to see the earnings for me. I was expecting the worse and I think the next layoff is delayed at least for six months (I could be wrong here). I went and bought an iPad to celebrate the joy :)

And thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you employyes in divisions who are making money to support me (and a lot of highly paid overly staffed others in my division :)) who is working in online services division. We probably lost over 5-6 billion dollars just to show world we can also do search :)

Still, just analyzing the earnings I am worried about the future. I like only the Office division who probaly is more safe from competitors. Windows is under a definite threat, earnings are obfuscated by deffered revenues, annuatized paymnets and just being in a good time (a lot of business upgrades after a severe recession).

I like the earnings from entertainment and devices division but I personaly wouldn't buy Kinect because I am too lazy to move my body to have entertainment :). Sorry for you optmists, but Windows phone would be another Bing, Microsoft would throw a ton of money on it but it is not going to generate any profits because competition is so huge. Overall, I will enjoy my iPad and wait until I get laid off one day :)

Anonymous said...

For the peons among us:
"The reality, though, is that no matter how much we work, it can't produce the worth we think it can. The thrill of a job promotion, for instance, is over in two weeks, studies show. Then you have to find another notch to pump the ego up. External approval doesn't go to your internal bottom line, because it's someone else's opinion."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joe-robinson/overwork-worth-ethic_b_773037.html

Anonymous said...

Well it looks like we found out where Roz Ho landed. It was announced this morning she will be running planning for IEB. Poor suckers.

Anonymous said...

There is now a culture of fear with stealth layoffs.

Question. Does it seem layoffs without severance are the now the norm or is it only certain divisions that are no longer giving severance?

Anonymous said...

@Layoffs in November

Yes it is true from what I have been hearing (dont know firsthand). Here is what I think will happen.

1: OSD will get the maximum shaft.

2: Bing & AdCenter's 10% are being aggressively managed out. It is common knowledge that majority were handed out raises around 1% - this was for a reason. I think those remaining will get the push beginning this week.

3: Bing just absorbed over 500 Yahoo employees. With losses widening, many developers at Bing will be shown the door from now till March.

4: HR realises that there are many over-levelled people at Bing. If you became a senior in 3 straight shot years - beware. House cleaning has begun.

AAPL and iPad is the biggest threat - not Google anymore. Therefore, the fun ride @OSD is almost over. Pray that steveb isn't replaced - the new CEO will for sure axe OSD.

Anonymous said...

Confirmed Nov 3 layoffs, stealth mode otherwise MSFT will have problems with visa and PERM applications (first stage of green card), will include most divisions including Windows Phone.

Anonymous said...

" Now that Ozzie is gone, perhaps time for a new slogan? "
We have it and you saw it at the company meeting: Be What's Next. I speak a few languages and have no idea how they plan to make the translation of that work but maybe our PR guy, FXS, has thought about it.

I came across a very good Special Report on MS from Reuters. It is called Sleepy in Seattle - Microsoft learns to mature. URL:
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE69P45I20101027?pageNumber=1

Anonymous said...

>>Now that Windows division employees are paying for their own laptops, I see many employees with iPads and Macbooks. Maybe managers don't see the competitive threat yet, because they enjoy company paid laptops, and thus are not considering fulltime use of other devices.

Oh, really? Which area of Windows?

I don't think employees are having to buy their own laptops. Not when I was in Windows, and not in any area I'm aware of now.

If they are, its because they want something different than a ThinkPad. That's even worse - given the choice of a MacBook out of pocket or a free (MS paid for) ThinkPad. People are choosing the Mac. And where I work, they're running OSX at home, and WIndows in a VM. (No, not MACBU).

Anonymous said...

>>Ballmer's moves this year were correctly interpreted by investors. He's gutting the company and I can't understand it. It's worse than IBM.

SImple. There *is* no plan. At least not for employees, the investment of shareholders or the future of the company.

You can be sure that some people somewhere *are* making a lot of money.

This feels like standard "end of empire" stuff, where those in charge loot what they can before slinking off to whatever is next.

Anonymous said...

I am a 10 year veteran of MS, 1 year gone now. I loved my job for most of the time, but I have never seen such incompetent managers as at Microsoft. Most of the time I could produce enough good work that they could simply be ignored, but the last 3 years or so, it has become ALL about these incompetent managers, and nothing else. No longer does anyone even pretend that anything is important other than brown nosing your manager.

Why does Gates not get this? Why is he allowing this once great company to go down the drain? It is really heartbreaking to watch, and I see no way that MS can pull out of this one. Before they made mistakes on technology bets; that can be fixed. But it is pretty tough to re-engineer a whole corporate culture that has no work-life balance, is staid and old-fashioned, and is 2/3 white males and 1/3 H1-B workers.

Sad, sad, sad.

Anonymous said...

IN RESPONSE TO: I guess just a couple of days ago there was a guy asking for some advice because he had a tiff with his manager, well that guy is no more at MSFT.....FROM ABOVE.


Is this manager/damager a PDRM at MCS. Generally PDRM's have a consistent pattern of behaving irratically just like this because they have no sense of MSFT products, business, customers etc. I had a PDRM tell me the following....I care a SQUAT about your customers.

Anonymous said...

"I had a recent debate over whether a border should be 3, 4, or 5 pixels wide, and was asked to prove my case. I can't operate in an environment like that," Bowman complained.

Good quote.

Despite being about Google, this summarizes my years at Microsoft well. Psuedo-Intellectual pissing matches over trivialities.

I fear that it is too engrained in corporate culture to ever disappear. They'll be rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic as market share vanishes. (But they will come to a conclusion over something microscopic before the very end.)

Anonymous said...

Is it a niche market because...

of a lack of interest in making animated movies?

Or, because it is so expensive and time consuming to get a high quality render?

Neither. It's a niche market because, no matter how much demand there might be for entertainment, you're not going to end up with a hundred-million licensed seats using animation software.

Anonymous said...

"If Microsoft wants to follow the Steve Jobs school of management, it will focus on making Windows and Office AMAZING"

- you must be Steve typing this. This is the biggest POS we have heard in a while. There is a difference being a manager and a visionary leader. What you are asking from Steve in milking windows and office is being a good manager. Street is valuing MSFT for what he has done with milking the cash cow. If you want to see the PE go up then one has to find NEW revenue streams with new innovations (read: AAPL stock started jumping when iPod, iPhone and now iPad became commercial success).

Anonymous said...

Is it a niche market because of a lack of interest in making animated movies?

Or, because it is so expensive and time consuming to get a high quality render?


Neither. It's a niche market because, no matter how much demand there might be for entertainment, you're not going to end up with a hundred-million licensed seats using animation software.


If you're a company like Amazon, that has a service like CreateSpace that allows customers to sell movies on Amazon's site via downloads and DVDs that might change.

Amazon can also make money from each movie sale.

Anonymous said...

Oh, really? Which area of Windows?

Everything apart from PMs and discipline managers.

Anonymous said...

Translation inline

@Layoffs in November

Yes it is true from what I have been hearing (dont know firsthand). Here is what I think will happen.


Based on no concrete information whatsoever, here's a bunch of scaremongering guff.


1: OSD will get the maximum shaft.


Oh goody. That's where I work.


2: Bing & AdCenter's 10% are being aggressively managed out. It is common knowledge that majority were handed out raises around 1% - this was for a reason. I think those remaining will get the push beginning this week.


So after 2 10s, HR will be applying for the death penalty for me, I expect.


3: Bing just absorbed over 500 Yahoo employees. With losses widening, many developers at Bing will be shown the door from now till March.


Uh, oh - really sounding like a bad week. Better try to get in before 11 for the next couple of days.


4: HR realises that there are many over-levelled people at Bing. If you became a senior in 3 straight shot years - beware. House cleaning has begun.


So if you were promoted too quickly or weren't promoted quickly enough... look out! Everyone else should be OK.


AAPL and iPad is the biggest threat - not Google anymore. Therefore, the fun ride @OSD is almost over. Pray that steveb isn't replaced - the new CEO will for sure axe OSD.


So THAT'S why we're in rented space in them fancy new Braverns.

I found someone in my office this morning measuring up for curtains. Should I be worried?

Bet you a donut it doesn't happen. If I'm wrong, I'll only be down a donut. Oh, and a job.

Anonymous said...

" 'I had a recent debate over whether a border should be 3, 4, or 5 pixels wide, and was asked to prove my case. I can't operate in an environment like that', Bowman complained."

Good quote.

Despite being about Google, this summarizes my years at Microsoft well. Psuedo-Intellectual pissing matches over trivialities."


You've apparently never worked at Apple -- these kinds of passionate debates are hardly "pissing matches over trivialities" -- they're the difference between products people love, and products people tolerate and ditch as soon as they can.

The difference of 1 pixel is fundamental to Apple's design success.

Anonymous said...

"If Microsoft wants to follow the Steve Jobs school of management, it will focus on making Windows and Office AMAZING"

- you must be Steve typing this. This is the biggest POS we have heard in a while. There is a difference being a manager and a visionary leader. What you are asking from Steve in milking windows and office is being a good manager. Street is valuing MSFT for what he has done with milking the cash cow.


Since when did improving a market-dominating product and monetizing those improvements turn into an inappropriate business strategy, i.e., simply "milking the cash cow"? You could easily say that all Google, Amazon, Oracle, etc. do is milk their cash cows. And Apple is successful now because they are basically selling miniature Macs, i.e., their cash cow from 10 or 26 years ago, depending on how you count.

If Microsoft hadn't dropped the ball on Windows, they wouldn't be 3+ years late to the cell phone/tablet markets. That's what you get when the company is run by people like you, who are looking for "new revenue opportunities" instead of developing good products.

Anonymous said...

I'm done on Wednesday.

Three kids, house, mid-40's, A-10.

I know it's coming. My boss has tried to protect me from it, bless her heart, but I can read between the lines on her face I've been watching over the last nine months, she's gonna have to do something that hurts. Wednesday it's letting me go.

I have no idea what to do now. They told me I was special. I'm not.

Anonymous said...

A good friend my mine got the dreaded 10%. He's a rock-star, too. I really have lost faith in how Microsoft manages it's people, especially with the move up or move out mentality. I don't want to go back to Microsoft anymore. The Kool-Aid smells terrible from here.

Anonymous said...

@The cuts in benefits merely underscore a trend at Microsoft. The Best-And-Brightest know that unless they happen into the right political circle, they'll be considered a replaceable cog at best.

very true.

Anonymous said...

Simple question: If someone outside of the company is looking to invest in stock, why should they choose MSFT?

Anonymous said...

It isnt that Gates doesnt "get it", its that from his view things arent so bad, and he really doesnt care.

He did his part and moved on. I fail to understand why blue badges cant grasp this. He isnt coming back like some avenging angel to "save" anyone. It is HIS CULTURE that devolved to this state to begin with!

Bill is consumed by his philanthropy as he should be. The company still continues to put up big numbers. If there is no course correction and the company loses what relevancy is left and ends up like CA, well who cares? Bill would have had nothing to do with it. His place in history is the foundation. Already everything that came before is a footnote.

Its sad to see so many being so clueless and pining for BilLG though. It really IS his dysfunctional approach to building a corporate culture that ALLOWED this disaster to come to pass. To compound the problem he left the company in the hands of a buddy that he knew would do very little if anything other than keep the lights on and cost account.

Anonymous said...

When is Ballmer being ousted?

Anonymous said...

"I'm done on Wednesday.
Three kids, house, mid-40's, A-10"

Don't feel too bad.

Me, A10, Two adult kids at home not working, wife has late stage cancer, wife's insurance company is retroactively denying all of her chemo treatments ($75K min) due to technicality, and I am mid-50s.

Life sucks, but you could be me.

Anonymous said...

"Since when did improving a market-dominating product and monetizing those improvements turn into an inappropriate business strategy, i.e., simply "milking the cash cow"?"

- Beauty is in the eye of beholder, it is not "inappropriate" - if you do it(as the current CEO is doing) the PE is reflecting that and eventually will decrease even further as the cow runs out of milk....

Anonymous said...

There's your confirmation.

We're hearing from unofficial but reliable sources tonight that Microsoft is poised to make additional job cuts this week, with the affected employees expected to be notified as early as Wednesday morning.

http://www.techflash.com/seattle/2009/11/more_microsoft_job_cuts_coming.html

Anonymous said...

And so the layoffs begin. Got my first e-mail from a contact that Wednesday is their last day. I'm expecting more over the next 24 to 72 hours.

How is shredding morale good for the company again? How is showing great people the door good for productivity?

Anonymous said...

It's so much more fun reading this blog since I left MS (of my own accord) for a new job. And it's true what they say about MS on your resume. Great if you are looking in another state, but locally more than 5 years at MS and companies are wary of hiring you since you've been assimilated by MS for too long and have lost your ability to complete projects without groupthink. I'm getting an Android phone, downloading firefox and doing my searches on google again. Actually, Bing doesn't suck so I'll probably keep using that :)

Anonymous said...

Simple question: If someone outside of the company is looking to invest in stock, why should they choose MSFT?

Only if they were interested in the dividend and didn't plan on selling any time soon.

Stock chart: VMW vs AAPL vs MSFT

Anonymous said...

I'm done on Wednesday.

Three kids, house, mid-40's, A-10.

I know it's coming. My boss has tried to protect me from it, bless her heart, but I can read between the lines on her face I've been watching over the last nine months, she's gonna have to do something that hurts. Wednesday it's letting me go.

I have no idea what to do now. They told me I was special. I'm not.


A few Silicon Valley companies are opening up offices in Seattle and are hiring now. One dropped by this blog the other day.

Anonymous said...

"To compound the problem he left the company in the hands of a buddy that he knew would do very little if anything other than keep the lights on and cost account."

Have you ever considered that this scenario is what Bill wanted? If he had got anyone else as CEO, Microsoft would have changed very dramatically. Ballmer's job was to make sure Bill's stock doesn't go down too much while he's cashing out. Not to clean house, shake up things and make Bill's reign look bad. He's done well in that regard, and he hasn't done douchey things like laying people off just to make the stock go up $2 (until last year that is -- an indication of the winds of change blowing through).

FARfetched said...

Confirmed Nov 3 layoffs, stealth mode

Hey, it's Nov. 3, where's the layoffs?

The difference of 1 pixel is fundamental to Apple's design success.

Perhaps, but I think the "pissing matches" are mostly long in the past, although (as an Apple fan) I have to admit they're a little bipolar over the "brushed-metal" presentation. Anyway, when it comes right down to it, the latest version of OSX appears 95% identical to the first.

Maybe that's the lesson: put a lot of emotion and effort into getting it right at the beginning, then don't do more than fiddle around the edges afterwards. There are exceptions, like the jarring change to the iTunes icon for v10, but that's the second lesson: people will accept changes if done one at a time and given time to adjust (ex: Office Ribbon).

Anonymous said...

You've apparently never worked at Apple -- these kinds of passionate debates are hardly "pissing matches over trivialities" -- they're the difference between products people love, and products people tolerate and ditch as soon as they can.

The difference of 1 pixel is fundamental to Apple's design success.


Nonsense. 'trivialities' means exactly what it says. If it's a critical decision, then it deserves critical discussion.
However, most of the time, 1 pixel is just 1 pixel. (I can't resist quoting Freud on someone who seems to be applying their interpretation for Apples successes without actually understanding those very successes: "Sometimes a Cigar is only a Cigar.")

By the way: You've guessed wrong about my list of former employers. Surprise. I very likely know Apple far better than you. :)

Anonymous said...

Its sad to see so many being so clueless and pining for BilLG though.

Those are the people who never dealt with Bill - who never heard the stream of obscenities come out of his mouth in a project review. Their perception is a much more public view of Bill, which lacks most of the hard edges.

Had they spent professional time "in the day" with Bill, they'd recognize that he is indeed a very intelligent man, but that today's MSFT culture is indeed what Bill put in motion, devolved over time.

If anyone who views Bill as a panacea wants entertainment, go read Bill's books. Start from the first, and move on. Afterward, come back and tell me what a technical visionary he was. :)

Anonymous said...

It is Nov 3rd. Did the layoffs happen as predicted?

Anonymous said...

"If you combine a tool as intuitive to use as the iPad with state-of-the-art, "real" real-time data access and analysis (think in-memory databases; look up "HAMA" for a start), you get something that the industry has not seen before."

Dude, neither a tablet front end or real time in memory databases are new. I realize that to Mactards everything new to Apple is new to the world. But outside the RDF, the truth is quite different.

Anonymous said...

As good as this blog is, the best part has always been the comments. Now every third "employee" (or more) is an obvious troll pretending to be an insider, and many of the rest are from the same haters, Apple fanboys and assorted other morons that target every other MS related news site on the web. Same half dozen worn out talking points. Even the exact same language in many cases. Sad.

MS has a lot of problems. But the noise to signal ratio here is making intelligent conversation about how to address that difficult.

Anonymous said...

I'm done on Wednesday.

Three kids, house, mid-40's, A-10.

The way they do this almost makes one wish there was a white color union to protect workers from this kind of sh*t. Your lead denigrates you for a couple of months with HR support. One day in the pretext of something else your lead pulls you into a meeting at the end of the day with HR where he continues to say you are worthless. What you reply doesn't matter of course. What they want you to do is quit. Don't quit or you lose unemployment benefits. When you don't quit then your lead gives you the bad news, he stops talking and HR takes over. HR wants you to sign a document, but don't sign anything and HR doesn't really care if you sign or not. You give HR your badge, company charge card. They let you keep the badge holder, yippee. They walk you directly to the parking lot to take your car pass and you drive off. That's it. You go home to your family. The next day you are unemployed.

Anonymous said...

Anyone hear of any 11/3 stealth layoffs actually happening?

Anonymous said...

MarkL is circling to pick off the last 100 folks who haven't figured There is a lot of these last several posts and walstreet comments which we knew was coming. it isn't too late to get out yet...but this is what the end looks like - sure the monopoly keeps Redmond property alive for another 3-5 years, until Apple owns slates and Google gets Chromium into Dell or HP. Management's bonus is all short term, so they just squeeze us until our eyes bug out, while they finish off the transition to 'retail' management, welcome to WalMart, how can I help you? at 300-400,000 per senior manager, how could you expect anything else?

Anonymous said...

“Frank, you're fighting an epic battle.”

Yeah, he has been exceptional. But he’s doing it with very little assistance. How could MS be caught so unprepared by iPad, for example? This is iPhone/WinMo all over again, only this time MS had almost four years to know it was coming and either head it off or at least have an immediate response ready. Now it’s obvious that nothing was done outside of some cool mockups and the company is once again scrambling and starting from scratch. How does the board let Ballmer get away with that? What possible excuse can he provide? Even if it was Robbie’s failure directly, and it was, Ballmer is the one who left him in place and didn’t at least demand to eyeball the response. That would be derelict at any time, but post the also Bach-led WinMo debacle it’s indefensible. And what about Online? What is the path and timeframe to profitability? Does it exist? If it does, why isn’t Steve being forced to articulate a plausible plan with at least some interim milestones that can be publicly checked off along the way? Instead, it looks to investors and outsiders as just another in a long line of multi-billion dollar MS failures. And if it is another failure, what will provide future growth as Windows and Office inevitably slow and then decline? S&T? E&D? WP7? LOL. The “cloud”? C’mon.

MS is headed for a crash and everyone from the plane's owner (shareholders), including its principal one (Gates), to air traffic control (the board) have checked out. That leaves only the pilot (Ballmer) in control, and he's the one who over a decade let it systematically fall into disrepair and pointed its nose at the ground instead of the sky.

Anonymous said...

Was Nov 3 layoff news correct? I didn't hear anything.

Anonymous said...

>> "When is Ballmer being ousted?"


Please never ever. I work for the competition now. Steve is the best thing that ever happened to us

Anonymous said...

Whats up with the Giving campiagn this year? There was not much noise or execs pestering for donations. Never seen this in the last eight years.

Anonymous said...

TO: Tuesday, November 02, 2010 2:50:00 PM

AWESOME post -- Billg did what he did, for good AND ill, and in the end I bet the good outweighs the other stuff.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mini,

I am a big fan of Microsoft.

While you can't control the Market cap of your business, or your stock price, you can, as a CEO, alter shares outstanding, which currently stand at about 8.6 Billion.

Microsoft currently earns about $25B in Free cash Flow, after capital expenditures. On average MSFT spends it as follows:

$15B Buybacks
$5B Dividends
$5B Excess cash & Investments

Consider the following:

Suppose Microsoft borrows $100 Billion.

Considering FCF of $25 Billion, this debt could be paid back in 4-5 years, easily. Interest rates are low as MSFT borrowed $5-$10B recently at record low rates.

So, imagine a massive $133B ( $100 borrowed, $15 from FCF and $18 from excess cash) share buyback at $27 per share.

Shares outstanding would decline by 4.92B, from 8.6B to 3.67B shares outstanding.

Since, Market Cap: $231B (as of today), shares outstanding: 3.67B = $62 per share.

Annual EPS would be over $5 per share and MSFT would be debt free by F2015, aggressively paying down debt.

This is such a better strategy than buying $133B in shares over 6-8 years ( i.e. buying $20B per annum).

Ballmer would be adored. Employee Morale would soar. The stock would soar...

$100B+ borrowed for a share buyback. And paid back in 4-5 years. It can easily be done...

-B

Anonymous said...

"Simple question: If someone outside of the company is looking to invest in stock, why should they choose MSFT?"

Because MSFT has a rock-solid money making machine, plenty of room for cuts in spending and an enormously low P/E.

Anonymous said...

On CreateSpace... I think we can both agree that this is a great concept and is exactly the type of interesting thinking that is keeping players like Amazon on the forefront of cloud mindshare.

It is also true that the democratization of creativity and the transition of the movie business from institutional to entrepreneurial has already been under way for a while in traditional film and even, in a more limited way, in animation. You just need to look at the success of completely independent releases that are well done to see this.

The wide availability of ultra-high end tools and capabilities in the rendering space, at a reasonable cost thanks to economy of scale, will certainly unlock even more creativity and impressive efforts from enterprising young creators.

All of that said, the gating factor is just that: creativity. It is a simple reality that the vast majority of people are just not as creative as they think they are. We can already see this in music and publishing. COULD anyone be the next Green Day or Steven King using iTunes or Kindle? Well sure. The catch is you need talent.

So while it is clear that CreateSpace will find a vibrant audience and give additional credibility to Amazon, it isnt going to be used by hundreds of millions of users. Of course a properly scaled and managed business doesnt NEED to.

Another problem with MSFT mgmt is they dont have the ability to manage a business that isnt a cash printing monopoly machine. The comparison is often made to IBM, but pre-divestiture AT&T might be more appropriate.

Anonymous said...

This is a Nov 2009 article

http://www.techflash.com/seattle/2009/11/more_microsoft_job_cuts_coming.html

Anonymous said...

Microsoft on the Resume. From a sales and sales management perspective, having Microsoft on your resume actually hurts you. Most executive search firms do not look for Microsoft sellers because they believe the company has a monopoly and does not face the level of competition in its core products that other less known companies do. Out of state could be a different story, but in Seattle and Silicon Valley, MSFT doesn't carry much weight. Best bet is to go to a Microsoft partner, as they may think you can help them with your "internal" contacts.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that nobody notices the EE group. I'm in EE, and I have to say we're pathetic. We're packed full of principals and partners, but as far as I'm concerned, we provide nothing to the company.

Wait - that's not true. If you're a partner or a principal about to be fired for ineptness, we'll hire you. You can hang out here for years doing nothing while your stock vests. It's awesome.

Anonymous said...

There's your confirmation.

http://www.techflash.com/seattle/2009/11/more_microsoft_job_cuts_coming.html

Nice try. Would you mind posting a link that's not a year old?

Anonymous said...

So while it is clear that CreateSpace will find a vibrant audience and give additional credibility to Amazon, it isnt going to be used by hundreds of millions of users. Of course a properly scaled and managed business doesnt NEED to.


You only need a few movies a year with a library of movies accumulating over several years to build a big business.


Amazon Video on Demand costs $3.99 for a 24 hour rental.

If you want to make $1 billion, about 251 million people have to watch a movie. More likely, the same person watches several movies over a few months.

21 million people (watch 1 movie per month) x 12 months x $3.99 per movie = $1,005,480,000


There are more than 21 million people who watch more than one movie per month.


So, while CreateSpace itself may not have hundreds of millions of users, around the world, there can be millions of users of Amazon Video on Demand watching several movies per year.


CreateSpace makes selling those movies possible.


Providing one service (Renderman in the cloud) so a few people can supply another service (CreateSpace) that supplies another service (Amazon Video on Demand) is different than the way Microsoft does business.


With more Internet TV services like Boxee TV coming online, it will become even easier to distribute content.


Unlike AT&T's situtation, the ground is shifting under Microsoft with more specialized devices using platforms other than Windows.

Anonymous said...

"Confirmed Nov 3 layoffs, stealth mode

Hey, it's Nov. 3, where's the layoffs?"

Did you miss the word "stealth" mode

Anonymous said...

yesterday must have been some 10% review related deadline or something - I can confirm at least one layoff or "it's xxx last day today" incident in my group.

Anonymous said...

"Since when did improving a market-dominating product and monetizing those improvements turn into an inappropriate business strategy, i.e., simply "milking the cash cow"?"

- Beauty is in the eye of beholder, it is not "inappropriate" - if you do it(as the current CEO is doing) the PE is reflecting that and eventually will decrease even further as the cow runs out of milk....


The current CEO is not improving Windows in any meaningful way. Microsoft's flagship product has been on autopilot for the last 10 years and just becomes more bloated and/or less relevant with each new release. You wouldn't realize this if you use Win7 all day and have an old Nokia, but Apple and Google are showing the way forward with fast, lightweight, secure operating systems that require minimal user maintenance. Seriously, Windows could be selling twice as many copies, twice as often if Microsoft got serious about really improving it instead of slapping some trippy wallpapers on the old version and calling it good.

Anonymous said...

“While you can't control the Market cap of your business, or your stock price, you can, as a CEO, alter shares outstanding, which currently stand at about 8.6 Billion.”

The first part of this is Ballmer’s favorite crutch. It’s true in a pure sense, but this is no longer a year or two of performing worse than the market. MS’s stock has declined more than 50% over a decade. $350 billion of destroyed marketcap. The only equivalents with a similar or worse percentage record (nobody has lost as much value) are Intel and DELL respectively, and neither of them poured $100 billion into buybacks. That’s a total shareholder loss of $450 billion ($350 in equity and $100 in their company’s assets, namely cash). The implication that none of this has anything to do with Ballmer or the company’s performance under his leadership is ridiculous. The CEO is responsible for evaluating the market, including gauging the competition. Then setting the strategy, deciding what investments to make, ensuring the organization’s execution, and being the main person communicating and selling the vision to external stakeholders, including customers, partners, and investors. Ballmer has failed repeatedly on every aspect of this.

This year’s plunge is a good example. It wasn’t just about the market. At one stage MS was down 5x the market. Even with the recent boost it’s still 3-4x worse. That wasn’t coincidence. It was an erosion of confidence that resulted directly from the loss in mobile and then the shocking repeat in tablets, either of which could have been avoided or at least mitigated by a competent CEO and effective organization.

Larger upfront buybacks would be more effective than smaller ones done over time. And debt is cheap currently and therefore your proposed scheme is more feasible. However you’re making a number of big assumptions including:

-cash flow continues as it is
-management actually has confidence in the future and is willing to take on that much debt
-banks share that confidence enough to extend the funds
-shares can be found to complete the deal quickly (an earlier tender failed to do that and it was much smaller)
-the market keeps the marketcap where it is instead of reducing it substantially to adjust for the higher default risk and obvious sign of desperation
-a resulting bump is permanent and not just temporary

Keep in mind that $100 billion of buybacks have already been done and yet the stock is lower than when they began. A much less risky strategy is to increase the dividend substantially as Goldman and others have recommended. That has the advantage of providing an incentive over time for holding the stock and the money is actually “returned” to shareholders, which hasn’t been the case with existing buybacks despite the company’s ongoing claims. It’s also something that can be funded out of cash flow and scaled up or back depending on business conditions. The stock would increase much less dramatically than in your scenario, but the effect would probably be longer lasting. However, ultimately both are accounting games. The only sustainable way to increase the stock price over time is to get a management team in place who can go on offense and demonstrate that MS can compete and win in today and tomorrow’s market, not just keep milking the spoils of last decade’s successes with declining effectiveness.

Right now MS is like pre-Gerstner IBM. Extremely poor leadership, a toxic culture, an industry that is moving away from the company’s traditional area of strength, an inability or unwillingness to successfully embrace that, and competitors who are better positioned for the new world order. IBM was lucky, they got a talented new CEO and managed to get past it, though it was bloody and a close call. If MS can, it maintains an important position in the industry and the stock is probably a buy. If not, it continues down the path to irrelevance and possibly even failure or takeover, and the stock resumes its march to single-digits.

Anonymous said...

"Whats up with the Giving campiagn this year? There was not much noise or execs pestering for donations. Never seen this in the last eight years."

I'm in Exchange and I noticed a dearth of the guilt emails this time around too. I also think participation was in the low 50s which is way worse than normal. I also know for a fact that many people made their donations on Nov 1st so that certain Directors wouldn't receive credit. Morale just seems low these days.

Anonymous said...

There's your confirmation.

We're hearing from unofficial but reliable sources tonight that Microsoft is poised to make additional job cuts this week, with the affected employees expected to be notified as early as Wednesday morning.

http://www.techflash.com/seattle/2009/11/more_microsoft_job_cuts_coming.html


With regard to the layoff stuff:

You all did notice that that URL pointed to blog posting from 2009, no?

Anonymous said...

Microsoft currently earns about $25B in Free cash Flow, after capital expenditures. On average MSFT spends it as follows:

$15B Buybacks
$5B Dividends
$5B Excess cash & Investments

Consider the following:

Suppose Microsoft borrows $100 Billion.

Considering FCF of $25 Billion, this debt could be paid back in 4-5 years, easily. Interest rates are low as MSFT borrowed $5-$10B recently at record low rates.

So, imagine a massive $133B ( $100 borrowed, $15 from FCF and $18 from excess cash) share buyback at $27 per share.



Well said, except for a couple of things:

- You have not accounted for interest costs
- You presume that the stock price would remain static, ignoring supply and demand
_ You ignore the fact that ongoing stock purchases have done virtually nothing for the stock price
- By effectively swapping $133bill in equity for debt, the company's liabilities increase by the amount of stock you purchase, so the net value of the company would decline by an equal amount

I could go on, but I don't want to distract you from your plans for building a perpetual motion machine.

How about an alternative plan: Stop buybacks entirely and start paying out $15billion in dividends? That's about $1.50 a share or 6% return ...

Anonymous said...

Yes the November 3rd layoffs were correct. Not sure how broad they were, but apparently they impacted the ERP/CRM division (Dynamics) Apparently main hit was outside of Redmond but there was some Redmond layoffs as well. Stealth as always to avoid PERM issues going forward.

Anonymous said...

I'm presuming that nothing has been said about the Giving Campaign, as the numbers are likely through the floor. What else would they expect when a week earlier they announce health benefits are being cut?

Oh whoppee, Jon DeVann can have his VP poker game etc. Exactly how much is a group's giving commitment from the VP? $5, $20? Judging by their aggressiveness to ask us for money I doubt it's because of their love of charity but because everyone else can make up for what they are not giving out of their $1m+ paychecks.

Anonymous said...

OSD was about 25% short of its giving campaign target on the last day when the leadership sent out some feeble reminders about it.

Anonymous said...

How about an alternative plan: Stop buybacks entirely and start paying out $15billion in dividends? That's about $1.50 a share or 6% return

If you read about the garden variety corporate psychopath (~1% of the general population so adjust that when large sums of money are involved), you would know why they won't do that.

Shareholders don't have anything they need.

They have the Board of Directors on their side and can continue to give themselves "performance" based compensation.

They come up with the numbers any way they can (e.g. deferring revenue, layoffs, etc.) and pay themselves for their "performance".


Snakes In Suits is a book written by an expert on the subject.

Anonymous said...

We're hearing from unofficial but reliable sources tonight that Microsoft is poised to make additional job cuts this week, with the affected employees expected to be notified as early as Wednesday morning.

http://www.techflash.com/seattle/2009/11/more_microsoft_job_cuts_coming.html



With regard to the layoff stuff:

You all did notice that that URL pointed to blog posting from 2009, no?


Yup. We did. I didn't want to say anything 'cuz I figured the original poster must have had some sad, agonizing need that could only be filled through fear-mongering, and didn't want to pick on a guy who obviously hasn't had a meaningful relationship with anyone besides his parents. He could use some pointers on trolling. Any takers?

Anonymous said...

"Confirmed Nov 3 layoffs, stealth mode

Hey, it's Nov. 3, where's the layoffs?"


Did you miss the word "stealth" mode


No, we didn't. I just don't know anybody who got laid off.

Anonymous said...

I'm done on Wednesday.

Three kids, house, mid-40's, A-10.

I know it's coming. My boss has tried to protect me from it, bless her heart, but I can read between the lines on her face I've been watching over the last nine months, she's gonna have to do something that hurts. Wednesday it's letting me go.

I have no idea what to do now. They told me I was special. I'm not.


Try to remember this: you are not your rating. What MS says you are is not who you are. It's only what you mean to the bottom line of Microsoft, a company that's dying partially because they evaluate their employees the way they've evaluated you. It says nothing about your value to other companies who have the good sense not to subject their employees to a vitality curve. Leave open the very valid, very plausible chance that Microsoft can't figure out how to use you, but that other companies can.

MS chose the vitality curve because they thought it was the future, that it cultivated success. We know how far behind MS is with the future, so that argument cancels out. It's been proven that the vitality curve curries failure (Enron, GE), but MS is either too proud, too stupid or too lazy to change it now.

But don't let that stop you. I know a guy who got an A/10 two years in a row, quit out of fear, then got a developer position at Google (although he had to move to California), and has been the rock star of his department ever since, and is truly in love with his company (as they are with him).

Don't give up. Talk to other companies. They understand how the vitality curve kills innovation and destroys morale, and they treat it like a joke as all of us should. Apply for everything you're qualified for. Other companies evaluate you on how well you perform at your job - not how well you've been at schmoozing your skip. Microsoft will not learn that lesson anytime soon.

Don't let this kill you dude (or dudette). MS isn't worth your life.

You are not your rating. Everybody remember that. You are far more valuable than your A/10 or U/10 tells you. It might just be that Microsoft doesn't understand how to utilize your talents. That's okay. The companies who are leading this industry into the future do understand.

You do not have to kill yourself over your morale. There's hope outside Microsoft. There's enthusiasm outside of this xenophobic place.

There's a real world out there. You belong there. Don't let Microsoft tell you when your career is over with their 10%. They have no idea.

Use your A/10 as a badge, as a medal. They couldn't figure out how to use you. You scared them. You will not have that problem with other companies. Hell, you might want to put "A/10 from Microsoft" down as a reference on your resume.

Don't lose yourself. Stay true to that. You'll be okay.

Anonymous said...

Three kids, house, mid-40's, A-10.

You are not an A-10. You are a real, human being.

'Nuff said.

Anonymous said...

The land before time...
http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/2.01/microserfs_pr.html

Anonymous said...

I can't believe you are silent over the kinect launch! ;-)

How more exciting can Microsoft be? This thing has the potential to be a REVOLUTION in computation! (from UEx perspective)

Anonymous said...

Right now MS is like pre-Gerstner IBM. Extremely poor leadership, a toxic culture, an industry that is moving away from the company’s traditional area of strength, an inability or unwillingness to successfully embrace that, and competitors who are better positioned for the new world order.
When I was at Microsoft in a different organization than Windows I was interested to see the reverential alignment with Windows interests. All parts of the company have to align with Windows even when it isn't in that business unit's best interests to move forward. As long as that alignment continues you aren't going to have needed innovation. This alignment comes from the highest levels of management so that no one at lower levels can fight it.

Anonymous said...

"How about an alternative plan: Stop buybacks entirely and start paying out $15billion in dividends? That's about $1.50 a share or 6% return ..."

Theoretical: cheaper for the company to borrow money at far less than 6% and retire the shares and associated dividend obligation.

Shareholder: buybacks haven't worked. Screw the theory, give me the 6% real return.

Management: Theory is right. More importantly buybacks support the stock price today as well as inflate EPS, both of which make us look less pathetic and therefore help us stay in power. Shareholders are dumb enough to let us continue using their cash to offset our failures and selling, so why change a great scam?

Entrepreneur: I can think of ten ways to turn $1 into far more than $1 of shareholder value.

Anonymous said...

>Did you miss the word "stealth" mode

Ahhh, well then I guess all future layoff "predictions" can simply include the word stealth and then claim they happened by claiming 'someone I know/someone on my team' was laid off...confirmation!!!

Anonymous said...

>Oh whoppee, Jon DeVann can have his VP poker game etc. Exactly how much is a group's giving commitment from the VP? $5, $20? Judging by their aggressiveness to ask us for money I doubt it's because of their love of charity but because everyone else can make up for what they are not giving out of their $1m+ paychecks.

It isn't about charity in any way, it is about some VP level douches bragging to other VP level douches about how much money their org gave, it has become yet another pissing match / whose the alpha male competition, it's sad really. They have taken a good thing (charity) and turned it into shit, then again that is par for the course. Like most things at the VP level, they are bragging about shit they didn't do, done by people they will never know the names of. One day those people, the ones that actually do shit, will wake up and realize the situation, I know I have. The countdown clock has begun. Can't wait until the ship cycle ends so I don't screw over my teammates. Vote with your feet people, the only way to cause change is to cause so much pain and fail that 'management' can't fail to realize they have 'managed out' all their productive people via their idiocy, micromanagement, etc.. Hopefully it will trigger a big house cleaning of all the ranks of inept middle management. Then, if you still pine to work at Microsoft, you can simply come back, unless you don't think you would pass a higher interview bar.

Anonymous said...

This post takes the cake for TROLL of the week. Microsoft faces alot of competition. If you worked in Sales at Microsoft you would know that it is not a monopoly in any sense of the worst. You certainly do not work at Microsoft. MANY search firm want folks from Microsft. I know this first hand. Not second or third like yourself.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft's Ballmer sells 12 percent stake in company http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Microsofts-Ballmer-sells-12-rb-1985690214.html?x=0&.v=4

No wonder in the past two days, MSFT stock was dropping while others were up. I was puzzled why Kinect didn't move up the stock, because there was a big rat ate all the gain. Poor ESPP will never get back to the price paid for.
:-(

Anonymous said...

Hi Mini,

I wrote earlier about the $133 "buyback" that I thought MSFT should consider.

Take Apple for a moment. It has $50B in cash, no debt, no dividend, and less than a billion shares outstanding. Currently, Apple is earning less than MSFT, but, still pockets roughly $20B in FCF each year. Let's be conservative and assume it doesn't grow from here.

Fast forward just 7 years from now and what do you have? It's the year 2017, and Apple has $190B in cash, and if interest rates are 6% per year, Apple would earn $11.4 billion per year, just from it's investment income. Just in interest. Which is what Office ($11B) or Windows ($11B) earns each year.

That's what scares me.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mini,
Were you ever connected to MSExtreme?

How about you play a Lisa and see if he'll do a guest post for old times prior to the board meeting?

He firey frothiness was always nice once in a while to layout a great, well researched and hugely frustrated analysis.

Now that I just got my 'your stock options vest on 2/12/11' mail - and their currently worth $1 a share, I'm feeling a little fire that MSExtreme could stoke.

What was I thinking not selling at 33ish a few years ago aside from 'surely they could up like 10% in 3 years??'

Anonymous said...

This can't be good. Ballmer selling 75 million shares

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/microsoftpri0/2013359173_steveballmerselling2binmicrosoftstock.html

Anonymous said...

Now it's Apple's iPad meant to be Microsoft's undoing.

Apple doesn't really think in those terms. They make the iPad to serve their customers and make a profit, not to rub their hands in glee over Microsoft's decline.

I hear a rumor that MS is working on iPad apps. Good luck with that. Seriously.

Anonymous said...

This can't be good. Ballmer selling 75 million shares

Steve Ballmer selling $2B in Microsoft stock



He can make a lot more money investing in another company.


So can you.


If you get a stock award, you can sell it and invest in APPL or VMW and still work at Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

This can't be good. Ballmer selling 75 million shares.

It can't be good indeed. But watch him dodge, buck and weave until he finally gets the hint and leaves in January. Or 2020.

We are so over. We are so screwed. Why did we even try?

Anonymous said...

This can't be good. Ballmer selling 75 million shares.

Oh, Lord, are we finished or what?

Our employee review system has us all terrified to the point where we can't do our best work. We seek so much relief from that daily terror that it's almost guaranteed we can't produce the day after. We thrive on gossip and therefore skip out on innovation. We just keep ourselves afloat.

Apple invests in its employees and gives them confidence without the threat of a vitality curve percentile hanging over their head. They become the industry leader. They push the future. They become the visionaries.

Microsoft, in the meantime, stifles innovation in favor of keeping their employees in constant fear of losing their jobs, as if that will encourage innovation.

Microsoft cultivates fear. They do not cultivate success. They do not cultivate innovation. They cultivate terror.

Ballmer gets this, and why it is not working. That's why he's selling his stock.

Brummel does not get this. She has too much pride to admit that her scheme has killed our company. That's why we're stuck with the 20/70/10 BS, while Apple happily reaps the rewards of believing in their workforce, becoming the industry leader in the process.

Gates, Ballmer, Brummel, et al are absentee landlords, to quote Devil's Advocate. They won't be around when you're succeeding, failing, or treading water. They do not care if you do your best.

We've already lost the war. We lost long ago. I'm surprised Ballmer held on to his stock this long, to be honest. Anybody who believes his statement of faith this afternoon is just a doe-eyed, oblivious fool. He's given up, and there's no other way to interpret his actions.

If someone in leadership has the balls to say otherwise - maybe our majority owner, perhaps - this is an excellent opportunity to do so.

Spoiler alert: they won't. Watch out for yourselves. MS has given up on you.

Anonymous said...

There were layoffs on Nov. 3rd. I personally know about 10 people affected in my org. Most seem to be outside of Redmond from what I've seen. This is getting way to typical around here sadly.

Anonymous said...

This can't be good. Ballmer selling 75 million shares

I suppose that it's good for Mr Ballmer.

Anonymous said...

">Did you miss the word "stealth" mode

Ahhh, well then I guess all future layoff "predictions" can simply include the word stealth and then claim they happened by claiming 'someone I know/someone on my team' was laid off...confirmation!!! "

That's the company we work for has become. Short of laid off people posting here (not many will care for MSFT or even mini-MSFT after being laid off), it is not possible to find in the new era of open communication...

Anonymous said...

Ballmer sells MSFT

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/microsoftpri0/2013359173_steveballmerselling2binmicrosoftstock.html

Anonymous said...

>Google (although he had to move to California), and has been the rock star of his department ever since, and is truly in love with his company (as they are with him).

Google has a review curve as well, see

https://docs.google.com/present/view?id=ajfcdscjzbvp_976rt9cfw

specifically slide 10 and the mention of 'performance buckets', which sounds an awful lot like our E/A/U system. Any lurkers from Google (with experience at Microsoft preferably) care to comment/correct that perception?

Anonymous said...

Ballmer sold $1.3 billion worth of Microsoft shares (49.3 million shares) in the last three days, at prices above and below $27 per share.

Ballmer said he plans to sell up to 75 million shares by the end of this year.

He sucks out all the profit from the crazy success of Kinect. The stock price didn't go up but went down. What a rascal!!!

Anonymous said...

OSD was about 25% short of its giving campaign target on the last day when the leadership sent out some feeble reminders about it.

Dave Thomson's BOSG group was less than 40% on the last day of the giving campaign before he asked his chumps to sell candies on Halloween.

Anonymous said...

Ballmer finds ways to screw the stock price again. Just when the stock was getting some momentum, old hag decides to sell 12% of his stake. There goes the upward momentum. Seems like Ballmer has vested interests in keeping the stock price down. No wonder the stock price is flat in 10 years

Anonymous said...

Ballmer said he will sell more shares by the end of the year, in a move to diversify his investments.

I like to ask him - where will he diversify his investments with this $2B he dumps MS share, Apple? or Google?

Anonymous said...

>When I was at Microsoft in a different organization than Windows I was interested to see the reverential alignment with Windows interests.

Insightful comment of the year. A lot of the piss poor products you see from Microsoft are a result of some group that is more powerful forcing a weaker group to align to their interests even when it weakens the product overall.

Anonymous said...

A/10 --> U/10 here...
I learned that 'doing my job' at Microsoft doesn't get rewarded.

"Staying late until 2 AM to satisfy a customer with a bad bug? That's expected. Too bad you're underperforming..." Oh well. I worked hard, enjoyed my coworkers, the technical work, but not the politics, although to be fair I really didn't read the politics and let myself get blindsided not once but twice. My self-esteem/ego/whatever took a beating, and I really questioned whether I belong in development. But I cobbled together a resume. It earned me multiple enquiries from all around the country, as well as 2 interviews here in the Puget Sound region, and 2 job offers, each for over a 50% bump in pay.

For those who are interested, these are .Net/C# type positions, some with consulting/contracting for biz and govt customers. These are *not* Volt, Excell, or whoever else is supplying orange-badges these days. Currently having Microsoft on my resume still seems to have some clout. For all who are struggling and beat up by life in Microsoft, have some hope, polish your resume (spend $300-400 to get a resume writing service to do it for you, probably money well-spent), face your fears, be honest with yourself about your shortcomings (hey, even SteveB has shortcomings!), read a technical book...you can make yourself marketable. I was beat down and convinced my experience was only MS-specific, turns out that wasn't true.

Anonymous said...

"Now that I just got my 'your stock options vest on 2/12/11' mail - and their currently worth $1 a share, I'm feeling a little fire that MSExtreme could stoke."

That was my first reaction, too. It wouldn't have been much, about 10k after taxes, but after all his flailing as an incompetent CEO, this insulting announcement I take personally.

Anonymous said...

>> Apple doesn't really think in those terms.

Nor does Google, BTW. That kind of thinking is at the core of why Microsoft is always "reacting to threats", and why it's not "disruptive".

Anonymous said...

I think the Ballmer's stock sale is more an indication that he thinks Washington will fail us with any long term capital gain tax extension, than that of the stock being overvalued. We'll see if the market agrees on Monday.

Still feels a bit dirty considering when fielding a question as recently as 2 weeks ago about stock price at a meeting he once again bragged about not selling shares in over 10 years. Bad timing Steve.

Anonymous said...

Google (although he had to move to California), and has been the rock star of his department ever since, and is truly in love with his company (as they are with him).

Google has a review curve as well, see

5 Google Engineering Management Mistakes

specifically slide 10 and the mention of 'performance buckets', which sounds an awful lot like our E/A/U system.



I was talking to someone recruiting at VMWare recently.


Part of his pitch was all of the smart people you could meet to form your own startup.


Around here starting a company sounds like something other people do in stories.


In Silicon Valley, it sounds like part of the culture.

Anonymous said...

Damn and double damn. Hubby has 2 weeks left to exercise some options. I said, wait until it gets to (a very reachable point, which it had actually reached the day before, minus a few cents per share). That DAY the announcement came out that BillG had sold 2M shares, and now this thing with Ballmer. Guess we'll have to take what we can get, but if we'd sold the day we talked about it instead of using a set-price, we'd have gotten in ahead of these guys dumping stock. :/

Anonymous said...


Try to remember this: you are not your rating. What MS says you are is not who you are. It's only what you mean to the bottom line of Microsoft, a company that's dying partially because they evaluate their employees the way they've evaluated you.


More to the point, What your MS manager says you are is not who you are. It's only what you mean to the bottom line of your manager, not even necessarily Microsoft, (and so on).

Anonymous said...

I was beat down and convinced my experience was only MS-specific, turns out that wasn't true.

A lot of the techniques used by employers to convince employees they deserve what they are getting are also used by abusers in relationships.

Family Services has a good course on domestic violence (which is not just physical violence) that anybody can take (though most are there because of a court case).

DV class

You can learn how to recognize when someone is trying to slowly wear you down through various forms of manipulation.

Jordan said...

God knows I'm not going to defend Ballmer, but isn't this just a simple reaction to only getting half his bonus?

He was expecting his usual big bonus, and didn't get it. This messed up his personal financial plans in some way, and then (like the genius he is) he told himself, "That's okay; I'll just cash out." ("It's 'my' money anyway...What's the big deal?")

Anonymous said...

"I think the Ballmer's stock sale is more an indication that he thinks Washington [D.C] will fail us with any long term capital gain tax extension..."
I agree with this post. I too was not happy to see Ballmer revoking his promise to sell more than 5% of his holdings (he did that 7 years ago), and would like someone to ask what made him change his mind at the upcoming stockholders meeting.
Just looking at the facts: Given the Bush tax cuts expiring come Jan 2011, that would add another 5% tax to Ballmer's net Cap. gains, PLUS Obamacare adds a new and incremental capital gains tax (to everyone) come either 2011 or 2012, I suspect Steve's accountants don't see the MSFT value going up enough over the next couple of years to overcome those large tax consequences (an additional 8% tax on his [your's too] overall Cap gain), plus factor in a lot of stealth inflation, and one has to see the overall investment value increase by 20% [guesstimate] just to stay above today's value. When did the stock last gain 20% and hold that gain? - Not on Steve's watch, and since he plans on staying CEO in perpetuity, what does that tell you of the future value of MSFT? Though...
With his decrease and Blackrock's increase in holdings, we could be in for some interesting times.
BTW, can anyone find that original quote from Ballmer about not selling more than 5% of his overall holdings?

Anonymous said...

Ok, boys and girls, here is a big picture view of Microsoft from someone far removed from your world. MS has become the General Motors of the tech world. It had a long head start (like GM), access to the best talent, the best of everything, but like GM, has been unable to beat back these (formerly) little upstarts like Apple and Google, just like GM was unable to beat back little upstarts like Honda and Toyota. The reason is simple, MS has a dysfuntional management structure that guarantees mediocrity, and just like GM, is destined to die a slow, painful death, unless the management structure and guiding principles are drastically changed. But, like GM, I'm guessing MS is incapable of such drastic change. That, dear microsofties, is what is ahead for you if you stick around.

Anonymous said...

Guys guys guys, you've got to stop bitching about the system and just start using it for your own benefit. The system is designed to exponentially reward the very few at top, drop some crumbs for the middle and recycle the bottom. Microsoft is not different than any other company when it comes to that principle.

I can't for the life of me understand why anyone would work more than 40 hours a week. Just do your job and then leave it there at 5. Enjoy your life, you love, your family. IT'S JUST A JOB. Don't let it define you.

A former boss of mine once said that if I had to work more than 40 hours a week, he wasn't doing his job. He was right.

Stand up for yourself. You can have a successful (if not spectacular career) by having the confidence to say "No" to your boss once in a while. He may not like it to begin with but he will respect it if you indicate that your plate is full. Devs and SDETs in my group now have to be on-call four our service 2 weeks out of every 3 months. I politely informed my boss that if I received pages in the evening or on the weekend that I would take compensatory time off during the week. He was flabbergasted at first because no one has dared to stand up for their basic worker's rights. It's like the bullies as school -- if you don't stand up to them they will keep pushing and pushing.

So enjoy your "fair salary" and good vacation (if you are long-serving) and realize that your job is closer to a government job than a start up job. And stay off-line when you are not at work -- your soul will be rejuvenated and you will be better prepared to handle the sh*t that they throw at you 9-5

Anonymous said...

Apple had a chance to buy the Kinect technology first but ticked off the guy selling it, so, in the end, Microsoft got it.

Nintendo had a chance to buy the Kinect technology as well but passed on it and still doesn't believe Microsoft can deliver.

Microsoft Got Kinect Because "Apple is a Pain in the Ass"

Why is it Microsoft, and not Apple, that's the source of this week's big motion-control gaming binge? You might think that Apple's only focused on touch interfaces and, thus, has no need to consider a device like Microsoft's Kinect—the family-room-style motion tracker that correlates real-life movement with on-screen gaming action.

Not so, says Inon Beracha. He's the CEO of a company called PrimeSense--the very company that created the raw hardware fueling Microsoft's Kinect device. According to Cult of Mac's Leander Kahney, Beracha first put Apple in the forefront of his mind when considering which Silicon Valley companies he could pitch the Israeli-born motion tracking technology to.

Anonymous said...

I sure would like to see Ballmer get his U/10 and a frogmarch to his limo.

Anonymous said...

Apple happily reaps the rewards of believing in their workforce, becoming the industry leader in the process.

I can speak to that a bit. At Apple, firing someone means that the manager either chose poorly when hiring them, or failed to develop their skills to meet the needs of their organization. You fire someone if you must, but there's certainly no company-wide policy of encouraging it.

If you're a manager at Apple, having a lot of turnover in your staff does not reflect well on you.

Anonymous said...

Life at HP is *way* better :)
http://www.businessinsider.com/hp-employees-react-to-new-ceo-2010-10#the-underlying-problem-here-is-unbridled-greed-9

Anonymous said...

I may even understand the 20/70/10 BS, up to a point. What I don't understand is the "aging in role". Basically, the longer you stay in role, the stronger the smell. In an ideal world, if you are a consistently good performer, you get promoted and start the aging process again. In practice, opportunities for promotions are strongly influenced by budget, by how loudly you trumpet your achievements to all and sundry, by how effective (or not) your manager is at calibration meetings, by how directly your work influences your GM's scorecard and by the aging process of those above you. How you perform is marginally relevant. So, after a while, quiet, hard-working, effective bees realize they have nowhere to go and force themselves out, even if they like the job and are good at it. If they don't, somebody else will and the next MSFT hiring manager will look at them with suspicion.

Anonymous said...

"...as recently as 2 weeks ago about stock price at a meeting he once again bragged about not selling shares in over 10 years."

I wonder if he was setting it up so that people would think he was about due for selling some stock.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant!

Last week I asked: "Simple question: If someone outside of the company is looking to invest in stock, why should they choose MSFT?"

Then a few days later SteveB replied with a $2B stock sale.

Thanks Steve!

Anonymous said...

Windows Mobile 7 phones go on sale today in the US. But why aren't there any news about people sleeping outside stores or long lines of people waiting to get their WM7 phones? Seattle Times has nothing. Seattle PI does not have any pictures or stories of people lining up for their phones. What's going on? Is there an anti-Microsoft news conspiracy?

Anonymous said...

"Still feels a bit dirty considering when fielding a question as recently as 2 weeks ago about stock price at a meeting he once again bragged about not selling shares in over 10 years. Bad timing Steve."

I’d call it more than dirty and bad timing. 20% of his entire position? Over a month and a half tops? In a year when the stock has collapsed and is down twice the market? When concerns about MS's future are already at all time highs? And to sell nearly 50 MM shares over just three days? What a complete ahole. No wonder the stock stalled out on then reversed hard. That’s like adding nearly an entire extra day of average volume and all of it negative. What a total disregard for fellow shareholders. Even Gates takes more care when selling.

This isn’t about the capital gains tax increase. Even modest appreciation of MS stock would easily cover that. And any subsequent investment will probably generate capital gains at a faster rate than MS stock ever would. This is Steve calling Goldman’s analyst “whacky” in public, but obviously agreeing with her in private that MS is dead money or worse.

Anyone who hasn’t voted their proxy yet should take a hard look at this decision. Do you want MS run by people who say one thing and then do another? Who publically tell others to be confident but privately liquidate whenever they think the moment is opportune regardless of the impact on the stock and other shareholders? A SLT that collectively never buys a single share? Not one of them thinks MS is worthy of even $27 of their incremental investment? How pathetic. These people are killing this company and padding their retirement funds while doing it.

Anonymous said...

"This can't be good. Ballmer selling 75 million shares"

He knows better than anyone that the company is being run by a moron.

Let's hope this is step one towards his retirement. Maybe there's a winning sports franchise available that he can buy, bring his unique leadership abilities to, and destroy instead of MS.

Anonymous said...

So it's official - leadership giving is down this year, and I'm part of that statistic. I'll continue to give throughout the year, and at the same or higher amount, but I'll not be part of my VPs feel good factor. Especially not when we continue to waste money on fancy ship gifts for what was E&D. Apparently they all got a Kinetic plus all the games we publish for it last week. What with all the activities they put on in The Commons, all of their irregular profit is wasted back on them rather than increasing our bottom line. Where's the fancy buildings for Server, Windows and Office? Oh yeah, we can't even undouble folk.

«Oldest ‹Older   1 – 200 of 655   Newer› Newest»