Thursday, July 21, 2011

Microsoft FY11Q4 Results

(ring-ring, Mini, ring-ring)

How is this quarter shaping up? First of all, let's review some competitors:

  • IBM: Bang! Third base!
  • Google: Boom! Out of the park, home-run!
  • Apple: Ka-Blam! Out of the city. Game over!

We've already been given a small preview thanks to the Partner conference: good Windows 7 numbers and Windows Phone, as loved as it might be (especially compared to Android) just ain't selling much. And no one is holding out any hopes that current customers will see their Mango update until New Years.

The iPad continues to suck in consumer love and money... money that we'd prefer they send our way but there's nothing comparable for them to buy. Windows 8 ARM tablets? Sometime next year, but what we showed at All Things D is our take of squeezing an elephant into a VW bug. Here's some deep respect and chops to the folks doing all this work, but it's a subtraction game followed by many frustrating conversations about why it's okay not to have certain obvious things work... obviously. And I have to say it's fascinating watching Sinofsky wrangle the Windows organization in this long game of reshaping itself and the consequences it has for the rest of the company.

My one analyst question for today: when the hell is Bing going to stop losing money?!? It appears that the internal hiring spree has finally cooled down so that's good - the piling of warm bodies has stopped (well, only to be replaced by throwing warm bodies on The Cloud because, ah-huck, we're all in). Seriously though, now's the time to start shaking the Bing tree and let the goodness of the search eco-system keep on going and shed the remaining busy work. Come on, if Xbox did it, so can you!


Calibration cacophony: I owe a post about our new review system but I'm not going to put money down about when that's going to happen. In the meantime, I'd love to sit down with each and everyone of you that supposedly told LisaB that the previous review system, with its Exceeded and Achieved and its 20% this and 70% that, was just too durn hard to comprehend. Let's chat. This discuss (*whack* against the side of your head) your results for this year. I'd like to discuss (*whack*) what a peer relative result within a strict percentage based system means. As part of this discussion (*whack* *whack* *whack*) you'll learn that your results are less that what you're used to and the message and your rewards are strictly viewed through your percentile bucket, no matter if you're at the top of your bucket or the bottom. I do seem to have some feedback from your peers to discuss (*whack*) although the majority of it seems to spring from a glowingly content-free "I'll rub your back if you'll rub mine" point of view.

Be careful what you ask for, because the person listening might turn it into one big step backwards. Oh, and for some of you, here's a salary bump.


-- Comments

453 comments:

1 – 200 of 453   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

Which bucket do people tend to expect ending up and where does that put you salary-wise compared to Facebook and Google?

Anonymous said...

have to admit i like the new system better than the old one. nice to get more cash now instead of the promise of future riches (especially when the stock is as flat as it's been the past few years). i am still trying to figure out what the downside is, though...

but here's something i can't say i'm a fan of: a poorly performing L67 who 'earns' a 4 rating gets practically the same percentage bonus as a top performing L64 who earns a 1 rating!

Luo Yang said...

Bing was focusing too much on search, not ads. I think this was a logical decision - you need to gain market share first before worrying about revenue. And $MSFT does have such a deep pocket.

Anonymous said...

"but here's something i can't say i'm a fan of: a poorly performing L67 who 'earns' a 4 rating gets practically the same percentage bonus as a top performing L64 who earns a 1 rating!"

Something that will never change at Microsoft: the higher up the food chain you get the less performance matters.

Even the worst partners make a kazillion dollars, and Ballmer is still one of the richest people in the country.

Learn that lesson: you need to be great when you're a L61, good when you're an L64, Mediocre when you're an L67 and you can suck as hard as you like when you're a Partner.

Anonymous said...

Windows Phone 7 needs to hurry up and die already.

The only people who love that phone work at Microsoft. I've been in meetings with otherwise smart people (I'm an MS employee) and when they start forcefully talking about how much they're "in love" with their phone, I can smell Ballmer's poop on their noses.

It's a boring almost-ran loser. Kill it.

Anonymous said...

"Even the worst partners make a kazillion dollars, and Ballmer is still one of the richest people in the country."

The world will never take Microsoft seriously as long as Ballmer is CEO.

The end.

skc said...

Great numbers.

I know the people posting here as mad as hell right now :-)

Anonymous said...

The problem was never the review system, it is the lower and middle managers behind it.

Anonymous said...

Windows Phone 7 needs to hurry up and die already.

This has to be a troll. I love the iPhone as well, but the WP7 is a *fantastic* phone. Anyone who's used it really thinks so, and friends of mine (who don't work at MSFT) have considered selling their iPhones to get one. There's plenty at MSFT to bitch and moan about, but when MSFT does something right (such as the WP7), it amazes me that trolls still seem to come out of the closet.

Anonymous said...

MBD - nice going, need 365 to be a hit
Windows - flat is not good, get 8 out fast!
STB - love it! to the cloud now!
E&D - get into more living rooms, can we stop talking about mango and just release it? it already feels old.
OSD - please make some money now!

Anonymous said...

Windows Phone 7 needs to hurry up and die already. The only people who love that phone work at Microsoft.

It was the same problem with Windows Mobile, and the same fate will befall the tablets.

Anonymous said...

I think that the ICs at corp should quit complaining about their review score. If you are in sales with a quota of 35M USD and an average deal size of 70K it is very hard to meet your quota. And guess what not a 100% then you are automatically in the lower revuew scores. A week before the end I was in the mid 70% but closed in the high 90%. In some sales roles meeting your commitments or not is like flipping a coin. In other roles you hav some influence on your score.

Anonymous said...

but the WP7 is a *fantastic* phone.

Let me give you a '-1' and a 'Unlike' on that one. I liked my WP7 for all of 3 minutes, then went back to my iPhone. Eventually my iPhone died and I found glory in Android.

Windows Mobile sucked less than WP7 back in the day.

Anonymous said...

The new review system makes you verrrry careful to be "nice" to everyone one. After all, peer review counts *heavily* and, by the way, you are ranked against those same peers. So if you don't get on people's good sides and buddy-buddy every single peer, you are more likely to get hosed than not. It only helps them, right? And that's what it's all about: kick everyone else farther down the heap so you can get farther up.

Ranking is such a constructive system.

HS @ Our Debt Blog said...

is MSFT Going after Google or Apple?? at least they are still making money...
HS

Anonymous said...

The new review system makes you verrrry careful to be "nice" to everyone one. After all, peer review counts *heavily* and, by the way, you are ranked against those same peers. So if you don't get on people's good sides and buddy-buddy every single peer, you are more likely to get hosed than not. It only helps them, right? And that's what it's all about: kick everyone else farther down the heap so you can get farther up.

Sounds like 'Survivor', not a job at one of the best IT companies in the US.

Ranking is such a [strike]constructive[/strike] destructive system.

Fixed it for you.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous, Thursday, July 21, 2011 3:05:00 PM

Ranking is such a [strike]constructive[/strike] destructive system.

I think the original sentence was meant to be read with .

Anonymous said...

Decent report despite the Windows weakness. Terrible forecast for growth next year. Stock initally up on the former. Now down a little on the latter (and probably down more tomorrow and over the next week and that sinks in).

Not a single analyst question on whether iPad's success played a role in the poor Windows numbers, the consumer weakness for Office, and the "low single digit growth forecast for *all* of next year". More important, not one asking whether MS needs a new strategy now that growth is effectively over while Apple, a larger company, is growing at 80%.

Of course next year aside, all MS execs on the call are confident in the company's long term investments and growth potential. Uh huh [rolls eyes].

Anonymous said...

"The only people who love that phone work at Microsoft. I've been in meetings with otherwise smart people (I'm an MS employee) and when they start forcefully talking about how much they're "in love" with their phone, I can smell Ballmer's poop on their noses."

Your first statement is demonstrably false. And your second makes you look like you have the mental maturity of a three year old. Hopefully you're really just another useless troll pretending to be an employee. It would be scary to think we have people like you on the payroll.

Anonymous said...

"We're All In" is a joke. What is the bid deal about Office Web Apps and Office 365. Taking your existing software and putting it in the cloud is not innovative, is called SaaS and its 10+ years old. Exceeding the Azure quota in FY11 is not as big a deal as the execs want you to believe since it was already so low to begin with.

Anonymous said...

Dude, you are you crack. WP7 sucks! Pull AT&T employees in the mall and they can't even keep a straight face when you ask them about it. Most of Microsoft's employees have no idea what is happening and going on outside of the "mother ship" - lacking in perspective. Most think WP7 is great because that is what they have been told to think. Windows 6.5 had more capability.

This has to be a troll. I love the iPhone as well, but the WP7 is a *fantastic* phone. Anyone who's used it really thinks so, and friends of mine (who don't work at MSFT) have considered selling their iPhones to get one. There's plenty at MSFT to bitch and moan about, but when MSFT does something right (such as the WP7), it amazes me that trolls still seem to come out of the closet.

Anonymous said...

your rewards are strictly viewed through your percentile bucket, no matter if you're at the top of your bucket or the bottom.

While true, I think this is actually an improvement over the old system, for two reasons:

1) Our jobs are incredibly complex and no two people do exactly the same thing. There is no metric that dispassionately and accurately measures the performance of an engineer. I don't think most managers are realistically able to detect performance differences finer than the resolution of the bucket (with the exception of the largest bucket--there's likely a lot of variance there). I don't manage people, but seriously--can performance really be measured so finely?

2) It took a lot of everyone's time to figure out precise rankings within 20/70/10 buckets and calibrate rewards within the buckets. Now they can spend that time... you know, adding shareholder value.

Anonymous said...

Do do be fooled by the calibration process. Human beings run it, so it is as flawed as they are. Most managers only calibrate their teams twice a year and whatever is on their mind at the time plays a major factor in where you end up being ranked. HR is a joke at Microsoft too BTW. Most are contract and have no historical perspective upon which to draw. They are there to "guide" in the process, but at the end of the day, it is still VERY subjective. Do NOT lose your ass kissing skills. You need ass kissing and polticial skills, as well as results (in that order) to advance.

Anonymous said...

Another great first-line sales manager leaves the company. Look at what is happening. The former E20's and High A70's are leaving for competitors. Ask around. Microsoft is yesterday's news in the industry, which is why the great people are leaving. This only hurts MSFT because soon the company will be filled with the average middle. Don't believe me, check out the candidate pools MSFT gets for sales people now. No rockstar sellers seek out MSFT, only people that have hit a wall at their former companies do.

Anonymous said...

MANY are going to AWS and VMware.

Another great first-line sales manager leaves the company. Look at what is happening. The former E20's and High A70's are leaving for competitors. Ask around. Microsoft is yesterday's news in the industry, which is why the great people are leaving. This only hurts MSFT because soon the company will be filled with the average middle. Don't believe me, check out the candidate pools MSFT gets for sales people now. No rockstar sellers seek out MSFT, only people that have hit a wall at their former companies do.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like 'Survivor', not a job at one of the best IT companies in the US.

Best IT companies? ((yawn))

Anonymous said...

Windows Mobile / 7 is a lot like Zune. An excellent product, released too late into a market that's already dominated by comparable or better opponents. If iPhone, Android, and Win7 Mobile were launched at the same time it *might've* been a horse race. But as it stands now, it's in the same position Zune was when it launched against the iPod.

Anonymous said...

Of course next year aside, all MS execs on the call are confident in the company's long term investments and growth potential.

'long term investments' = things not going well in the short term

What they are confident in is milking the Windows & Office cash cows until retirement.

Anonymous said...

"Even the worst partners make a kazillion dollars, and Ballmer is still one of the richest people in the country."

Great for them.

Anonymous said...

This has to be a troll. I love the iPhone as well, but the WP7 is a *fantastic* phone.

Yeah, if you have a Microsoft Exchange account and spend all your time on Campus... then yeah, I guess I could see that point of view.

(back to reality)

Ok. it is not everyday you hear a tech writer choose the word 'catastrophic' when referring to consumer product sales. Usually they just say 'failure'. It figures the sales numbers were handsets shipped to carriers that can't even give them away.

http://www.afterdawn.com/news/article.cfm/2011/05/03/catastrophic_used_to_describe_windows_phone_7_sales_numbers

Anonymous said...

IBM: Bang! Third base!
Google: Boom! Out of the park, home-run!
Apple: Ka-Blam! Out of the city. Game over!


MS: Bing! It's up, up. Oh no, a pop fly caught by the infielder. MS out.

Guess that's what happens when you put a club that should be back playing triple A ball up against the World Series champs and the leagues other heavy hitters. But thanks for playing. You sure used to be fun to watch in your prime.

26.95 0.14 (0.54%) 7:12PM EDT

Anonymous said...

No Mango upgrade until New Year? Is that a fact? Can I quote you on that? How do you spell your name again?

Anonymous said...

have to admit i like the new system better than the old one. nice to get more cash now instead of the promise of future riches

Now don't go and spend your extra allowance all in one place now.

Anonymous said...

A Texas Leaguer would be an apt allegory. Though when you get all those billions on your income statement, one has to wonder. You know and I know it's an easy misstep and Apple falls down. Goodle can keep selling ads (which I never see), but it makes me wonder what happens if that stops working for them.

Anonymous said...

When do you think we see fake Microsoft stores in China selling our Phones?

Like please? At this point they don't even have to be fake..

Anonymous said...

Terrible forecast for growth next year. Stock initally up on the former. Now down a little on the latter (and probably down more tomorrow and over the next week and that sinks in).


Microsoft stock is looking to be about as good of a long-term investment as my house.

Anonymous said...

The new review model sucks. There are now twice as many boundaries to haggle over. The feedback is great to have, but useless in differentiating people when it's all generally positive.

In our group, the difference between one or two buckets is so very close, it's absurdly arbitrary. There was a time a few years ago that the difference between high/med/low performers looked a lot like the manager training videos, with clear and obvious differences. Now it looks a lot more like a crap shoot. We've seen this coming for a long time...

This year, if you happen to have the misfortune of getting a 5, even if you turn it around next year you missed out on the one-time bump. Too bad for you. If you get a 4, come up with a game plan quick for either turning things around in your current group or switching to a team with a less competitive peer group, or leaving MS. 20% of us are going to be in this situation every year from here on out.

Ever get the feeling you've been swindled?

Anonymous said...

I don't mind the Windows Phone - but you can't actually tell that it is one. I went to buy a sim for my phone and the guy, who was fully branded with a Windows Phone id card holder on his belt could not recognize what kind of device it was (even after he flipped through the menus). You really can't tell the difference between it and the android phones - they look too similar. No one cares about the inside guts when they're buying a phone - they care what the outside looks like. Until WP7 adds a little more soul to the UI and a little less train station look and works with the vendors to put a giant glowing windows logo on the back it will never reach consumers attention.

Anonymous said...

Remember a couple years back, during the recession, when investors wanted MS to cut back on Opex and R&D like Google and others had? But Ballmer and Turner said, "No way". They had studied previous recessions, and the companies who emerged victorious on the other side were the ones who maintained high investment levels during?

Okay, so now we're sort of on the other side. Or at least we've seen the worst. And what happened? Apple is now bigger, more valuable, and growing at rates MS hasn't seen since the mid 90's. Google is shredding it. IBM is reporting very strong results and banging on the door to once again overtake MS on valuation.

And MS? MS is being disrupted by iPad on one side and increasing Mac adoption on the other. The $400M WP7 launch has been a failure and Mango will effectively require a relaunch. If Nokia doesn't succeed with it, and that's looking less and less likely daily the way Nokia's business is collapsing, it's dead. Search continues to lose money. EDD made just 32M this quarter on sales of $1.4 billion. Seriously!?! And the company is forced to admit that even this year's modest 13% growth is unrealistic for next year.

Can we finally agree that Ballmer isn't capable of leading this company successfully against the likes of Apple, Google, or even IBM?

Anonymous said...

I take subway every day (obviously outside of Seattle). Most people read Kindles, iPads, Nooks, and all types of smart phones. It's amazing to see such a variety of all different gadgets.

I'm yet to see a WP7 being used. None. Or those who have WP7 phones have their life and don't use the phones?

Anonymous said...

Time to lay off the dinosaurs in windows and windows live. Profit declined by one billion.

Anonymous said...

Read the comments, and just wanted to drop my 2c: I tried WP7, and I don't like it. It is not great at all. The interface is ugly and messy, navigation across the various parts is pretty lousy, games are a chore to play, and the quality of the apps out there is pretty low.

Anonymous said...

@"Or those who have WP7 phones have their life and don't use the phones?"

No, they just don't take the subway :)

Anonymous said...

Can Nokia save WP7? They use to sell a ton and they focus on WP7 only now.

Anonymous said...

"This has to be a troll. I love the iPhone as well, but the WP7 is a *fantastic* phone. Anyone who's used it really thinks so, and friends of mine (who don't work at MSFT) have considered selling their iPhones to get one. There's plenty at MSFT to bitch and moan about, but when MSFT does something right (such as the WP7), it amazes me that trolls still seem to come out of the closet."

OMG, you are EXACTLY like one of our bizdev guys trying to pump-up his ass-kissing use of WP7 in a meeting where everyone else has iPhones. And I'm in IEB, btw.

What planet are you on that you think you can say this is a good phone? >50% return rate! Like 10x as high as Android! Less than 1% of the market! The laughing stock of the mobile world!

And if your iPhone friends have considered selling their phones to get one, you are either 1) lying through your teeth, or 2) talking about MS employees who can get WP7 devices FOR FREE. And buddy, let me tell you this: in our org of about 160 people, only a tiny percent even took the company up on their free phone offer. Nobody in their right mind is switching from iPhone -- a robust, mature platform with an equally robust ecosystem and a dazzling array of applications -- to a WP7 phone that can't even roll out a basic update without falling on its face.

Who's the troll? You are, brown-noser.

Anonymous said...

"What planet are you on that you think you can say this is a good phone? >50% return rate! Like 10x as high as Android! Less than 1% of the market! The laughing stock of the mobile world!"

WP7 is not a BAD phone, it's a reasonably good phone that doesn't give anyone a reason to use it over any other phone. And when all of your friends are using iPhones and Androids, are you going to be the one loser who goes with a mediocre product from Microsoft?

Of course you're not. Unless you're trying to impress your Microsoft boss.

I had a WP7 for one day, and in that day I realized it offered a fraction of what I had on iPhone and nothing interesting that I couldn't also have on iPhone. So like most other people have done, I returned it and exchanged it for a new iPhone.

Microsoft simply hasn't made a game-changing device, and if you want to come from behind in a saturated market you need to be a game-changer. Ballmer wouldn't know a game-changing feature if it smacked him on the ass and called him Nancy, so Microsoft isn't going anywhere in this market.

Anonymous said...

I'm a 'softie and I carry a WP7 phone. If I weren't at MSFT I'd use an iPhone. While at MSFT I've learned that kissing ass is all that matters. Don't rock the boat no matter what. Thus I use a WP7 and tell my management how wonderful it is. I also tell my management how wonderful it is to have scorecards galore to make sure we are all accountable, and I like the fiscal responsibility we are showing by cutting budgets. My nose is very brown but I'm employed :-) Still curious about the new health care benefits. If those cost me too much in out of pocket costs then it may be time to find a new employer.

Anonymous said...

Just installed OSX Lion. It's clean, snappy, and offers a great user experience. I'll go back to work tomorrow and use my tired old half-baked Windows OS. We may sell more operating systems than Apple, but they make a better product. Windows 8 has a tall order to fill.

Anonymous said...

This is why Win7 sales slipped

Problems with my new computer
Dear Mr. Bill Gates,
We have bought a computer for our home and we have found some problems, which I want to bring to your notice.
1. There is a button 'start' but there is no "stop" button. We request you to check this.
2. We find there is 'Run' in the menu. One of my friends clicked 'run ' he ran upto Amritsar! So, we request you to change that to "sit", so that we can click that by sitting.
3. One doubt is whether any 're-scooter' is available in system? I find only 're-cycle', but I own a scooter at my home.
4. There is 'Find' button but it is not working properly. My wife lost the door key and we tried a lot trace the key with this ' find' button, but was unable to trace. Please rectify this problem.
5. My child learnt 'Microsoft word' now he wants to learn 'Microsoft sentence', so when you will provide that?
6. I brought computer, CPU, mouse and keyboard, but there is only one icon which shows 'MY Computer': when you will provide the remaining items?
7. It is surprizing that windows says 'MY Pictures' but there is not even a single photo of mine. So when will you keep my photo in that.
8. There is 'MICROSOFT OFFICE' what about 'MICROSOFT HOME' since I use the PC at home only.
9. You provided "My Recent Documents". When you will provide "My Past Documents"?
10. You provide "My Network Places". For God shake please do not provide "My Secret Places". I do not want to let my wife know where I go after my office hours.
Regards, Banta

Anonymous said...

Fastest Thing in the World
4 men - a Marathi, Bengali, Gujrati and our Santa were being interviewed for a top job. With nothing to choose between them, the President told them over dinner that the decisive test would be carried out the following morning, with each candidate being asked the same question and the best answer would get them the job.
The next morning, first up was the Marathi. "Here's your question," said the President, "What's the fastest thing in the world?" Without hesitation, he replied "A thought, because it takes no time at all." "Very good answer," said the President.
Next up was the Gujrati, "What's the fastest thing in the world?" asked the president. "A blink," replied the Gujju almost instantaneously, "cos you don't think about a blink. It's a reflex." "Good answer," replied the president.
Next was the Bengali, "What's the fastest thing in the world?" asked the president. The Bengali thought for a moment, "Electricity, because you can flip a switch and 20 miles away a light will go on immediately." "That's a great answer," replied the president.
Finally, it was our Santa's turn. "What`s the fastest thing in the world?" asked the president. Scratching his head Santa replied: "Diarrhoea, because last night after dinner I was lying on my bed when I got these awful stomach pains and before I could think, blink or turn on the light....."

Anonymous said...

"If those cost me too much in out of pocket costs then it may be time to find a new employer."

Dude, based on your several comments here, it's already time for you to find a new employer. In fact, if I can help you in any way...

Anonymous said...

"if all you're here to do is rag on Microsoft while extolling your love for fill in the blank... this isn't the place."

That's what this entire blog is about, isn't it? At least that's all I see. Most of y'all, including the op, need to quit MS and work somewhere else.

The negativity in this blog disgusting. I don't think it's all peaches and sunshine either, but geez you people are just bursting with hatred for the very company and products you should be supporting. Sure, product xyz isn't performing well right now...yeah, product abc is having some major issues...but we all know that. No need to regurgitate the obvious. You find the first negative thing you can and just bitch and moan and bitch and moan about it without even thinking that your lack of knowledge might be leading you to a poor opinion. Grow up.

It's like reading a Microsoft-hate blog rated I for Immature.

Anonymous said...

Forget earnings. The real tell this week was Ed Bott dropping the "Microsoft" from his report. One of the last pro MS reporters out there, and even he thinks it's time to move on.

Anonymous said...

If what I have heard from my contacts, a killer product is on its way... thats all that can be shared.. Hush Hush

Anonymous said...

I heard about that too. Is it true? Sounded like a top secret project but the concept is a game changer for the consumer.

Anonymous said...

What is the difference between getting fired and resigning?
If I am fired from MSFT, will my next employer know I was fired?
Will this "firing" stay on my employment history?

Anonymous said...

If I am fired from MSFT, will my next employer know I was fired?

Unless you tell your next employer, than no.

Will this "firing" stay on my employment history?

Up to you, your employment history is your resume.

Being fired, in most cases, will enable you to get unemployment benefits, if you care. Resigning will not. Microsoft never replies to the "reason for firing" requests for unemployment validation, so it's only your word that is available to determine the benefits.

Anonymous said...

WP7 is great.....but I feel we are held back for two reasons 1) Piss Poor Marketing 2) The "kids" in the brick and mortar stores bad mouthing the phones, making ignorant baseless statements to potential customers. Microsoft needs to go heavy into their sales channels and start a deep training initiative with the "sellers". I love the ridiculous comment I just read that basically states "WP7 looks just like Android". If anything the iPhone and Android are 1st cousins and offer an extremely similar experience. I have had a WP7 since release, love it, have had ZERO issues. Leaving the iPhone behind I initially had several apps that I frequently used that were missing. Over the last few months all of those gaps have been filled. If WP7 truly sucks, why is it that Apple is copying it's features now.....Camera button, background download, Wi-Fi Sync, Auto upload for pictures :).

Anonymous said...

"If those cost me too much in out of pocket costs then it may be time to find a new employer."

Dude, based on your several comments here, it's already time for you to find a new employer. In fact, if I can help you in any way...


No it's not. he/she doing great job milking the flawed system. WTG.

Anonymous said...

"WP7 is great.....but I feel we are held back for two reasons 1) Piss Poor Marketing 2) The "kids" in the brick and mortar stores bad mouthing the phones, making ignorant baseless statements to potential customers."

So you've been hanging out in thousands of brick-and-mortar stores and listening to "kids" making "baseless and ignorant statements". Enough that you can suggest this is a major reason why people aren't buying the phone.

Wow.

I don't even know how to respond to something like that.

How do you explain the exceptionally high return rate on the device? Is it the same kids making fun of their parents for buying it so much that their parents take the phone back?

"kids making ignorant and baseless statements". I just can't get over someone who would say that with a straight face.

Anonymous said...

"No it's not. he/she doing great job milking the flawed system. WTG."

At a company the size of Microsoft with a system designed to reward toadies and political sharks, that's led by a dude most people think is incompetent and out-of-touch... why would anyone NOT focus on milking the system?

You might come to Microsoft because you want to do interesting things, but after a year or two you realize that you stay at Microsoft to see how much money you can suck from the corporate teat until you can't take the douchebaggery any longer.

Anonymous said...

How do you explain the exceptionally high return rate on the device?

How do you prove the exceptionally high return rate on the device?

Anonymous said...

I'm not a fan of WP7 (design getting in the way of function) but I do want to lend some support to it.

It took me at least a week to 'get' why the iPhone is amazing. It took really living with it, getting all my email and contacts in there, receiving some push notifications, installing some better apps. And I still have my first (original) iPhone as my bedside device and it's pretty crappy in performance and missing some features people have gotten used to.

As MS always does, it improves via (far too long) innovation cycles. I'm eager to see how Mango improves things and once some hardware platforms with a bit more oomph help overcome some of the UI transition clunkiness.

Anonymous said...

"If what I have heard from my contacts, a killer product is on its way... thats all that can be shared.. Hush Hush"

Yeah, this rumor has been going around since MS Chrome -- which, if you've been here as long as I have you'll remember was our "game-changing" technology to open up a new virtual world of 3D Web browsing -- was the latest and greatest world-changing vaporware.

The problem is that we never actually SHIP any of this amazing stuff. Surface was awe-inspiring, and then it went through 5 years of executive masturbation sessions and died on the vine.

If you hear a hush-hush rumor at MS it just means that something cool is about to go through the long process of getting killed before it gets past concept phase.

Anonymous said...

MSIT, India - how much is the impact of ms poll results on people's performance evaluation?

Anonymous said...

most of the employees are aware that calibration ends much before we log our self assessment.

then what's the point in filling performance sheet and getting others feedback?

Anonymous said...

"How do you prove the exceptionally high return rate on the device?"

Are you serious? Walk into any mobile store that sells WP7 devices and ask. I do it all the time, wherever I am, at this point mostly because I'm trying to find any store that WON'T say Windows Phones have the highest return rate of any smartphone they sell by an order of magnitude.

You don't need to prove this point, you need to prove the opposite given the overwhelming data that WP7 is not the phone consumers want.

Anonymous said...

"Being fired, in most cases, will enable you to get unemployment benefits"

Being fired usually *doesn't* enable you to get unemployment.

You get unemployment if you're laid off, but not if you're fired for cause.

Anonymous said...

""Being fired, in most cases, will enable you to get unemployment benefits"

Being fired usually *doesn't* enable you to get unemployment.

You get unemployment if you're laid off, but not if you're fired for cause."


NOT TRUE, DOUCHEBAG. DON'T EVER SPEAK.

Why must people insist on posting their opinions when they're pulling shit directly from their anuses?

You get unemployment unless you're terminated "for cause", which means sexual harassment, stealing, drug policy violations, etc. It does NOT exclude incompetence, poor performance, bad fit, etc.

The vast majority of people who are fired from jobs are eligible for unemployment.

So seriously -- best to stay silent if you're only talking from your ass.

Anonymous said...

"You get unemployment if you're laid off, but not if you're fired for cause."

NOT TRUE, DOUCHEBAG. DON'T EVER SPEAK.

Why must people insist on posting their opinions when they're pulling shit directly from their anuses?"

Uh, I might not have phrased the answer quite liket this, but the sentiment is correct in that you're eligible for unemployment benefits if you're fired for poor performance or other standard reasons. You're generally not eligible if you're terminated due to misconduct or, occasionally, gross insubordination (like you threatened violence or the like).

Anonymous said...

No surprise. Most profits coming from Office and Windows. I don't blame them for milking these cash cash cows, but employees should get their heads out of the sand that the best days are yet to come.

http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-microsoft-profit-by-division-2011-7?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

AndyB said...

I've seen a person with a WP7, its not so bad, but....

There's 3 reasons why WP7 is dead in the water:

1. Its Windows. People nowadays only buy Windows because they *have* to (for compatibility reasons). That monopoly position is pretty much over, as you see browser-based apps and the massive sales of Macs.

2. Word of mouth. I just saw an advert for a bank, where they described their new iPad app you can use to do your internet banking. Not an Apple ad at all, a bank's ad. If advertisers are promoting iPads then you know there's a new monopoly position in place, and it ain't Microsoft. MS lost this position and now it has to fight back like its the Linux desktop of the mobile world.

3. see 2. As there are iPhone ads all over the place, people say "get an iPhone", some people battle with these guys by saying "no, you should get an Android phone instead". Nobody says "get WP7", so anyone looking to get a new phone will fall into one of those 2 camps. The only people who will buy one are those who 'rebel' against the herd consensus, or have an ulterior motive - eg. they are Microsoft-only devs.

So all in all Wp7 is not going to go anywhere. Maybe that's a shame, maybe its a just reward for the abuse of the Windows monopoly over all these years :)

Anonymous said...

Outside of the Puget Sound, WP7 is like a "ghost" - you never seen them . . . so you really don't know if they are real. Let's face it, 6.5 did more than 7. WP7 was not ready to compete with iPhone and Droid. Now people have a bad taste in their mouth. The only people in AT&T you see even talking about them are MS employees. Most everyone else wants Apple or Google because the "cool" factor and all the apps that are available. Nothing MSFT "F" up. People wonder why the stock doesn't move, it's things like this. Without the safety of the Office and Windows monopolies, MSFT is a pretty big joke. With more choice in O/S and browser, laughter will get louder and louder.

Anonymous said...

"AndyB said..."

Great example of circular reasoning there "Andy". You sure are getting around lately. LOL.

Anonymous said...

"The problem is that we never actually SHIP any of this amazing stuff. Surface was awe-inspiring, and then it went through 5 years of executive masturbation sessions and died on the vine.

If you hear a hush-hush rumor at MS it just means that something cool is about to go through the long process of getting killed before it gets past concept phase."

+1

Anonymous said...

"You don't need to prove this point, you need to prove the opposite given the overwhelming data that WP7 is not the phone consumers want."

So you've been saying all over the internet. But since you raised the issue of a 50% return rate, the onus is on *you* to provide support for that. Saying you go around voluntarily checking every mobile store you come to calls into question your motivation and mental health. But doesn't serve to prove your supposed fact.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft will continue to lose desktop market share to tablets and Mac OS. Slowly, but it will happen.
Microsoft will never get into the phone market, it's too late. They need to concede this space.
Bing, I like Mini's idea to strip that place to bare essentials and see if it's profitable.
Time to oust Ballmer and rebrand. Dump the Windows brand for something completely new. Fresh start.
Focus on the back office and Office, possibly extending to other platforms.

I'm former 10yr MSFT'er, work with Fortune 500 customers and I can tell you the Microsoft influence is losing more and more ground every day. They are pursuing too many areas and losing ground in all of them. Focus is needed to maintain the current lead. Sure the numbers look great and are great for people like Ballmer, but looking at this blog, morale is suffering and you're not doing your career any favors continuing to work at MSFT. Its name, strategy, and soon technology, carry less and less weight these days.

Anonymous said...

"So you've been saying all over the internet. But since you raised the issue of a 50% return rate, the onus is on *you* to provide support for that. Saying you go around voluntarily checking every mobile store you come to calls into question your motivation and mental health. But doesn't serve to prove your supposed fact."

Actually I've only said it here, and once -- but I'm sure thousands of other people are saying it too, because it's true. I don't need to prove anything. Look at the numbers, they speak for themselves.

And again -- walk into any mobile store in the world and ask. Seriously, even the ones right next to our own frigging campuses. Go into the Redmond Town Center AT&T store and *ask*.

Less than 1% adoption. Stop kidding yourself.

Anonymous said...

"I don't need to prove anything. Look at the numbers, they speak for themselves."

Um yeah, you do, at least if you want to have any credibility. But apparently you can't. The numbers say adoption isn't great yet. They don't say returns are 50%, as you alleged.

Anonymous said...

"Um yeah, you do, at least if you want to have any credibility. But apparently you can't. The numbers say adoption isn't great yet. They don't say returns are 50%, as you alleged."

OK, you win.

But seriously -- if you're a Microsoft employee you owe it to yourself to get educated. I stop in mobile stores because I work at Microsoft and I want to know where we stand, free from people like you who I'm surrounded by every day who will do whatever it takes to spin this into something other than another crazy disaster.

Take off the blinders. Talk to people who are not in your inner circle. Learn where our company stands in the real marketplace and how desperate our situation really is.

And listen to yourself "adoption is not that great." Adoption is a miserable, epic failure, is what it is. Speak truth. Stop pretending.

Anonymous said...

The negativity in this blog disgusting. I don't think it's all peaches and sunshine either, but geez you people are just bursting with hatred for the very company and products you should be supporting. Sure, product xyz isn't performing well right now...yeah, product abc is having some major issues...but we all know that. No need to regurgitate the obvious. You find the first negative thing you can and just bitch and moan and bitch and moan about it without even thinking that your lack of knowledge might be leading you to a poor opinion. Grow up.

It's like reading a Microsoft-hate blog rated I for Immature.


Consider that what you're interpreting as a bunch of Haters, I see as people like me who are so fed up with their daily submersion in the Redmond reality-distortion field that they have to come here to vent their honest opinions... because honesty is NOT an asset that will advance your career at Microsoft. And you can only nod your head to foolishly optimistic "yes-man" statements for so long without letting your honest analysis slip. So better to do it here where it's not going to get you fired.

"yeah, product abc is having some major issues...but we all know that."

That's the problem. Going by management's ongoing rosy BS, we DON'T all know that. And the people who most need to learn that are the ones who are least likely to give criticism that comes through "official" channels the credence it deserves.

At roughly this point in Zune's lifecycle, management was saying "Zune's doing great!" We all "knew" that wasn't true, and said as much here. Lo and behold, the product was eventually (mercifully) killed. Would it have been better if everyone had shut up about that, too? Or should management have maybe paid attention to what people were saying?

If anything, you should be challenging people to be MORE vocal, not less. Either that or just not venture out of the RDF.

Anonymous said...

"That's the problem. Going by management's ongoing rosy BS, we DON'T all know that. And the people who most need to learn that are the ones who are least likely to give criticism that comes through "official" channels the credence it deserves."

+1

Microsoft is in the position its currently in not because employees have bashed our own products, but because a culture has evolved where everyone refuses to ever speak the truth, internally or otherwise.

This culture has absolutely strangled the company. It keeps people from behing honest INSIDE our walls, because they're worried that any criticism will be a career killing move.

Windows Phone 7 isn't "a great product that's on the right track" -- it's a failure, and a big one. Not quite Kin-level big, but big enough that it needs to be used as a learning opportunity.

We don't need Microsoft employees running around talking about how people are "in love with their WP7 devices" -- yes, 53 people in the world are in love with those phones. 6 billion people in the world have said "meh, these don't do anything for me."

If you desperately try to direct everyone's attention to the 53 people who love love love their phone and you pretend that the 6 billion who don't want it aren't important, you've already lost the game.

Anonymous said...

The new review system really sucks. The curve is really tight and the buckets are not sufficiently broad enough to keep good people on high performing teams out of the 5 spot.

Oh, and per HR, if you get a 5 you cannot interview within the company, you don't get any rewards, and you're to be managed out within a month.

Needless to say that managers aren't happy to have to own this message.

If you're a 4 or 5, don't wait-- polish your resume and get out.

Anonymous said...

After 15 years at Microsoft I'm happy to say that there is life on the outside. I got another, better paying job where folks are energized to do their jobs. Micro who? I don't miss Microsoft, the back stabbing political assholes I used to work with nor do I miss the screwed up review system. I feel sorry for the rest of you who still work there. Hope you can find a deck chair to float on before that ship goes down.

Anonymous said...

11 year veteran of MSFT who recently left on great term (promoted to level 64 last review). I still hold MSFT near and dear but there are some very clear observations I've made since leaving. 1. You can make a lot more somewhere else, with inferior benefits. You will/can get more responsibility, experience, and pay making you more valuable overall in the marketplace. 2. Design is more important than Microsoft realizes. Save yourself the cost of failed products and 3 revisions. Do it right from the start and start putting design in charge over the business and/or an engineer. This is essential if E&D is the growth catalyst for the future (I came out of Xbox). 3. Make people more accountable. Fire if you have to. Stop holding on to dead weight. 4. Fire Ballmer and reboot. It's time. A decade of underperforming the S&P 500 is unacceptable in the tech industry, especially with MSFT's growth.

Anonymous said...

You get unemployment unless you're terminated "for cause", which means sexual harassment, stealing, drug policy violations, etc. It does NOT exclude incompetence, poor performance, bad fit, etc.

The vast majority of people who are fired from jobs are eligible for unemployment.


100% correct

Anonymous said...

"2. Design is more important than Microsoft realizes. Save yourself the cost of failed products and 3 revisions. Do it right from the start and start putting design in charge over the business and/or an engineer."

+1. Ridiculous that Apple is now larger and more valuable, yet this lesson still hasn't been learned company wide.

"This is essential if E&D is the growth catalyst for the future (I came out of Xbox)."

If E&D is the growth catalyst for the future, MS is in even bigger trouble than is already evident.

"3. Make people more accountable. Fire if you have to. Stop holding on to dead weight."

Amen.

"4. Fire Ballmer and reboot. It's time. A decade of underperforming the S&P 500 is unacceptable in the tech industry, especially with MSFT's growth.

Absolutely. The stock performance over a decade is unacceptable. But it just reflects what a medicore to poor job he has done. And lately the consequences of his failures are becoming more serious (mobile, tablets).

Anonymous said...

"Bing was focusing too much on search, not ads. I think this was a logical decision - you need to gain market share first before worrying about revenue."

Everything about Bing, and MSN Search before it, makes no sense. It's Ballmer "strategic" thinking at its finest. Was this a market that was being poorly served? No, people loved Google. Was it an area where MS could bring some unique strength to the table that could totally disrupt Google? No, MS has effectively had to learn the industry from scratch and is still struggling to be a adequate copy. It still hasn't figured out RPS to the level Yahoo has two years ago. Now more than $9B has been lost with no end in sight. Apple would never do this. If the market was being well served and/or they couldn't disrupt it, they'd pass. But not Stevie. Apple has now entered search on the mobile front. Why? Because there they feel it wasn't being well served and they can add unique value. And guess what? It's already profitable after one year.

That the difference between a CEO who picks his battles wisely and one who just see $ signs or is jealous of someone else's market.

Anonymous said...

"The new review system really sucks. The curve is really tight and the buckets are not sufficiently broad enough to keep good people on high performing teams out of the 5 spot.

Oh, and per HR, if you get a 5 you cannot interview within the company, you don't get any rewards, and you're to be managed out within a month.

Needless to say that managers aren't happy to have to own this message.

If you're a 4 or 5, don't wait-- polish your resume and get out."


The new review system isn't any better or worse than the old system, really.

Straight talk: in the last two years we've devolved to the point where most teams didn't want to hire any internal transfers who weren't E20, and nobody would ever touch an A10 or U10. In the new system, most people will be fighting over 1s, 2s will usually have an easy time transferring, 3s will often be ignored and 4s are effectively as unhirable as 5s.

Because we've always had forced distribution and curves we've always had unfair rankings. It's actually slightly better now that you don't have people at the top of the 3 band getting more than people at the bottom of the 3 band -- the fighting that went on within bands historically was devisive and really unhealthy, so at least that's lessened now.

But it's business as usual mostly: it's not about your actual performance, it's about how popular you are with management relative to the person sitting next to you.

Microsoft's review system has always sucked. Lisa isn't smart enough to get something fair past Ballmer's asshole used car salesman approach to performance management.

Anonymous said...

The problem with WP7 is that it doesn't have any selling points. If your best computer-illiterate friend asked you for a phone recommendation, how could you, in good conscience, recommend WP7? Being "more or less as good as an iPhone/Android" is not a feature. Having a UI that's a bunch of big rectangles isn't an innovation.

Microsoft is like a clueless app developer who expects to get rich by making a new fart app. Just because you copy something that's been popular in the past doesn't mean people have to buy your thing too. For the love of god, give customers a reason to buy your product.

Anonymous said...

When looking at the numbers, Ballmer has held the ship afloat during a hurricane.
Ballmer has done good with the xBox.

I think investors would mkae money if he left, but this is expected from all CEOS leaving a company, these investors are betting the failure of the company.

Which in turn hurts the people working for it and around Seattle. Shame investors in New York would make billions cause they would here (inside news before hand) hence the term. I think this is wrong and in the long run Ballmer has the energy and fire a company needs during times like these not only his experience running the company.

Face it, Ballmer is not leaving for another ten years. Enough said here...

Anonymous said...

"Ballmer has done good with the xBox."

Ballmer had jack shit to do with building xbox.Do not give Ballmer any credit for that.It makes my brain hurt.

Anonymous said...

The vast majority of people who are fired from jobs are eligible for unemployment.

100% correct

I was 10%ed out. There was some question on the unemployment form on whether the company had cause and I stupidly answered yes. DON'T answer yes. My checks were held up for months as the state checked with Microsoft on this.
Also, unless you have another job lined up, don't quit your Microsoft job despite "advice" from HR or management that it is better to quit. I had HR even tell me they wouldn't contest unemployment benefits if I quit (I'm glad I didn't listened to that piece of uninformed advice.) Let them fire you -- its the only way (there are other ways, but they are much harder to prove) you can get unemployment benefits.

Anonymous said...

"But it's business as usual mostly: it's not about your actual performance, it's about how popular you are with management relative to the person sitting next to you."

In MS's reward system the sycophant is King. Which probably explains why MS is getting its butt kicked by people like Apple, where reward is primarily based on teamwork and merit.

Anonymous said...

"Lisa isn't smart enough to get something fair past Ballmer's asshole used car salesman approach to performance management."

Actually she's smart enough not to bite the hand that feeds here. That way she can keep collecting those grants and putting aside millions:

http://biz.yahoo.com/t/32/6722.html

That's the way the game works. Everybody manages up regardless of the consequences for the company as a whole.

Anonymous said...

"When looking at the numbers, Ballmer has held the ship afloat during a hurricane."

You mean the hurricane that has seen Apple report record quarters? The one that has seen IBM deliver consistently? Oracle? Google?

"Ballmer has done good with the xBox."

Huh? After a decade of dedicated effort and an investment of around $20 billion, MS has a business that is still about $5 billion in the red and will probably need five more years to get into the black, assuming a new console doesn't lead to huge losses again. For the quarter it made an impressive [sarcasm] 32 million of profit, or roughly 2% margin on sales. For the year, the margin is a little better at 14.5, but still pathetic. The money would have been better spent buying just about any software company. And of course while the company was busy working on that, Apple quietly entered in the last five years and now leads the much bigger market of casual gaming. You read that right. Apple, the company where lack of gaming cred used to be a major criticism, now leads in the broader and more lucrative part of the market. And they did it profitably.

"I think investors would mkae money if he left, but this is expected from all CEOS leaving a company, these investors are betting the failure of the company."

The stock would definitely go up if he left. He's one of the most unpopular CEOs on Wall Street. That's not the norm. A well regarded CEO leaving is usually a major negative for a stock. Look at Apple's performance during the several periods where Jobs health concerns came to the forefront. It dropped or struggled every time.

"Ballmer has the energy and fire a company needs during times like these not only his experience running the company."

Yeah, just look at the fantastic job he did making sure that MS capitalized on its ten year head start in mobile and tablets. Or the excellent job he did at competitive analysis when he determined iPhone was too expensive to gain any significant share and iPad was a novelty. He was sure right about Vista being great, no? Or Zune succeeding against iPod? And didn't MS catch Google within a year, just like he said it would? Oh right, he was wrong on *all* of those. Every CEO in technology is wrong occasionally. That's the nature of the beast. But few have been wrong as consistently as Ballmer. It's already taken a toll on the stock, which has been halved under his leadership. Now it's starting to impact the company's growth, performance, and external stakeholder's confidence in its future.

"Face it, Ballmer is not leaving for another ten years. Enough said here..."

That's what investors fear and competitors hope for.

And given MS's spectacularly derelict board, you're probably right.

Anonymous said...

This is an interesting development (iPads replacing paper): http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/23/us/23questions.html?ref=technology

Anonymous said...

"You might come to Microsoft because you want to do interesting things, but after a year or two you realize that you stay at Microsoft to see how much money you can suck from the corporate teat until you can't take the douchebaggery any longer."

Yep, that pretty much describes my experience. I lasted 6 yrs. before I just couldn't stand the endless, useless meetings and crippling dev process for another day. The new review system + Skype were the last straws for me. My last lead delegated all deliverable responsibility to feature crews so he could focus on being a "people manager" but when asked for feedback wrt the new review system he would say "I can't accurately assess you until I get your peer feedback" and then "HR says managers are not to tell ICs how they're tracking..." Wow, so what exactly does he do all day?

Anyway I left for a small company at slightly less pay but I am getting more done in weeks now than in months at MS and I am so much more satisfied and relaxed not to have to deal with all the career bullshit. I have "scope and influence" just by being an effective team member and not because it's some kind of management role playing game level-up check-box.

Everyone obviously has to decide what's best for them. If you're in a good org at MS, awesome, enjoy your good fortune. But if you're on the fence, there is life after MS.

Anonymous said...

In regards to WP7 - To quote the man who killed off OS/2:
"The pro OS/2 argument was based on technical superiority. I can say without bias that OS/2 was the better product. The anti-Windows argument was that the legendary MS hype machine was using clever marketing and wily PR to foist an inferior product on consumers and take greater control of the industry.
What [the OS/2 proponents] seemed unwilling or unable to accept was that the ware was already over and was a resounding defeat - 90% market share for Windows to OS/2's 5 or 6 %."

MS & WP7 have lost the war - before it started.

Anonymous said...

""When looking at the numbers, Ballmer has held the ship afloat during a hurricane."

Really? That's what the numbers say to you?

Monopolies have held the ship afloat during a hurricane, and some good decisions on the Windows and Office teams during the last poroduct cycle -- that's where it starts and stops. Ballmer's contributions have done nothing but erode credibility and confidence.

He's a bad egg, has always been a failure as CEO and he's turned Microsoft into a circus.

Anonymous said...

"In regards to WP7 - To quote the man who killed off OS/2:
"The pro OS/2 argument was based on technical superiority. I can say without bias that OS/2 was the better product. The anti-Windows argument was that the legendary MS hype machine was using clever marketing and wily PR to foist an inferior product on consumers and take greater control of the industry.
What [the OS/2 proponents] seemed unwilling or unable to accept was that the ware was already over and was a resounding defeat - 90% market share for Windows to OS/2's 5 or 6 %."

MS & WP7 have lost the war - before it started."


And this analogy is about a product that failed even though it was superior... WP7 is certainly not superior to the other two dominant platforms, it's going on a year now since release and still doesn't have basic feature parity with its competition and in it already has a history of poorly handled updated.

So it's an inferior product produced by a company who doesn't understand consumer marketing, and it's attempting to muscle-in to an already over-populated market led by a company that's an acknowledged master at consumer marketing. And people are surprised that it's not succeeding... why?

Anonymous said...

At a company the size of Microsoft with a system designed to reward toadies and political sharks, that's led by a dude most people think is incompetent and out-of-touch... why would anyone NOT focus on milking the system?

You might come to Microsoft because you want to do interesting things, but after a year or two you realize that you stay at Microsoft to see how much money you can suck from the corporate teat until you can't take the douchebaggery any longer.


I have to report you for stealing the words right out of my mouth! :)

One minor suggestion, don't insult the dude's out there by calling Ballmer a dude. The word Oaf is a much better description.

Anonymous said...

"The only people who love that phone work at Microsoft. I've been in meetings with otherwise smart people (I'm an MS employee) and when they start forcefully talking about how much they're "in love" with their phone, I can smell Ballmer's poop on their noses."

I had similar experiences with Vista. I had to uninstall it from my laptop as I couldn't perform some of the simplest tasks that my job required without crashes or lockups. I was spending entire days trying to do things that used to take me one or two hours with XP. After trying to find out if other people in the team were experiencing the same thing, I learned very fast to shut my big mouth and not mention to anyone that I had reverted to XP.

MS employees are well trained in political correctness and how to extend it to the company's products, during and after the dev process. Unfortunately, the products themselves now reflect this state of mind, as Vista and other things have proven. Think Soviet Union, infallible Party, all-knowing leader, political commissars everywhere, and shit products all around.

I don't miss the place one bit :)

Anonymous said...

"This has to be a troll. I love the iPhone as well, but the WP7 is a *fantastic* phone. Anyone who's used it really thinks so, and friends of mine (who don't work at MSFT) have considered selling their iPhones to get one. There's plenty at MSFT to bitch and moan about, but when MSFT does something right (such as the WP7), it amazes me that trolls still seem to come out of the closet."

Spoken like a true believer. WP7 may be a terrific phone; I don't know and I'll take your word for it.

However, there are a lot of people out there who have been burned with Vista and will not even consider buying something with "Microsoft" on it, unless they absolutely have to (i.e. their PC OS or an Office app).

If you don't believe this, look at the timing of Apple's progresses in the market; a lot of it is directly traceable to Vista. Sure, Vista made billions for the company, but a good OS would have made even more; and a lot of good will was squandered in the process, much more in dollar terms than what was taken in. Products like WP7 will suffer the fall-outs. There is no free lunch.

Rick Yushenko said...

I worked on Windows for more than a decade. My group was responsible for supporting a major component of Windows. In 2003, there was a power struggle between those who supported the CURRENT technology for this component, and those who support A BRAND NEW technology. The BRAND NEW tech people won.

In 2007, the last of the BRAND NEW tech people left our group - promoted, moved on, retired. All gone. The only people left were the CURRENT tech folks, and their job was to implement the BRAND NEW tech.

When Vista came out in 2006, the BRAND NEW tech API was unusable. When Windows 7 came out in 2009, half my group was dedicated to making the BRAND NEW tech API functional. By a very strict definition of functional ("Works in my office, with my hand written sample!"), they succeeded.

Meanwhile, I specialized in delivering a device/driver/API stack that is very key - in fact, it is pretty much part of every single modern laptop, smart phone and tablet shipping today.

Review time rolls around. The people who worked on the BRAND NEW tech API which is technically functional? EXCEEDS! Me, who's device stack works better than ever? "So you spent years polishing something that just works. Look at your peers who made BRAND NEW API functional!"

I retired when Windows 7 shipped.

But like many others, I got bored in retirement, and have returned. My new company produces real technology, and is a serious engineering firm. I'm getting a higher salary with better benefits. The job is vastly important and compelling - for the first time since I started working on Windows, I feel like I'm changing the world in a better way.

Farewell, Microsoft. I will recall you as the kindly village Priest whose wisdom and teaching I will always carry in my heart.

Anonymous said...

""We're All In" is a joke. What is the bid deal about Office Web Apps and Office 365. Taking your existing software and putting it in the cloud is not innovative, is called SaaS and its 10+ years old. Exceeding the Azure quota in FY11 is not as big a deal as the execs want you to believe since it was already so low to begin with."

Yep, déjà vu. Remember "virtual reality"? That was all the rage in the late 90's. "Virtual" was THE buzz word found everywhere in printed articles and on the Internet. The "cloud" is the same thing; warmed-up bullshit.

Anonymous said...

"Uh, I might not have phrased the answer quite liket this, but the sentiment is correct in that you're eligible for unemployment benefits if you're fired for poor performance or other standard reasons. You're generally not eligible if you're terminated due to misconduct or, occasionally, gross insubordination (like you threatened violence or the like)."

Take it from an ex "a-" who for a great while had to apply for WA unemployment every 366th day on the dot; for most leaving MS employees (very few of whom get terminated for "cause"), the question simply will boil down to:
1) Was your employment terminated by your employer?
2) Did you terminate your own employment?

In case 1 you're probably eligible for UI, in case 2 you're not (with an almost 100% probability for #2). You may think that it's not necessary to apply because you're an experienced IT person with MS on your resume and you'll find a new job soon. Don't think like that, especially if you're over 40 and/or you've been with MS for over 10 years: this ain't the late 20th century anymore. Just apply for the UI. If you end up not needing it, great. Otherwise that $600/week will come in handy.

Anonymous said...

Lots of criticism in the comments. Very few constructive suggestions. That's expected from the trolls. Most are sad and pathetic creatures anyway. But for real employees, as opposed to the many comments from trolls pretending to be employees, that's not very productive.

Anonymous said...

"Lots of criticism in the comments. Very few constructive suggestions. That's expected from the trolls. Most are sad and pathetic creatures anyway. But for real employees, as opposed to the many comments from trolls pretending to be employees, that's not very productive."

Real employee here and highly critical in my comments.

There is nothing productive that rank-and-file Microsoft employees can do in most cases to change things, which is why you see frustration and criticism vented here. Our culture of "partners are always right as demonstrated by the fact that they make 100x more than the rest of you" tends to make people frustrated and angry.

Those who call people who are venting frustration "sad and pathetic creatures" are part of the problem, by the way.

In case you don't understand that, allow me to rephrase it: you are part of the problem.

Anonymous said...

Lots of criticism in the comments. Very few constructive suggestions. That's expected from the trolls.

Right, that's what'll make all the difference: constructive suggestions from anonymous employees on a Google blog (rather than desperate commiseration and note-comparing between embittered employees).

I've got a "constructive suggestion:" Don't try to fit Windows into a tablet; use WP7 instead. Happy now?

Anonymous said...

"Okay, so now we're sort of on the other side. Or at least we've seen the worst."

You should hold onto this fantasy as long as you possibly can. I'm happy for you that you have not had to see what a lot of us are facing on a daily basis.

Anonymous said...

"I've got a "constructive suggestion:" Don't try to fit Windows into a tablet; use WP7 instead. Happy now?"

It's certainly preferable to just complaining, yes.

Anonymous said...

"There is nothing productive that rank-and-file Microsoft employees can do in most cases to change things, which is why you see frustration and criticism vented here"

Yeah, complainers always have a ready rationalization. Nobody will listen. There's nothing one person can do to effect change. Do yourself and the company a favor and quit. Maybe the next place will be perfect for you. Although I'd bet that within a year you'll be complaining there too.

Anonymous said...

[...] the WP7 is a *fantastic* phone [...]

Yeah, so fantastic you're selling dozens of the things.

Microsoft's failure in the mobile space has been nothing less than spectacular, and they will fail just the same way with tablets. Microsoft has been dying for years, and this is now the end; each day they are fading a little more, and soon they will be gone.

Anonymous said...

"Microsoft has been dying for years, and this is now the end; each day they are fading a little more, and soon they will be gone."

Sure, yes, you are right, dying, bleeding.....but they haven't yet asked for a handout to keep the lights on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxOp5mBY9IY&

Suck it.

Anonymous said...

IBM: Bang! Third base!
Google: Boom! Out of the park, home-run!
Apple: Ka-Blam! Out of the city. Game over!


Ballmer: Baseball is just a fad!

Anonymous said...

"I've got a "constructive suggestion:" Don't try to fit Windows into a tablet; use WP7 instead. Happy now?"

It's certainly preferable to just complaining, yes.


I'm not the OP, but now that you've fielded the suggestion, how about you toddle off and get it actioned?

Good luck, and be sure to let us all know how you go.

Anonymous said...

IBM: Bang! Third base!
Google: Boom! Out of the park, home-run!
Apple: Ka-Blam! Out of the city. Game over!


Microsoft: We are currently working on a super-awesome game-changing hush-hush project that will deliver a far superior next-generation baseball bat. No, really! Honestly!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, complainers always have a ready rationalization.

You haven't seen Steve Ballmer in action, have you? He is a rationalizer par excellence, and exemplifies the fact that it is not complainers who rationalize at Microsoft, but management.

It seems like you're not particularly erudite or discerning, so why don't you do the company a favor by quitting?

Anonymous said...

Do yourself and the company a favor and quit. Maybe the next place will be perfect for you. Although I'd bet that within a year you'll be complaining there too.

I'd disagree. I've been in the company for many years and felt that no matter what I did to try to change for the better, it turned against me. The incentives have changed within the last 15 years and that caused a significant shift in the culture at Microsoft. Partner level earning close to 1M a year are afraid to suggest to go with innovative (risky) decisions. The motivation is not to rock the boat and keep milking the system. Once anyone gets to the high level they think they are just that good and deserve to be paid that much for doing nothing and their opinion is the only correct one. If the people in charge of the system do not want to change the system, all other efforts fail.

I left Microsoft and LOVED the change. I've been in a couple of companies since, all significantly better than Microsoft. I could again become productive (Microsoft was all about politics), can work my honest 40 hours a week without overtime and get paid twice what I was getting at Microsoft. And what a change to come to the office with friendly people! Long timers at Microsoft may have forgotten that.

I gave many years of my life to Microsoft and those years cannot be erased. I'm still curious what is happening there and this blog is the only place I know that offers an honest insight of the actual affairs. I wish mini didn't take a long time between moderations.

Anonymous said...

To all of you trolls and liars accusing people of being trolls because they have nothing nice to say about working at MS. I am a high performer who has been able to promote some really great (and risky) ideas. But these ideas, even though the customers wanted them and the big sharks up on the food chain cheered them on, were dead on arrival due to only one thing: politics. I do not want to get into details here, but let me just say that I was once skeptical of how bad MS is....but now I know..it is not bad, it is downright corrupt, filled with parasites and climbers that don't give a rat's a$$ about technology. I see people put in positions of power that have trouble putting a cohesive thought together without first organizing a meeting; people who can't flesh out an idea without a "commitee"; people who are simply parasites of the living. "Leave!", you say. Well, I already have and won't look back. As for all those parasites and empty headed suits - you know who you are.

Anonymous said...

After 15 years at MS I recently left to do my own thing. Now looking back I can see more clearly how dysfunctional the culture had become and I put it down to one major cause (and several secondary) - Ballmer opened the floodgates for hiring over the last 8-10 years and the company now has 3 people for every area where one would do and hiring standards have fallen through the floor. This leads to endless meetings, p*ssing contests and decision deadlock. Smart people want to feel they make a difference each day but frankly they don't when every decision gets dissected for months by committee until it is irrelevant anyway.

It has lead to a culture where blame apportionment is Job #1 and the review system reinforces this. If you can't get ahead through your results then you have to do it by holding back your co-workers.

MS used to keep a tight reign on headcount but explosive expansion has left the company bloated and horribly inefficient with thousands of people struggling to stay out of danger, usually by avoiding making any decisions that could be pinned on them later.

Ballmer forgot that MS was successful because lean teams worked their asses off and got job satisfaction through making a difference and enough rewards to go around. Today is the complete opposite.

And so the layoffs continue to try to "right size" the company but that has introduced dysfunction all of its own.

If Ballmer was reviewed by his own review system he would have been managed out as 2.5 (or 10% or whatever the latest incarnation is) years ago.

He "lost the plot" around 2002 and has created a swollen organization with a culture of mediocrity and sycophancy that is now beyond repair.

The tipping point was passed in 2008 and almost everyone in the company knows it - MS is just a holding pattern for many folks now until their next thing comes around. Unfortunately for many that "next thing" won't ever materialize and you'll see thousands of miserable "lifers" who will continue to wallow in limbo cashing the checks and hoping next year will be better.

What a cr*ppy way to die for such a once proud company.

Anonymous said...

"Well, I already have and won't look back. As for all those parasites and empty headed suits - you know who you are."

Yeah, sounds like you've put it all in the rear view mirror. Lol.

Anonymous said...

I have been here less than a year and have come to feel that I have made a grave mistake in my career. One key though I want to point out is not that I enjoy complaining or that anyone here does, but rather that we are damn frustrated and sick of being frustrated. We are passionate, we do give a shit, we want to love it here, we want to win and be on the team that wins often and in the ways that matter. We want to operate at 100% of what we are capable of. The anger comes from operating at 10% of what you are capable of and wondering what you are doing. I see no reward or change coming if I worked at 100% of my capability. So many times I have gone off and simply designed an experience with a developer at night and in a week presented what had taken a team 4 months of work to do in the political landscape. This won me nothing but anger and I was ousted from that team. So Microsoft, its in the your hands to win, you are sitting on the people, tired and angry at your lack, tired of being managed by someone who has been there for 15 years who survived even though they should have been asked to leave. There are far too many people who have been here for far too long who long ago gave up trying to understand technology and instead built careers on surviving in Microsoft which is a skill that seems to oust all other skills. I go home everyday feeling like its all broken and hopeless regardless of how passionate I am which is a terrible feeling. I see no path to making it work so long as we are being led by the man we are. He is the symbol of the very thing I see everywhere, the rising from 20 years within from brilliance in suriving at Microsoft, rather than any brilliance in technology. If our board can not do their duty, if Balmers ego cannot afford the blow of saying I have made the company some money but I am not the man to lead us into the future and step aside, then MS will continue down this road. And the only anger and frustration is that many many talented and passionate people cannot find a path to do what they love, build amazing software and experiences. Power here is not based on your excellence, its based on your bullshit year after year after year. Move the pieces, never the bar and you will survive forever here and pay your mortgage while the company dies. I wish I could have done something powerful here, I really do.

Anonymous said...

"Lots of criticism in the comments. Very few constructive suggestions"

+1

Anonymous said...

So how viable is everything that runs on .net if MS stumbles all the time?

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of opinions here that the stack ranking system is destructive, sucks, etc.

However, I haven't seen mention of a good alternative that fosters teamwork and provides incentives for better performance.

What are better systems that actually work, at other leading, innovative, successful tech companies?

Anonymous said...

So many times I have gone off and simply designed an experience with a developer at night and in a week presented what had taken a team 4 months of work to do in the political landscape. This won me nothing but anger and I was ousted from that team.

+1

Come up with an idea that everybody agrees is great, but isn't 100% in-line with what your lead PM is trying to do, and watch what happens. The political jiu-jitsu will leave your head spinning. Good luck to anyone who thinks they can get a good idea implemented at Microsoft--let me know how that went for you when you're writing help files and fixing build breaks.

Anonymous said...

However, I haven't seen mention of a good alternative that fosters teamwork and provides incentives for better performance.

What are better systems that actually work, at other leading, innovative, successful tech companies?


Read The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. He describes the organizational structure of W L Gore and Associates. Everybody at that company is the same "level" so there's no political ladder-climbing BS. The company is successful, the employees are happy, and it's often rated one of the best places to work.

You might think a review structure like Microsoft's creates an incentive for better performance, but the kind of "performance" that's rewarded at Microsoft is illusory. Good engineering usually sounds boring and is taken for granted. The kind of engineering that sounds impressive and gets you a promotion is often unnecessarily complicated and ultimately inferior.

Anonymous said...

"However, I haven't seen mention of a good alternative that fosters teamwork and provides incentives for better performance.

What are better systems that actually work, at other leading, innovative, successful tech companies?"


Remove the curve. If everyone on the team does well, then everyone on the team does well. The curve exists because Microsoft has never held managers accountable for correctly reviewing their employees -- Bill assumed that a zero-sum game where some people always had to lose would keep managers from taking the easy way out and giving everyone a good review.

The curve strategy is a stinker and doesn't work.

Anonymous said...

@Those who call people who are venting frustration "sad and pathetic creatures" are part of the problem, by the way.

In case you don't understand that, allow me to rephrase it: you are part of the problem.


WELL SAID AND VERY MUCH TRUE.

Anonymous said...

What are better systems that actually work, at other leading, innovative, successful tech companies?

Scrap the curve. There's no reason why should every employee be ranked against others on a forced curve. How does the job of designing a product compare to the one testing the product? It doesn't. Even the same discipline within a single team has enough variation that makes positions incomparable. Say you have three devs: one develops UI, one business logic and one optimizes database. How is it possible to rate them? The UI is optimized better than the database? Ridiculous.

Some may say the effort counts and there are objective indicators of that, e.g. a bug count. But how do you rate someone who fixed a complex bug requiring innovative architecture redesign with someone who fixed 10 typos? You cannot. The leads and managers are typically so detached from the actual work that they are not able to distinguish between the creative solution and a basic one. Besides it makes their ranking job easier to use a bug number for justification rather than to justify the decision with an in-depth analysis. No one cares about analysis, you can be more productive by showing "I've analyzed the data and the results are super clear that John is better than Bob -- here's a chart that proves it". That's what is considered good management at Microsoft.

Some may say that they use "impact for the project" as an indicator for determining the ranking. That's BS. Who is the one to clearly see the impact? Say you have two people one who made a case and a prototype for a new design, but the design didn't get implemented. And the other person whose design got implemented. So the second is naturally better. Or is he? And who made the decision of going with the second approach? Based on what coming out of Microsoft most decision makers are incompetent. Suddenly "impact" rating turns into a political battle that has nothing to do with the design. Many decision makers in Kin got exceeded ratings. Why? Because of visibility. Yeah, the project famously failed.

Sometimes people are stuck with a technology they are not exactly interested in (reorg, misinformed during hiring, intense political battles, etc.). It would be natural for them to move to another team/role where they are more productive. What happens at Microsoft? They get a low rating that prevents them from moving and now they are stuck at the wrong project.

The forced curve just doesn't work.

Anonymous said...

Comments
1. I have a WP7, works fine. I was in an AT&T store and the guy there asked me for tips on how to sell it. I couldn't name any. Which is worse, that he asked (bad training in the channels as someone else stated) or that I couldn't differentiate a WP7?

Actually, now that I think about it, as long as the smartphone does what I need it to do, who cares about the OS.

2. To the return guy? This would not be an issue with the OS, talk to handset mfr.

3. I get we need to do research and innovate, but honestly what besides one marketable product (Kinnect) has MSR they done with their billions of dollars in annual budget over all these decades? Google cut GoogleLabs, maybe it's time to get MSR some rules that if a certain % of their products don't turn into $$ making, they're gone?

Anonymous said...

"Those who call people who are venting frustration "sad and pathetic creatures" are part of the problem, by the way."

Next time, take a moment to actually read carefully.

Anonymous said...

"Google cut GoogleLabs, maybe it's time to get MSR some rules that if a certain % of their products don't turn into $$ making, they're gone?"

It's definitely not working currently. MSR is a disconnected playground where really smart people work on whatever they want, regardless of market opportunity. But MSR is only about 700M of the 9B in R&D. And they can't force innovations down the throats of product groups. More often product groups have to come to them, as EDD did with Kinect. A better approach might be to bonus group Presidents on the % of revenue and profit coming from net new products every year. Suddenly, I bet you'll see a lot more innovation and product groups trying to understand and work more closely with MSR. Another approach is to collapse MSR and move the eggheads into the closest respective product group. That's what Apple did. Of course a lot will quit. But something has to change.

Anonymous said...

So how viable is everything that runs on .net if MS stumbles all the time?

That's an interesting question. I was introduced to .NET 5 years ago (coming from a 10 year C++ background) and .NET in my opinion is a super product. Fast to prototype, easy to debug, productive development environment. You can lose a little performance vs. native but you can get most of it back with good coding practices. You also need to watch garbage collections on embedded platforms that use the .NET Compact Framework. What you don't get is cross-platform support (there's always Mono), but I would rather use C#/.NET than C++ or *shudder* javascript.

Despite the internal machinations, MS does make a few really standout products. It baffles me why MS won't give a straight answer on the whole Win8/.NET kerfuflle.

Anonymous said...

"What are better systems that actually work, at other leading, innovative, successful tech companies?"

I'm not aware of any large company that doesn't have some form of a curve, explicit or implicit. MS has always has a forced stack rank, even back when it was hyper successful. Although back then ending up at the bottom didn't mean immediate career is over; it meant less options and if you didn't turn it around in a year or two, you'd probably be done unless you were extremely popular.

The issue with MS's review system is 1) it was and still is ridiculously political and 2) the more immediate and automatic culling of the bottom rung isn't a good thing for a rapidly maturing slow growing company as it puts way too much pressure on the next 10% and so and so on.

If MS in general had stronger mid and low level managers, you could empower them to make more enlightened judgments. But it doesn't. So I really don't know what the solution is. Maybe what we really need is to cut 20% of employees once. Making it clear in advance to every manager (and their skip level) that they'd better pick who they keep carefully because this is the group they're going to be stuck with for several years to accomplish their objectives (i.e. you'd better not just keep your buddies and sycophants). Then use the $'s saved to better compensate everyone, but most especially high performers (yeah sorry, they really do exist and we need them more than ever), and give the automatic attrition a rest for a couple of years.

Anonymous said...

"If our board can not do their duty, if Balmers ego cannot afford the blow of saying I have made the company some money but I am not the man to lead us into the future and step aside,"

Passionate. Dramatic. Just one question. What kind of employee doesn't know how to spell their own CEO's name correctly?

Anonymous said...

"Passionate. Dramatic. Just one question. What kind of employee doesn't know how to spell their own CEO's name correctly?"

I'd bet plenty of people at Microsoft don't know how to spell Ballmer's name. He's a complete non-entity to the vast majority of employees, who only ever hear anything from him once or twice a year in a company-wide e-mail.

When I first started at Microsoft I was working with the team to prepare information for a BillG review withint the first 6 months as a lowly L10 in the old system. I'm a 66 now working on one of our highest profile and most successful products (not Windows or Office) and I've never -- in 11 years -- been in the same meeting room with Ballmer. In fact, my product has never been in a Ballmer review *at all*.

The guy is a no-show and has nothing to do with the daily lives of most employees.

Anonymous said...

"Your first statement is demonstrably false. And your second makes you look like you have the mental maturity of a three year old. Hopefully you're really just another useless troll pretending to be an employee. It would be scary to think we have people like you on the payroll."

You sound like a typical arrogant and judgmental MS employee like me. :-) Worked 8 yrs in MS and tried to support its products. Recently, on my way to Portland, I tried to text a friend with my WP7, suddenly, I couldn't send the message. Then, I realized all my contacts were gone and even worse I couldn't even add a contact any more. The whole screen was skewed and looked like the OS was corrupted. I took out the sim card and threw out the WP7 out of my car window and went to a closest Costco to get an Android. I couldn't be any happier. The experience was very similar to the experience of leaving MS. Very refreshing!

Anonymous said...

I'm not aware of any large company that doesn't have some form of a curve, explicit or implicit. ... So I really don't know what the solution is.

I second the post above re: equal compensation for everybody on a team.

Ideally a certain amount of the profit generated by the product would be divided between employees.

Initially this would not be "fair" because some people do higher quality work than others, etc.

But such a compensation system should quickly cause the company to self-organize into a profit-generating machine where everybody is compensated fairly.

Think about it, Microsoft would stop making products and features that don't generate profit, since it would be against everybody's financial interests. Coworkers would work together. REAL dead-weight would be fired since they'd be eating into everybody else's bonuses. Teams would be reduced in size to what's actually necessary to make a successful product. Etc, etc, etc.

Anonymous said...

Dumb question from a total outsider:

Re better system than ranking... don't you guys have teams of mixed experience levels?

Then you should be able to reward team members according to experience, and it's obvious to all that the senior members earn more because they contribute more.

However you'd still need to ensure that senior staff move on* so that newer employees get to take on those senior roles.

And you do need a way to persuade those who really can't cope, to leave.

*doing groundbreaking work on new products or even blue-sky research would be a good reward for senior team members who want to stay technical.

A passing observation on WP7 - it's pretty obvious from observing our friends that Google have got their hooks into the man in the street as much as MS had in the Windows 95 era. Android is the Windows of phones and Apple is, well, Apple... but most iPhones I've seen are used with Google services.

Anonymous said...

"I'm not aware of any large company that doesn't have some form of a curve, explicit or implicit.

...

The issue with MS's review system is 1) it was and still is ridiculously political and 2) the more immediate and automatic culling of the bottom rung isn't a good thing ...

So I really don't know what the solution is. Maybe what we really need is to cut 20% of employees once."

How about this:

1. Distribute the performance rewards budget across divisions/teams in proportion to progress/results. GMs/Managers need to decide this distribution each year.

2. There is a "curve" at each level, but not some magical curve decided for everyone. At each level, the GM/Manager has the discretion to decide a) what the "curve" is, and b) how the rewards budget should be distributed based on that curve.

3. Firing someone is therefore based on consistent lack of performance, and not on being forced to put some magical % number into the "fire" bucket.

Anonymous said...

Re better system than ranking... don't you guys have teams of mixed experience levels?

Then you should be able to reward team members according to experience, and it's obvious to all that the senior members earn more because they contribute more.


It's not obvious that senior employees contribute more or do higher quality work. In many cases the opposite is true, for various reasons. Senior employees are often managers, so they can delegate all their work (and decisions) and slack off. Senior employees are often married to the status quo and resistant to improvements in process/design. Senior employees often have Microsoft myopia and are not aware of better features/designs/techniques/etc. being done by the competition e.g. open source, Google, Apple, etc. Also I think an argument can be made that quality of code depends on talent as much as experience, so a talented junior employee could easily write better code than a relatively untalented senior employee.

Another issue at play is that Microsoft, for some reason I don't know, encourages people to move between product groups, so it's easy for the more senior Microsoft employees to be the more junior employees of a particular group.

Anonymous said...

1. Distribute the performance rewards budget across divisions/teams in proportion to progress/results. GMs/Managers need to decide this distribution each year.

Ha-ha, that's a funny one. This is exactly what is happening to the "entertainment budget" that gets allocated to the GM. The GM then takes part of the budget for his team, then the managers take, then whatever is left is going for the "entertainment" of devs/pms/qa. Our team once got a really big and fat budget, enough to do several Las Vegas type parties for everyone. The GMs spent most of it on getting helicopter rides with potential clients, flying them across the continents first class and more of the other "customer research" that was necessary. By the time the budget trickled down to the low level, the team was scrambling whether it could afford going to see a movie with $10 gift card for popcorn or popcorn was out. And to make sure that devs/pms/qa do not miss much time, the movie was decided to be 8:30 in the morning.

Yeah, totally trust the GMs on deciding what the performance curve should be like. :-)

GMs, VPs and most middle managers ARE the problem.

Anonymous said...

Senior employees are often married to the status quo and resistant to improvements in process/design. Senior employees often have Microsoft myopia and are not aware of better features/designs/techniques/etc. being done by the competition e.g. open source, Google, Apple, etc. Also I think an argument can be made that quality of code depends on talent as much as experience, so a talented junior employee could easily write better code than a relatively untalented senior employee.

OP here: Ouch! that's one sick organisation. But having been the "talented junior" at the start of my career I must admit that the rather crappy programmer that I reported to was able to make a more significant contribution due to his experience. It was his failure to move on that became a problem and yes, that (and his new-MBA successor) was about as close as I've come to a MS-management scenario.

Anonymous said...

"You sound like a typical arrogant and judgmental MS employee like me ... I took out the sim card and threw out the WP7 out of my car window." (italics mine)


Was it really necessary to litter?
Also, throwing things out of car windows can cause serious damage to other vehicles. Just sayin'.

AndyB said...

but I would rather use C#/.NET than C++ or *shudder* javascript.

Sunday, July 24, 2011 9:37:00 AM


The thing with .NET is that the language is fine, but the runtime system is just as broken as what we had before, only in different ways - we've removed dll hell, and replaced it with side-by-side hell for example.

But the stand-out thing here is that .NET development is great because of visual studio. If the resources used to create C# and the IDEs were put into C++ or javascript development then you'll end up with a fully integrated system that is just as easy and lovely to develop for. I mean, no-one writes C# code in notepad, ever. I'm not sure its even practically possible to do so without all the intellisense assistance you get.

So why would html5+js GUIs and back-end C++ be a bad development environment once that environment is made to be as good as it could be?

I think (with hindsight) it's a shame MS didn't get broken up. Today's we'd have Visual Studio for Linux, for Android today and it'd kick ass.

Anonymous said...

The new system is not so great, especially if you are really performing well. Let me take an example of Level 62.

This review year:
Firstly, the salary increase will take an effect from next year but the new stock award system is taking effect from this year. The stock target for level 62 has been decreased from 18k to 11k. Say, someone was to get 250% (not really a rock star, rock stars make ~350% in L62). As per the new stock award system max limit for L62 is 180%. So as per the old system a person would have got 2.5x18k = 45k stocks. As per new system the person will get 1.8x11k = 19.8k.
Base salary change = 0k.
Cash bonus change: increase by ~ 3k (Assuming base increase of 15%). 3k is way on the higher side.

So the guy lost 45 – 19.8 k +3k ~ 22K. A rock star (350%) would lose ~ 30K. This year almost everyone would lose money.

Next review year:
Base is rising by 10% (15% total rise in the base but 5% rise would have happened anyway with the old review system).
So the guy getting 250% stocks would lose around 22k-10k = 12k.
Rock star would lose 20k!!
Not everyone would lose money next year onwards, only high performers would lose money.

There are people who would actually lose money with the salary hike!!!

Anonymous said...

The new system is not so great, especially if you are really performing well. Let me take an example of Level 62.

This review year:
Firstly, the salary increase will take an effect from next year but the new stock award system is taking effect from this year. The stock target for level 62 has been decreased from 18k to 11k. Say, someone was to get 250% (not really a rock star, rock stars make ~350% in L62). As per the new stock award system max limit for L62 is 180%. So as per the old system a person would have got 2.5x18k = 45k stocks. As per new system the person will get 1.8x11k = 19.8k.
Base salary change = 0k.
Cash bonus change: increase by ~ 3k (Assuming base increase of 15%). 3k is way on the higher side.

So the guy lost 45 – 19.8 k +3k ~ 22K. A rock star (350%) would lose ~ 30K. This year almost everyone would lose money.

Next review year:
Base is rising by 10% (15% total rise in the base but 5% rise would have happened anyway with the old review system).
So the guy getting 250% stocks would lose around 22k-10k = 12k.
Rock star would lose 20k!!
Not everyone would lose money next year onwards, only high performers would lose money.

There are people who would actually lose money with the salary hike!!!


This kind of masturbation calculation is useless.

What you fail to consider is that stock awards vest over 5 years, they're not money in your pocket -- and if you're at the top of the performance stack you're unlikely to stay at Microsoft for 5 years unless you get promoted quickly... in which case by the time you hit 65 you won't care much about your 62 stock awards.

The new compensation system is fine, it's not a problem. The review system, however, continues to be a problem.

Anonymous said...

What you fail to consider is that stock awards vest over 5 years, they're not money in your pocket

If you will work with MS for long then your stocks would vest and these days if you go to any competitor (amazon, google etc.) they match the stocks. So it is a loss.

High stocks was a big differentiation and motivation for high performance and now that is gone.

Anonymous said...

Outside of the Puget Sound, WP7 is like a "ghost". you never seen them

I disagree.
Last month I saw a guy in Orlando, FL holding a WP7. I specifically asked him if he works with MS and he said NO!!
Still cant believe it. But situation is not as bad as we are thinking.

Anonymous said...

"Was it really necessary to litter?
Also, throwing things (WP7)out of car windows can cause serious damage to other vehicles. Just sayin'."

Haha, you bet. Ever heard of road rage caused by WP7. That's how bad it is. LOL

Anonymous said...

"I took out the sim card and threw out the WP7 out of my car window."

Sounds like the kind of tantrum a three year old would have.

generic viagra said...

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Anonymous said...

Just be curious: how much annual income (base+bonus+stock) does a L63/64/65/66/67 earn? Is principle around L65?

Anonymous said...

Starting to see people commenting on Windows Phone 7 reviews that they switched from Android because WP7 has better games.

Anonymous said...

The new review system makes you verrrry careful to be "nice" to everyone one.

Sounds like a good thing.

Anonymous said...

Terrible forecast for growth next year

Sometimes companies can do really great things and their stock still remains flat.

Anonymous said...

Okay, so now we're sort of on the other side. Or at least we've seen the worst

Are you sure about that? What if the US loses its AAA credit rating?

Anonymous said...

If those cost me too much in out of pocket costs then it may be time to find a new employer.

Based on your comments don't count on it being in the majors (google, apple, amazon, ...)

Anonymous said...

I have been here less than a year and have come to feel that I have made a grave mistake in my career. One key though I want to point out...ramble, ramble**

Your post actually worries me. You don't have a secret manifesto do you? Seek help!

Anonymous said...

But like many others, I got bored in retirement, and have returned. My new company produces real technology, and is a serious engineering firm. I'm getting a higher salary with better benefits. The job is vastly important and compelling - for blah blah blah...

I think I hear your alarm clock going off...

Anonymous said...

And again -- walk into any mobile store in the world and ask. Seriously, even the ones right next to our own frigging campuses. Go into the Redmond Town Center AT&T store and *ask*.

Less than 1% adoption. Stop kidding yourself.


blah blah, blah blah blah

Microsoft will triumph in both tablet and phone. It will take 3-5 more years to get there.

Anonymous said...

Yep, déjà vu. Remember "virtual reality"? That was all the rage in the late 90's. "Virtual" was THE buzz word found everywhere in printed articles and on the Internet. The "cloud" is the same thing; warmed-up bullshit.

The problem with VR is it didn't really solve any problems (especially for businesses) and the high end hardware required at the time wasn't accessible to the common man.

Anonymous said...

I have a WP7 and I like it. It's easy to use, I have had no problems with it at all, and my wife thinks it's easy to use. With that said, I don't download a ton of apps and I play a few games, and so far I have found what I need in downloadable content. It's fun to use and it looks cool. If I had to buy a phone today, I'd go right out and buy an iPhone. [Screech!] Why? I have found very little support for WP7. Lately a day doesn't go by when I see something that specifically calls out support for iPhone and Android devices in the ecosystem out there. It's amazing how many things the other guys get to control, or connect to, or enable. I saw two factor auth for an MMO the other day that supported the other two but not us.
I do like the phone, but I'm a realist. We are late to market and losing ground every day. When I leave this company, I will get an iPhone, and keep it away from Mssr. Balmer's foot.

Anonymous said...

"I took out the sim card and threw out the WP7 out of my car window."

Do you know approximately where you were at the time? I would like to try to recover the phone as a backup.

Anonymous said...

Making it clear in advance to every manager (and their skip level) that they'd better pick who they keep carefully because this is the group they're going to be stuck with for several years to accomplish their objectives (i.e. you'd better not just keep your buddies and sycophants).

Mmmmm. You missed something here I think. Let me give you an alternative: Fire 50% of the managers. Easy to implement. See if we can't still ship products.

Anonymous said...

After reading all the comments here about the ranking and the future of those who are in the 5 bucket, I am a little scared. I was ‘informed’ that I will be in the 5 bucket. So I go and have a chat with my GM – he says that he understands that I am in the wrong role and that I have great talent but need the right role to apply it (he didn’t quite think of it when he reorged me right after a promo against my wishes last year!!). Anyway – so I go to the HR and ask them that since the ranking is closed and everyone (including my GM and Manager) feel that I am in a wrong role, how can you help me move? By slotting me at 5 you cut off all possible opportunities for me. No answer except – sorry, but this is the way it is.

Q1 – (wishful thinking) – Why can’t MS give people at a 5 a chance to work in a role they like to prove their talent?
Q2 – Now what happens? Can I move between now and August 15 when the ranking becomes visible to hiring managers? How does this ‘grey’ period work?
Q3 – How likely is it that I will get fired?

Anonymous said...

"Q1 – (wishful thinking) – Why can’t MS give people at a 5 a chance to work in a role they like to prove their talent?
Q2 – Now what happens? Can I move between now and August 15 when the ranking becomes visible to hiring managers? How does this ‘grey’ period work?
Q3 – How likely is it that I will get fired?"


Q1: MS is run by the theory of large numbers -- individual people don't matter, and helping individual people succeed isn't interesting to the machine. If you're a 5, MS has declared you unfit for the machine, and there are a million people waiting in line to fill your place. Remember: big companies aren't about people, they're about cogs and numbers.

Q2: No, you can't move -- even if HR allows you to interview with an impending 5, any hiring manager will call your current manager and ask what you're getting... and then they won't hire you. Nobody at Microsoft wants to take-on a 5, see Q1 for the reason.

Q3: Very likely. 5 means you're not a Microsoft fit.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft will triumph in both tablet and phone. It will take 3-5 more years to get there.

On what do you base your assertion, given Microsoft's abysmal record in phones and tablets to date?

Anonymous said...

"Microsoft will triumph in both tablet and phone. It will take 3-5 more years to get there.

On what do you base your assertion, given Microsoft's abysmal record in phones and tablets to date?"


And let's not forget search -- we're a decade into that debacle and still haven't triumped, and that was only supposed to take a year.

Anonymous said...

"Yep, déjà vu. Remember "virtual reality"? That was all the rage in the late 90's. "Virtual" was THE buzz word found everywhere in printed articles and on the Internet. The "cloud" is the same thing; warmed-up bullshit.

The problem with VR is it didn't really solve any problems (especially for businesses) and the high end hardware required at the time wasn't accessible to the common man."


VR was also not an enjoyable way to experience content with the current non-immersive interface options we have available. People got very excited by watching and reading SciFi, but the practical reality is that navigating around in 3D virtual space is fun for first-person games but not fun for browsing the web or chatting with friends.

Anonymous said...

Anyway – so I go to the HR and ask them that since the ranking is closed and everyone (including my GM and Manager) feel that I am in a wrong role, how can you help me move?

Talking to HR about anything is a big mistake. HR is not your friend. Never. I witnessed enough cases to draw such conclusions. Even if HR starts "investigation" no matter how Microsoft is in the wrong, the HR will always support a manager. Even if it is some kind of legal violation, HR will try cover it up during the "investigation". I've seen top performers actually being fired after they pointed out to HR some illegal stuff that was going on. Not right away, but the manager got so pissed that firing happened within less than a year. And I've seen many cases. HR will always take managers side.

Even if you witness a rape at Microsoft, do NOT talk to HR. It will only hurt you. There are other legal ways to report it if you feel strongly about it.

Even if the Microsoft is deeply in the wrong, they will want to settle and offer you the money, however, you may have to quit and sign that you will never open your mouth about the case. If you want to go with the legal path, do not count on the court to give you lots of money -- Washington does not have punitive damages and your can only recover what you suffered directly. So even if you get mistreated and fired, but find a job at another company right away, the legal system will think that you do not deserve any compensation -- you had a job and you got another, all is good the free market is working well.

As for the situation, try to get out as quickly as you can. Use any connections. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

There aren't many comp/review systems that surprise me, but Netflix at least has tried to innovate. If you go to their jobs page, you get a taste in their first video/slideshow: http://www.netflix.com/Jobs

From a review/comp system angle, what they do is essentially rehire everyone each year (and reset your salary based on what it would take to retain your skillset/knowledge). Your comp could go up or down. In this way, you're only competing with others who have your skillset. Is this a more fair system?

Anonymous said...

.net died the day Sinofsky took over windows. Its a windows specific technology that windows doesn't want to be there. In fact the windows team thinks of it as their failure if such intermediate runtimes are needed.

Silverlight was even more dead but the phone guys came to its rescue. Among the too many to count genius decisions that the WP7 team has taken.

Anonymous said...

@Even if you witness a rape at Microsoft, do NOT talk to HR. It will only hurt you.

What is going on??? what kind of culture we have???

Anonymous said...

"Sounds like the kind of tantrum a three year old would have."

I am ashamed to be a MS employee when reading comments like this. At least a 3 year old still has some fire in him/her. Current MS has the maturity of a 200 year old. You know what that means, right? Totally dead. Where are the pride and fire that it used to have?

Anonymous said...

@Even if you witness a rape at Microsoft, do NOT talk to HR. It will only hurt you.

Just to let you know that the all powerful capo-the-capo-architect in MBS was fired for saying the 'f' word to a female employee and then refusing to apologise. Things may not be as bad as you claim.

Anonymous said...

"@Even if you witness a rape at Microsoft, do NOT talk to HR. It will only hurt you."

OK, that's just retarded.

I don't understand why people have such a difficult time understanding what HR does: HR protects THE COMPANY, they don't protect individuals. This means that in any given complaint HR will assess where the highest risk is and they will side with whoever makes the most sense for THE COMPANY.

This means that if a manager does something that the legal team decides has a high-chance to tarnish the company, then HR will side with firing the manager. If the manager does something and the legal team decides that it's unlikely to put the company's reputation at risk, then HR will side with the manager.

HR does not exist to make sure employees are treated fairly... everyone should repeat this to themselves every day. The only time you ever go to HR with a complaint is if your attorney -- not your wife, yourself or your friends -- believes you have a good chance of getting a large financial settlement.

Anonymous said...

Can somebody stop Ballmer from making these little pissy asides whenever he's talking "magnanimously" about the competition?"

It makes him sound churlish and defensive. To say that "he admires Apple" and then to add that "different people have different priorities" and that those who value "design" like Apple while the other 95% of the market prefers to value "productivity"...he can't get through the sentence without some kind of "dis." It makes him look childish and I wish he would stop.

Anonymous said...

"That's the problem. Going by management's ongoing rosy BS, we DON'T all know that. And the people who most need to learn that are the ones who are least likely to give criticism that comes through "official" channels the credence it deserves."

You opinion is irrelevant as the BS has been in executive's commitment. One good example is Kin.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I had the iPhone (3G) at the end it was slow, the battery was good for about 4 hours of standby. From day one with the phone it was poor performing with calls. Some times I couldn't answer the phone because the UI would hang. I was really happy to get my WP7 phone. The free part didn't hurt, but I was going to do it anyway. My wife had a similar experience with her Android phone and is still very happy with the switch to WP7. I'd love to be able to open DRM'd mail and password protected OneNote Notebooks though.

I have only found one situation where there was an iPhone app I relied on (Pandora) I have not been able to find the same or a similar app on WP7.

Regarding job happiness, org, etc. I have been at the company over 11 years. I've had times I was really stoked to come to work, and I've had times I wished my brakes would go out on my way to work. The times I hated my work was always when I had bad management or was not being challenged at work or both. But never once have I regretted working here. If I average it out over the time I've been at the company I would say 80% of the time I love my job and the company.

I'm in a job now that I absolutely love. Great management, great challenge at work, and I feel like I'm actually contributing to the good of the company.

I should say that when I say management I mean every lead or manager in the chain from IC to GM or maybe even VP needs to be good for it to work. Only one weak link in that chain can mess things up no matter how good the other managers are.


-L62

Anonymous said...

Ok, I had the iPhone (3G) at the end it was slow, the battery was good for about 4 hours of standby. From day one with the phone it was poor performing with calls. Some times I couldn't answer the phone because the UI would hang. I was really happy to get my WP7 phone. The free part didn't hurt, but I was going to do it anyway. My wife had a similar experience with her Android phone and is still very happy with the switch to WP7. I'd love to be able to open DRM'd mail and password protected OneNote Notebooks though.

Why do so many people (who should know better) confuse their own tastes/opinions/experiences with customer satisfaction across a product's market, which is a statistical reality that doesn't involve the personal preferences of the person speaking?

You discuss your experience (and your wife's!) as if that should clear up the matter of the phone's advantages and disadvantages. And you discuss your disappointing experience with your iPhone without acknowledging that one handset freezing up, having problems etc. is not indicative of the entire brand's performance (especially Apple's, but that's another point).

You don't like the iPhone, and you (and your wife) like WP7. Fine. But this puts you at the extreme end of a curve; the vast majority of consumers have the opposite opinion. And that's not open for debate; it's just true.

Anonymous said...

You discuss your experience (and your wife's!) as if that should clear up the matter of the phone's advantages and disadvantages. And you discuss your disappointing experience with your iPhone without acknowledging that one handset freezing up, having problems etc. is not indicative of the entire brand's performance (especially Apple's, but that's another point).

Yeah but no where in there did I state that I or my wife were representative of the majority. Shit we live in Puget Sound and I work at Microsoft. That should automatically disqualify us from being included in any statistics one way or the other. I was just expressing that I've had a better experience with WP7 than I did with iPhone. Then I offered a few items I'd like to see upcoming in WP7.

Anonymous said...

Yeah but no where in there did I state that I or my wife were representative of the majority.

Okay, fair enough. I apologize for the characterization.

It just seems like so many online tech discussions are peppered with examples of individual people discussing their own personal experience as if they can "disprove" vast arguments the other direction.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft will triumph in both tablet and phone. It will take 3-5 more years to get there.

Microsoft had a decade leading the tablet market. Apple swooped in and took it from under Microsoft's nose with a single product. Now the "tablet" market is an iPad market with a few also-rans.

What is Microsoft going to do differently to retake the market? Windows on tablets sounds exactly like the thinking that lost the market to Apple.

That's a large problem with your sort of thinking - repeating the answer that didn't solve the problem the first time won't magically solve it now. You have to do something different.

2. To the return guy? This would not be an issue with the OS, talk to handset mfr.

Vista was a good OS, but the driver issues caused it a lot of damage. That wasn't Microsoft's fault, but Microsoft bore the brunt of the blame and the damage.

If a WP7 handset fails, it is Microsoft's problem no matter who manufactured the device. It's more a PR problem than anything else, but that's still critical when WP7 is looking like a very distant third place.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I had the iPhone (3G) at the end it was slow, the battery was good for about 4 hours of standby. From day one with the phone it was poor performing with calls. Some times I couldn't answer the phone because the UI would hang.

Of course you must have realized that the phone was "broken" (either software or hardware), right? What did they say when you took it to the Apple store? Or called Apple? Where is the thread you started on the Apple Support Forums?

For some reason I know a number of people who are happy to complain about their iPhones but they aren't unhappy enough to actually take any steps to resolve their issues.

Anonymous said...

Of course you must have realized that the phone was "broken" (either software or hardware), right? What did they say when you took it to the Apple store? Or called Apple? Where is the thread you started on the Apple Support Forums?

You're right, I didn't go the support route. The battery issue started right after warranty period ended so that would have been useless. And I could have called support on the call issues (freezing UI, calls dropping, calls not coming through even though in service area) but I guess I just did what a lot of consumers do when they get a device/software that may be defective, I complained to everybody who would listen except the support professionals.

The people you know who were happy to complain about the iPhone but not do anything about it must be related to the people who complained about Vista but didn't bother to update their hardware/drivers.

Anonymous said...

Left Windows earlier this year, HR is pretty useless. Glad that I did it. Returning to the blog because I still have thousands of shares, treating them like bonds, over 2% dividend yield plus covered calls, can get me over 3% yield a year better than money in the bank----until the shares really go south. Whether it really go south probably depends on W8 and WP7. MSFT is running out of runway to try to really merge the code base between W9 and WP.

I said it before, will say it again, sad to see a star fallen so far. It's like a drunken uncle didn't know to leave and still hanging around with the GOOG, AAPL and Facebook crowd and talks about yesteryears, it's just sad.

Where is the spark? Who will offer the ideas, surely not those who have been with the company for over 10 years, they are jsut playing the political games, milking the company, just like MSFT milking Office and Windows---until the music stops.

Looks at what AAPL does, starting a Apple Store in Grand Central, that's imagination, that is daring, that is confidence, that is bold, that is "I know what I'm doing, just watch me."

Hope that the old Windows org does not turn my shares into toilet paper. Read the employee feedback, fire those asses who are ruining morale, products and share prices.

As I said before, I have names, but it's not fair to name them here. SteveB, just read the poll result, it's all there, it's the starting point to cleaning house when/if W8 does not sell.

Anonymous said...

Is a 4 deemed "not MS material"? If it is, then 20% of the employees are not MS material, who hired them in the first place?

Can 4 or 5 leave the company and try to come back---only because MS hires and it's in Redmond. Are 4's and 5's tar'd for forever? HR makes rating/ranking available for 7 years?

4's and 5's automatically put on "do not hire list"? Is there such a list?

Anonymous said...

Ok, I had the iPhone (3G) at the end it was slow, the battery was good for about 4 hours of standby. From day one with the phone it was poor performing with calls. Some times I couldn't answer the phone because the UI would hang. I was really happy to get my WP7 phone.

Ok, I had a Sony laptop running XP. At the end it was so slow, it took 10 minutes just to boot up. The battery was so dead that it wouldn't even hold a charge. Sometimes the UI would just hang and I get a blue screen. I was really so happy when I switched to a MacBook Pro.

See, I can just say the exact same thing and get a different result. And yes, the Sony was 3 years old, just like your iPhone 3G.

Anonymous said...

Q3 – How likely is it that I will get fired?"

Q3: Very likely. 5 means you're not a Microsoft fit.


That just plain isn't necessarily true.

The razor-sharp lines of forced distribution (can anyone tell me was the distribution requirements were in 1999 for 2.5?) over the past few years have demanded that Test Mrgs/GPMs/Dev Mgrs and their bosses throw a certain # of people under the bus. It frequently isn't personal.

However, being forced out? Not necessarily.

However, if the original poster doesn't find a way to escape, expect another 5 score next year, as it's much easier to award someone the low score year after year than throw someone else under the bus. In fact, a lot of them would like to keep you around purely to throw under the bus.

Of course, it could also mean that they will indeed slit your throat in the dark of night.

[Spoken from experience and someone who escaped after he had too many bus tire-treads criss-crossing his torso before sneaking away before anyone could stop me.]

Anonymous said...

You're right, I didn't go the support route. The battery issue started right after warranty period ended so that would have been useless

Not really. A guy a work took in his iPhone to the Apple Store in Bellevue Square for similar battery issues and it was outside warranty. Apple went ahead and gave him a NEW iPHONE even though the warranty was over.

Anonymous said...

To the 3GS guy: You really have to work very hard to orchestrate the circumstances of a broken, unfixable, unreplaceable Apple product. Their quality control and manufacturing tolerances are high to begin with, making for extremely dependable hardware -- and their customer service policies (as has been noted above) are extremely forgiving and generous on top of that.

Anybody suffering because an Apple product doesn't work...just shouldn't be. It really couldn't be easier to avoid. If you did receive a dud, too bad, but extrapolating to the entire product line is ridiculous. With any other company, maybe. But Apple is so far the other direction they're barely on the same axis.

Anonymous said...

And again -- walk into any mobile store in the world and ask. Seriously, even the ones right next to our own frigging campuses. Go into the Redmond Town Center AT&T store and *ask*.

Less than 1% adoption. Stop kidding yourself.

blah blah, blah blah blah

Microsoft will triumph in both tablet and phone. It will take 3-5 more years to get there.


Like they are doing with live search or bing or whatever it is called lately?!

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of the frustration here is related to the fact that Microsoft is very, very competitive and some employees can become disillusioned when they don't get all the opportunities they wanted when they entered the tech industry. Microsoft is always hiring some new kid genius PHD from Berkeley who is already as good as you with a year or two of experience compared to your 12.

Trust me people, no employee who posts to this blog is a good example of a top performer at Microsoft (although they may be delusional enough to think so).

Anonymous said...

You're right, I didn't go the support route. The battery issue started right after warranty period ended so that would have been useless

Not really. A guy a work took in his iPhone to the Apple Store in Bellevue Square for similar battery issues and it was outside warranty. Apple went ahead and gave him a NEW iPHONE even though the warranty was over.


Yes. AAPL does things like that. This is the 5th such story I'm hearing. As for me ... VERY VERY HAPPY with the years of using my Macbook after a disaster Vista laptop.

Be Paid said...

Trust me people, no employee who posts to this blog is a good example of a top performer at Microsoft (although they may be delusional enough to think so).

Right - and all these top performers manage to allow the Microsoft's behind being kicked by average performers of Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook and others (Salesforce, VMWare) - many of whom were chased out of Microsoft, like myself, with A10 stick.

Maybe this A10 was the best thing which could happen to me, feels now like I escaped at the last possible moment. As Tom Smykowski of Office Space said : "Just remember, if you hang in there long enough, good things can happen in this world. I mean, look at me."

Anonymous said...

With the new system, it appears that all influence managers (and their managers) might have had at one point is now gone, and by the way, as others have noted, 20% of us get thrown under a bus EVERY SINGLE REVIEW PERIOD.

Think about that. You're on a V1 product and everyone is kicking ass and producing like crazy and pulling out all the stops. Doesn't matter. 20% of you get clobbered at review time. Your reviews will say all kinds of glowing things (because that's how you *actually* performed), but your score will correspond to things like "Is still developing the skills to manage complexity and meet deadlines," "Is working on learning how to balance several priorities and make the best choice," and other completely untrue and degrading things.

Meanwhile, across the way, another team is producing a Vxx product and doing decent work but certainly not pulling allnighters anymore or putting the pedal to the metal. Still, 80% of them will get decent reviews - not because they worked "smarter," produced more, or managed to ship a brand new product by working together as a team. But because they happened to be in the bazillion round with the same product and the well-oiled machine just cranks it out again.

How the hell do Ballmer and his minions think this is going to play out? Nevermind who gets how much bonus or stock or all that jazz (though arguably, the broadside to morale caused by the "only important product team engineers get the big raise" is not to be discounted) - but what about taking pride in your work? Going the extra mile because you're working on an exciting project and you care that customers have the best experience that you can deliver? Not wanting to let down your teammates and management? Demonstrating your "stretch" skills and coming through, nevermind your completely over-full plate? Do they really think that people will keep doing that, year in and year out, when they get kicked in the teeth for it at review time? Labelled as "incompetent" at their jobs when their own management chain has lauded them and praised them for pulling off the near-impossible?

How many times will 20% of the people on kick-ass teams put up with being called "not Microsoft material" and "developing the skills to..." meet the challenges of their level (which they are BEATING every day)?

With the curve, there MUST be a group who gets kicked down to the dirt like this, because that's what the curve demands. It has nothing to do with whether you have 50% of your people hanging around producing "brown bags" and looking busy or if you have 99% of your people working so hard that they're on the brink of losing their sanity (because it's just one of those V1 pushes, so that's what you do).

It has everything to do with Ballmer having his head up his butt and not looking at the reality of what he's doing to the actual people working at his company.

I know 4 people who have left in the past 6 months not because they hate the work, because they weren't being challenged, or because they were underperforming - but because they finally had enough of being "rewarded" with being treated like dirt. These are not underperformers. Those people are long gone from the past couple of teams I've been on. Now they're cutting into the red meat and this company is simply going to bleed to death. The money won't be enough to keep the people who actually care.

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