Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Skype? Steve Ballmer Discovers a Way to Obliterate Eight and a Half Billion Microsoft Shareholder Dollars!

That's $8,500,000,000USD for the Skype brand.

Microsoft to Acquire Skype Combined companies will benefit consumers, businesses and increase market opportunity.

Also, because, you know, the aQuantive acquisition didn't destroy enough shareholder money.

We're bringing Skype to the Windows Phone. Just like how it's on the iPhone and Android and appears it will continue to be.

Okay, so we're bringing Skype to the Xbox. Because, you know, we don't already have video chat on the Xbox. Oh, wait... crap. Why do we need this? Other than the brand and the user base, and that's not worth 8.5 billion dollars.

Some early stories:

What I'd like to hear is each Microsoft board member share their reasoning why this is an excellent idea and worth 8.5 billion dollars. And I'd keep a really, really close eye on their nose.

Geez.


-- Comments

574 comments:

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Anonymous said...

You can't envision a future where the technology develops to a point whereby a rich company like MSFT decides to spend, say, $25B on high-tech equipment or satellites that can wirelessly deliver tremendous amounts of video, data, and internet traffic seamlessly?

Of course one can envision a future where Microsoft would do something like that. Unfortunately, if such a thing were done on Mr Ballmer's watch, it would subsequently transpire that the "high-tech equipment" was in fact a pair of jam tins connected by a piece of string. Steve would point out the synergies that would arise as the result of the ball of string he has in his desk drawer, and the board would nod mutely in sage and unanimous agreement.

However one doesn't need to envision the future, because the future has arrived, and Microsoft is conspicuous by its absence. It's clear that you can't understand, but that doesn't matter - just watch the drama as it all unfolds. (You may wish to grab some popcorn).

Anonymous said...

Does anybody know whether Expedia uses the same 'Do Not Rehire' list that Microsoft uses?

Anonymous said...

Why not start discussing some nutty conspiracy theories? For instance, Ballmer is some sort of corporate spy, a mole who's been implanted by the likes of Google, Apple, et al to drive Microsoft to the ground and destroy the company from within. He was a legit hire at first, a friend of Bill G who kept rising thru the ranks, but shortly before Bill was about to give up his CEO spot, Ballmer was bought out by this consortium and put in place to begin the demolition. 10 years of lousy stock performance and numerous product failures and other initiatives, combined with his refusal to step down and the board's backing is a testament that the board is in on this too. Under any other scenario, a lousy CEO like Ballmer would've long been fired.

Anonymous said...

WilCamp said:

> If you disagree, that is fine. If you have feedback about this personal view I am expressing, you are welcome to go to my website, wilcamp.com and express it.

Ummm....the problem is, your website at http://www.wilcamp.com doesn't have any feedback pages, forum, etc.
Now, there is the offer to e-mail you at feedback@wilcamp.com, but you could have just mentioned that in your post.

Was this just a lame attempt to get people to look at your "godaddy.com website in a night" site?

(posting anonymously because I can, and to see if your head explodes)

Anonymous said...

My favorite comment so far:

..........
F2013, MSFT could earn $57B Pre-Tax
F2014, MSFT could earn $52B Pre-Tax
F2015, MSFT could earn $45B Pre-Tax
F2016, MSFT could earn $35B Pre-Tax
F2017, MSFT could earn $25B Pre-Tax
F2018, MSFT could earn $10B Pre-Tax
F2019, MSFT would earn $0B Pre-Tax
...............

Numbers are plausible - so this means we're worth by disbanding the company than actually trying any more.

Management and the board should be proud.

Anonymous said...

I worked at Microsoft for 10 years and just recently quit to join another company and I am extremely sad to see the low morale amongst employees and most people are looking for jobs to get out except the middle level managers .

Anonymous said...

I think that ultimately Microsoft's problem is BillG.

Bill grew up being the smartest kid in the room. He ran MS for years such that everyone knew that (remember the infamous BillG review?). He was probably a really good programmer back in the assembly code days, and lived on that glory. As the company matured, his role was most importantly that of seeing the big picture and doing lots of colossal bidness deals.

Now that he turned the reins over to Ballmer, he maintains the role of Chairman of the Board and has surrounded himself with other board members who won't challenge him on technical issues. Another poster said that we need someone like Zuckerburg on the board. It will never happen. Can you imagine Bill giving way to a 20-something who challenges his expertise on technical details or the technology marketplace? Someone who wears a hoodie for real (not a corporate image consultant provided hoodie, like 'J' Allard was wearing)? Me neither.

Anonymous said...

It cost $6B to put up the original set of Iridium satellites. If we're imagining, I'd rather imagine all the people living for today. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.

OP:

Well, if you are right and MSFT is a dinosaur, then clearly they will have to adapt or they'll go extinct.

That's the law of nature. And in this new modern global world, if you're rich, it's a lot easy to adapt then if you're debt ridden. And MSFT is rich. Crazy rich.

Ballmer isn't stupid and clearly he cares a great deal for MSFT, so, if he saw the writing on the wall, he would simply adapt and reinvent MSFT.

i.e. We give up on software and fire all employees, cancel Bing, cancel R&D, cancel Skype, suspend stock buybacks and dividends, and take in remaining cash over the years.

In 4-5 years, MSFT would have $200B in cash on the balance sheet. In fact, it already has $50B now.

I bet for $200B, you can build a world-class space satellite architecture. In fact, $200B is more than most nations can spend on anything.

So, now it's the year 2015 and MSFT has this amazing $200B space satellite architecture.

But, Ballmer is savvy. He doesn't want the whole world to use MSFT satellites and clog up and slow down the service. Just the rich people of the world willing to pay a bit extra for the super transmission speeds MSFT offers.

MSFT's new mission statement is to provide satellite service for 100MM users. In a world where currently there are more than a billion mobile devices, that equates to <10% market share.

Anything more than 100MM users, and our satellites can't deliver the same amazing experience.

But, since people hate the speeds of AT&T and others, and they pay AT&T roughly $80/Month for the service for their IPhone, the idea of switching to MSFT satellite services and paying $110/Month sounds reasonable if the speeds are super fast. An extra dollar per day.

So, 100MM users * $110/Month *12 months per year equals $132B in revenue.

And since there are no employees anymore except Ballmer, the only cost is the $50 Billion in annual depreciation that would need fixing.

i.e. MSFT would pay annually $50B to keep the $200B satellite system in top shape. i.e. $30B in component costs and $20B to NASA and the astronauts for their efforts in the repairs.

So, MSFT would earn $82B Pre-Tax and be in a business with a virtual monopoly, as no other business or even government can afford this $200B space architecture.

The Gates Foundation would be saved. MSFT would be stronger than ever. And Ballmer would be responsible for saving the lives of millions of children.

And many years from now, perhaps Ballmer will be walking down the streets of Seattle holding hands with a little child who he helped save through the Gates Foundation telling him the story of how he turned MSFT around by simply firing 89,000 people and using the proceeds to start a new business.

Anonymous said...

If you have feedback about this personal view I am expressing, you are welcome to go to my website, wilcamp.com and express it.

What a lame website. Where's the comment section? All you have is a feedback to email you. Who's going to bother with that?

You WP7 samples are really lame to what I can get on Android or iPhone.

Anonymous said...

"Honestly, you couldn't pay for entertainment better than this."

You need to get a life if this is the best form of entertainment you can think of. The success or failure of MS directly affects 90K employees and their families, another 50K contractors and their families, and a collection of partners, suppliers, and downstream beneficiaries (including major charities) that number in the millions. It also affects the holders of nearly 9B shares and market investors generally. MS is in fact the most widely held equity in America and a significant component of all three major indexes. If you have a 401K you probably own it, even if you think you don't. Then there's the counterbalance to Apple and Google. You may prefer those companies, but unless you're a total idiot you can appreciate that they work harder where they are pushed to by competitors.

Anonymous said...

"I think Steve has overplayed his hand rather badly by paying so far over the odds for Skype."

Steve is a lot of things but stupid isn't one of them. He's been overplaying his hand rather badly for most of a decade. But guess what, he's still CEO. Steve knows that as long as he has Bill's support nothing else matter. Yeah, there'll be a lot of negative articles. Yeah, the stock will sink further once people realize he's not going. But will MS's investors finally rise up and take on both him and Bill? He and Bill are betting no. Sadly, they're probably right.

Anonymous said...

I wish we could get Steve Jobs as our CEO.

It would really make the company meeting worth going to again.

Anonymous said...

You forgot this one:
- Tell all your reports that it’s their jobs to manage their own careers. If you have to do any work to promote your people then they haven’t done their jobs and don’t deserve to be promoted anyway.

I've never worked for such lazy, selfish, weenies in my entire life. Even more aggravating they seem to know it, and flaunt it.

The culture has become a plutocracy where the directs work all hours for nothing, while even the low level managers do 30 hour weeks; and even when they are here they are either screwing around doing personal stuff or pissing billions of dollars away.

I'll be managing my career all right, right over to.. well from what I see improvement won't be hard to come-by.

Anonymous said...

I have a plan to save Microsoft, it is called the revenge of the nerds.

Time to show off our impact by kicking some of that frat boy ass straight to the curb!

Secret nerd meeting in 33! Details forthcoming.

Anonymous said...

What Wil Campbell said above shows exactly how rude, arrogant, stubborn and narrow-minded some "powerful" MS employees can be.

Anonymous said...

@ Why not start discussing some nutty conspiracy theories?


"For instance, Ballmer is some sort of corporate spy [...] bought out by this consortium [of Apple, Google, etc.]."

How do you "buy out" one of the world's wealthiest men? What do you offer him in trade for his reputation; what do you promise him that will make up for his becoming a future case study on corporate failure in the Harvard Business Review? Perhaps even becoming a verb synonymous with screwing up: "Wow, they really ballmered that one, didn't they?"

No. While it would be comforting to believe that there's something other than arrogance and stupidity at the root of the Great Gazoo's actions -- some plan, some purpose, the simplest explanation is still the most likely: He really is as far out of touch as he seems.

Anonymous said...

Board to discuss investor comments calling for SteveB to get the hell out of Dodge:

A Microsoft director, speaking on background, told CNBC Thursday that while Ballmer still has the group’s support, the issue could be discussed at Microsoft’s next board meeting, which is scheduled for mid-June. The director added that no “special” meeting would likely be called in the wake of Einhorn’s comments.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/43175658

Anonymous said...

I think the culprit is the background of the board members. SEC should make a rule that CEO should not be a board member, because a primary duty of a board is to select i.e., hire/fire, a CEO. So it leaves a conflict of interest when CEO is also a board member.

Also, the company has a "code of business conduct" training. So if Microsoft is interviewing one of my best friends for a job in my group, then as per the code of business conduct I should not participate in the decision making. Therefore if the board also go by the same code of conduct, then Gates should not participate in a discussion about Ballmer. Since 85% percent of Microsoft belongs to the public, SEC should evolve of its law so that the 15% votes (Gates and Ballmer) should not hurt other due to their personal friendship. If it were a private company, then all that is fine. If the company expects us to honor high morals, they should start the practice at the very top. Remove Ballmer from the board (ideally should be a SEC ruling) and remove Gates from all discussions about Ballmer (Microsoft code of business conduct, but at this level, SEC should also have a similar regulation in its code of conduct for directors in a board).

Anonymous said...

overpaid by over $3b vs. what it would have sold for. that is not speculation.

Westech said...

Does this feel strange to you?

Apple:        $581 million,    2.64 % of revenue

Microsoft:     $2,264 million,    13.8 % of revenue

Google:        $818 million,    12.1 % of revenue

Spending a lot of money and having a lot of people doesn't help if you are not working on the right things.

Anonymous said...

I posted the following as a comment to this article on e-week http://www.eweek.com/showblog/131792/Microsoft-CEO-Ballmer-Should-He-Step-Down/

Ballmer's reign has involved lurching from one disaster to the next. He has wasted ~ $100 Billion on foolish investments. The one that may have made sense - youtube - he let slip. The one that made no sense whatsoever - Yahoo - was let slip by an even bigger idiot, Jerry Yang. Massive Games, Danger, aQuantive - total disasters. And now Skype, unprofitable and duplicative of other products. $8B into online services, with extremely marginal market share gains and accelerating losses. $12B into Xbox which is now after 10 years turning a very modest profit. $80B in stock buybacks, $30B special dividend. And the stock price remains flat. Ballmer's defence? "I can't control the stock price". Wow. What a statement from the CEO, who BTW demands accountability and 'commitments' from each and every employee.

Ballmer's internal approval rating would have made George W. Bush blush. And I am not just talking about the stuff published on glassdoor.com recently. Having worked for MSFT for 10 years in senior positions I know that the internal MSPOLL has been highly critical of company direction, strategy, personnel practices, compensation, and Ballmer's lack of personal accountability. His penchant for surrounding himself with yes-men and cronies does not help. Internally this group is known as FOS (Friends of Steve). Key senior infrastructure positions are filled by internal people completely without experience or education in the topic - e.g. Senior VP of human resources Lisa Brummel - or non-threatening and arguably useless types like Tony Scott the CIO.

The head of sales, Kevin Turner, deserves a special mention as he was picked by the two top people in the company at the time, Gates and Ballmer. Turner's Wal-Mart mentality has completely alienated the sales field and many partners to boot. His approach is to bully and threaten, cut corners while appearing to cut costs, and add layers of bureaucracy at every opportunity. Internal hostility toward Ballmer is at least partly due to the lighting rod effect caused by Turner.

Who could/should replace Ballmer? To answer that question you HAVE to understand that while all of Microsoft trades under the same name, it is actually a bunch of separate companies, or more accurately fiefdoms. These fiefdoms are run by individuals whose roles are analogous to kings of tiny countries in bygone Europe. They fight, jostle for position, form brief allegiances, marry for convenience and, most of all, back-stab. Why was Courier killed? Sinofsky the king of Windows thought it was a threat to his power. Why did MSFT buy Danger/Sidekick and then kill it? Because it threatened Windows Mobile / Phone run by Andy Lees. Why does Microsoft Research which has no clear goals, has produced no killer product and costs billions a year, still exist. Because Gates needs it to fan his ego.

So, replacements? No-one internal would work, because the old-boy network would kick in and nothing would change. Also many of the potentials, while not as wealthy as Ballmer (part of the reason he is so out of control), are still wealthy enough to no longer be hungry, unlikely to take direction, and unafraid of unemployment.
xternal is the way to go. Needs to be someone with engineering chops, good industry contacts, comprehending and respectful of competitors, strong leader, an individual with wide, bold vision and the courage to follow thru on that vision regardless of obstacles.
In other words, everything Steve Ballmer is not.

With such a leader Microsoft can still be saved, but not if they wait much longer. The only way to get rid of him is a proxy fight as he will not leave and Bill will not fire his old bud. If major institutional investors can be persuaded to mount pressure on the Board with the real stick of a proxy battle in their hand, things may be different. Let's see ...

Anonymous said...

To the person who keeps posting about Courier - please stop. It was only ever a video, a whiff of dreams. It was never a viable product, and was never intended to be more than a rev-up to staff.

Posting about how Microsoft need only wait a few years and then release this device fully-formed onto the world is recycling hot air.

Making a wishlist is easy. Mocking up a video of a device in action is easy. Actually designing, prototyping and building a real, usable device is incredibly hard. Stop congratulating yourself on doing the simplest part of the task, when no-one has the stomach for the real work.

Anonymous said...

Does anybody know whether Expedia uses the same 'Do Not Rehire' list that Microsoft uses?

Of course not. Doing so would mean disclosing personally identifiable information (PII) to a third party, which would be a breach of trust, illegal and a fat juicy litigation target.

It is for the same reason Microsoft does not provide references for ex-employees, except to confirm that the individual was employed there form_date to_date.

Anonymous said...

If you are having a hard time in your job, try to work harder

This is bad advice. No matter how hard you work, it aint' going to make up for the 100+ billion Steve threw away during his tenure.

Anonymous said...

"Microsoft board supports Ballmer after calls for him to quit"

Of course they support him. They are looking after their own personal interests, not the best interests of Microsoft's 88,000 workers. They are all multi-millionaires. You think they care if the rest of you worker bees have to work until you are 90?

Let's get deal here. If fucking up every opportunity for ten year's like Ballmer has don't get you shown the door as a big company CEO- I don't know what will.

It must take a sex scandle or SEC probe to earn a U/10 these days, and even then you know they will get some big severance package on the way out the door.

Anonymous said...

Seattle PI: "If Microsoft decides to expand its Redmond campus with the creation of its new Skype division, the Redmond housing market, where the median price in 2009 was $483,100, could see an increase in business."

Great. Just what Microsoft needs to attract and retain talent: a bigger campus and yet higher housing prices.

Anonymous said...

Ballmer is solidifying his chances of getting fired very soon. Amen to that. Microsoft needs to start inventing instead of following, go back to its roots.

I'd start by making Singularity OS a reality.

Anonymous said...

There is a management consulting company called Vanto Group that Steve Jobs hired to assist them in transforming Apple's culture into what it is today. (http://www.vantogroup.com/menu.jsp?top=168)

Perhaps Steve and Ballmer ought to have a sit down and Steve ought to share with Ballmer how to bootstrap this kind of transformation at Microsoft...

Anonymous said...

On May 25th, MS Store, the money losing black hole with anemic sales at all 8 brick and mortar locations plus their awful website, laid off numerous contractors with no notice, whatsoever. Called in at 9AM, paycheck stops the next day along with email (and health benefits in many cases). Some of these people had been there for years and never saw it coming.

A number of FTE were laid off during the month of Cinco-de-Firo and got similar treatment.

What Dodo thought that after 30 years in business that we needed retail stores?

Anonymous said...

You no longer command respect (whether merited or not), you no longer inspire fear, you no longer engender loathing. You have piled failure upon failure, and have become a rather sad joke in the real world.


Well, in the real world, most CEO's care about profits and staying on the wave. That is goal number one.

For example, I'd be willing to bet that around December 31 of this past year, the CEO of Amazon.com gathered his employees and said, "It took us a long 15 years, but, we've finally reached the point where we now annually earn $1.5B Pre-Tax!"

And the employees go nuts with cheers and high-fives. After all, they likely worked really hard and are proud of what they have achieved for the firm.

Yet, MSFT earns $28B Pre-Tax and employees shrug.

The equivalent of 18 AMZN's.

For example, it would take AMZN 4 years to earn what MSFT earns in 1 quarter.

MSFT earned more in 1994 than AMZN did in 2010. A full 17 years ago.

To put this figure another way, MSFT's annual earnings are equivalent to what the Heinz Ketchup Company earned from 1975-2010, cumulative. 35 years worth of profits.

And to top it off, MSFT's business hasn't even contracted from a financial standpoint yet.

For example, if the business contracted, I could understand the hostility, but, even analysts expect us to earn $3B Pre-Tax more next year than this year. The equivalent of 2 AMZN's.

So, this is a highly interesting situation, particularly from a psychological standpoint.

Anonymous said...

Regarding paying Microsoft "only $25 a month" for it's services... That will drive people into the arms of free software just as surely as freedom from mainframe timesharing contracts drove them into the arms of Microsoft in 1988.

We already know we can live with the functionality of software that costs us $3 a month (windows amortized over 3 years). No way can many of us afford the luxury of paying $25/month for something we know we were able to get last year for 12% of that price. The arrogance of that business plan is simply astounding. You think a family with 3 kids is going to front you $100 or more per month for a software subscription for 4 pc's?

You see nowadays there is this gadget called an iPad... It's like a tablet pc only it's lighter, and has very long battery life, and you can operate it with your fingers. It costs about the same as a notebook. The OS updates are free. The software is cheaper. It is even possible to hook a Bluetooth keyboard to it. The only subscription is for cell broadband. Pssst, you don't even get the chance to make Office revenue on some percentage of those devices, because you don't sell Office for them. You can even post to sites like this one with it, like I am doing right now. Just have to watch out for creative spelling correction.

Does the iPad do everything THAT well? No. But is it good enough? Straight from a fortune 1000 mid level manager to me last week: "yeah this little thing is great. I could even term serve into our corporate apps when I needed them. Can you order one for me instead of upgrading my laptop this year?". It is not just a toy to these people. It is a real productivity tool. They can make a business case for it based on "I can carry it with me so it is available almost any time, and it saves me time because I don't have to wait 2 to 5 minutes for windows to boot up.".

I started out a skeptic, but have seen it over and over. Whether or not these people really get more work done with an iPad than with a notebook is debatable, but that they fervently believe that they do, is not. I replaced my netbook with an iPad. I am ex-Microsoft, and a dev. If I need to code, I will take my notebook. Most times, I just don't need to code when out and about, but I do value a larger screen than my phone has, for keeping up with email, news sites, etc.

Anonymous said...

MS's next board meeting is scheduled for mid-June. I assume most employees are shareholders, at least for a day or two each quarter before you sell the stock you've vested. So here's an idea for those of you not satisfied with just whining or talking about how helpless you are. Write the board and tell them you want a leadership change: AskBoard@microsoft.com.

As a shareholder you have that right, and I don't see how your management chain could come after you for exercising it.

Mini should really put a post up and encourage all shareholders to do it.

Anonymous said...

11% bad attrit in our org says my boss - and asked me to sit on the focus group to fix it - so much for top people - most commonly the feedback said "politics" but when I asked to see the exit interviews to help us umderstand I was told that the exit interviews aren't taken for that purpose? Then what purpose are they for? Have we seriously become this broken? Quora has a long running thread about our cutlure which as has good and bad in it, but it is funny how often the LisaB logic hurts us publicly. Anyone here for more than 5 years knows 5s and 1s are being recycled.

Anonymous said...

is it true that there is a 'Do Not Rehire' list at microsoft?

i've heard that once you tell your manager you're thinking to switch teams [aka interview] you're pretty much screwed in the next review, so it wont surprise me that there is a 'do not rehire' thing going on.

thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi Mini,

It was mentioned the scale that MSFT is on.

It's hard to believe, but, it's true.

The cumulative pre-tax earnings of MSFT over the last 18 years: Listed in 6, three-year cycles:

94-96 97-99 00-02 03-05 06-08 09-11

$7B $24B $38B $40B $62B $73B

In addition, MSFT is expected to earn $31B Pre-Tax next year. That is what MSFT earned from 1994-1999.

MSFT's annual pre-tax profits are the same as the annual pre-tax profits of American Express, McDonalds, Google, and the Walt Disney Company, combined.

Lastly, if you study history and business, the typical profit margin of American business over the past 50 years has averaged about 12.5%. So, let's be generous and say that the 12.5% figure applies worldwide.

And since GDP is a revenue figure, if you multiplied a nations GDP by this 12.5%, you would likely calculate the profitable output of that nation.

So, if MSFT has annual free cash flow of roughly $25B, which it does, that would equate to the annual profitable output of a nation with GDP of roughly $200B.

i.e. A nation has GDP in 2010 of $200B. Since that is a revenue figure, the actual profits of the nation from the owners of that nation and its citizenry, amounted to $25B using our 12.5% figure.

Which means that MSFT's "annual profits" are akin to the "annual profits" of the whole of Ireland, Singapore, Egypt, Finland, Israel, Columbia, or Hong Kong.

So, I say Kudos to Ballmer. Those are just some amazing facts.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft will now assemble a dilution team assigned to Skype, that will promptly decide that the technology violates the right of voice-service providers and include a fee of $6/minute for communication (75% of it going to compensate landline providers for lost business) and the submission of a new fingerprint card by users prior to each such communication. Subsequently, a team of "dilution PM's" will insure that the product is totally phased out since it could be used to utter obscene words or thoughts that are not politically correct, and thus could offend someone, somewhere, somehow, sometimes and thus violate company policies and make the company liable.

Moreover, the company will assemble a separate team to find a new name for the technology, with the goal of making it so lame and so vague that nobody outside of the team--even at Microsoft--will know what it is or what it does.

Anonymous said...

We all know the Courier is the type of device that would ... win back Microsoft's reputation and relevance ...all we have to do is stay on this amazing global technology wave ... if we create one kick-ass product like the Courier, this company is set .

That's the problem: MSFT hasn't been able to ship a Courier, or any other profitable innovation, for over a decade.

The Courier concept was killed because it didn't tie in with "the Platform". Xbox is moderately successful; except when you take start-up costs into account. On that basis, Xbox won't be profitable for around 20 years. Kinect is neat, but it was bought in from outside; and while popular it is hardly a blip on MSFT's revenue or strategic path. The story of Microsoft and Mobile phones illustrates that "creating one kick-ass product" is indeed extremely difficult for Microsoft; and as remote now as it has been for 10+years.

The problem is a not lack of good ideas, but of bringing good ideas to fruition. The barriers to innovation at MSFT are structural, organisational and deep-seated. A major restructuring and new leadership is required.

Anonymous said...

AAPL: up almost six bucks
IBM: up over a buck
MSFT: down 2 pennies
NOK: down $1.22

Way to go Steve! Maybe his secret plan is to drive the stock down low enough so that he and Bill can do an LBO - then Steve can jump up and down, gibber and scream all he wants. Certainly picking Nokia as a partner was pure genius. Now watch Skype curl up and die.

Anonymous said...

No, Expedia does not use the same no-rehire list as Microsoft. Expedia is an independent company - has not relationship to Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

If you want a foretaste for what will happen to MSFT under SteveB's "leadership", use NOK as a guide. A company doing the same-old for years, as competitors closed in. Then suddenly panic-stations! Fire everybody! Yank wildly on the joystick (preceding intended as aeronautical term, not sexual reference) hoping thru some miracle you will regain control of the aircraft.

These random gyrations and grasping at straws is what Ballmer is doing right now. That is what has been going on ever since the botched Yahoo bid, which was the harbinger of aQuantive, Skype and all the rest of the frantic maneuvering, all of which indicates the man is out of his depth and clueless.

And when the captain has no clue, the crew is abandoning ship. I have been shocked recently at the number of talented senior people I know personally who have bailed. Meanwhile the useless sycophants who couldn't find their butt crack if they grew a third hand are there in droves ... I mean, who else would have them? To prove that point, I recently saw a CTO job posted on LinkedIn in the Seattle area that said, literally, "If you have worked for Microsoft the past ten years this isn't the job for you". That is what many local employers think of Microsoft employees. I am starting to think I should change my resume to claim I was incarcerated for 10 years rather than admit I worked that period for MSFT.

Meanwhile BillG appears in photos wearing that beatific smile, like some elder statesman. Bill does not want to fire Ballmer, not because he doesn't know that Ballmer is a terrible CEO, but because he knows the institutional investors will not do anything, the Board has no balls, and Ballmer has to keep the peons sweating until Bill has sold all his stock in another 4 years. Both men have more money than they know what to do with already so it is not as though they are afraid of being out of work.

I find it really amusing that Bill has this mystique, that he's super smart, and wrote the whole Windows kernel himself. Bill is in fact a very shrewd businessman who finessed his way to the top. Technically he does not seem all that impressive. The reason MS is years behind the Internet curve is because Bill thought the Web was a passing fad. Bill was the one who said that 640KB of memory was sufficient for anybody. Today a story in the WSJ I think surfaced where the journalist recalled asking Bill in 2004 what he thought of G-Mail and he did not know what it was. There's your strategic genius at work!

Fact is both Bill and Steve are incapable, intellectually and commercially, of effectively running a company the size of Microsoft. That much is apparent to anyone with an iota of sense. And I'm not just referring to the stock price, which is an effect not a cause. APPL gets way more done with fewer people and less R&D $. When Apple acquires another company, it does so carefully and thoughtfully. Steve just whips out the old checkbook, throws good money after bad and the market is tired of it. There is no product road-map per se. When is Win8 going to ship? What procs will it run on? Will it support non-stylus inputs? Who the hell knows? Why is it all such a big secret anyway, for Christ's sake MS owns 90% of the desktop! Does Ballmer think that what WIndows 8 does will figure in some grand way in Apple product plans, or Ubuntu?

So riddle me this: am I right in thinking Ballmer is the Skipper and Gates is Gilligan? I know Mary-Ann used to run marketng but she quit. Sinofsky is the Professor for sure. What about the rest of the cast? Help me out here!

Anonymous said...

"Stop bitching around the watercooler (or blog, et. al.) and make the change you feel you need to make."

Wil, good luck with that. Think about it, this is not Tsarist Russia, where the sheer number of pitchforks outnumber the rifles. Or a grassroot political uprising, where every citizen has a right to a vote. This is a tops down dictatorship.

Let's say, you and your entire team decides the corporate culture needs to change. One of your team is lucky enough to be promoted to be your manager. He espouses this new kinder gentler Microsoft to his peers, who has everything to gain from keeping the status quo. Next review cycle, guess who is at the bottom of the management stack ranking? Now the next cycle, guess which team is at the bottom of its stack ranking?

The power in the corporation sits with the shareholders and the customers. You will have no influence over the shareholders (Gates and Ballmer being among the top shareholders) and the customers will speak with their wallets. When Microsoft stop being relevant with its "innovations," they will go away. By that time, it won't make a lick of difference what the culture is.

Truly, I wish you luck, but I can't see it happening.

Anonymous said...

http://www.geekwire.com/2011/chart-ballmers-approval-rating-plummets

Anonymous said...

An option to offset the pricier Skype tag could by MSFT to buy NOKia on a huge discount!

Anonymous said...

I used to read the comments in this blog and find glimpses of insight and introspection. Now comments are descending into troll like, unintelligent, emotion driven drivel.

Not that there is nothing to criticize. We just suck at it, we all have a bone to pick, an agenda or a need to manufacture Schadenfreude to make our miserable little lives bearable.

What are we? A bunch of white disenfrancised males? :)

Anonymous said...

NOK implosion & WP7 ... not pretty

http://www.minyanville.com/businessmarkets/articles/hot-stocks-tech-stocks-microsoft-nokia/6/1/2011/id/34879?camp=syndication&medium=portals&from=yahoo

Anonymous said...

Wait for SteveB to push the big, red BUY button on NOK. 30% premium over current market ~$32bill.

Fold Skype, NOK and WP7 into a single business unit. Tell HTC and the rest of the handset makers to take a hike, offer WP7 on NOK platform only. Sell Symbian off, exit commodity phone business and focus on smartphones only. Offer 4G option in select markets that uses Skype VOIP and bypasses carriers - thy're all dead men walking anyway. This would be consumer offering, business offering would combine Lync for collab and Skype for PSTN connectivity.

NOK has a book value of $5.47/share and plenty of cash so this would actually make sense ... and thus unlikely.

Anonymous said...

The cumulative pre-tax earnings of MSFT over the last 18 years: Listed in 6, three-year cycles:

94-96 97-99 00-02 03-05 06-08 09-11

$7B $24B $38B $40B $62B $73B
...
So, I say Kudos to Ballmer. Those are just some amazing facts.


Yes, the amaaaazinnng Steve Ballmer show. Just one thing there, champ, nobody apparently cares. The market does not, the share price is in the tank and has been flat for 10 years. APPL is now worth 50% more than Microsoft, because they INNOVATE. And all you corporate cheer leaders can rah-rah-rah all you fucking want about revenue but it does not change the facts that the competition has outmaneuvred Steve. Sure, the dominance in corporations will keep things rolling for a while, and the fact that MS is still pretty much a monopoly does not hurt. But its days are numbered unless someone takes over who actually understands the market, competitors, technology and the need to be better and smarter than the other guy.

Remember Vista? Steve was out there talking it up a storm, when everybody - everybody - knew it was a piece of shit. If only he had shut the fuck up, been a little humble, apologized and admitted MS made a mistake he would have garnered some respect. Same thing with WP7, which was screwed up from day one. And Steve puts on his carnival-barker act like the cheap hustler that he is. The fact that he was lucky enough to land in a pile of dough does not make him a genius.

Anonymous said...

"when I asked to see the exit interviews to help us umderstand I was told that the exit interviews aren't taken for that purpose? Then what purpose are they for?"

I was considered 'bad attrition', my exit interview was with an HR manager I had never met before and lasted 5 minutes, mostly covering details about health coverage and NDAs. They never asked why I left and I wasn't about to go out of my way to risk burning bridges and explain the real reasons.

If that's the way most exit interviews are then there's nothing to be learned from them.

As a manager who lost some directs and was questioned as to why they left, and having gone through the process of leaving myself, I didn't see much serious effort to investigate at all. My guess is that they know why people are leaving and this was just some token effort but I never saw any sign of effort to improve the situation.

Anonymous said...

What Wil Campbell said above shows exactly how rude, arrogant, stubborn and narrow-minded some "powerful" MS employees can be.

When talking to middle managers, I get the sense that they think a job at Microsoft is still something really special.

I got news. It's not. What the attitude shows is how out-of-touch they are with their rank and file workers.

I guess if you are making 200K and 60K bonuses to sit in a corner office surfing the web all day, yeah life is pretty great right now. Especially when you know full well that their ain't another tech company on the planet that is going to hire someone that still has DOS on their resume under tech skills.

For the other 83,000 workers that do the work- the reality is long hours, low pay. Everyday another big fight with Lisa Brummel just to get 60% of market rate.

Anonymous said...

i've heard that once you tell your manager you're thinking to switch teams [aka interview] you're pretty much screwed in the next review

How dysfunctional is Microsoft today?

A tech company that doesn't encourage it's engineers to move around?

Wouldn't it make a stronger company to encourage technies to do a few years in Office, then Windows, then XBox?

Is the company so screwed up that it puts orgs and manager wants before the obvious greater health of the entire company?

Just wow.

Anonymous said...

A Microsoft director, speaking on background, told CNBC Thursday that while Ballmer still has the group’s support, the issue could be discussed at Microsoft’s next board meeting, which is scheduled for mid-June.

They can do it or the market will do it for them.

Anonymous said...

"MS's next board meeting is scheduled for mid-June. I assume most employees are shareholders, at least for a day or two each quarter before you sell the stock you've vested. So here's an idea for those of you not satisfied with just whining or talking about how helpless you are. Write the board and tell them you want a leadership change: AskBoard@microsoft.com.

As a shareholder you have that right, and I don't see how your management chain could come after you for exercising it.

Mini should really put a post up and encourage all shareholders to do it."


You're assuming that the board has any interest in what the employees have to say. They don't.

The board is barely interested in what the important shareholders -- big institutional investors -- have to say. Employees aren't even on their radar, and the collective shares of the rank-and-file aren't interesting.

Anonymous said...

And the employees go nuts with cheers and high-fives. After all, they likely worked really hard and are proud of what they have achieved for the firm. Yet, MSFT earns $28B Pre-Tax and employees shrug.

Why it matter? We have employees that have worked hard for 5-10-15 years and have nothing to show for it but a pile of debt.

The Wall Marts and Microsofts of the world are like big vaccuum cleaners. They suck up all the money and make a small handful of people unbelievably rich at the expense of everyone else.

Anonymous said...

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2011/05/31/businessinsider-ouch-only-27-of-microsoft-employees-approve-of-steve-ballmer-2011-5.DTL

Looks like the value of my house.

Anonymous said...

"Stop bitching around the watercooler (or blog, et. al.) and make the change you feel you need to make."

How can we change the corporate culture? I can't. You can't.

Change starts at the top. As in kicking ballmer, lisa, and company to the curb.

Anonymous said...

What Wil Campbell said above shows exactly how rude, arrogant, stubborn and narrow-minded some "powerful" MS employees can be.
On the contrary, it shows how a simple troll post can derail some people so badly.
We'd all like to believe that this "Wil Campbell" existed but I doubt it.

On another topic...
The radio news this morning reported that MS' stock price had dropped 2% on the news of a $16Billion offer for Nokia.
Nothing in the tech press.. anyone?

Anonymous said...

So, I say Kudos to Ballmer

Are you an MSFT shill? In what way is Ballmer responsible for those amazing facts?

MSFT's exceptional revenue and profits rest on 2 cash caws: Windows and Office. Windows is the creation of Dave Cutler et al; and Office, slightly more diffuse but I guess Charles Simonyi and others. Masterpieces achieved before Ballmer was handed the reins of the company. His main "achievement" has been to limit the damage he has done to the company, which continues to be successful despite his numerous mis-steps and frack-ups. If it wasn't for this guaranteed revenue from Windows and Office, which he didn't earn, Ballmer would have been tossed out years ago.

Anonymous said...

"I bet for $200B, you can build a world-class space satellite architecture. In fact, $200B is more than most nations can spend on anything.

So, now it's the year 2015 and MSFT has this amazing $200B space satellite architecture."

You are making the mistake of thinking that simply throwing enough money at a project will make it work.

That simply throwing enough money will overcome obstacles of engineering, management, execution, regulation, marketing, scheduling, timetables, launch date, and probably a lot more I'm not thinking of.

If that was true, windows vista would have been great. If that was true, kin would have rocked the world.

Your ENTIRE idea falls apart because simply throwing more money is NOT enough. Investing money is only a piece of what creates success. Simply throwing more money at a problem is NOT ENOUGH.

And it's those other parts that Microsoft does so poorly.

Anonymous said...

94-96 97-99 00-02 03-05 06-08 09-11

$7B $24B $38B $40B $62B $73B

These are telling numbers especially considering that there was an economic slump happening during the last few years. Agree here that kudos does need to go to the leadership for returning these numbers.

Anonymous said...

After 2 years of A/10, I have been asked to go. Looking for a job... Luckily In India the job market is good and I am optimistic of the future. Good Bye Microsoft. Loved It, Enjoyed It while it lasted..

Anonymous said...

"...when I asked to see the exit interviews to help us umderstand I was told that the exit interviews aren't taken for that purpose? Then what purpose are they for?"

Exit interviews are to tell the departing employee about COBRA insurance and other end-of-benefits information; collect parking passes, badges, and other MS property; and to put the scare in the departing employee about their NDA agreement. HR does not care to hear one tiny bit about why the employee is leaving.

Anonymous said...

Was this just a lame attempt to get people to look at your "godaddy.com website in a night" site?

Mini didn't approve of my comment accusing "Wil" of being a SPAMMER.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft has even clarified that it will not support emulation of existing Windows apps on new mobile ARM-based tablets, pushing users to move entirely to a new type of apps built using HTML5 and JavaScript.

Huh? So why would I want to use Windows on tablet again if none of the programs I currently use on my PC works on the tablet? It will be like starting all over again with low quality or limited functionality programs and limited number of programs for the first year or so.

Where would the advantage over an Android tablet or iPad be? It would just be like HP's yet to be WebOS tablet?

Anonymous said...

For a moment, Elop, 47, lays into the complacency he sees settling over the company. When he asks how many people in the crowd (Nokia employees) use an iPhone or Android device, few hands go up. "That upsets me—not because some of you are using iPhones, but because only a small number of people are using iPhones. I'd rather people have the intellectual curiosity to understand what we're up against."

And compare that to Charlie Ballmer's fake stomping of that poor employee's iPhone at the company meeting and his anti-Apple rants.

Anonymous said...

Re Gates saying he didn't know what Gmail was in 2004. He didn't know, or just as likely, he didn't want to acknowledge a key competitor as having a product worth watching. That seems consistent with Gates' personality (I'm an outsider). I remember after some Belgian creamed him in the face in the pie, he said afterwards that the worst part was that it didn't taste very good. In other words, he worked out a response to give as little satisfaction to the aggressor as possible.

Anonymous said...

Now that Apple is larger than MS in revenue and will soon be twice as big because it's growing at > 4x our rate, and the stock is at $24, I wonder if Steve and the board still "love our strategy"?

Anonymous said...

So, Windows 8 was previewed at D9.

Sadly, it looks like WP7: Some extremely neat stuff that will be made totally irrelevant because of a too late launch.

Why the late launch? Because it is being bloated up with Windows instead of being a new, lightweight tablet-specific platform.

Did you learn nothing from the Vista debacle? Or the NODO debacle?

Faster faster faster is what you should be saying.

Instead it's windows windows windows.

Windows was the reason for MSFT's past success and the reason for it's current and future decline.

Such a waste. Such a shame.

Anonymous said...

This blog is 90% negative.. it needs refocus. Posters: if you're unhappy it is time to move on, really and if you're staying because of the salary, benefits etc then that is your decision. I noticed a post about "if you have worked at... for the last 10 years, then this job is not for you". In general it's not seen as positive working for the same company (in the same position) for 10 years or more. Everybody knows big companies function differently than small-mid sized companies. As far as negative comments go: they attract disproportionally more attention then positive ones, just look at the news.

Anonymous said...

An example of how a lack of trust in a CEO can drive down share price despite revenue and share - Page @ Google. Down 16% *this year* since it was announced he was becoming CEO.

http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_18186502?nclick_check=1

Anonymous said...

$23's today.

That W8 preview really restored confidence, no? LOL.

buh bye MS.

Anonymous said...

"Microsoft’s U.S. smartphone share drops 25% since Windows Phone 7 launch"

This is good, right?

Paging Frank Shaw. Another clean up in aisle 4...

Anonymous said...

D9 thoughts:

W8 preview - Meh. Why bother? Everything shown could have been mocked up on W7E or CE a year and a half ago. Better be a lot more under the hood when the September reveal comes around. Otherwise, big trouble. Big trouble anyway given how late in tablets MS will be by then (three years?).

Still not sold on Metro. Too big a leap from what people know. The reaction seems to be either instant love or instant hate, with most going for the latter. Like that the company took a risk for once, but really needed something where the majority reaction was "Wow, I want", not "Yuk". And Metro on desktops? Seriously? Right up there with the Vista sidebar.

Sinofsky - Impressed that he acknowledged the company didn't do a good job in mobile or tablets. But shocked that he felt those should be treated as minor mistakes and MS given the benefit of the doubt in spite of that.

It doesn't work that way. These were enormous failures. It destroyed any remaining confidence in the company and its leadership, as the subsequent defection of OEMs and ongoing stock decline attests.

Maybe being semi-isolated in Redmond makes it easier to pretend things aren't as bad as they are. At least until the next earnings reports are due.

Anonymous said...

Poll:

Which stock will get to $0 first, MSFT or CSCO?

Which CEO will get axed first, Ballmer or Chambers?

My guesses: MSFT, Chambers.

Anonymous said...

"NOK has a book value of $5.47/share and plenty of cash so this would actually make sense ... and thus unlikely."

Danger cost .5B and was a total failure. You want to try something 60x more expensive and 100x the scale?

The problem with all these "how to fix MS in 30 seconds" solutions, is that it took a decade to screw up the company's competitive position and future prospects this badly. Turning that around now, assuming it's not too late, isn't simple or easy. There's no silver bullet.

It will take years of incremental but intelligent steps by more capable leadership and a great deal of luck. There will be tough painful choices and years of things getting worse as a consequence of past failures before they get better. Of course, none of it can begin to occur until the current failed CEO and board are removed. And that's still a ways off, unfortunately.

Anonymous said...

Chart: Steve Ballmer’s approval rating plummets among Microsoft employees

Why do I feel that this kind of headline is exactly what makes the Microsoft Flat Earth Society (aka the Board) rally even harder behind Ballmer? What is wrong with them? Is their sense of smell so bad that they can't tell when an Earth is scorching?

Cronyism is killing our company. And the people at the top are too passive, or terrified that Ballmer won't show up at their holiday parties, to do anything about it. What in God's name is wrong with those people? How much more tone-deaf do you want Microsoft to be? How many opportunities to innovate do you want to pass up in favor of supporting a guy who routinely embarrasses our brand at international conferences and gatherings?

What is your goddamned motivation? Why are you so ignorant? As long as Ballmer is out there representing us, he does us damage. He consistently makes us worse. What is your problem? What is your hangup? Does Ballmer's wife mix a killer cocktail? Is that it? Why the f*** are you ignoring every single rational business mind on this frickin' planet?

I hate working for a company that is so in love with sticking its head in the sand. This is getting stupid. Really stupid.

Will somebody do something already?

Anonymous said...

" Technically he does not seem all that impressive."

If you want to know how unimpressive he is, read Barbarians led by Bill Gates. The man couldn't even implement a raster flood correctly, and the kicker is, he didn't care.

Anonymous said...

Another historical milestone was reached on Friday: Apple's market capitalization exceeded Microsoft and Intel combined.

Steve Ballmer has presided over the greatest loss of shareholder value in the entire history of joint-stock corporations. It was time for him to go at least a decade ago.

Anonymous said...

is it true that there is a 'Do Not Rehire' list at microsoft?

i've heard that once you tell your manager you're thinking to switch teams [aka interview] you're pretty much screwed in the next review, so it wont surprise me that there is a 'do not rehire' thing going on.


Yes, there is a "Do not re-hire" list. When an employee is fired, depending on the circumstances, they will be put on this list. For example, getting fired for sexual harrassment or stealing will definitely put a person on the list.

Most managers are supportive of people changing teams and won't punish a person in their review for considering it. Remember, most managers have switched teams before themselves.

However there are some bad managers at Microsoft, and so if you think you are reporting to one, what you should do is ask any teams you're considering for an "informal interview loop". What that means is you interview with the team without notifying HR or your manager. If you pass the loop, then you tell HR and your manager, but at that point there's no risk because they've already decided they will hire you. Informal loops are becoming increasingly common, I think over 50% at this point.

Anonymous said...

Ballmer is solidifying his chances of getting fired very soon. Amen to that. Microsoft needs to start inventing instead of following, go back to its roots.

I'd start by making Singularity OS a reality.


I don't see Ballmer getting fired while the financials are still so strong and improving.

Microsoft starting to "invent" is not going back to its roots. In the history of the company, many of it's successful products were acquisitions, not initially written internally.

Microsoft has been doing more inventing in the last five years then any previous time in the company.

Here's an example list of products that started as technology acquisitions: Internet Explorer, SQL Server, PowerPoint, Visio, Great Plains, MS-DOS, Hotmail, Halo, LiveMeeting. The list goes on and on.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft on a shopping spree?

http://www.informationweek.com/news/windows/microsoft_news/229900137

Why? Does it make sense to buy part of NVDA?

Anonymous said...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/cm/blogs/enderle/steve-ballmer-a-middle-linebacker-in-a-quarterback-s-job/?cs=47229

Anonymous said...

http://blogs.forbes.com/rogerkay/2011/05/27/can-anybody-run-microsoft/

Anonymous said...

"AT&T CEO Ralph De La Vega has claimed that Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 devices haven’t sold as well as Microsoft had hoped."

Now that it's clear the WP7 is a massive flop despite taking four years to respond to iPhone 1 and spending an unprecedented $400M on the launch, what excuse will the board come up with for why it's not Steve's fault?

They specifically tasked him with improving this area of the business. He handpicked team leadership, gave them an open checkbook, and took "direct" control by having Andy report to him. So how is he not accountable for the resulting failure that has seen the company once again release a half complete OS into the market (despite repeated failures with this approach previously), which right away was seen as such by customers and media alike, with little real OEM support (second rate phones, limited availability), services that are still incomplete in most parts of the world eight months later, and a single minor update that was completely botched in a process that has dragged on for months?

Are they going to argue that signing up a dying Nokia makes up for all of that?

And now they're letting him tie Windows UI to this same failure?

Anonymous said...

"I used to read the comments in this blog and find glimpses of insight and introspection. Now comments are descending into troll like, unintelligent, emotion driven drivel."

Don't you think stupidity moves like spending $8 for Skypes is causing some of these bad vibes?

Anonymous said...

Great job to the Live team and MS marketing pumping out Skydrive usage statistics and futures *after* Apple makes its long rumored iCloud announcement and everyone now thinks they they created this concept and MS is copying.

How many times have we seen this pattern repeat? When the fuck is MS going to start telling its story aggressively and pressing an early lead, instead of sitting back and ultimately being passed like it's standing still?

Bob said...

Wow, that's a lot of cash. How much would $8,500,000,000 weight in $10 bills?

When I use skype, I normally see around 12,000,000 people online at any one time, so that would be around $700 for each person.

Anonymous said...

The cumulative pre-tax earnings of MSFT over the last 18 years: Listed in 6, three-year cycles:

94-96 97-99 00-02 03-05 06-08 09-11

$7B $24B $38B $40B $62B $73B


Exactly.
We are an incredibly profitable enterprise software company so why do we treat our employees so badly? The last three years have been terrible.

The 10% surprise! layoff, the salary freeze, the health care cuts...

Parts of this company make a ton of money. $1/M profit per employee kind of stuff and yet we act like we are failures and need to scrimp, cut and save.

Employee rewards are completely divorced from product performance. It drives me crazy. Our reward system is a basic government-style seniority system with a few hipo's thrown in. Our stock is no incentive at all so the only rewards are centrally distributed as salary and bonus.

This is an incredibly profitable enterprise software company glued to an incredibly mediocre (money-losing) consumer product company.

Its time to stop talking about being the 'everything for everyone' company and split them up for everyone's benefit.

Enterprise folks could revel in their success and share the wealth. Enterprise may not be sexy but look at my bonus last year?!

Consumer products can be free of the stifling enterprise software culture that holds them back and justifies every product as a "way to sell Windows". You cannot succeed in consumer products with an enterprise culture. They already think of themselves as separate.

The Microsoft of old needs to re-invent itself for the future with some big changes - and some vision.

But I dont think that will happen until things get a lot worse. That enterprise profit can hide failure for decades.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft has lost the battle
1st in the business model area,
2nd in the company culture and
3rd in the technology competition.

How it comes that:

- we lost the battle in the business model space with so many MBAs in reputable US Academia ?

- 5 years ago when so many IT companies were talking about SaaS Microsoft was talking about S+S ??

- 5 years ago, very top execs (no joke, but not senior execs !) were surprised to hear that hundreds of millions of people ww are on instant messaging ??

- for YEARS SteveB is promessing to "fix" the search competition with Google but ... what would happen with an employee not meeting 2 years in a row one of his key strategic targets ??

- none in SMSG (except maybe Simon Witts) among top senior execs is able to deliver a presentation on technology (very high level) in front of a Prime Minister be s/he from the 3rd world or top bank CEO.

Did anyone see such a presentation delivered by KT, JPC, VT and so on .... ??

Ask them to deliver an "inspirational" presentaion about KPI and you'll make their day and your life miserable.

Many of today top senior execs are peopele who have built their carear by pushing only for legalization but not able to talk about solutions as defined by the customers not by Microsoft !

Anonymous said...

Hoping someone here can provide guidance: I have an offer from another company but I'm waiting to resign at a preferred date so I can collect some of my annual review bonus. I cannot wait until September 15, so what is the earlist I can resign from Microsoft to be able to collect pro-rated review bonus? Or do I lose everything if I resign anytime before September 1?

Anonymous said...

Can't think why this is happening. The open source set is buzzing with the news that Microsoft is going to keep shifting the protocol, so that any reverse-engineering isn't going to work for very long.

Seriously, how long is Skype going to retain any value as an acquisition if every second year customers are going to have to throw out all their old stuff for new stuff, like it or not?

The Mind Boggles!

Anonymous said...

Exit interviews are to tell the departing employee about COBRA insurance and other end-of-benefits information; collect parking passes, badges, and other MS property; and to put the scare in the departing employee about their NDA agreement. HR does not care to hear one tiny bit about why the employee is leaving.

When I left, the exit interviewer asked me if I had anything to say about why I was leaving. I asked how the information would be used and the response I got was essentially that it would be ignored. So if they ask you that, it's just to make you feel better.

Anonymous said...

Still not sold on Metro. Too big a leap from what people know. The reaction seems to be either instant love or instant hate, with most going for the latter. Like that the company took a risk for once, but really needed something where the majority reaction was "Wow, I want", not "Yuk". And Metro on desktops? Seriously? Right up there with the Vista sidebar.

The mind boggles when people suggest that Metro is innovative (or good). Really? How much innovation does it take to make buttons with no labels? Or to make everything one color? Or to make "panes" which are identical to the tab strips at the bottom of iPhone apps, except without the helpful visual cues? Or to use giant monochrome rectangles (tiles) instead of icons so you only have easy access to half as many apps and they're harder to distinguish visually?

Every single Metro "innovation" is just taking a standard UI element and tweaking it so it violates the basic principles of usability. But the most depressing thing is that some people actually think it's good.

Anonymous said...

@Thursday, June 02, 2011 11:05:00 AM

If that's the purpose of exit interview, I can understand why are we not evolving?

Surprisingly, a company with 90K employee is not even ready to listen his own employee just because he/she is leaving.

By putting people in “Do not rehire” list, what are we trying to prove? Are we trying to feel better this way? Oh this guy is talking negative let’s say we won’t take you again. (We won’t give you opportunity to say NO :))

What example are we setting for outside world who really admire Microsoft?

Anonymous said...

"This blog is 90% negative.. it needs refocus. Posters: if you're unhappy it is time to move on, really and if you're staying because of the salary, benefits etc then that is your decision. etc."

WRONG ASSUMPTION regarding need for refocus!

Many negative comments are added by former employees who are "STILL BLEEDING" for Microsoft !

By former employees who are saying "I DO LOVE THIS COMPANY" NOT FOR THE PURPOSE TO BE HEARD BY HR AND GET A HIGHER RANKING !

Comments, maybe emotional, yes but added by PEOPLE who STILL LOVE and CARE about MICROSOFT !

Do You ? If Yes, SHOW ME YOU DO !

And remember: a company always looks differently from outside than inside !

Anonymous said...

I spent today listen to Redmond people explain me that iphone is dead and Gingerbread won't work. This is sad it is so funny. Worst idea we have is to give ourselves the windows phone because now we think it is everywhere. No one I know at home uses Windows Phone 6.5 or 7. No child I know wants one. Worst things seem to be Zune and WP7 people think they majority, but this is only in Redmond. It is small place. Wish someone can change this attitude, but people in campus laugh at iphone and apple and Android.

Anonymous said...

Here's an example list of products that started as technology acquisitions: Internet Explorer, SQL Server, PowerPoint, Visio, Great Plains, MS-DOS, Hotmail, Halo, LiveMeeting. The list goes on and on.

Not to disagree, *BUT*, IE (makes no money), SQL Server (cool, makes lots of money), PowerPoint (part of Office, makes money), Great Plains (don't know if it makes money), MS-DOS (aka PowerShell, makes no money), Hotmail (loses money), Halo(who knows wrt money), LiveMeeting (makes money).

Anonymous said...

Sunday, June 12, 2011 2:30:00 PM: You are vile. Please, quit now.

Anonymous said...

Hoping someone here can provide guidance: I have an offer from another company but I'm waiting to resign at a preferred date so I can collect some of my annual review bonus. I cannot wait until September 15, so what is the earlist I can resign from Microsoft to be able to collect pro-rated review bonus? Or do I lose everything if I resign anytime before September 1?

I'm in similar situation. My suggestion: Pick the latest date you can past June. If you have vacations, 'plan' on using all of it, 'return' from vacation and deliver the 'good news'.

Anonymous said...

Re: Why? Does it make sense to buy part of NVDA?

Defensive positioning. If AMD decides to focus on non Windows systems, there goes ATI. Getting part of nvidia will keep it from going totally non-Windows.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the board and our favorite CEO, if you knew the right people, I think you would know that he has not gotten quite the free pass it appears he has from the outside.

There are ways to get the board's attention, and at least one has been mentioned in reader comments on mini, multiple times. A lot of us care, but when faced with the choice of sticking up our heads and nominating ourselves as targets for the kind of retribution MS is known for, we conclude we would prefer to wait for someone else to lead the charge.

Anonymous said...

could it be that finally, we now have a real-life Bumpkin Billionaire in Ballmer?

http://www.toonhound.com/bumpkin.htm

It's certainly possible: what is undeniable is that he has the Reverse-Midas Touch.

Anonymous said...

Wow, these comments are all rather depressing...

IMHO, MS has a real morale problem nowadays, and it's been that way ever since the double punch of stagnating stock price and DOJ oversight (after which we have behaved like weenies for fear of breaking the rules).

When Google saw that their employees were unhappy and leaving, they raised compensation by 10% across the board. It was bold, and strong, and I bet the employees who stayed felt like they were heard. Now if Microsoft were to design a raise in compensation... ;)

Anonymous said...

"Hoping someone here can provide guidance: I have an offer from another company but I'm waiting to resign at a preferred date so I can collect some of my annual review bonus. I cannot wait until September 15, so what is the earlist I can resign from Microsoft to be able to collect pro-rated review bonus? Or do I lose everything if I resign anytime before September 1?"

Go now, don't wait... Microsoft will do everything they can to fuck you if you leave before the money is in the bank, it's not worth the risk of losing your offer while you wait.

I just turned-in my notice and can't wait for the next 2 weeks to pass. Looking forward to better days with Microsoft in the rearview mirror. :)

Anonymous said...

Microsoft has lost the battle
1st in the business model area,
2nd in the company culture and
3rd in the technology competition.

The problem with Microsoft today is every little feature is being run top-down. Even when good ideas are presented, they are usually quickly shot down.

Apparently unless your a high level partner or exec, your idea's aren't good enough for Microsoft.

As irony would have it, these are the same managers that brought you the last five releases. Nuff said.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Steve and Ballmer ought to have a sit down and Steve ought to share with Ballmer how to bootstrap this kind of transformation at Microsoft...

It is pretty obvious to everyone they don't know how to transform the company into an innovative, creative, team environment.

My first year at the company- most senior and partner level IC's here would just assume spit on the junior level guy then help them out.

The culture here seems to be that no one is willing to help each other out, unless they think it will help them gain some sort of edge in their own careers.

In the meetings it is like everyone is looking to throw the guy sitting beside them under the bus so they look better or smarter.

Really don't get this place.

Anonymous said...

They place a DNR (Do Not Rehire) on your file, and they always check to see if there is a file before hiring anyone. I doubt it is 100%, there are probably cases where they change their minds, but that is how they keep track. Perfectly legal.

This is something I have considerable experience with having been involved in a lot of hiring/firing at MS over two decades.

When you leave you are classified as:
1. Not eligible for rehire
2. Eligible for rehire under advisement
3. Eligible for rehire

#1 is extremely rare. There has to be egregious violation of law or company policy. Personally in my career I never had a case of this.

#2 is also not as common as it really should be. This only occurs if the employee is terminated for performance reasons AND the firing manager explicitly goes to HR and asks them to be classified as #2 which almost never happens. I would only do this if I felt that the employees behavior would make them inappropriate for ANY position at MS (usually ethics issues or very severe interpersonal skills issues) In this case, a hiring manager who is trying to re-hire this employee is advised to contact the previous manager for feedback before making a final hiring decision. This RARELY happens and even when it does I have seen several cases where the hiring mgr has proceeded to hire someone I fired and marked as #2 only to find that they were indeed very problematic. Duh!

The vast majority of cases are #3. I have seen people who did not do well in one job at MS get rehired into another job at MS and do better. But not many.

MS NEVER shares this classification with any vendor agency as that would be a breach of confidentiality. If a former employee is marked as #1 then the hiring mgr cannot hire them as a contractor, but it is NOT communicated back to the vendor the reason as to why as this would again violate confidentiality.

Anonymous said...

Changing protocol and throw out old stuff for new 2x every year to avoid reverse engineering

Whatever happens: look at it from the marketing POV and it becomes more clear. The sales potential 'thanks to' the level of piracy in the 'emerging markets' (if you can still call them that, I think the US and EU are becoming the submerging markets) is enormous. Software piracy got these customers in the door, now it's time to pay up.

Anonymous said...

...citing speculation at Windows8Update.com earlier this week that said a tipster claimed Ballmer would give up the CEO post after Windows 8 is released.

http://blogs.barrons.com/techtraderdaily/2011/06/16/microsoft-sinofsky-could-replace-ballmer-says-infoworld/?mod=yahoobarrons

Anonymous said...

Over the last 30 days I have noticed a big RIF here in MSIT. Many people have left my org even on their own. This is due to low morale, culture/politics, and, low career development opportunities. Management seems okay with this. Fewer people means less payroll costs. The reduction in headcount appear just as big as the layoff we had a couple of years ago. Lots of fear and anxiety for those of us who still have an alias.

Anonymous said...

Resign now and negotiate a larger signing bonus with the new company. What's coming down the pipeline is not worth waiting around for.

Anonymous said...

Left two months ago, used the under $24 per share price earlier this week to buy back all the covered CALLs. Still have friends and shares in Microsoft, it's sad to see how far the star has fallen.

The work environment was just poisonous if the management chain decided to screw you. I have names but it's not fair to name them.

Call me stupid, it's too late or low to sell my shares, at least I can hope Microsoft follows IBM's path completely --- to have a near death experience and miracously "revived." Hang in there, my friends back in B87, B84, B85, B33, B28, B26 and B27. Keep your integrity and hold your heads up high, you know you don't have to kiss asses to be treated fairly. It's easy for me to say, I understand not all are at a stage in their lives to take risk or as able to make a change.

I actually believe Ballmer is trying to do a good job---yea, I'm a fool, the middle management is causing the implosion, IMHO.

Anonymous said...

Balmer- U/10

Anonymous said...

Ballmer: You are doin' a good job pissin' away shareholder value on useless acquisition but you're not perfect. You completely missed out pissin' away billions on Palm. You'll likely miss pissin' away several billions on RIM if you don't wake up.

Anonymous said...

When you leave you are classified as:
1. Not eligible for rehire
2. Eligible for rehire under advisement
3. Eligible for rehire


Several earlier posters mentioned that it's possible to request this information about yourself (I've heard that the vicious managers can request "ineligible for rehire" set even in voluntary leave case or in layoff). As a former employee, I requested my complete file be sent over, but all I got was my initial contract with Microsoft, nothing regarding this flag. Has anyone been successful in getting this information about their own case?

Anonymous said...

Hoping someone here can provide guidance: I have an offer from another company but I'm waiting to resign at a preferred date so I can collect some of my annual review bonus. I cannot wait until September 15, so what is the earlist I can resign from Microsoft to be able to collect pro-rated review bonus? Or do I lose everything if I resign anytime before September 1?

You need to stay till the end of June (or 1st of July to be exact) when the review cycle officially ends. If you leave any time after that you'll get the bonus check in the mail.

Anonymous said...

Some are more equal than others. When compensation and review structure was changed in April, only R&D will get one time adjustment. Support, Sales, IT, Content Publishing were left out. The rationale is to compete against the Facebooks and Googles for young talents. The side affect is the reactions from the "non-R&D" groups. Even though I was in R&D, I left two months ago, at a dinner party, it was mentioned that a 3 rating in R&D could still get a 15% bump in base pay in Sept.. With non-R&D people leaving and the financial hit on the extra cash outlay on compensation, will the share price be ever be north of $27?

SteveB, I (as a fool), like your passion and drive, please do look at attrition in different groups, at rid of the bad managers who have bad poll numbers as soon as possible before we are sunk. I'm know only speaking as a shareholder and a former employee, what is the value to hire the best and the brightest when they are placed under bad management and little hope for vertical movement? Look into Windows specifically, has it become a warehouse of people who "delivered" Vista and still hanging around to "deliver W8"?

Anonymous said...

Yes, we overpaid again... But I think buying Skype is a good fit for MS. Hopefully, integration will go smoothly and eventually Skype will replace live meeting, office communicator, etc.

Anonymous said...

From "This is something I have considerable experience with having been involved in a lot of hiring/firing at MS over two decades." above.

I actually happen to know this ANONYMOUS guy from the way he has written. He is sick to the core to believe that the guy he fired was problematic to the guy who rehired him.

DON'T BELIEVE THIS DUDE IF HE SAYS HE HAS ALSO FIRED. HE SHOULD ASK HIMSELF A QUESTION: IF HE FIRED SOMEONE< WHAT DID HE HONESTLY DO TO SAVE HIS JOB. HE WILL SAY THAT HE DID THIS AND HE DID THAT, BUT IN REALITY HE JUST PLAYED DIRTY POLITICS. THAT'S THE CULTURE OF MSFT TODAY.

SAD BUT TRUE. MANY HIGH PERFORMERS HAVE BEEN DELETED BY SHEER ARROGANCE AND DIRTY POLITICS. PERFORMANCE MEASUREMENT IS A JOKE AT MSFT.

Anonymous said...

Read a bit about power games in the workplace, a very generic article about a very generic issue, only that the review system puts more oil on this fire which makes live total hell for the 'selected' 10% (future 7%) every year. I think it's bordering harassment and abuse including very personal attacks, completely contrary to the non discrimination policies in place, but apparently legally ok. In fact the whole proving of inadequacy is part of the documentation process to protect the organization against lawsuits etc, and a signal for you to start packing or live a miserable life for 6-9 months. I have only seen a few people surviving this ordeal by pure luck on a very thin margin. It made them miserable and for some affected their health, but as again: it's all legal...

Anonymous said...

[article excerpt - looking familiar?]

Once workplace power games degenerate into mobbing, both the target and the employer have a
major problem on their hands. [Congrats - I think you're at this point - aka the toxic work environment]

When workplace power games are not dealt with, the behaviour often spreads through the entire
workplace. Colleagues can offer support to a target of bullying. “Having strong alliances with
colleagues usually helps us to feel more powerful. Colleagues can provide us with moral
support, offer survival strategies and provide us with a reality check about the bullying we are
experiencing.”6 When colleagues begin to fear attracting the bully’s attention they may either
withdraw their support or join in the power games themselves. Mobbing can bring its own
rewards in the form of preferential treatment and a sense of power by association.

Anonymous said...

From pure technical prospective Skype not even close to 8.5B

But, if you take into account an opportunity to play in a social space and number of locked users it may make sense (if MS wouldn't screw up execution - big IF IMHO)

Anonymous said...

>> they [Google] raised compensation by 10% across the board

More than that, actually. Google authorized employees to discuss changes in their own compensation, so the percentages below might be different for others. 10% is just outright increase in base. Then, 15% of the 30% yearly bonus was also rolled into the base. But here's where "more than" comes in - the new 15% (or more, if you perform well, or much more if you perform really well) bonus is computed off the "new" base which is now 25% higher (more in my case due to the merit increase). I'll let you do the math.

Anonymous said...

"I actually believe Ballmer is trying to do a good job---yea, I'm a fool, the middle management is causing the implosion, IMHO."

A manager is, or should be, accountable for their team's performance. All those middle managers are his team. If he can't hire vp's who can manage the middle management sycophant mess at MS (through better hiring and through holding people accountable and 10percent tossing the losers) it is his problem just as much as it is the non-performers' problem.

Way too many middle managers place committee membership (which carries no career risk) above actually shipping product on the priority scale. They are in gravy train preservation mode rather than productivity enhancement mode. And unfortunately, this is the direction they set for staff. On some teams, team members are actually penalized for opting out of membership in committees that contribute nearly nothing to the company, in favor of doing actual work to try to hit a schedule. Even if the team is already more than adequately represented on the committee, such that an additional voice adds literally nothing, at the cost of up to a day of productivity for that individual per month.

Those who have spent their lives in smaller companies likely have no concept of the importance of committees at places like MS. The worst of them "make recommendations" - that is their only deliverable. There is no failure other than a failure to deliver recommendations - which are usually absolutely ignored. It is make-work in the extreme. Others "report findings", also a no-fail experience.

Most people can see how a middle manager determined not to take any risks that could result in a 10percent or a U, would gravitate toward the idea that spending as much time in committee meetings as possible would be a good use of their day, career-wise. And no one above them tells them, "get out of meetings and get back to work already".

Anonymous said...

@Monday, June 13: 8:35 PM

"Sunday, June 12, 2011 2:30:00 PM: You are vile. Please, quit now."

WTF is wrong with you? S/he asks a reasonable question. Ugh.

Anonymous said...

I spent today listen to Redmond people explain me that iphone is dead and Gingerbread won't work.

If this is actually true - if Microsoft people are so totally blind to reality - then I really do think Microsoft is DECing itself. How totally oblivious can a company be?? Plus, unless it's a smokescreen, what I have seen of Windows 8 so far... ugh, awful, *this* is what's next for Windows? Have all your good designers left already? Wow.

Anonymous said...

Hoping someone here can provide guidance: I have an offer from another company but I'm waiting to resign at a preferred date so I can collect some of my annual review bonus. I cannot wait until September 15, so what is the earlist I can resign from Microsoft to be able to collect pro-rated review bonus? Or do I lose everything if I resign anytime before September 1?

You need to be on the payroll on July 5 to get any of your bonus. That said, unless your manager is a really decent guy (my first one was; managers two and three are consistent with the posts on this site) he can choose to give you a very small bonus or no bonus at all. Review models don't lock until the end of July or the beginning of August; after that, it's safe to quit.

Anonymous said...

any new layoffs these days?

Anonymous said...

Corporate America Really Really Cares About Its Employees (Really) - A Distributed Rant

http://bit.ly/kABCfQ

Anonymous said...

You guys are so pathetic. If Microsoft is soo horrible, why don't you find a new job? Clearly you are all business geniuses with godlike programming skills. Maybe you could figure out how to leave a job you don't like?

Anonymous said...

Mini you need a new thread on new review model and calibration! Got to get manager thoughts on it!

For the numbers/text challenged and prefer to think in academics:
1 == A (0x0A)
2 == B (0x0B)
3 == C (0x0C)
4 == D (0x0D)
5 == F (0x0F)

Anonymous said...

One of my role models, Richard Branson has a quote for an organization to be successful.
" Keep your employees happy as when they are happy, your customers are happy and when your customers are happy, your stockholders are happy".

There is a lot of employee disgruntlement at MS and it reflects on our products and the share price

Anonymous said...

MS is reduced to a company of sychophants. I used to work for a manager who got bad WHI and manager ratings three years in a row. And suprise suprise, this manager got a promotion all three years. He knew the knack of kissing the right bottoms and had guardian angels protecting him.

Anonymous said...

Ballmer is so not incompetent: http://su.pr/7AI6Dr

Anonymous said...

Single most important reason for MS failure is middle managers! Somehow MS never developed a culture of good mid level managers!

So ICs get frustrated with these idiots and leave, and top management doesn't get the real picture of products, people, features, bugs etc.

Best fix would be to cut most of these mid managers and flatten the hierarchy and of course replacing some clueless execs like Ballmer won't hurt. If the company has to be split to achieve this so be it.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone actually know the firm date on which the annual bonus is "earned" and the employee will receive it for sure? Is the "money in the bank" date September 15? What date does the annual stock grant segment vest?

As to the when to resign questions: for any company with variable compensation (bonus) like Microsoft, the only truly safe date to resign is after you have the bonus cash in your bank account. Another date to keep in mind is if you have stock vesting from your annual allotment, or from a hire grant, consider if it's worth it to wait until the next chunk vests, particularly if you have multiple stock grants in play. Example: you have 3 grants that will vest 20% this fall on the date for annual review grants. Wait until that stock vests to receive that portion of stock. Start looking a month before, and don't tell anyone at all. Use up all your vacation and PL before you give any notice, and I'm fine with the coming back from vacation and giving your notice thing.

Some companies will up the ante on your signing bonus in exchange for you showing up sooner instead of later. Add up everything you would leave behind, and ask for the same in cash upfront as a sign, or consider a replacement of stock offer.

If Microsoft does not begin to seriously value the resource of human capital, the best will continue to go elsewhere. Seasonally, the time to leave is in the fall, due to the compensation structure, and you will be negotiating from your new salary base, which will make things a little better for the future role in the new place.

Anonymous said...

MSFT is dumb. 8.5b for Skype. layoff the drugs ballmer, not the people. msft had this technology back in 1998 and never brought it to market because it can't do anything anymore but outsource in a flailing way. let the foreign workers destroy microsoft some more. build another commons and layoff people. no thanks for everything. glad i sold my stock after laying me off.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised there has been no speculation about the Ballmer/Sinofsky town hall meeting today. CEO succession plan?

Anonymous said...

Anyon knows anything about layoff rumors again? Anyone can post internal email being mentioned in articles here http://www.windows8update.com/2011/06/21/are-microsoft-layoffs-coming/ or in other publications. What where when...

Anonymous said...

Yet another layoff rumor:

http://www.windows8update.com/2011/06/21/are-microsoft-layoffs-coming/

Anonymous said...

"Satya Nadella, the new president of Microsoft's Server & Tools Business, said Wednesday that cloud computing is an opportunity that the company can capitalize on, just as it did with the birth of the PC."

What foresight! We are so proud of our leaders

Steve Ballmer said...

You people are just sooo dang picky!
That money was just sitting there! I had to do something!

http://fakesteveballmer.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

How is it to work in the US BMO under Alison Watson?

Anonymous said...

This blog is 90% negative.. it needs refocus.

This isn't intended to be an attack, but please consider what you're asking for:

A blog that presents a POSITIVE view of Microsoft, irrespective of whether it's deserved or not.

Most employees aren't dullards, and recognize the "Rah, Rah, Go Team!" messages from their GMs for the vapid drivel that it is.

The negative tone you hear is not people attempting to harm Microsoft; they're venting frustration and anger at a terribly mismanaged corporation.

The tone here doesn't seem to have gone negative over the years, at least to me. I do see frustration of people who seem astonished that Microsoft's problems can be so blatant, yet utterly ignored.

The people who hate Microsoft with a passion are either the infrequent (relatively) troll, or don't waste their time talking about it other than to say things like "Game over."

When I hear someone discuss a topic without any critical analysis, I quickly dismiss them as a shill, and stop paying attention. That's probably why I've been known to nod off at GM all-hands in prior years.

Anonymous said...

"The mind boggles when people suggest that Metro is innovative (or good). Really? How much innovation does it take to make buttons with no labels?"

How much innovation did it take for Apple to make a grid of icons and basically rip off LG's Prada phone nearly completely?

Anonymous said...

Get ready for a tough review cycle. From the managers I've talked to, many really good people are getting 4's and 5's due to the curve. Most of the managers are also unhappy that they have to "own the message." The new review process is clearly another Balmer blunder.

Anonymous said...

Exit interviews are to tell the departing employee about COBRA insurance and other end-of-benefits information; collect parking passes, badges, and other MS property; and to put the scare in the departing employee about their NDA agreement. HR does not care to hear one tiny bit about why the employee is leaving.

This was pretty much my experience as well when I left a couple weeks ago, I was naive enough to think they would actually ask "Why"

Anonymous said...

Ballmer time to piss off and let Sinofsky run the place.
You are stuck in the 90s and need to be smarter and more agile.

Anonymous said...

I am in a bit of a pickle and could use some “real” advice. (asking after checking with HR and they gave me the old cock and bull story). I have been at Msft for 5 years and this past year was not my greatest. Many reasons including someone above who does not like my baked skin type but that is not the reason for this post / ask. I am pretty certain I am a ‘5’ this year. And today being the 1st of July, the ranking is in the model – maybe locked in.

The actual rating etc is revealed to us after August 15.

1. So if I were to go for an interview between now and august, how is the hiring manager to find out what my ranking is? Those of you who are managers and have hired people during July / August season – it would be great if you can answer.

2. What happens if the new hiring manager does not call my manager and finds out after August 15 that I was ranked 5?

3. What is the policy on 5ers this year? Does it mean automatic riff? When?

4. Since I have been at Msft for 5 years & this was my first bottom score, does that buy me any “do over” chances?

5. How can I escalate this matter to HR /senior leadership – is the only option that I have to NOT sign the review?

Would appreciate responses - Thanks

Anonymous said...

Someones probably already posted it, but an interesting internal reflection on RIM http://www.bgr.com/2011/06/30/open-letter-to-blackberry-bosses-senior-rim-exec-tells-all-as-company-crumbles-around-him/

Anonymous said...

Did anyone notice that the FY2012 Benefits mail that went out yesterday had a link to (for the first time) the official severance policy? Is that some foreshadowing?

Anonymous said...

six years ago when I joined microsoft, we still had a few people (not the partner/GM variety but truely leader like seniors, managers and colleagues) whom we could look up to as leaders and even role models. Six years and many disasters later all we see are hardened corporate politicans, their side kicks and shifty survivors whose single most important motivation is to keep their fat paychecks intact and let the business go to the dogs. Such is the leadership of Ballmer era.

Anonymous said...

Ballmer comments at a civic-group luncheon at the Seattle Westin on 6/29/11:

"You tell me if I lack energy, conviction or we're not driving all the change we need to drive," Ballmer shouted after a lunch attendee asked for his reaction to an investor's call for his resignation.

"If you cut me open and saw what was inside? Windows," Ballmer said. "It's just Windows, Windows, Windows."

- Seattle Times, 6/30/11

So now you know where the company culture comes from . . . and why it won't be changing anytime soon.

Anonymous said...

Why do we need Skpe ...for such a huge cost..?
BillG come back..

Anonymous said...

I absolutely fail to understand why we have Sr. Level (>L63) marketing roles that have no accountability for revenues or products or even scorecard metrics and don't have any budgets either.

Anonymous said...

Hank Vigil leaving. One less snout at the trough.

Anonymous said...

... MS-DOS (aka PowerShell, makes no money),

Bwahahahahahahahahah!

Perhaps not right now, but to paraphrase The Jefferson Starship, 'We Built This Company With MS-DOS'. Google QDOS for its pre-acquisition name.

Anonymous said...

Mini -
Where have you gone? We're right in the thick of the new review process and no comments on how that is going? Would you please allow comments to go through so we can share? - Thx

Anonymous said...

Interesting article (and comments)on keeping your Engineers happy when growing the company
http://steveblank.com/2009/12/21/the-elves-leave-middle-earth-%e2%80%93-soda%e2%80%99s-are-no-longer-free/

Anonymous said...

Layoffs happening in India, and this is no rumor or joke. All A/10s are being asked to move out with 6 weeks of notice.

Anonymous said...

Resign now and negotiate a larger signing bonus with the new company. What's coming down the pipeline is not worth waiting around for.

+1

Management is just stringing people out. I see so many employees that think something eventually will come their way.

Whatever you think you are waiting for, ain't coming people.

Anonymous said...

I was at the company for a decade and recently left. I was reorg’ed to the Windows Live team before I left. I have always had good review and no performance issues and leaving was my choice. One previous poster said he was sad to see morale so low. I have to agree and it is the process that they have in place to reward bad behavior and adds unnecessary anxiety. HR needs a wakeup call and Steve needs to take a long walk off a short peer. I have to say out of all the Divisions I have worked for Windows Live is by far the most @$!$ up. I feel bad for anyone who has to endure such a lack of direction and forced to play in band while the Titanic is slowly easing itself into the icy waters. I have to say that although I value the company’s contribution to my family and my personal accomplishments I am SO GLAD to be out of that BS, unnecessary, pressure cooker of an environment. My advice to anyone feeling unhappy when they go home or tired of the BS; leave! There is plenty out there and the grass for me was greener on the other side. Microsoft has a by design method of making everyone “feel” like they are 10%’ers and that culture breads so much negative narcissism and insecurity that eventually it becomes your norm and you actually start to feel it. I hope the company changes and adapts with a better corporate culture. There is a lot of great talent there and it was an honor to spend the time I did there.

Best Wishes!

Anonymous said...

For all the talk about Kinect selling like hotcakes, what is there to do on it? Play River Adventure again? It's a year later and the games for it still suck.

Anonymous said...

where did u disappear mini

Anonymous said...

Now that our management has canned ISU and Company Meeting, guess what's next. While I am all for cutting wasteful expenditure, I am totally fed up with the present approach of replacing one kind of wastage with another. For example we have an unspecified number of people dedicated to administrative affairs with somwhat cryptic role titles like Sales Excellence analyst/Lead, Business Analyst, Director Strategy, fiscal accountabilty lead etc.. My own hypothesis is that these exist purely for people in senior management roles to cover up their incompetence.

Anonymous said...

I am finally leaving Microsoft after years and years of good times, then some 'meh' times, then recently a bad manager who has decided that I am worthless (despite a very strong track record and great peer feedback) and there is nothing I can do about it. It broke my heart to realize the company I have worked so hard for just doesn't care that the rats are leaving the sinking ship as fast as they can. (Yes, that makes me a rat, I know). I made a few calls and within six weeks got at offer from one of the tech neighbors for significantly more than I have been making. I am now kicking myself for waiting so long to make the move and sticking around hoping that things would improve. They won't.

I miss the old Microsoft. I won't miss the politics, the forced 10% bucket, the inept HR people, the stealth layoffs, the stagnant stock price, and the 60% of market salary. The stellar benefits are going away anyways, you know?

For those of you still drinking the koolaid: You have options. Don't continue to beat the dead horse; there are other companies who will pay you a lot more for your hard work. Once you stop drinking the koolaid the world looks very, very different. I encourage you to take a look at what's out there.

Anonymous said...

Mini- I respectfully disagree with you and others who share your opinion on the Skype purchase:
1. Skype has a huge userbase - especially outside of the US. Everyone of my friends and family uses it and loves it. Ask anyone who has family overseas and is even remotely technical - they use Skype to talk to them.
2. This is one you missed completely - Skype has more agreements with providers all over the world for calls that can be made from Skype to land lines - through land line providers or to cell phones through cell providers. We immediately acquire those agreemtns.
2. Skype has technology for Video and VOIP that is complimentary and in many ways better than what we have in either Lync or Live Messenger. It's particularly better in lower bandwidth scenarios that frequently occur outside of the US.

Put those 3 together and this acquisition makes a lot more sense than what you're making it out to be.

Anonymous said...

Way too many people who are negative on MS on this blog. 3 reasons why I'm bullish on MS for the first time in years:
1. With WP7 (Mango), and now Windows 8, we're completely transforming the UI from a functional UI to an object based UI where the app such as Facebook is abstracted. You want to see your and your family's photo albums on WP7? No need to open Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, etc. Go to Photos, select family, and seamlessly see all of the photos and photo albums they've posted regardless of what service. Lots more of that kind of thinking. With Win 8 and XBox following the same trend, we could easily become 'Cool' again within 2 to 3 years. Watch a few of the Win 8 videos out there to understand more.

2. We've finally figured out that our apps don't have to run only on Widnows and the world doesn't all run on Windows (took long enough). Notice that in WPC last week we announced that Systems Center can control phones from every major OS - iPhone, Android, Blackberry, WP7, etc., not just Windows Phones. Same with slates, same with PC platforms. Bing is being released for all platforms. Office is being worked on solidly for Mac - almost as much as it is for PC. SharePoint no longer requires only PC's, etc. This is a huge step forward.

3. Kevin Turner at least appears to have finally figured out that MS employees are not equivalent to Walmart cashiers, and you can't replace them overnight with another cashier who can be trained in 24 hours. Suddenly they're actually making some effort to retain people.

Peter said...

Well when things like this happen i wonder what will happen with dedicated voip services like Axvioce ViaTalk and others.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why the pay increase mail should be sent to whole of MS when increase is not for all employees of Microsoft. Is this piss off people who did not receive increase encouraging them to get out ?

This is ridiculously stupid of mgmt playing the dividing game.

Kevin said...

Does managers know what I am doing? Like amount of time I spend on Browsing. That is what me and some of co's are doing these days.
Please share.

Anonymous said...

Re: "Does managers know what I am doing? Like amount of time I spend on Browsing. That is what me and some of co's are doing these days."

Yes.

Anonymous said...

Time for new post. Annual coupon clipping season has begun!

Anonymous said...

"Honestly, you couldn't pay for entertainment better than this."

You need to get a life if this is the best form of entertainment you can think of. The success or failure of MS directly affects 90K employees and their families, another 50K contractors and their families, and a collection of partners, suppliers, and downstream beneficiaries (including major charities) that number in the millions.

You make your bed, you lie in it.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's time for a class action against Microsoft? For those of you that have lost their jobs today... Were you shown the door while the H1-B guest workers were kept? I would think a decent HR attorney might be able to make a case for you.

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