Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Friday! Friday! Friday! Microsoft Company Meeting 2011!

(Note: updated below with follow-up comments.)

It's my most favorite time of the year: Friday the 23rd is the annual Microsoft Company Meeting!

That's right: I pull up my sleeves and thrust out my arms out wide and say, "Shove in the Kool-Aid IVs to the left and to the right and keep it flowing!" Man I love it. It is one of my favorite holidays of the year.

Reminder: when it comes to comments, share your internal-only content enthusiasm over on OfficeTalk (especially via the otalk WP7 app) vs. trying to put it here.

A Story of Steve, Steve, and Steven

This year is one of those inflection points: Apple has been soaring with its excellent device results, blowing Microsoft away and cannibalizing our Windows powered device market. The Microsoft stock is horribly flat and there are calls all-around for Ballmer to be replaced. Now, several things are in play: Mr. Jobs has stepped down due to his health reasons, WP Mango is reaching release with Nokia devices to begin their flow, and Windows 8 has demonstrated a reboot to the Windows experience and development platform. With Windows 8, Microsoft has emerged with the talking points that the company is being re-imagined.

All I can say is that SteveB should give SteveSi the CEO Bacon Achievement award: exceptional results that saved the CEO's bacon. Oh, SteveB had to be so happy to have Windows 8 revealed at BUILD right before the Financial Analysts Meeting. "How ya like me n-O-w?!?!" Actually, big chops to SteveSi who not only has done the impossible organizational wrangling between Win7 and Win8 (and wherever it is leading with Win8+) but also did such a smooth job with BUILD that some bloggers dared to pass the Steve Jobs torch to SteveSi. Wow. Didn't see that coming.

(psst. Board. CEO ma-ter-ial. Uh-huh. There you go. Not that I'd probably work in a SteveSi CEO Microsoft, but ya could do a lot worse!)

One thing I'd love to see SteveSi do: give the same level of support to writing Windows8 apps as Microsoft afforded its employees for Windows Phone. I'm not expecting him to, but if he did, I'd relish having my Spock-meets-Spartan view of him rebooted.

The Big Check-in - How Are Things Going

I expect that Mr. Turner will do the big picture for us. I like this comment regarding one point of view of how things are going for Microsoft:

There are certainly some issues at MSFT but some of the people that post in this blog are just over the top in their pessimism and whining. As I see it right now, the good, bad, and ugly of MSFT are: The good:

  • XBOX Kinect blew it away this past Holiday, over 35M customers now pay for the priviledge of XBox Live
  • The enterprise business is strong, committed revenue is higher than it's ever been (MSFT has a global enterprise business that is really unmatched by anyone
  • Office365 and Dynamics both are rapidly growing businesses with a ton of upside
  • MSFT now has 11 distinct businesses that do over $1B in revenue - I can think of maybe one or two other businesses on the planet (GE, etc) that can say the same
  • Largely because of this diverse portfolio of businesses, MSFT was able to grow revenue, operating income, and net income in spite of *declining* PC sales (MSFT is not a one-trick pony any longer, if it ever was)
  • Even with weakness in the PC market the past couple of quarters, it's hard to argue with the success of Windows 7 with over 400M licenses sold
  • MSFT's Cloud offerings collectively are second to none
  • Bing has a long ways to go but has actually made some progress in the US search market against Google, which was once thought impossible
  • As an employee, unless you are a bottom 20% performer, the new comp plan is a win. If you don't think so, then you don't really understand the change
  • Say what you will about Ballmer, there are some senior execs at MSFT that are truly outstanding. Mattrick, Satya, KT, Qi Lu, PK, Lisa B - you won't find anyone better than these folks anywhere
  • The Nokia partnership will be instrumental in getting a WP7 device in a lot of people's hands

The bad:

  • As mentioned, PC sales actually declined in Q4
  • MSFT still hasn't figured out a way to win in India or China and doesn't seem to have a cohesive strategy for emerging markets
  • WP7 is a good product but as others have alluded to, MSFT is way late to the party in terms of highly functional / attractive UI / rich app eco-system smartphones. The Nokia deal only allows MSFT some hope at playing catch-up at this point
  • Employees will soon have to pay a contribution (and deductibles) for health care (thank you very much ObamaCare and the Cadillac Tax for bringing that to us)
  • Although there are talented people still there, a lot of talented folks have left MSFT senior leadership in the past 18 months or so - Liddell, Elop, Muglia, Bach, etc, etc. Although Elop was instrumental in getting the Nokia deal up and going

The ugly:

  • AAPL sold 20M iPhones and over 9M iPads in a quarter. In. A. Quarter. Let that sink in a moment
  • While MSFT has plenty of other viable businesses, none is as profitable nor as core strategically as Windows. Windows was once an impenetrable fortress, but in the past year, AAPL has penetrated it with a single product launch. MSFT is destined to play catch-up in slates, and it sounds like nothing serious is coming out until Windows 8 in another 12 to 15 months (maybe)
  • MSFT is still very strong in the enterprise but to the consumer, MSFT seems completely dead. MSFT has no consumer mindshare any longer
  • Yes, there are some interesting possibilities with Skype and Lync and XBox (etc), but it is still not at all clear that shareholders will reap anything close to $8.5B of value
  • GOOG still dominates search in the US and will for the foreseeable future. And their dominance is even greater internationally
  • OSD as an org continues to bleed money and will continue to do so for at least another couple of years

There it is, from a high-performing L63 employee in a broad-based business role, trying to lay things out in a truly fair and balanced manner. Take it or leave it.

I'm glad to see The Cloud in the somebody's Win column. When it comes to the Company Meeting, I personally am dreading anything that can be in the least bit tangled up with... sigh... THE CLOUD. Two things lost my respect to this force-fed-bubble-gum-on-my-shoe initiative: first, that using our cloud services is Alpha-Geek hostile: sorry, but there should have been upfront a free tinkering environment to go and write a whole bunch of real fun, heavy computational code. Second, that we started to slap THE CLOUD on crazy crap like home PC image editing.

Really.

So, I don't know, smuggle in a bunch of tequila and limes and whenever THE CLOUD comes up take another hit. That will at least make it palatable... in a numb, doesn't-seem-to-hurt-quite-like-it-did sort of way.

The New Review System and Hiring

Yeah, I think there's zero chance the Senior Leadership Team will go into much depth here. "Cheer if you like the new review system! ... Okay, there's 40% of you. How about the rest? Give me a 'Whoo?'" Want to wade in it? Pour yourself a three fingers of bourbon (and keep the bottle handy) and go through all the comments in the Mini-Microsoft Microsoft Annual Review 2011 post. 1,200 comments at this point. Whew.

Strict stack ranking on a fixed curve is a tool brought in for a purpose that didn't exist in the previous review system. Having LisaB take a break from her sabbatical (and, btw, what happens to most people after their sabbatical?) to tell us it's being done because employees felt that the old review system was too complex is a load of greasy smoke up the keister.

I look at this system and, stepping back, it makes sense if you're preparing to do some major organizational slimming over, say, a three year period. For instance, if SteveB where going to leave, I imagine before he goes he would cut back huge parts of Microsoft versus leaving that task to the new CEO, who might make radically bad cut-back decisions (from the former CEO's point of view). Better to give over to the new leader a starving company ready to grow versus a fat pig you've got to go all Neutron-Jack on. Three more years. Three more years to drive down until today's lower 3s are FY2014's 5s.

Depending on who is being forced out or leaving, too, the new system might help with the Young up Microsoft initiative I hear whispers of.

Whoo-and-Hoo!

Didn't like your review? Ah, come on. You know when Ballmer runs around the field you're going to scream and shout (though, given the last Ballmer memo's authorship, maybe we'll see Frank Shaw run around first to warm things up). You're going to stand up. You're going to put aside all the depressing thoughts of those golden handcuffs never unfolding into a sparkling world of wonderment and retirement. You've got a job, a colorful CEO, perhaps a nice raise, and a company holiday to find out what's going on and to have some free grub with your work buds. Compared to 99% of the rest of the world right now, it's worth swigging the Kool-Aid for at least one day and cheering.

There's always the rest of the year for everything else.

Updated: impressions and follow-up

Overall: a very competent Microsoft Company Meeting. Polite applause. "Pip pip."

Other than the occasional video (heh heh, Inception) and the first one or two Train Dances, it was a low-on-humor meeting, for me. Everyone wondered if we were having a host this year. Hey, it was LisaB. Competent (and probably didn't piss people off like last year).

This year was demo-rama. I think the demos were good, it's just I had seen so much of everything being presented that there weren't too many surprises for me. I loved the fact that SteveSi ran one of his demos and then pointed out that everything he had just done was on an ARM slate. I regret how much money we're pouring into OSD (who pointed out that they are quite frugal - uh-huh) but I agree with a lot of what they are doing: they are not trying to out-Google-Google. They're Bing'ing Google upside the head. Go, Cosmos, go!

As for Mr. Ballmer: it was a surprise that he didn't come running and screaming out but rather had a surrogate fly around like a chimp on crack dusted with meth. Mr. Ballmer seemed more subdued this year. Love for Ballmer? People still stood up and cheered and clapped for him. Now then: someone please tell him, regarding his analogy of himself and Elop and Windows Phone sticking together, how Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid ended. Yeah, they were together alright, but the result was a little bit different than jumping off a cliff into a river.

As for people leaving (as some of the tech bloggers have picked up): yeah, people were streaming out. In small numbers. No where near as bad as BillG's last company meeting where Ballmer started screaming at people to sit down. And, well, yes, I was one of those folks who wandered to the upper portion of the seats while Mr. Ballmer passed on his coachie wisdom from Friday Night Lights (BTW, I prefer coach John Wooden). I suppose if Microsoft had been serving beer and snacks after the meeting I would have managed to stay in my seat.

So for me: technically well executed. Pip pip. I feel good about what Microsoft has wrought and how many of the things we're doing are exactly the kind of big, cross-group bets folks used to complain how we never do. The Imagine Cup winners were great to see. Pip pip. As for the meeting... I'd like a little culture, too. Maybe less inspirational videos. And more crazy. Not burping game crazy or Craig Mundie dazed-crazy, but show we have some pizzazz... with less explosive volume. And I'm fine with a box lunch if it means I don't have to stand in an infernal line to get a luke-warm burger melded to its bun.


-- Comments

400 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   201 – 400 of 400
Anonymous said...


Just heard that my former team got RIF'd.
They work out of the MA office -- which is filled with mostly aquisitions.

The team was told IEB is not interested in maintaining their location and were given the option of a RIF or a move to Redmond.


Would someone with real information like to comment?

Although I have turned down a couple of Microsoft job offers in the past, I always held the MS presence in MA in my hip pocket as one of several possibilities if I grew tired of what I am doing.

If MS is pulling out of New England and is retrenching to Redmond, I would like to know more about this.

Anonymous said...

"Amazon is previewing new Kindles today, touch/color display for $300! Where are our W8 tablets? Windows has the greatest franchise, but it also became the greatest drag on time-to-market, by the time W8 is released, tablets would have evolved generations ahead of "W8 visions (in 2009)", not to mention all the trimming that was done to the original vision and lack of execution for the HW ecosystem. On the engineering side, the fingers can be pointed to DNT/HDX, compounding that will lack of imagination from Windows OEMs, we have un-inspiring products collecting dust all over the shelf in 2011 and beyond."

Wrong, new Kindles will be selling for under $200. Amazon makes it up on the sell-through (app's, products, downloads.)No broadband.

Even if Mike Ang do a Microsoft tablet, when will it come out? Can it kill iPad? What will be partner OEM's reaction to a Microsoft Tablet? Or, at this point, it does not matter any more? Everyone (Intel included) is doing its own thing anyway? Is this why OEMs can't certify their W8 PC yet---it's "by design?" Are OEMs getting frustrated with the developer portal and voting with their feet by cozying up with Android/Chrome and "pay nothing up-front?"

Anonymous said...

"To Tim Acheson: Drink the kool-aid much?"

Your comment seems to flip back and forth being being an employee and not. Having trouble keeping this persona straight? Assuming you actually are one, why not go join those competitors that you're apparently so impressed by?

Anonymous said...

"What I like about it is that it just works, and I don't need to consider buying a separate 3G data plan just for the OS updates/patches that the Windows experience seems to need."

We're happy for you. Feel better now?

Anonymous said...

Half of my colleagues in current project are divorcee. Most of them work till late night like 2am. Do people in such project have personnel life? They are hungry for promotion and devoid of all human value. Unless you are like them, you will be get a 4 or 5 ratings.
I know other teams where people work only for 6 hours and get good reviews. Why is there so much variation among different projects in Microsoft.
Why can't management understand that they cannot apply the current review model in projects such as Bing, Adcenter, Windows phone, Azure, Microsoft Research etc where people work for long hours. They sacrifise their family, personal life just to survive in Microsoft.
Summary: Do we need work-life balance in teams across Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

I left Microsoft last year and joined Amazon. I am not happy.

Amazon has only one great person -- Jeff Bezo.

The others are either could-not-pass-Microsoft-interview or get-a-bad-review-in-Microsoft.

Microsoft has a winning team. Amazon has a losing team. The captains make huge differences.

BTW, SB's lieutenants suck big times. Satya should be fired immediately. Windows head is nobody's friend. Office president should leave the company to challenge Obama.

Anonymous said...

I'm officially done with this blog.

I'd say goodbye, but I don't know who you are (of course, we are even in that regard).

Anonymous said...

The only person who speaks their mind is SteveB and he has nothing to say [...]

So now you know how much he has in his mind, don't you?

Anonymous said...

I recently have interviewed several current MSFT employees and Yahoo! employees, and we hired Yahoo! employees by a margin of at least 3:1 despite my efforts to give my former MSFT colleagues a leg up such as using MSFT interview questions.

So my advise to current MSFT employees - watch out for what you are being told - the power that be have an interest to lie to you. Spend your time at MSFT learn what you can about all technologies - you get paid to learn it at Microsoft, and prepare to use them elsewhere because The Power That Be is too afraid of losing control over you.

Bottom line - the system is designed to get you stuck, so don't get stuck - filter and learn the right things and leave.


+1

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Very few tech companies that matter use Windows Server, IIS or ASP.NET anymore.

Based on the many folks who've left in the last couple of years, the best time to quit seems to be L61 or L62. After L65, it gets *much* harder.

Anonymous said...

W8 tablet to Amazon Fire: I'd say we give up, but the truth is we never even got started.

Wow, just wow. MS has already lost its revenue, profit, and market cap crowns to Apple. Now it looks like even most important tech company in Washington State is up for grabs.

Ballmer, you rock. You two, Sinofsky. Good call waiting for W8 before responding to iPad. Genius. Right up there with taking three years to respond to iPhone.

My memory is a little off, but if tablets were meant to go just like netbooks wasn't MS meant to be in the market and winning by now?

Anonymous said...

It's surprising how some newer FTE forgets MSFT's corporate culture has always been about behaving like a bully ... bully some of your employees out of the company.

I worked at Microsoft for several years before I knew anyone personally who was forced out of the company for poor review scores. I knew one guy who got fired but that was for a different sort of issue. It wasn't until around 2001-2002 that Microsoft seemed to get really excited about forcing people out, based on my admittedly limited experience.

Anonymous said...

If Office is completely rewritten in .NET for Windows 8 then I'll be impressed. I'll say damn, those guys are serious about Metro. But if Office is still C++, or 95 percent C++ plus 5 percent .NET window dressing, that'll be SOS, going back 20 years when Kraig Brockschmidt wrote a book explaining that the Win32 API was becoming obsolete for Windows applications. Nothing ever changes with you guys.

Microsoft has always been super-excited to force developers to switch languages or APIs because some PM thinks the new thing they made is 10% better than the old thing.

What Microsoft never realizes is that everybody has a lot of blood, sweat, and tears invested in the old thing, so deprecating it is basically telling loyal developers to go eff themselves. This includes developers within the company, e.g., Office.

POS Norway said...

Please Microsoft employees, listen to me for a second. Don't give up! What you guys are making with Lync, Windows Phone 7.5 and Windows 8 is great, there's a LOT of peoples loving what they see, it's comparable with the feeling/mood when iphone ios came. We really love what your'e making! Don't give up please!!! :) Keep on fighting, and fight for a leadership change! We all love what you guys are making!!

Anonymous said...

We don't need another dinosaur like Ozzie, we don't need some random 60 year-old suit-wearing MBA, we need a 35 year old tech genius who's going to fundamentally change the business.

I agree with everything except the ageist rhetoric. Steve Jobs is the same age as Ballmer, yet I do not consider him a dinosaur.

Anonymous said...

Anyone else hearing about a large layoff? I overheard my skip level talking to his boss about it yesterday. Could be huge. I think I heard a figure of 90,000 going. Basically everyone who doesn't support Steveb is out. Apparently he got really really mad when everyone walked out on him at last week's Company meeting, that I attended, because I'm an employee, at Microsoft.

I wasn't go to comment about it, but Philip Elmer DeWitt needs some more impeccably sourced material for his latest Apple_is_great/MS_sucks article.

Anonymous said...

Delivering "Yesterday's Technology Tomorrow" would still imply just a couple days' worth of delay though.

Anonymous said...

Mini - How 'bout creating polls that visitors can participate in to give a quantified perspective on the content, or discontent. Sure, lot's of discontent, but let Balmer send all of their HR dept and legal dept to try and produce a counterweight.

Should be exciting, and telling. Who knows, maybe there are a lot of happy Microsofties? This way, any person that comes along and says, "Microsoft is great!! Going to be here for 10 years!!" won't be shouted down - they can just vote.

Let's see it!!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps a new and better review process is hovering inside of Mini's post:

The Good
The Bad
The Ugly

You can be rated solely as good, bad, or ugly, or a combo rating of bad/ugly for those qualifying.

Examples of "good" will include:
- Smart and useful
- Forceful and unpleasant, but right
- Smart people who challenge, ask questions that cause thinking, productive change

Examples of "bad" will include:
- Stupid and useless
- Stupid just on its own
- Forceful and unpleasant while being flat out wrong
- Wasters of time/talent/energy
- Anyone who imagines that "how" is more important than "what"
- Anyone who confuses drivel with fact
- Reorgs for no purpose
- Using Walmart as an example of anything positive
- Being from Walmart
- Hiring anyone from Walmart

Examples of "ugly" will include:
- Whoever created the 2011 review process and definitions
- Throwing worthy people under the bus just because they can
- Liars, cheaters, stealers or any combo thereof

If you are "good" then you shall receive double the current #1 bonus and stock, plus a salary higher than Google would pay you. "Good" will be assigned to 50%-99% of the employees. If you are bad, we make you go away, unless you are willing to see the error in your ways and truly change, but you are in lunch detention with LisaB and Steve every day until you quit or improve. Percent of "bad" will be as identified. Detention is designed to avoid spoiling the entire barrel.

Anonymous said...

A visiting european friend, non-technical and with very little awareness of Microsoft or the tech industry, asked me why I left and immediately understood this statement "in a day, I went from working for one of the people who actually built the company, to working for an asshole from Wal-Mart."

No more questions. Even in Europe, they understand KT.

As for the "young up Microsoft" initiative, just look and listen (seriously. if you know anything, forget everything you ever thought you knew about security and simply drill straight through all that online HR crap you have to complete). The plan is to stabilize the average age at 30 ... which will only drive the company further into a death spiral by removing the few people who can actually resist the influence of the aging, sagging, health-issue-afflicted overweight trolls at the top ...

Anonymous said...

>>we need Ballmer to bow out, blah blah blah

It won't matter. The guy who could have won the Cloud race, is, in fact, winning the cloud race.

For those of you who don't know - Paul Maritz, originally the ONLY great mind behind the enterprise business, is now the CEO of VMWare, powering 50% of the Cloud Top 10 (where MS is #9) with a high-end offering placed exactly where it belongs - on UNIX. You don't have to look very closely to see the message "neither Windows or Linux are ready for prime time".

The MS stack is fundamentally flawed for the high end and everyone knows it. If you think differently, please post the recipe for finding a multi-proc timing issue ... REAL-TIME, IN PRODUCTION, WITHOUT REBOOTING OR STOPPING THE KERNEL ... because a whole lot of people out there would really like to know.

Am I troll? Perhaps. Also once a very happy Microsoft employee for more than a decade under Bill, Maritz, Allchin, Flessner, Johnson, Muglia, Valentine ... and countless others who, um, AREN'T THERE ANYMORE.

Anonymous said...

It is getting better every day : http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-29/ibm-tops-microsoft-in-market-value-for-first-time-since-1996.html

Anonymous said...

"That kinect was a big waste of money".

Ur doin' it wrong!

Assuming you're not a troll, then my first point is that one data point--your family--isn't sufficient evidence to draw a conclusion about the Kinect. I'm sure you know that.

My family's experience isn't sufficient either, but here's my data point: My kids and I play together quite a bit, and it's given us a more relaxed situation in which to just talk. About school, friends, things they're reading, whatever.

So for us, it's been an asset.

Playing *with* your kids: Give it a try.

Anonymous said...

## I am a new hire and the entire blogroll seems to paint an extremely poor picture of microsoft. @mini: does it really suck that bad ?

Not Mini, but the answer in any case is: it depends. The basic review model fundamentally sucks no matter where you are, but if you actually are good, then you might be able to ride the wave comfortably - provided that you have a good team and a good manager where skill is respected. Someone will still be thrown under the bus along the way to appease LisaB and other evil gods, just not you.

If you can live with that, the pay is good - despite what a lot of people say - and the job doesn't have to be stressful; I come at 9 and leave at 5 on most days (rare emergencies excepted), but I do my job well, and got a 2 and a promo for this review (and A/70 in my past reviews).

On the other hand, if you've got the wrong kind of manager, then your coding skills matter little and your ass licking skills are in demand.

Usually it doesn't take long to figure out what kind of team you're on - look around and notice what kind of people get promoted - doers or talkers.

Anonymous said...

## (different outsider) If Office is completely rewritten in .NET for Windows 8 then I'll be impressed. I'll say damn, those guys are serious about Metro. But if Office is still C++, or 95 percent C++ plus 5 percent .NET window dressing, that'll be SOS, going back 20 years when Kraig Brockschmidt wrote a book explaining that the Win32 API was becoming obsolete for Windows applications.

Dude, Metro has nothing to do with .NET. You can write Metro apps in native C++ - in fact that's kinda the big story in that department.

Win32 is becoming obsolete, yes. That's why WinRT is there to replace Win32 for native code.

Anonymous said...

I'm sending a message.

My write-in candidate for CEO is going to be Charlie Sheen.

It may be soooo last summer but he at least is spouting the same bullsh*t "winning" message.

Charlie... >2k votes coming your way big guy.

Any other takers?

Anonymous said...

But so content and past MS that you're back here trolling. Uh huh.

Sweet, sweet revenge.

Anonymous said...

"If you had the old, stale Billg running the show, at least he would have capable lieutenants making things happen."

You seem to forget that BillG hand-picked Steve to be his successor.

That's not my idea of a capable lieutenant...

Anonymous said...

@Emi

Do your best Emi to recover from this:

"IBM Tops Microsoft in Value for First Time Since 1996":

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-30/ibm-tops-microsoft-for-first-time-since-1996.html

Anonymous said...

Perhaps a new and better review process is hovering inside of Mini's post:

The Good
The Bad
The Ugly


But that's the way it already works: the review process doesn't necessarily correctly identify either the good or the bad, and the outcome is looking like it's going to be exceedingly ugly.

Anonymous said...

"Could be huge. I think I heard a figure of 90,000 going."

Lol, nice try. Letting the entire company go would be quite the feat. I'm guessing an engadget commenter found his way here?

Anonymous said...

Dude, Metro has nothing to do with .NET. You can write Metro apps in native C++ - in fact that's kinda the big story in that department.

Win32 is becoming obsolete, yes. That's why WinRT is there to replace Win32 for native code.


Really, it's C++? I didn't recall C++ having this "^" syntax for pointers. The fact that coding a "C++" application depends on a bizarre language extension is a little odd. Can you even call that C++?

Your comment also implies that WinRT can do everything a developer wants to do. Once that developer ventures outside of what the WinRT team has envisioned, either deliberately or through their lack of foresight, you're out of luck. Here's an exercise for internal people who write native code: even given a large amount of time investment, would a WinRT port of your work even be feasible? I know in my case the answer is no. I also hear a bunch of the "modern" stuff in Win8 is not using public WinRT APIs. How do we expect this thing to make sense if we're not dogfooding the APIs beyond a bunch of crappy intern apps?

Anonymous said...

Lot's of negative comments on this post so I'd like to try and add some realistic context.

1) MS has clearly defined a system where it may be as much in your interest to get the high performers in your group to leave as to deliver against your own objectives. Sad but true and some percentage of people will take the low road.
2) With 40% net profits and a monopoly position in the market don't be surprised if success at MS is determined by politics and internal optics. If you ever worked at ATT or IBM in their monopoly days you would have more realistic expectations. Find a way to make this work for you and don't expect it to change until it all comes crashing down at which point we will all have much worse problems then our own frustrations.

Anonymous said...


My memory is a little off, but if tablets were meant to go just like netbooks wasn't MS meant to be in the market and winning by now?

The difference is that Microsoft had an offering (XP and later Win7) that could head off Linux in the netbook space because of its huge application eco-system advantage over Linux.

In the tablet space, MS has no such offering. Windows does not cut it. Win 8 will not either. You will need a new application eco-system (Metro is a try, but even MS Office will not run on Metro!) and without the app ecosystem MS can't compete with tablets based on Linux/Unix (Android, iOS).

Anonymous said...

IBM is now worth more:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204138204576602592079823216.html?mod=WSJ_Tech_LEFTTopNews

How far have we fallen? Even with the great Windows and Office franchise and dividend boost. Don't know what can light a fire on our shares any more. Firing SteveB may feel good, but will it really help? Let's say that it happened, who should be the replacement? BillG can potentially give a one day pop, but he is no longer the visionary---if he even was one.

So, we have to be care with the devil we don't know. The board can hire a "turn-around" artist and chop half of the payroll, is that what we want? Or, it's better to live with getting 4's or 5's?

Is there a big layoff planned? Windows really needs to clean house. Most of the middle layer can and should go---W8 is done anyway.

What's up with Bing? Payroll? When will it turn green? The cash cows (Office/Windows) are getting very long on the tooth and running dry.

WP seems to have to live or die with 7.5/Nokia, we can find out within 14 months.

XBox is a rising star, we just need to stitch it better with WP, PC and Bing. How/why would Windows, WP or Bing work with XBox when everyone is silo'd and working to be not a 3, 4 or 5 in the next round?

S&T is maturing and does not seems to compete well against the likes of Unix, Amazon or VM. With our stack been used less and less by developers, the tool side of the business will be (or is) facing stiff headwinds.

Where will our growth come from?


Young up is ok, if the right people are moved. The sad part is those who remain are mostly political animals, just look inside of JulieLar's org.

Anonymous said...

"Playing *with* your kids: Give it a try."

-Thanks! That’s funny. So presuming that you too are not a troll…

Even as an FTE I find that to be a typical Microsoft response, and one which represents the root of many of our problems. Instead of listening to the customer, what you’re actually saying is that the technology is great so therefore there must be something wrong with my family!!???

Firstly, with the hours I've been putting in I don't see enough of my kids. But even with limited availability I make time every week to take them to a sports club where I actually train with my kids. They love that and so do I. After spending all week immersed in the virtual world of corpnet the last thing I want is to play virtual sports. Running around breathing fresh air sure beats being stuck running on the spot in the living-room - even in the rainy State. But hey, that’s just our choice.

However the point about the Kinect is that my kids still play their video games, especially my Son. Being an enthusiastic gamer he’s into his Halo, Trails, and a whole bunch of other games that aren’t Kinect compatible. So it sits there on top of the TV gathering dust. OK that’s a sample size of 1, but I know my wife is not the only one asking this question: http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/blogs/game-junkie/4824251/Gathering-dust

Anonymous said...

Satya should be fired immediately.

Well, OSD was kind of screwed up by him. I had expected DR Qi Lu to fire him 2 years ago. Instead he got promoted to president. What a shame! Now you know why we can't win with this kind of leadership in place.

Windows can NOT lose, and Windows Can NOT win.

Anonymous said...

Windows under Sinofsky is an interesting animal. It is a stable org and where much of the power in the company now resides. It's also an org where advancement is slow, especially for cross band promos. Morale\WHI is low compared to other orgs. It is also leaning up as the product cycle gets into late innings.

It's a good place for finding a solid engineering team and earning your spurs. Beyond that many now see it as a launching pad to bigger and better opportunities. It's not an org where you can shake rattle and roll. (And I think Sinofsky, Julie and others would agree.)

Anonymous said...

## Really, it's C++? I didn't recall C++ having this "^" syntax for pointers. The fact that coding a "C++" application depends on a bizarre language extension is a little odd. Can you even call that C++?

You do realize that WinRT is an ABI, right? That you can use it without using C++/CX? That, in fact, Win8 SDK ships with a header-only library of smart pointers and such (WRL) that lets you do just that?

"^" and friends are there for 1) C# developers who realize that .NET rug is being pulled from under them and want to switch NOW but do so easily , and 2) Obj-C developers coming from iOS (yeah one can dream right?). Which is to say, for 90% of all devs who're going to be writing apps for this.

## Your comment also implies that WinRT can do everything a developer wants to do. Once that developer ventures outside of what the WinRT team has envisioned, either deliberately or through their lack of foresight, you're out of luck.

This isn't a WinRT thing, it's a Win8 thing. We're going full retard... er, I mean, full Apple - it's our way or the highway now. It doesn't matter if you do it with WinRT or without (and you can do without) - if we think apps shouldn't need to do something, then they damn well won't be able to.

And well, what did you expect, after Apple has been spoonfeeding and spanking both users and devs for four years now and they like it and beg for more? Our strategy is, as always, to follow boldly him whom everyone else has followed before.

Anonymous said...

As for the meeting itself - way, way too much Kool-Aid. Fountains of it. Seas of it. I left midway and yet I was practically vomiting it on the way back to work.

Would be okay, actually, if it weren't a very cheap kind of Kool-Aid. Too much fake pretense. Too many comparisons with the competition that are patently false to anyone who knows how things really are (I understand that most MSFT employees don't know - judging by the number of WP7 phones around - so I'm probably in a minority here; but still).

Anyway, where's my Skype for WP7? iOS has it, Android has it; FFS, even the now-dead webOS and N900 had it out of the box! What, we couldn't pay Skype earlier to make a client for us? Meh.

Anonymous said...

The board can hire a "turn-around" artist and chop half of the payroll [...]"

St Valentine's Day in Redmond. It could happen.

[...] is that what we want?

Well, it would give you "mini Microsoft", wouldn't it? As they say, be careful what you wish for...

Anonymous said...

"Lol, nice try. Letting the entire company go would be quite the feat. I'm guessing an engadget commenter found his way here?"

Dude, the whole thing was sarcasm.

Anonymous said...

"Paul Maritz, originally the ONLY great mind behind the enterprise business, is now the CEO of VMWare, powering 50% of the Cloud Top 10"

And the guy the board should recruit to replace Ballmer, or else shareholders should after getting rid of the board and Ballmer.

He's everything Ballmer isn't: visionary, technical, strategic, and results driven. He doesn't sit around making empty promises to win after getting his ass kicked.

Buy his company if necessary, which while expensive has the additional benefit of taking out at least one of the many competitor currently running circles around MS.

Anonymous said...

Here is an idea for a survey to evaluate disparate impact of individuals within protected classes:
1) List the performance issues included on your review for which you did not receive a warning.
2) List all protected classes that you were a member of at the time of the review and the date of entry/exit into any transient protected classes (i.e., took FMLA. Note that a protected class includes whistleblowers or those registering discrimination complaints.
3) List any measurable (i.e. x number of technical presentations) commitments that you were cited for not meeting.
4) List your review scores for the last 5 years.
5) Identify your job title, role, group and measurable commitments.

For #3 to have relevance, all employees or a statistically valid sample would need to participate, rather than just protected classes. I.e. employee X in a protected class was singled out for not meeting a commitment that employee Y also had but was not in a protected class.

It is a myth that review scores “scrubbed” after the fact based on protected class quotas (the 4/5 rule) provides immunity against discrimination claims. Protected classes commonly overlap (i.e. race, gender, disability, etc.) allowing one individual in multiple classes to be singled out as the “bad apple” to meet the distribution requirements for multiple classes. If significant adjustments have to be made by H/R to force the correct distribution in the classes, this substantiates that the rating criteria is suspect. Often the end-result of such systems is that a single person who is in more than one class ends up being the scapegoat for a bad score to satisfy forced ranking curves for multiple classes.

The numbers of individuals entering multiple protected classes are growing as the work force ages since disabilities often accompany aging and quota adjustment mechanisms used by employers historically have not factored disparate impact to individuals belonging to multiple classes.

If you are in a protected class and received a suspicious review and have a history of good performance, get a lawyer or file a complaint with a state agency before it is too late. Depending on the state, the filing deadlines can be as short as 30 days and rarely longer than 6 months from the last action. You also must register your complaint with the employer to prove you attempted a good faith effort to resolve the problem. Registering a discrimination complaint puts you in a protected class. Subsequent negative actions against you may be construed by the courts as retaliation. If an investigation of the review system proves the system is overly arbitrary causing disparate harm to certain individuals (i.e. members of multiple protected classes) even though the 80 percent rule is met for each class there may be grounds for a class action lawsuit.

NOTE: If performance problems were documented previous to entry into a protected class, filing a claim or suing is probably a waste of time. Only about 15 percent of discrimination cases are won by employees and less than half of those yield a payoff worth the time and cost of litigation.

For those who do pursue action, do not let the pursuit of justice take over your life, it is not worth it. You were hired because you have valuable skills, if you cannot use them where you are, get another job or start a company and use your skills to improve society. Even if you ultimately win a legal case, it can take years and thousands of dollars, so you still need to earn a living in the meantime. If you cannot find a lawyer who will pursue your case on at least a partial contingency basis and demands an hourly fee for all costs, that is a good indication you should not try. This of course does not stop you from filing a complaint with the EEOC or a state agency for a legitimate discrimination claim.

Anonymous said...

Amazon has only one great person -- Jeff Bezo.

The others are either could-not-pass-Microsoft-interview or get-a-bad-review-in-Microsoft.

Microsoft has a winning team. Amazon has a losing team. The captains make huge differences.


While Amazon has a deservedly poor reputation as a Seattle-area employer, it has nothing to do with these cretinous rambings.

Anyone old enough or long enough at Microsoft will get a bad review. Anyone interviewing getting some tune in their loop asking for the physics behind the Men In Black downing the WTC (an acquaintance of mine was actually faced with this), will fail the interview. Neither indicates any inferiority. Certainly both are a level up from not even knowing the correct name of one's CEO.

Anonymous said...

Employees seem to have a couple options:

1) Keep believing Ballmer is going to finally pull a rabbit out of his ass
2) Understand he's destroying the company but resign yourself to milking the system until the party ends
3) Go on complaining here in vain
4) Quit
5) Hope the board or shareholders force a change
6) Do something about it

If you believe in #1, then you're in as much denial as SLT is. #2 is an option, but not a very impressive one. #3 may feel good but is otherwise useless. #4 is viable, but not for 10's of thousands of you, at least not locally. #5 should have happened already but hasn't despite more than sufficient grounds. It will eventually. It has to. But can you afford to wait? And what will be left of MS by then? Which leaves #6.

Instead of acting like victims, why not reflect on how much power you really have? The board can and has ignored shareholders, but not even they can ignore a visible loss of employee support by the CEO. Bet on it.

You could, for example, select and pre-announce a day to have a Ballmer non-confidence sit in on the commons. Publish is right here. Do that, get even 1,000 employees to participate, make sure the press is there to cover it, and Ballmer is gone within weeks. Guaranteed.

There is no way he or the board could sweep it under the rug. And if things are as bad as most of you are saying, surely you can convince 1K of 40K Redmond-based employees to care enough about the company and their own future employment to participate? Think about it. Or just keep complaining until your number gets called for firing or layoffs. Because it will, and probably sooner than you imagine.

Anonymous said...

"but I know my wife is not the only one asking this question"

I think it is bleedingly obvious that kids very soon are going to get tired of playing kinnect games.

We have the same story in our house.

Anonymous said...

XBox is a rising star

Unfortunately it won't appear over the "profit horizon" for twenty years, by which time Microsoft will no longer exist.

Anonymous said...

Do anyone talk about this blog at work? Maybe ask their peers/leads/managers to read and understand what is happening around, and use this data for MS poll next time?

Really want to know what will be the reaction of leads/managers. when they read all comments.

Any managers here reading this blog? Taking any steps? OR just play blind at work after reading all facts.... anyone??

Anonymous said...

"Windows under Sinofsky is an interesting animal. It is a stable org and where much of the power in the company now resides. It's also an org where advancement is slow, especially for cross band promos. Morale\WHI is low compared to other orgs. It is also leaning up as the product cycle gets into late innings."


StevenSi is a capable engineerer and leader, middle maangement sucks though. Too many dead wood and know nothing but Windows, questions: How many GPM/Principal in Windows and actually get a job offer outside of Microsoft? They just play the game of evolving Windows and making it compatible with legacy code/apps, year over year, release over release while the company is going down the drain. Whoever has something to do with Vista that are higher than L65 should get a automatic 5, that's the way to clean house and young up not only Microsoft but also Windows. Leave those who are L62 and below alone, they have too little to do with Vista. W8 could do well, there is equal or higher chance of being a flop (I hope I'm wrong). If W8 does not sell or create excitement in 2012, watch out below, $15 a share is not unfathomable by Fall, 2012.

SteveB might finally decides to leave, all of Microsoft could fit nicely again inside of Redmond campus---just as when W95 was released (Start Me Up!)

I'm seeing unbelievable things happening with W8 engineering prep and those principals and GPMs seemed to be just carrying on like the happy days are still here, they keep screwing up deliverables and people careers, StevenSi do you even watch WHI? Why are you keeping those leads who have horrible WHI year over year, do you even care?

Is PEOPLE still Microsoft most valuable asset? If it is, do something about those who are rated low by their reports, if you do, you might still have a shot to have a good W9, otherwise, time to short our own stock!

Anonymous said...

One thing I'd love to see SteveSi do: give the same level of support to writing Windows8 apps as Microsoft afforded its employees for Windows Phone.

Why? Because that support helped make WP7 the raging success it is today?

Anonymous said...

Buy [Maritz'] company if necessary, which while expensive has the additional benefit of taking out at least one of the many competitor currently running circles around MS.

Haven't you been around the "buy a company" mountain often enough to understand exactly how it will turn out? (Hint: what sort of return is MS getting on Skype?)

Anonymous said...

Do [sic] anyone talk about this blog at work?

Probably only those who have in their possession a written job offer.

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding, SteveSi? He is the problem for MSFT's lack of innovation. He is just correcting his big big mistakes by killing our early Tablet PC. Win8 is using Metro to catch up on something he should have done 3 years ago. SteveSi is not learning anything since he is still laughing Facebook/Social without doing anything using our Windows Live assets! This is double SS painful!

Anonymous said...

So we pre-announced W8, got a bunch of folks (including old-timers like me) excited. Feels like we're getting our mojo back.

So here's how it's playing out. Our stock price today (Saturday, Oct 1st) is below $25.

What gives??

I wonder if the continued focus on the bottom line is really beginning to ruin things for us. We're making boatloads of cash, at the company level. But yet things don't look right. And people within the company feel like crap.

What gives??

Anonymous said...

Here is an idea for a survey to evaluate disparate impact of individuals within protected classes:
1) List the performance issues included on your review for which you did not receive a warning.


Years ago, I was dinged on my review because a lead in my group thought I designed my feature poorly.

He freely admitted that he never acted on his concerns.

I pointed out that that's negligence. I demanded that the lead either be fired for his inaction, or that the "ding" be removed from my review.

Of course it was removed. Probably one of the few times that a rank-and-file employee made the powers-that-be nervous...

Anonymous said...

How Amazon’s new tablet signals the start of next generation

It's now a three horse race and you're not in it. Nor will you be no matter how good W8 is on tablets when you finally get around to shipping it 2-3 years after iPad1, because it's now about ecosystems and business models and yours no longer makes sense for the market, at least in the consumer segment.

Bet on Windows? Way to go Steve. Always fighting last decade's battle.

Anonymous said...

@"Could be huge. I think I heard a figure of 90,000 going."

error???

at least 30% workforce is not worth and mostly idle. keep 70% extremely busy.

but choose people from all brackets 1-5. not all 1,2s talented as they got that success politically.

Anonymous said...

Any idea about rate of attrition in MSIT, India?

Anonymous said...

"[...] is that what we want?

Well, it would give you "mini Microsoft", wouldn't it? As they say, be careful what you wish for..."

If MS stops growing, which is all but guaranteed on the present course, then mini-microsoft will happen whether you wish for it or not, regardless of whether Ballmer manages to save his own ass or gets replaced.

There is only one way to avoid mass layoffs: remove Ballmer before MS stops growing and replace him with someone who can come up with a viable growth strategy and execute it. Even then it will have to happen soon, and that person will have to make a lot of smart moves quickly. Otherwise those layoffs will still be unavoidable.

Anonymous said...

"Unfortunately it won't appear over the "profit horizon" for twenty years, by which time Microsoft will no longer exist."

I love the arrogance of someone who thinks they can predict the makeup of any industry, least of all tech, in twenty years. Your ego precedes you.

Anonymous said...

"Do anyone talk about this blog at work? Maybe ask their peers/leads/managers to read and understand what is happening around, and use this data for MS poll next time?

Really want to know what will be the reaction of leads/managers. when they read all comments.

Any managers here reading this blog? Taking any steps? OR just play blind at work after reading all facts.... anyone??"


This blog is well-known among everyone in a leadership position at Microsoft.

What makes you think that anyone cares about what people say here? Microsoft leadership doesn't listen to feedback when it's offered directly, it certainly isn't going to listen to feedback when it's coming from an anonymous site filled with trolls.

Nobody cares what people say here. None of the Partners care about fixing what's wrong with Microsoft as long as they get their giant bonuses. The system works in favor of those who have power, as it does everywhere else, so there's no incentive to change.

Anonymous said...

"You could, for example, select and pre-announce a day to have a Ballmer non-confidence sit in on the commons. Publish is right here. Do that, get even 1,000 employees to participate, make sure the press is there to cover it, and Ballmer is gone within weeks. Guaranteed."

This is just naive and stupid, and not how business or the world works.

First of all, Ballmer sits at 45% positive among employees in published sources -- the entire world is aware that most employees don't support him or the job he's doing. This is not news.

Secondly, anyone participating in something like this would be fired for gross insubordination immediately. Microsoft would call-in security and escort everyone participating in the "sit in" off campus. 1000 people in a 100,000 person company isn't even a blip on the radar.

Actually I don't know why I'm dignifying your comment with a respnose... it's that dumb.

Anonymous said...

"Unfortunately it won't appear over the "profit horizon" for twenty years, by which time Microsoft will no longer exist."

It's already contributing to profits and has been for a while now.

Anonymous said...

"6) Do something about it"

Laundry list of excuses for why your proposed option won't work, while not including alternative or better suggestions, coming in 10,9,8 seconds...

Anonymous said...

""Could be huge. I think I heard a figure of 90,000 going."

Lol, nice try. Letting the entire company go would be quite the feat. I'm guessing an engadget commenter found his way here?

I've seen the future, and it's in Issaquah.
I'm not the OP (he's obviously a joker), but research H1B hiring practices, take ye to building E on the Issaquah campus, and all will be revealed.

If you think that your job is too hi-grade or critical to be replaced by a cheap H1B on-campus (or one based abroad), the old saying comes to mind: "don't look back, something might be gaining on you".

If Microsoft replaces 30000 of its current blue-badges workforce with cheap third-world peons, assuming a salary saving of 30K/year per person (and that's very conservative), this is a saving of US$900 million/year. 'nough said.

I'm not saying they're wrong to do it; business is business. But Bill Gates probably had a vision of his company that is not there anymore, as the organization has matured and the imperatives of being a public company weight more and more on its administration.

Anonymous said...

You could, for example, select and pre-announce a day to have a Ballmer non-confidence sit in on the commons. Publish is right here. Do that, get even 1,000 employees to participate, make sure the press is there to cover it, and Ballmer is gone within weeks. Guaranteed.

I like it. As an employee and shareholder, I'm tired of my voice not being heard and acted upon. The results of the last few shareholder elections are a joke, and do not represent the views and interests of the common shareholder. I've been wondering what it will take for positive and dramatic change to happen. A loud and clear statement needs to be made: Ballmer and the board need to start listening to the employees and shareholders and stop playing games with the company's future.

Anonymous said...

I left Microsoft last year and joined Amazon. I am not happy.
Amazon has only one great person -- Jeff Bezo.
The others are either could-not-pass-Microsoft-interview or get-a-bad-review-in-Microsoft.
Microsoft has a winning team. Amazon has a losing team. The captains make huge differences.


I've been a manager at Microsoft for many years, and over the last few years I had previous employees leave for better offers at Amazon and other companies, including several startups and Google. Those were 20-30 years old guys coming from strong universities, and stuck at level 59-60, since I couldn't promote them fast enough. I kept in touch with most of them over time, and what I hear is that most of those companies also have morons all over, including lots of people that failed miserably at Microsoft and left in anger.

The guys who left for startups keep in touch with one goal: to poach me to go there. The guy who left for Google is kind of happy, and told me many times that would only return to Microsoft if working for me "in the right project". The guy who went to Amazon already interviewed back for Microsoft positions, and failed.

After a cold call from one of their recruiters, I myself interviewed for a position within Amazon that was fully related to my skills, experience and interest. After doing well in the phone interviews, I was unimpressed by their in person interview system with 45 minutes per interviewer. I was interviewing for a management position, and when I cited that I typically don’t give that much incentive or reward for people doing extra hours for prolonged periods, I was immediately challenged about the need of “hard work” to demonstrate one’s value. I felt I was dealing with a bunch of developers suffering from chronic lack of confidence, and tied to their positions (maybe through the same H1B process that Microsoft also uses; since everyone in my interview loop was from India). In the end, my perception was that those I talked with were too junior, being exploited by Amazon without any mercy. Even the recruiter at the end of the loop told me it would be hard to make me a good offer, and that Amazon can get at most Senior SDEs out of Microsoft, and can hardly make a good offer for Principals+, except for those with bad reviews. I withdrew my candidacy after the interviews in person at their offices. Not to my surprise, they ignored my message and sent me back anyway a message saying they were impressed with my skills but preferred to consider other candidates (don’t know why recruiters prefer to keep statistics this way). My advice for people that ask for it: only go to Amazon if you cannot go elsewhere, or as an intermediate sweatshop step in your career. Long term, it is a far worse deal than Microsoft (unless, like at Microsoft, you are brought in by friends, like most of Qi Lu’s team).

Anonymous said...

Sell your million MSFT shares, even if it's only for one buck profit and buy AAPL stock with what's left after capital taxes, as one example of a valid strategy.

Wouldn't that behaviour be what one would expect from a lack of confidence in MSFT?

Anonymous said...

Re "what gives?"

Microsoft.

The problem is how much (too much of the profits) and to whom (legacy deadwood partners that perpetuate the status quo).

Anonymous said...


I've seen the future, and it's in Issaquah.
I'm not the OP (he's obviously a joker), but research H1B hiring practices, take ye to building E on the Issaquah campus, and all will be revealed.


This is spot on, as I work on that campus. I work in E, but attend meetings regularly in D & C, plus have lunch at the cafeteria, and I can tell you first hand, it's like a third-world campus over here.

This is not a racist or bigoted statement, this is just how things are on that campus. I have no idea what the main or Bellevue campuses look like, but in Issaquah, I wonder every day if I'm working out of India.

That is the future, and it's not pretty.

Anonymous said...

"Years ago, I was dinged on my review because a lead in my group thought I designed my feature poorly.

He freely admitted that he never acted on his concerns.

I pointed out that that's negligence. I demanded that the lead either be fired for his inaction, or that the "ding" be removed from my review.

Of course it was removed. Probably one of the few times that a rank-and-file employee made the powers-that-be nervous..."


You certainly didn't make anyone nervous, someone just took pity on you because you were well-liked by senior management moreso than your lead, or perhaps they had it in for your lead and used your complaint as a catalyst to ding him on his own review.

Or you're lying, which is actually more likely. Lots of people tell these stories, few of them are true.

But hear this: it had nothing to do with you or your complaint. Nobody cared.

There is nothing illegal about a manager who gives you a crappy review even though he told you that you were doing a great job all year, unless you can prove that it's part of a pattern of discrimination based on your age, disability or other protected status. If there's no provable discrimination that could embarrass the company in a legal suit, the company doesn't care.

Again, nobody cared about your story or your concerns unless it was part of a larger intrigue that didn't have anything to do with you. You're not important to Microsoft, and your incompetent manager is one of thousands of incompetent managers. Nothing illegal about it.

Anonymous said...

"Unfortunately it won't appear over the "profit horizon" for twenty years, by which time Microsoft will no longer exist."

I love the arrogance of someone who thinks they can predict the makeup of any industry, least of all tech, in twenty years. Your ego precedes you.

At least I'm doing better with my prognostications than is your embattled CEO. You know, the man who was going to "f***ing kill Google" (no arrogance detectable in that little gem, was there?).

People who live in glass houses...

Anonymous said...

"Unfortunately it won't appear over the "profit horizon" for twenty years, by which time Microsoft will no longer exist."

It's already contributing to profits and has been for a while now.

Yes, but it's going to take a long, long time to recoup all the losses of previous years, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Thanks! That’s funny. So presuming that you too are not a troll…
Not a troll, but it was idiotic of me to say that to you. I was picturing a certain someone and his modus operandi behind your comment and projecting it onto you. Out of line either way.

I apologize.

Anonymous said...

"Sell your million MSFT shares, even if it's only for one buck profit and buy AAPL stock with what's left after capital taxes, as one example of a valid strategy."

"Wouldn't that behaviour be what one would expect from a lack of confidence in MSFT?"

Precisely. Someone originally made the point that big insiders are liquidating their MSFT positions at a faster clip than large investors.

MSFT insiders may be more likely to show a profit due to a lower acquisition price than an investor, and one buck profit on a million shares is about $850K after tax. It's a no brainer and I don't find it bizarre that insiders are dumping any chance they get.

Anonymous said...

"Years ago, I was dinged on my review because a lead in my group thought I designed my feature poorly.

He freely admitted that he never acted on his concerns.

I pointed out that that's negligence. I demanded that the lead either be fired for his inaction, or that the "ding" be removed from my review.

Of course it was removed. Probably one of the few times that a rank-and-file employee made the powers-that-be nervous..."


Could you share more? I was in the same situation with a shitty principal lead. Tried HR and skip level, never got the lies removed from my HR records.

Very curious about how you got the lies removed. Do share!

I'm in windows.

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Microsoft: Ballmer Got Half of Maximum Bonus

Way to hold his feet to the fire guys /sarcasm

Anonymous said...

The exec ratings trickle in. From http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/microsoftpri0/2016395269_ballmer_receives_increase_in_salary_reaches_100_pe.html :

Ballmer, 2.2% raise, 100% of target: 3
Sinofsky, 0.8% raise, 90% of target: low end 3
KT, 16% raise, 110% of target: 2
Peter Klein, 6% raise, 120% of target: 2
Kurt DelBene, first year as exec, 132% of target: 2

Apparently the board feels tnat the company is driven by administrative management techniques, not by technological achievement.

Sinofsky as the only reported exec with an increase below Ballmer's? I read the details, but still think that SteveSi is doing at least as good a job with Windows as KT is doing with sales, for example. I mean, cmon, a large number of the past year's upgrades were due to users having bypassed the Vista release era, and going to Win7 on new computers, buying Office 2010 to go with the new platform. This wasn't as much sales wizardry as a natural market cycle due to pent-up demand for a new OS more functional than Vista.

Anonymous said...

Poor SteveB. He gets "punished" by the Board with only half his bonus of $625k. Unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

"This is not a racist or bigoted statement, this is just how things are on that campus. I have no idea what the main or Bellevue campuses look like, but in Issaquah, I wonder every day if I'm working out of India."

Part of Redmond campus looked like it, especially IT buildings. This what BillG and SteveB want, and this is what they get.


One has to ponder, is lack of innovation on the part of Microsoft in the past 16 years a result of hiring and keeping who were not trained in the US education system which encourages free-thinking more so than India or China.

I know I will get lots of hate mail. But, it hard to swallow when kids couldn't find job or good paying jobs when we are hiring all these H1B or foreign trained employees or contractors who are willing to work for less. We get what we pay for.

Or, Goog/Facebook got the most sought after talents, we get stuck with the second tier? Now, some of the early hires are in middle management and hiring their own country men/women, this is no way out/back for Microsoft?

Anonymous said...

"Chief Financial Officer Peter Klein's total compensation was $3.5 million, including $525,000 in base salary, $720,00 in bonus and $2.3 million in stock awards.

Windows and Windows Live President Steven Sinofsky's total compensation was $7.2 million, including $649,167 in base salary, $1.3 milion in bonus and $5.3 million in stock awards.

Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner's total compensation was $9.3 million, including $732,500 in salary, $1.9 million in bonus and $6.6 million in stock awards.

Office Division President Kurt DelBene's total compensation was $6.2 million, including $603,333 in base salary, $1.5 million in bonus and $4.2 million in stock awards."

KT made more than StevenSi, unbelievable! Is it partly because of the low WHI rating Windows and Windows Live got? WWL GPM/principal lead with poor WHI rating seemed to be just doing fine.

Anonymous said...


I have no idea what the main or Bellevue campuses look like, but in Issaquah, I wonder every day if I'm working out of India.

That is the future, and it's not pretty.


I don't work for and have never worked for Microsoft (though I turned down good offers twice in the 1990's, which I still have very mixed feelings about).

But I can tell you the reality of the above comment.

I used to work for one of the most successful, profitable pure software companies in the USA. Mush smaller than Microsoft, but still a big footprint in technical computing, and they also have a tidy and profitable monopoly like Microsoft has.

One day, about 5 years ago, I went to an advanced technical training course to satisfy my 40 hours of annual required training. My boss, who was (and still is) a Big Dog in the history of computer systems and computer science attended that training with me.

We looked around the room, and in a class of 40 people, we were the only 2 people (besides the instructor) who were not from India, Pakistan, etc.

That was when I realized that the jig was up...

Now I work for a really cool defense and security R&D company, where you have to be a USA citizen, and get security clearance, to have a job here.

Cool technical computing projects, cool people to work with, all in all a great ride.

Smart people any more don't work for multinational commodity software companies (even for those companies with a monopoly).

Anonymous said...

[This is not a racist or bigoted statement, this is just how things are on that campus. I have no idea what the main or Bellevue campuses look like, but in Issaquah, I wonder every day if I'm working out of India.

That is the future, and it's not pretty.]

It looks like the same here at the main campuses, everywhere you go, it's full of Indians. This is NOT diversity!

Anonymous said...


Ballmer, 2.2% raise, 100% of target: 3
Sinofsky, 0.8% raise, 90% of target: low end 3
KT, 16% raise, 110% of target: 2


Whoa.

I'm trying to imagine a Microsoft run by KT as the CEO, after Ballmer goes (following the release of W8).

The scenario that I imagine, is more than a bit unsettling...

Anonymous said...

Why is everyone so glum? If you are an engineer at Microsoft, you are probably making a pretty fat paycheck (when compared to the average American with a comparable Bachelor's or Master's education, as well as the few with a Ph.D.). Let's not mention the benefits we enjoy as employees of Microsoft, while many others in this country are stuggling to find a job or are worried about being able to next month's rent. I get up. I don't have to drive to work. I get a free bus pass for whenever I have errands to run in Seattle. Once I get to work, I get to work on interesting problems. I do not have to worry about health care coverage... even once the health care coverage is downgraded in the future, I still won't have to worry being able to afford health care. A lot of the money from my fat paychecks goes straight into my savings account. Since I've graduated college, money is not something that I have ever had to worry about.

And come on, I am pretty excited about what Microsoft has in the works. Yeah, Microsoft is a little late in the game, but Windows 8 is a major and refreshing revision. Better late than never. It's not just another tablet OS that exihibits the limited functionality of a large smart phone. It is a desktop, laptop, and tablet OS, which runs on amd64, i386, and arm. Yeah, if we had something similar to Windows 8 already out, we'd be sitting pretty right now, but it is coming. It will have an impact. Thank goodness for the powerhouse that is Windows.

Even though we are not sitting pretty right now, we sure are sitting comfortably. If you want to make more money or want more prestige for simply working for a company that is currently in limelight, then go pursue your dreams. Over a decade ago, Apple was presumed dead in the water. Microsoft is a sleeping giant that will rise sooner or later. When a company is worth as much as Microsoft, it has the luxury of being able to continuously throw money at its problems with a favorable probably that success will eventually occur.

Anonymous said...

Please can we get over the H1B thing.

It's not racism people say. Yet, when I mention that I, from an English speaking country, came over on effectively the same visa, they say 'ah, but you guys are okay'. What they really mean is that we're okay because we're caucasian.

It's simple guys, do the math; India has a significantly larger number of people doing Computer Science than the US, it makes sense that we would hire more from India than the US.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but it's going to take a long, long time to recoup all the losses of previous years, isn't it?

You mean for the imaginary Xbox lifetime P/L report? Yeah, maybe another five years, plus or minus. Of course all the real world cares about is reported corporate P/L. And on that, those costs were written off long ago and Xbox has been making a positive contribution for a while now.

Anonymous said...

"Sinofsky as the only reported exec with an increase below Ballmer's?"

He's president of Windows and sales were down. He's not being blamed per se. But revenue probably ranks quite high in his overall scorecard. I mean you'd hope so, right?

Ballmer is a whole other discussion. He should have been fired.

Anonymous said...

For a perfect example, look at the Zune. A piece of junk that NOBODY owns. No one who has a clue would ever think of buying one.

Actually a terrible example from someone who apparently never owned one. Or read the reviews. I owned iPods for quite a while, and liked them over the original Zune. When the HD came out I bought one, and I've never gone back. It's simple to use, I like the all you can eat model of subscription, the software is great and according to one reviewer, "Makes iTunes look like a spreadsheet". BUT, we TOTALLY fucked up marketing it and no one even knew it existed it seems. I looked all over for some advertisement or promotion or something that told the world we had it and I couldn't find anything. For a company that people often describe as a copier of other technology with great marketing, this is a case example of exactly the opposite.

Anonymous said...

MS used to be an industry giant and an innovator (well, sort of), but now the company motto ought to be, "Microsoft: Yesterday's Technology Tomorrow".

How about: Microsoft, The Company With A Great Future Behind it.

For all those people wishing BillG back, just look at his book, The Road Ahead. On the cover, the road is actually behind him.

iso 9000 said...

I positively venerate celebration of a mass your blog posts, a accumulation of essay is smashing.we have had to bookmark your site as well as allow to your feed.Your thesis looks lovely.Thanks for sharing.
iso 9000

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately it won't appear over the "profit horizon" for twenty years, by which time Microsoft will no longer exist.

It's already contributing to profits and has been for a while now.

We had this discussion on some alias (I forget which one), a few years back. Xbox is "profitable" if (and only if) the costs are accounted for as SUNK COSTS. In other words, the losses incurred during development and early marketing are written off, and then if any new money comes in, it is called "profit". But if you try to recover your sunk costs, then Xbox will indeed take over a decade, probably 2 decades, to return anything over the total outgoings. A few more successes like Xbox, could cripple the company ... if not for that fat, lactating Windows and Office cash-sow.

Anonymous said...

I left Microsoft last year and joined Amazon. I am not happy.
Amazon has only one great person -- Jeff Bezo.
The others are either could-not-pass-Microsoft-interview or get-a-bad-review-in-Microsoft.
Microsoft has a winning team. Amazon has a losing team. The captains make huge differences.


I left Microsoft and went to Amazon and couldn't be happier. Got a huge raise and two huge bonuses. At Amazon, I work with a lot of smart people who want to build great products. The main difference is that my Amazon colleagues have my back. My Microsoft colleagues had a knife in my back. Most of Amazon is run like a startup, so there is a lot of room to take ownership and make things better. If you're used to having things spoon fed to you like at Microsoft, then Amazon isn't the place for you.

Anonymous said...

R.I.P. Zune.

Anonymous said...

I got 3 and accepted an offer from another team. But the current team is asking me to stay 10 weeks more for transition. Does it make sense?

Anonymous said...

Back to the point of mini's post:
I am a former employee (5 years, gone in RIF in 2008) and never missed a company meeting. Loved all of it, the over the top whoo hoo, the free food and all that. It is part of the company and if you are still there, you should relax and enjoy the moment.
With respect to other posts:
1) I once gave feedback on my review that was professional and said that it missed some key points affecting my performance. My manager commented back on the review that I was correct and he forgot those issues. That said, I was never one if his favorites and he did not cry when I took the package and left.
2) At MS101 in 2003 Bob McDowell gave a pep talk. He said in an aside to a smaller group that Billg and SteveB knew that the cooprorate DNA of mid management had gone bad. They were planning on increasing new hires and running off the bad folks in the mid management ranks.

Based on the number of VPs that have left in the last three years it looks like SteveB decided to aim higher in who he ran off.

Anonymous said...

I pointed out that that's negligence. I demanded that the lead either be fired for his inaction, or that the "ding" be removed from my review.
...
There is nothing illegal about a manager who gives you a crappy review even though he told you that you were doing a great job all year, unless you can prove that it's part of a pattern of discrimination based on your age, disability or other protected status. If there's no provable discrimination that could embarrass the company in a legal suit, the company doesn't care.


I think you missed my point. It's not that they told me I was doing well all year then changed their minds, it's that a lead in the group (supposedly) knowingly let me implement a feature the wrong way for almost a year without saying anything.

Presumably if you're a lead at Microsoft and you notice somebody in your group doing something wrong, you have an obligation to at least SAY something, at the time, for the sake of not wasting Microsoft resources (dev time) and delivering a quality product.

Imagine if, instead of writing software, we were designing airplanes and the lead noticed that I was designing safety equipment wrong but didn't say anything. I'm pretty sure that, if it came to a lawsuit, a court would find him to be criminally negligent.

So faced with the decision of admitting that the lead was negligent on an official document (my review) vs. admitting that it was just some BS they made up to give me a lower review score, they went with the latter option.

Anonymous said...

@Any idea about rate of attrition in MSIT, India?

20%

Anonymous said...

Woo Hoo! No iPhone 5.

Anonymous said...

"This is just naive and stupid, and not how business or the world works."

Employees have never successfully protested a CEO? A small group, sometimes initially just a single individual, has never changed the course of history? Suggest you do more research.

"First of all, Ballmer sits at 45% positive among employees in published sources -- the entire world is aware that most employees don't support him or the job he's doing. This is not news."

You know that glassdoor is entirely open and anonymous, right? Anyone can go to their site, say they work for MS, and enter a review. No, that's not credible enough. OTOH, a sit in would be irrefutable proof.

"Secondly, anyone participating in something like this would be fired for gross insubordination immediately. Microsoft would call-in security and escort everyone participating in the "sit in" off campus. 1000 people in a 100,000 person company isn't even a blip on the radar."

For electing to enjoy their lunch break on the commons? I wouldn't want to be MS's legal team working on the resulting wrongful dismissal suits. And a swarm of security jackboots waiting to prevent employees from assembling would probably be just as damning.

But sure, there's some risk. Your job is already at risk, you just haven't figured it out yet.

And of course there might be alternatives which decrease the risk. But you were too busy pissing on it to come up with any.

"I don't know why I'm dignifying your comment with a respnose... it's that dumb."

Yeah, I was asking myself the same thing, only in reverse.

Anonymous said...

LOL. MS spends hundreds of millions on speech recognition for more than a decade. Then buys TellMe for another $700M in 2007.

Apple spends less than $200M for Siri in 2010. Delivers it in the 4S by 2011. Changes the game in mobile. Again.

And that's why MS is losing and Apple is winning.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous at 1:32pm, just keep escalating up a couple levels.

Wnile i have never had my rating adjusted, i have found managers willing to change words. For example, on one review some inaccurate comments about the stated expectations of a deliverable (which i proved were incorrect using an email from the same manager) were removed by my skip.

In another instance, when I confronted my manager in front of his manager about several inaccurate specifics cited as evidence for a conclusion he made in my review, the inaccurate evidence as well as the conclusion were removed from the review.

I was in Windows at the time of both occurrences, and four different managers were involved.

Here is something interesting. I have never found an inaccuracy in one of my good reviews. This lends credence to the idea that managers sometimes have to look pretty hard, even to the point of getting "creative", to write text that justifies non-glowing reviews (in the above cases, a 3.5 and an a/10).

Anonymous said...

we need a 35 year old tech genius who's going to fundamentally change the business.

Well, you might still have enough money to outbid Apple for Scott Forstall, but he's probably tied up with NDAs for at least five years. It would be something to see the industry's first billion-dollar CEO signing bonus, though.

Anonymous said...

" Anonymous said...
[This is not a racist or bigoted statement, this is just how things are on that campus. I have no idea what the main or Bellevue campuses look like, but in Issaquah, I wonder every day if I'm working out of India.

That is the future, and it's not pretty.]

It looks like the same here at the main campuses, everywhere you go, it's full of Indians. This is NOT diversity!"

There are not sufficient college grads and industrial hires to fill technical positions? Let's say that 60% of the positions are "technical", we need 54,000. What we are seeing on campuses, is saying that there are not 54k of domestically trained college grads or people with technical experience to fill these 54k slots. Out of 300 millions, we could not find 54,000? Or, Microsoft can't attract 54,000 when stacked against GOOG, AAPL or Facebook? Or, we move jobs to India and China; hire H1B on campus to move down the cost curve? Are we hiring people with sufficient talent or vision to turn things around? For crying out loud, even IBM is worth more than us now! Who's next? Walmart, Amazon?

Anonymous said...

"It looks like the same here at the main campuses, everywhere you go, it's full of Indians. This is NOT diversity!"

What's wrong with you people. You guys just hate the fact that Indians are everywhere in Microsoft. Get over your bigoted closet racist attitude. When things are not going your way you either blame the Indians or the Mexicans. Sheesh...

Anonymous said...

Not at Microsoft, but very similar:

"... several workers quit the moment they realized the [firing] contest wasn’t a joke. When they applied for unemployment, he countered that they resigned voluntarily. A judge disagreed."

http://lawyerist.com/firing-contest-creates-hostile-work-environment/

Anonymous said...

I got 3 and accepted an offer from another team. But the current team is asking me to stay 10 weeks more for transition. Does it make sense?

4 weeks MAX. Less if appropriate. You are only hurting yourself by staying longer. It's what you do in your new team that counts next yr.

Anonymous said...

Why is everyone so glum? If you are an engineer at Microsoft, you are probably making a pretty fat paycheck...
Probably because a lot of people posting here are at the end of the road. If you want to put out 60 – 70 hours a week, exalt yourself over your team, sacrifice your family, you too can be a super-star, but some of us who have been here several years just want to do our job well, be a team player and don't feel the need to advertise our value and climb the corporate ladder. For those the end of the road is most likely around the corner. It's just a matter of time before you get that 4, and then the 5 and go out the door.

Anonymous said...

Of course all the real world cares about is reported corporate P/L.

And that would be the same "real world" that has allowed Steve Ballmer to remain at the helm as the vessel was taking on water, and even now as it is beginning to founder...

Anonymous said...

"We had this discussion on some alias (I forget which one), a few years back."

No, "we" didn't. But I'm not surprised to learn that you've been trolling for years with it.

"Xbox is "profitable" if (and only if) the costs are accounted for as SUNK COSTS. In other words, the losses incurred during development and early marketing are written off, and then if any new money comes in, it is called "profit". "

Which would be like, um, the way MS and every other company reports their financials.

Anonymous said...

"And that's why MS is losing and Apple is winning."

Well, it's one of many reasons. But you're right that Apple has consistently been able to make very modest M&A or R&D investments and quickly turn them into successful market differentiators and profit drivers. MS meantime has spent massive amounts with frequently non-existent and generally disappointing results.

Anonymous said...

For the Ballmer bashers: he might not be the most likeable CEO, but during his tenure company delivered great results: http://venturebeat.com/2011/10/03/face-it-steve-ballmer-is-doing-a-great-job/

Anonymous said...

One has to ponder, is lack of innovation on the part of Microsoft in the past 16 years a result of hiring and keeping who were not trained in the US education system which encourages free-thinking more so than India or China.

You're clearly an idiot. So US education is the best? So ppl from China have no idea on how to build stuff? MS strength is to copy things and end up selling them more than the original creator, so MS should hire everybody from China!

I'm foreign, not from China or India, but I come from a poor country and I had to work incredibly hard to get my education. If you're from the US you can't imagine how hard it is to someone from a poor country to get here. So MS really gets the best from those places at a cheap price, because no company can pay there what MS offers here.

The US should be thankful to foreing engineers coming over. All you ppl do in college is drink beer, while we work two jobs to get an education with no materials to work with, broken windows in the winter, etc. Then we come here and we kick your asses. We get the 1's in the reviews, maybe because we are used to work hard and deal with many adversities, meybe because we're happy to grab a free hot coffee and work in an office at 72 degrees year round, we value what we have here, you take it for granted.

Time for you to get real, some of us are cheap and better, thank the US for our visas, or we would be building companies elsewhere and you'd be saying goodbye to your customers.

Anonymous said...

I know it is a small thing, but for the first time I voted against the entire Board of Directors, including Bill Gates, in anticipation of this year's Shareholder Meeting on November 15.

Anonymous said...

As a shareholder, i've just received the email notifying me of the re-election. I voted against Steve Ballmer being re-elected. You should do the same, time for him to step down.

Anonymous said...

Tell me if you have heard this one before...
Microsoft Reported to Be Considering a Bid for Yahoo

http://www.cnbc.com/id/44790470

Anonymous said...

"Presumably if you're a lead at Microsoft and you notice somebody in your group doing something wrong, you have an obligation to at least SAY something, at the time, for the sake of not wasting Microsoft resources (dev time) and delivering a quality product."

No, you have no obligation to say anything. Should you say something if you're a decent manager? Of course.

But we have thousands of not-decent managers and they don't need to do much of anything.

Talk to your lawyer, you'll be surprised at what exactly Microsoft can get away with. Pro tip: way more than you think.

"Imagine if, instead of writing software, we were designing airplanes and the lead noticed that I was designing safety equipment wrong but didn't say anything. I'm pretty sure that, if it came to a lawsuit, a court would find him to be criminally negligent."

This is an inappropriate comparison. The airline industry is subject to unique reporting rules and regulations regarding safety -- Microsoft is not subject to any of those regulations.

Seriously -- talk to an attorney and ask exactly what Microsoft managers can get away with. They can tell you every day of the year that you're amazing and doing fantastic work, and then they can give you a 5. They can watch you make mistakes and tell you you're doing everything right, and then they can throw you under the bus to save their own bacon.

None of it is illegal unless they're discriminating against a protected class.

Welcome to corporate America.

Anonymous said...

The "Microsoft considering another bid for Yahoo" thing seems to gaining steam. Really? Say it isn't so.

Anonymous said...

http://venturebeat.com/2011/10/03/face-it-steve-ballmer-is-doing-a-great-job/ (compared to other CEO's) and revenue and profits are v good, just a shame the share price doesn't reflect it

Anonymous said...

I get a free bus pass for whenever I have errands to run in Seattle
Might take a look at the internal commute site. I believe the ORCA card is for your commute only. I think you need to add e-purse funds for non-commute rides.

Anonymous said...

Steve Jobs passed away, what a sad day. Competition is good, especially from an inspirational company like Apple. Every great leader's first and most important accomplishment is to re-unite and motivate the groups, with uncomprimising strong technical leadership.

Anonymous said...

"One has to ponder, is lack of innovation on the part of Microsoft in the past 16 years a result of hiring and keeping who were not trained in the US education system which encourages free-thinking more so than India or China.

You're clearly an idiot. So US education is the best? So ppl from China have no idea on how to build stuff? MS strength is to copy things and end up selling them more than the original creator, so MS should hire everybody from China!

I'm foreign, not from China or India, but I come from a poor country and I had to work incredibly hard to get my education. If you're from the US you can't imagine how hard it is to someone from a poor country to get here. So MS really gets the best from those places at a cheap price, because no company can pay there what MS offers here."

Didn't say that US education system is the best. But, since you said it, yeah, it is!

To prove that you are not an idiot, please name a few break-through tech products or services that are not invented by Americans or people who were educated through US education system.

Jobs' father was from the middle east, but he was educated through the US system. BillG is the same, both dropped out after freshman year.

Anonymous said...

"I don't work for and have never worked for Microsoft (though I turned down good offers twice in the 1990's, which I still have very mixed feelings about).

But I can tell you the reality of the above comment.

I used to work for one of the most successful, profitable pure software companies in the USA. Mush smaller than Microsoft, but still a big footprint in technical computing, and they also have a tidy and profitable monopoly like Microsoft has.

One day, about 5 years ago, I went to an advanced technical training course to satisfy my 40 hours of annual required training. My boss, who was (and still is) a Big Dog in the history of computer systems and computer science attended that training with me.

We looked around the room, and in a class of 40 people, we were the only 2 people (besides the instructor) who were not from India, Pakistan, etc.

That was when I realized that the jig was up...

Now I work for a really cool defense and security R&D company, where you have to be a USA citizen, and get security clearance, to have a job here.

Cool technical computing projects, cool people to work with, all in all a great ride.

Smart people any more don't work for multinational commodity software companies (even for those companies with a monopoly)."


Apart from the above how did you enjoy your time at MathWorks? So did you enjoy taking a class with Cleve?

Anonymous said...

I believe the ORCA card is for your commute only

There's a Get Out of Jail Free card in the wording on the site, I recall, i.e. that it's to be used "primarily" for commuting.

I read that as, "A personal trip every now and then is OK. Thanks for all you do! - KT"

Anonymous said...

It's a sad day for technologists everywhere. We lost the innovator of our time. Goodbye Mr Jobs, and thanks for changing our world...

Anonymous said...

"A hundred years from now, when people talk about Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, Gates is going to be remembered for his philanthropy, not technology," tech forecaster Paul Saffo said, "the same way people remember Andrew Carnegie for the money he gave to education, not the fortune he made in steel. But what they're going to say about Steve Jobs is that he led a revolution."

Anonymous said...

"And that would be the same "real world" that has allowed Steve Ballmer to remain at the helm as the vessel was taking on water, and even now as it is beginning to founder..."

Stunning visual. I almost saw seagulls. But not very creative. And of course a clumsy attempt at changing the topic.

Anonymous said...

MS meantime has spent massive amounts with frequently non-existent and generally disappointing results.

Speaking of which, when do MS expect to start getting a return on Skype?

Anonymous said...

"Ice Water in Hell

For our fifth All Things Digital Conference, both Steve and his longtime rival, the brilliant Bill Gates, surprisingly agreed to a joint appearance, their first extended onstage joint interview ever. But it almost got derailed.

Earlier in the day, before Gates arrived, I did a solo onstage interview with Jobs, and asked him what it was like to be a major Windows developer, since Apple's iTunes program was by then installed on hundreds of millions of Windows PCs.

He quipped: "It's like giving a glass of ice water to someone in Hell."

Read more: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203476804576613732041665792.html#ixzz1a11lu5Dt
"

How apt, straight from a visionary and a competitor.

Anonymous said...

Do anyone talk about this blog at work? Maybe ask their peers/leads/managers to read and understand what is happening around, and use this data for MS poll next time?

Really want to know what will be the reaction of leads/managers. when they read all comments.

Any managers here reading this blog? Taking any steps? OR just play blind at work after reading all facts.... anyone??

This blog has no credibility internally at Microsoft, and for good reasons - most of the commenters are former MS FTEs or from anti-Microsoft camp. At Microsoft your only job is to ensure 2 levels of management above you sponsor your current job status, and reading this blog (and worse talking or acting on it) would be the quickest way to commit a career limiting move.

Worse some commenters are skilled at politically motivated disinformation campaign, and they will post lies with some truth in them to further discredit this blog if some comment that appears genuine and from within MSFT show up.

For MSFT employees it's better to obtain information from former managers or mentors who are in the know than reading this blog - the information would be more current and the insights more helpful. True some disinformation from this blog occasionally seep inside MSFT as well but generally speaking a good MSFT employee would have forged a reliable and trustworthy internal network of colleagues, former bosses, mentors to filter out the disinformation.

Anonymous said...

Or, we move jobs to India and China; hire H1B on campus to move down the cost curve? Are we hiring people with sufficient talent or vision to turn things around? For crying out loud, even IBM is worth more than us now! Who's next? Walmart, Amazon?

All discussions of whether Indians/Chinese are smart/creative/educated/experienced enough are, at this time, irrelevant.

The people making all the major strategic decisions at Microsoft (and decisions about products and design) are still all red-blooded burger-munching white 'Merican men.

Any complaints about Indians at Microsoft are going to come across (correctly) as petty, racist, and xenophobic as long as Steve Ballmer is still CEO.

Anonymous said...

"It looks like the same here at the main campuses, everywhere you go, it's full of Indians."

The irony is that this whole area was full of "Indians" until us white folk arrived some couple of hundred years ago. For good or for bad modern America is built on immigration. If you don't like it then you should fk off back to whichever country your Grandpappy came from.

Anonymous said...

I was at MS for 11 years. After year 5, I stopped going to the meetings - it was killing my morale bit by bit, getting all hyped up then watching all of the promise slip away over the ensuing year, and seeing the stock do absolutely nothing. I started to wonder more and more what life was like "on the outside".

I left just before the new review system was announced. The active punishment of teamwork, dedication, and innovation just got to be too much for me. Watching really worthwhile projects and people get thrown out or dumbed down is so incredibly morale busting.

I'm on the outside now, and it's excellent. I'm getting around the same pay, better retirement fund values, and a couple benefits that MS just can't offer (like, full tuition for an excellent MBA program). My manager gives me postiive feedback on a regular basis, my review is simple to complete and understand, and I get to work *with* my team mates rather than against them. I also work around 40 - 45 hours per week these days - when I go home for the day, which totally ROCKS. Wish I'd left 5 years ago.

So, if you find yourself questioning the value of what you're doing and where you're doing it, pay attention to your thoughts. You just might have something better and more rewarding waiting for you.

Anonymous said...

"I got 3 and accepted an offer from another team. But the current team is asking me to stay 10 weeks more for transition. Does it make sense?

4 weeks MAX. Less if appropriate. You are only hurting yourself by staying longer. It's what you do in your new team that counts next yr."

I'd go further and say that if you stay 10 more weeks, that's nearly until end of year, which means your current manager has 50% input into your next year's review. And judging from the fact that he's clinging on like a leech, I'd wager that he'll also make you a scapegoat for all failures on his team, and nail you with his 50% input come next review.

So there's already a fair chance you'll end up with a 4 next year, since it'll take a few weeks to hit your stride on the new team. I hope I'm wrong. I'll look for your update on this blog next August.

If I were you, I'd consider lining up an outside offer, and tell them 4 weeks max, and if not, I'm quitting. Your new team will respect you that much more once they know you picked them over an outside offer.

Anonymous said...

"I know it is a small thing, but for the first time I voted against the entire Board of Directors, including Bill Gates, in anticipation of this year's Shareholder Meeting on November 15."

Same here.

Microsoft is going down if we don't change the current regime.

Anonymous said...

"Seriously -- talk to an attorney and ask exactly what Microsoft managers can get away with. They can tell you every day of the year that you're amazing and doing fantastic work, and then they can give you a 5. They can watch you make mistakes and tell you you're doing everything right, and then they can throw you under the bus to save their own bacon.

None of it is illegal unless they're discriminating against a protected class.

Welcome to corporate America."

Most of corporate America is NOT like Microsoft. Microsoft's managers are bad because of the "system" Ballmer and his cronies have put in place. Of course these managers are spineless weasels, but except for a small minority, they're not inherently crooked.

Anonymous said...

The company meeting is huge waste of company time, resources and money. As a long time employee and share holder I am offended that we still hold this charade. This year was no different, still a waste.

Anonymous said...

Stunning visual. I almost saw seagulls. But not very creative. And of course a clumsy attempt at changing the topic.

A seagull segue? (Do I get any credit for a clever wordplay?).

(I didn't actually envision birds myself, but now that you mention the visual aspect, I think I can see some fins in the water ... ;-)

Anonymous said...

If I were you, I'd consider lining up an outside offer, and tell them 4 weeks max, and if not, I'm quitting. Your new team will respect you that much more once they know you picked them over an outside offer.

Good idea.

Anonymous said...

Having worked at Microsoft for ten years, I left in 2007 for family reasons. In that period I attended every company meeting, and still enjoy technology as much as everyone else.

But that isn't all of life, and I knew from the beginning that there is a depth and a profundity to existence that wasn't being acknowledged by my colleagues.

I'd meet the powerful and wealthy at those company meetings and knew something that not one of them seemed to understand - the knowledge that none of it was serious, then or now.

Truly, since then I've learned much more about life, and this has only reinforced my understanding. Steve Jobs once said that we live for a brief instant, and are gone. Truly, life isn't about being fascinated by (or even creating) the perfect technology. To give up the idea of finding perfect comfort is paradoxically what is most peaceful.

Though I'm not a Buddhist, I can recommend to my once-fellow Redmondtonians what the Buddha said in his final address - strive diligently for real wisdom. Life isn't easy. In the end only real peace, real happiness, matters

Anonymous said...

I've hired dozens of dev/test/PM for jobs in the US and outside the US - and from schools/employers in the US and outside the US.

The reason we hire workers from outside the US is supply and demand. We have a high demand, and there's a limited domestic supply. The # of CS students at US universities continues to decline. The top-tier ones end up going to startups or i-banking, so we get to hire grads from UW or WSU. I'd rather hire a top grad from an IIT - with a hard-earned masters from a US grad school - than a mediocre programmer from a mediocre (not top tier) US school.

Anonymous said...

The company meeting is huge waste of company time, resources and money. As a long time employee and share holder I am offended that we still hold this charade. This year was no different, still a waste.

Didn't the company try downsizing it to Bellevue's Meydenbauer Center back around 2007? Employees complained and it was moved back to Safeco field. So you may be in the minority there.

Anonymous said...

Some thoughts on the anti - Indian work visa holders.
1. The assumption that a company like MS just goes to India like it goes to Top food and puts a bunch of dumb Indians (or whatever country) and bring them back on low wages is flat incorrect.
2. Many Indians working in the US come to US on a student visa. Many of them pay through their noses although many get RA, TA and other forms of financial aid. Most of these folks have completed their undergraduate studies in India and they complete their MS or PhD or MBA in the US.
3. If you insist, please take a survey in MS or any major technical US corporation and find out the ratio of employees having a graduate degree (MS or equivalent or higher) in all the ethnic / nationality groups.
4. So there is no surprise that Microsoft is hiring more Indians - simply they are as a ratio - better educated - due to the US education system.
5. Better yet, take a look at the universities in the US. Many professors (PhD) are not white or not Americans.

Now some personal experiences
1. A few years ago while I was working the US, I overheard this conversation between my manager (who was from Europe) and another manager (who was from LATAM) about a recent recruitment event
EU - So how many white folks?
LATAM - None
EU - chuckles
2. Many years ago while I was TAing while studying in the US, I met one of my students (white- extremely smart) walking on the campus. He was carrying a huge book on DSP. He showed me the book and said - "Man, look 300 dollars for this book. It is so expensive"
3. I have conducted many interviews for my employers in the US and I have rarely found any white American students even coming for the interview.
4. While I was a TA for a CS course, the split for the total TAs was -
India - 3
Mid-East - 1
Former Soviet bloc - 2
Africa - 1
White - 1
5. One of my first thoughts in the US - "Man, a bottle of beer costs less than a decent pen here"

So before making any ethnic group the scapegoat, please introspect about your own system in particular education system. Again, let me say this, I love US and I like the open-minded views of American folks, I have had very nice experience in this country and I am an American by way of life. This is truly the greatest country on this planet.

Now some thoughts on the many Indians that folks might be seeing on campus -
Are you sure if they are FTEs or contract workers on L-1? In the latter case, your worries might be justified. I have worked in US and India both and sometimes I wonder, whether US is actually benefitting from outsourcing given the quality of work.

And, yes, US education in particular the graduate education is awesome! It has certainly made me a better person. I am eternally grateful to this country for making me what I am.

Anonymous said...

"Speaking of which, when do MS expect to start getting a return on Skype?"

Search is your friend. Bing it.

Anonymous said...

"The company meeting is huge waste of company time, resources and money. As a long time employee and share holder I am offended that we still hold this charade. This year was no different, still a waste."

How about MGX?

Anonymous said...

"So, if you find yourself questioning the value of what you're doing and where you're doing it, pay attention to your thoughts. You just might have something better and more rewarding waiting for you."

I swear I've read a hundred variations of this over the years. Dude, if you have moved on then move on.

Anonymous said...

None of it is illegal unless they're discriminating against a protected class
Technically everybody is in a protected class since it includes gender, (even if some lack a gender, it includes national origin as well). You can also be temporarily in a protected class, by for example getting pregnant, taking FMLA or complaining about discrimination in the workplace (even if it is on behalf of somebody else). For a list of types of discrimination see http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/index.cfm.
If you look at what actually gets reported back to the EEOC, the report only includes gender and race. Age, disability, religion, etc. are not reported ( http://www.eeoc.gov/employers/reporting.cfm ).
An overly- subjective review system is a huge liability. Even if the basic EEO reports check out, if the review system results in distorted numbers of any protected classes minus H/R scrubbing, it is discriminatory. If H/R scrubbing is being done as has been reported in this blog, that is even worse, because it means that people are being re-ranked based mainly on their protected class status which is patent reverse discrimination.
Intersectional discrimination (http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/race-color.html#IVC) pointed out by an earlier poster (where individuals belong to multiple classes were targeted – often done to reduce labor costs – i.e. replace US white male with family over 40 who has good performance history, substantial unvested stock options and high family medical costs by a young single H1B) may also be found.
For more information about job discrimination, see http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/qanda.html

Anonymous said...

"Now some thoughts on the many Indians that folks might be seeing on campus -
Are you sure if they are FTEs or contract workers on L-1? In the latter case, your worries might be justified. I have worked in US and India both and sometimes I wonder, whether US is actually benefitting from outsourcing given the quality of work."

One of the consulting company is predicting that US employers are moving close to 3 millions jobs back home. Are we sure that we need to bring in L1 visa holders while our unemployment rate is over 9%? Do AAPL, Facebook or GOOG have as many L1 holder as us?

Anonymous said...

"I know it is a small thing, but for the first time I voted against the entire Board of Directors, including Bill Gates, in anticipation of this year's Shareholder Meeting on November 15."

Not small at all. If a decent number did likewise, they'd be gone. That's how the process works. Ballmer is still around only because the board is useless and shareholders have been apathetic.

But if you look at the joke of a proxy this year, you can see they're beginning to worry about serious opposition. The thing is chock-full of excuses and justifications intended to convince you that management is doing a great job and deserving of their large bonuses and pay increases.

What you're not meant to notice is that you again lost money, even after dividends. That the $400M WP7 launch failed in just about every way imaginable and the subsequent update fiasco killed off any momentum that was generated. That Online continued to stack dollars in a pyre and set them on fire. That Apple became larger in revenue, profit, and market cap. That IBM also surpassed MS's value several times this year, including recently (though it's below currently). That MS's position in mobile and tablets, the two areas the board specifically tasked Steve with improving last year when they "reprimanded" him, has actually gotten worse not better over the subsequent twelve months. And that "Post PC era" made its way into popular consciousness and, due to MS's failures, is now synonymous with the "Post MS era".

Anonymous said...

The reason we hire workers from outside the US is supply and demand. We have a high demand, and there's a limited domestic supply. The # of CS students at US universities continues to decline. The top-tier ones end up going to startups or i-banking, so we get to hire grads from UW or WSU. I'd rather hire a top grad from an IIT - with a hard-earned masters from a US grad school - than a mediocre programmer from a mediocre (not top tier) US school.

In the labor market the company is the buyer and the workers are the sellers. The company doesn't have enough quality job demand to pay big bucks to buy the top tier labor sellers, so they settle for cheaper imported labors. Yes it's supply and demand, but until the company starts to demand more innovations, cheap imports will do.

Anonymous said...

"He quipped: "It's like giving a glass of ice water to someone in Hell."

Yeah, lame. And judging from last week, Cook is following in his footsteps. I guess you could overlook this kind of behavior when Apple was the underdog. But now that they're the top dog it's seems pretty petty and immature. In fact, their disdain for all their competitors shows an arrogance that if they're not careful will be their undoing, as it was once before.

Anonymous said...

Jobs' father was from the middle east, but he was educated through the US system.

First of all, that was a generation ago, before the NEA had managed to do as much damage to our schools as we see today, and secondly, Steve's education didn't have a whole hell of a lot to do with schooling.

Anonymous said...

Kinda bummed that STeveB didn't talk about how great our new review system is and how nearly everyone got raises this year.

Anonymous said...

3. If you insist, please take a survey in MS or any major technical US corporation and find out the ratio of employees having a graduate degree (MS or equivalent or higher) in all the ethnic / nationality groups.

I track an open source project that is used with some frequency for PhD research. Basically, the research is being done by Europeans and Indians. (No Americans, not sure why not.) The research done by Europeans is usually pretty interesting and sophisticated. The "research" done by Indians is almost always such an embarrassment that words fail me--they have such little understanding of the project and the subject matter, they might as well be researching whether or not the code can fly if they throw their computers in the air.

So, nothing to say about how intrinsically smart or creative Indians are, but I would treat any Indian diploma with extreme suspicion.

Anonymous said...

"I got 3 and accepted an offer from another team. But the current team is asking me to stay 10 weeks more for transition. Does it make sense?"

Commonly, it is an incompetent team that cannot let someone go on a two week notice at most, particularly an employee who was ranked a 3. About the only extenuating circumstances are if the lead or manager is out on parental leave.

Anonymous said...

"Didn't the company try downsizing it to Bellevue's Meydenbauer Center back around 2007? Employees complained and it was moved back to Safeco field. So you may be in the minority there."

Yes, and the problem was that there were a lot of people who were excluded, and the invite list felt like it was unfairly distributed. The problem wasn't that people demanded a company meeting, it was that it was turned into an elitist and exclusionary event.

Just like everything else the company does -- Steve is a salesman and everything he does is about status and privilege. You see it in every aspect of how the company works, and it's why Microsoft can't develop a decent team culture.

We can and should kill the in-person company meeting in favor of divisional and regional meetings. Once a year Steve and the execs can do a broadcast to discuss the all-up things. Taking over a stadium to squeeze 20,000 people into an arena is very last century.

Anonymous said...

"Truly, since then I've learned much more about life, and this has only reinforced my understanding. Steve Jobs once said that we live for a brief instant, and are gone. Truly, life isn't about being fascinated by (or even creating) the perfect technology. To give up the idea of finding perfect comfort is paradoxically what is most peaceful."

Hey, here's a pro-tip about life: what it means or doesn't mean for you might not have any bearing on what it means or doesn't mean for someone else.

Best of luck in your own journey, but understand that your "wisdom" isn't universal.

Anonymous said...

This blog has no credibility internally at Microsoft

Yeah, the denial is very strong in Redmond's halls.

Anonymous said...

"Some thoughts on the anti - Indian work visa holders."

I have had some wonderful friends in America mid 20s folks who are not at all discriminatory when it comes to dealing with Indians. It's only the 40+ White America folks who show prejudice towards Indians

Anonymous said...

This is indeed the most depressing time in my 15 years with the company. The new review system is the clearest sign so far that Microsoft is now a company run by number crunchers rather than a company run for the benefit of its customers, shareholders and employees. On the contrary, Microsoft now seems to exist solely for the empowerment of its board and the SLT.

The new review system ruthlessly elminates about 20% of the company each year (eventually), and completely dehumanizes its employees into a frenzied competition to see who can "outrun the bear". With our livelihoods at stake, such an environment will only bring out the worst in every one of us. If you're not willing to do whatever it takes, playing games to subtly or not-so-subtly undermine your coworkers at every opportunity, the "bear" will soon be nipping at your heels.

Instead of focusing on creating great products that amaze our customers, we're now really focused on strategies to outwit, outplay and outlast everyone else in our level bands. It's no wonder that you often look around at product teams and wonder, why do they need X number of devs to produce that? I never wondered that in the Microsoft of the nineties. Comparable products are produced by our competitors with significantly fewer engineers. Of course it makes sense, most of us are creating busy work for ourselves and producing "features" and "tools" just in time for the review cycle, only to let them fade away once they've served their purpose.

Perhaps old companies like Microsoft must inevitably lose their focus and forget why they came into being in the first place. There has to be a better way. Or perhaps only younger companies out to prove themselves can provide an environment that Microsoft had in the nineties.

Here's a quote from a veteran ex-softie (and this was about Microsoft circa 2002):

"And I found that increasingly difficult to do within Microsoft, and I didn't appreciate that such a large percentage of my time was spent fighting political battles within the company as compared to developing great products."

http://www.techflash.com/seattle/2010/02/ex-microsoft_developer_mike_koss_on_why_hes_now_a_google_fanboy.html

Over the holidays I'm going to polish that resume and get a feel for what else is out there. It cannot possibly be worse than this.

Anonymous said...

That was the scariest company meeting I've been to that I can remember. "Windows cannot lose" rings with a desperation that tells me things will come crashing down pretty quickly once it becomes clear that Windows 8 is no savior.

That Windows 8 is no savior is becoming increasingly clear to me after BUILD. Windows 8 is really two OS'es side-by-side, the old desktop Windows and the brand new Metro OS. The people that would upgrade to the old desktop Windows simply don't exist in significant numbers, because Windows 7 is more than good enough. Why would any consumer or business want to upgrade from Windows 7 to desktop Windows 8? Remember Windows XP only just got overtaken after about 10 years. And very few users will want to use both desktop Windows and Metro on the same device.

So let's focus on the brand new Metro OS. Other than the fact that it has the "Windows" brand on it, what sets it apart from the iPad? Or from the Kindle Fire and other Android tablets that are going to flood the market over the next 1 - 2 years? Nothing really. We deperately need to convince a large number of 1) developers into thinking a large number of consumers will buy the Windows Metro OS, and 2) consumers into thinking the Metro OS somehow has anything to do with Windows (it doesn't) or that it's significantly superior to the iPad (it won't be).

Unlike desktop Windows, the brand new Metro OS has no "lock in", no legacy apps that only run on it. It will have to compete on merit, and judging from Microsoft's past success in competing on merit, the odds are not in our favor.

The brand new Metro OS is really Windows Phone 7 part deux. And we all know how well that's going.

All the talk of "once you use the touch UI you'll never want to go back" reeks of the same deperation, borne out of the need to blend the two OSes from the public's perspective.

Even *if* Windows 8 is a success in the tablet market, what does it buy us? We'll just be one of many competitors in a very crowded space, and unlike Apple that makes 99% of profit on the hardware (which we won't be selling), or Google that makes 99% of the profit on search queries, we'll only take home a tiny licensing fee. And everyone knows that Microsoft only makes a tiny portion of its revenue/profit from selling Windows to the consumer (as opposed to businesses).

So even if Windows 8 is a success, it won't move the stock price much. I fear that Microsoft will at *best* stay in the $25 - $30 range (or move with the market) until 2015. I hope I'm wrong, although I'm not going to plan on being so.

Anonymous said...

To better understand what is going on at the SLT level, try to think of things from SteveB's perspective. If you had 12 billion dollars, would you still be the same person? Have the same values, perspectives, motivations? I would argue no. Never have to worry about unemployment, healthcare, kids' college, retirement etc. So you'd need something else to motivate you. In steve's case that motivation is Microsoft, just like BillG with his foundation. Microsoft is Steve's raison d'ĂȘtre, which is why he will never resign. As money is not his motivation any longer, he really does not care about the stock price, shareholders or anything but feeding his addiction to power.

In the same way most of us cannot possibly perceive Steve's world view, he cannot understand employees' concerns or POV. So when Steve is sweatily shouting "I love this company!!!" I believe he means it in an entirely different way ... And he certainly does not mean that he loves the employees, that much is abundantly clear.

Anonymous said...

I think I'm going to have to archive this and repost it in the comment section of every Mini blog post that comes up.

So many people who post here don't seem to get it...

You are either in alignment with Microsoft as it is, or you are not. Depending on whether you are in alignment or not, you need to make a decision and/or take action.

If you are in alignment with Microsoft as it is (especially the Microsoft fanboi's who come on here to attack other posters), then your star is hitched to the Wagon of the Company. You have to make a decision about what you think about that. If you think the Company will be successful for a long time, and that the company HR system will never turn on you, then make a clear decision to ride with the company for a long time. Don't waste time posting here -- you aren't helping the Company when you post here (nobody who reads this cares what Microsoft fanboi's post). Just focus on riding the gravy train for as long as it goes on and does not turn on you.

If you aren't in alignment with the Company, then understand this well... Sooner or later, the Company will eject you for not being in alignment. You need to get out sooner, and find something new to do. The Company doesn't care what you post here, and the people here who are not in alignment with the Company already agree with you. Just get out and save your career while you can.

In EVERY company, not just Microsoft, you are either in alignment, or you aren't. If you are in alignment, shut up and get back to work. If you aren't in alignment, get out on your terms, not their terms.

(I never worked directly for Cleve).

Anonymous said...


Didn't the company try downsizing it to Bellevue's Meydenbauer Center back around 2007? Employees complained and it was moved back to Safeco field. So you may be in the minority there.


yes, back in 2007, there was hope. now there is none. I didn't even go to the company meeting this year, nor watch the web cast.

Anonymous said...

"So, if you find yourself questioning the value of what you're doing and where you're doing it, pay attention to your thoughts. You just might have something better and more rewarding waiting for you."

"I swear I've read a hundred variations of this over the years. Dude, if you have moved on then move on."

OK, I may be paranoid but I really began to think these people might be some cheap recruiters trying to stir people up heheh.

Anonymous said...

If you're over 40 or went on FMLA, AND got a mediocre or bad review, especially if there are bogus judgmental comments, and have a previous good review history, post a rebuttal to your review and file an EEOC action. Don't complain about your review if you aren't willing to do something about it.
A forced ranking system that is so subjective to generate the volume of negative comments not only here but on glassdoor.com based on something as nebulous as "how" is never going to stand up. Particularly when you factor in that "promotion velocity" is one of the factors in evaluating a person's rank. Anybody getting older is going to have slower promotional velocity, the numbers in the partner band are very small, so the system has the effect of ending most employee careers before they can reach retirement. It is no secret that Microsoft has strong diversity initiatives to increase/promote the number of females, attract youth, and outsource to cheaper labor markets. The Jack Welch GE philosophy still dominates that mandates to try to turn over 10% of the workforce every year (they call that "good attrition". Overall headcount is not exactly increasing, so the best way for the company to become more diversified is to get rid of the less-diversified - i.e. old white males don't get a lot of sympathy.
Unless you started in a low level and were already pretty old, there is only about 1 in 20 chance you will survive long enough to retire.
As far as FMLA goes, if you are in Services, then you also have a case, because every weekly CP report that upper management looked at saw your name on the bottom even after you got back from LOA. CP reporting did not factor our any leave of absence, even if you managed to get it fixed for the UBI bonus. Check it out. A friend of mine who went LOA shows 60% when he should have been over 80% - that report went up the chain every week so you can be sure you got plenty of the wrong kind of visibility to the GMs who ultimately decided your fate since very few managers put any of their people up as 5's.
Complaining on this board means nothing. Unless you actually got a PIP, filing a rebuttal protects you more than doing nothing, especially if you got a 5 since you're pretty much toast anyways.
The statute of limitations is running out and so is your time at Microsoft, so stand up for yourself. And until you have another offer, don't quit - better to be fired; they are not allowed to give you a bad reference, just verify employment. Unemployment is better than nothing.
If you're waiting around for a class action lawsuit to happen, it probably won't until there are enough poeple filing real complaints.

Anonymous said...

I was fired after 19 years. The "slide" started when I got a new manager who was a diversity hire from another country. He could barely speak English. In discussion I told him I was a former Army officer, he said that the soldiers in his country are considered criminals and can't be trusted. Then I got ill and told my boss about it. After that it was 2 10%'s and an Underperformed. But I was told all throughout the year how I was achieved and doing a good job. All documented in email and midyear. Then I was blindsided with the underperformed. I was booted 3 months later. The EEOC and the Veterans Administration (huge MS customer) didn't want to hear about it. Although both agencies did tell me claims were up amongst veterans as companies are reluctant to pay insurance because of what may have happened while in service to their country. To add to the insanity, I had both IC's and managers call me and ask for opinions on review content and people rating. I helped the IC's as much as I could. I told the managers to do their own work for once. Moral of the story: Someone high enough up the chain wants you gone, there ain't nothing you can do about it. De Opresso Liber

Anonymous said...

From this blog I saw a lot of complaint about bad managers, however didn't hear a lot about the relationships among co-workers. Under this review system everyone is everyone else's enemy, nobody trust anybody. If you helps a guy on lower level than you are, you need to make sure on your review write "mentoring"; if you are lower level and helped (even in domain knowledge) a guy with higher level, you want to make sure that your manager uses that to fight for your promotion (God knows that poor guy being helped is in trouble). in such a environment there's basically no cooperation.

Anonymous said...

Q: What is Microsoft doing to prevent discrimination in employment:
“Microsoft does not tolerate discrimination in any of its employment practices. We take any allegations of discrimination very seriously, and immediately investigate any concern that is raised. Microsoft has a zero-tolerance policy toward discrimination in the workplace and the company’s proactive outreach and investment efforts in attracting women and minorities to high-tech careers have been vigorous, sustained and successful”
Hello? Ever hear of reverse discrimination?
Here are a few more tidbits and quotes from the archives:
“…ensure women and minority employees have development plans and individual mentors, and they participate in mentoring rings. … communicate about diversity and inclusion efforts, provide networking events that expose women and minorities to key people in the company, and ensure that key leaders in similar groups are sharing best practices from their own experiences in career success and development.”… executive accountability where corporate VPs are adopting Diversity specific objectives and promoting the adoption of these commitments by all managers and employees within their organizations. … A People Review process that focuses specifically on reviewing and advancing top female and minority talent through specific development plans” Don’t know if it was implemented, but there was a proposition for a “diversity ranking” in the HR database to help with calibration.

“MSIT has had great success at driving down infrastructure costs in recent years... The new FTEs will be primarily offshore resources. Overall, we expect to reduce vendor spending by 36% in FY08”

I'm not against hiring more women, minorities, or college graduates, and even outsourcing some labor. A lot of people wondering why they seem to be getting more negative reviews, so just offering up the explanation that if you’re not part of the diversity or out-sourcing initiative, you may be at a bit of a disadvantage. How many of you have VPs accountable to ensure that you will become a “successor”?
We’re not exactly growing headcount - Diversity initiatives necessarily need to reduce “non-diverse” headcounts (force more "good" attrtion), so that sort of leaves reverse discrimination as a possibility. If the hiring is objective and the review system is objective, then everybody should be on the same footing, so why the post-hire “success” plans? (unless the assumption is that a large percent of the workfoce are biggots, suppose you could infer this from the blog, but I've not seen any prejudice myself (other than from a manager I ticked off)

Anonymous said...

The company meeting should go the way of the company holiday party and the company picnic. The company meeting is a complete waste of time. We used to show cool stuff at the company meetings. Our execs did cool videos. We got beer and food afterwards. Now we see things that have already been talked about publicly. Ballmer has a stand in to do "monkey boy". It's a lame excuse to get a day off. Which is what I did instead of attending.

Old Fart said...

Trying to figure out whether our new review system is a product of incompetence or ill will. Our old system did a good job of making folks feel good about their performance. You typically got a meets or exceeded, 20% of the company was lavishly rewarded, the 70% in the broad middle felt like they did good, and only 10% truly were screwed.

The new system makes the top 40% happy. But 75% of the 3's are in the bottom half of the company along with the 4s and 5s. Now 60% of the company (3s, 4s, and 5s) feels like losers at review time.

If you get a 3 you don't care that you hit 100% of bonus. Instead you worry about being in the bottom half and being at risk for falling to a 4 or 5. It's truly demotivating.

My take is that either management is incompetent and didn't recognize it would demoralize 60% of the company, or, that management is trying to get people to quit (most likely employees who have been with the company for several years and who are more expensive than young people).

My gut reaction is that its the latter. I've got a family. I suspect my medical costs are higher than a young single person. I've got a full five years of stock grants that come due each year. I've been promoted several times. In short, I'm expensive.

Thus, I'm looking to get out after more than 10 years at the company. I want to leave on my own terms. The longer you stay the longer its likely that you get taken out by a review system that is designed to perpetrate discrimination while skirting the law.

Anonymous said...

In fact, their disdain for all their competitors shows an arrogance that if they're not careful will be their undoing, as it was once before.

Yeah, arrogance is a terrible thing, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

A word of advice to ICs that got a 4: there is still hope, but you need to focus on making your manager look good and play the game. I couldn't and wouldn't play the game as a matter of principle and it got me nowhere despite some noteworthy accomplishments.
Either play the game or move on. If you've got skills high in demand, use your network to get some contract work even if being tethered to the Microsoft platform makes it hard to get a job for a Google or an Apple. If your skills aren’t current, build them up again. 9% unemployment or 19% unemployment, there will be high demand for experienced developers and DBAs as well as SharePoint and most of the other Server products.
Don't stay in a dead-end situation that takes away your health and your spirit. God didn't create you to come to a job you hate to bring home a paycheck; everybody has something valuable to contribute to this world. As somebody else said, you're not a 5, or a 4 or any other number, you’re a person who in God’s eyes is as important to the world as some partner earning 600K. On the other hand, never forget God doesn’t see you as any better as that homeless guy on the street or the guy flipping burgers. Sorry to preach, but that was my second calling and having experienced God’s grace and receiving an assurance of forgiveness of sins by accepting his supreme sacrifice of love, his only Son, I can say with assurance that He loves everybody and unlike a corporation sees everybody as equally valuable, no matter how illogical that seems with our messed up world. He just wants you to trust him and to have a true relationship with him, maybe getting down and out to be posting on this blog is his way of drawing you into something much richer than anything in this life has to offer.
This may not make it past the cutting room floor and the last thing I wanted to do is start a religious debate, but I’ve posted a couple of times before not exactly optimistically and been struggling with overwhelming depression and bitterness so this is my way of closure and moving on.
The bottom line is that any MS employee who is reading this has the creativity and capability to succeed on your own. You just need to work out a business plan and follow through on it. Somebody out there needs either a product or a service that only you can uniquely provide. You may need to dip into your home equity (good luck with that one) or borrow from retirement or simplify your life for a while, but you will make it. You had a life before Microsoft and you can have one again, and God is really on your side to help you, if you let him.

Anonymous said...


I have had some wonderful friends in America mid 20s folks who are not at all discriminatory when it comes to dealing with Indians. It's only the 40+ White America folks who show prejudice towards Indians


In other words, the people who don't have any cautious attitudes about Indians are in all likelihood people who have not been around long enough to have had one for a manager...

Anonymous said...

@This blog has no credibility internally at Microsoft.

what are you doing here then?

Anonymous said...

"Moral of the story: Someone high enough up the chain wants you gone, there ain't nothing you can do about it. De Opresso Liber"

Since 4 and 5 can't move and they are "approved" by the chain, pretty much Microsoft is saying to the 4's and 5's, we don't want you. Even 3's will have little interest from other groups. The bias is to bring in new blood, unless you are a true high performer (in the eyes of the management chain) or a good ass-kisser.

Bracketing my shares with $30 CALL's and $21 PUT's, until they are called at $30, I'm just going to collect the dividend.

Anonymous said...

It's only the 40+ White America folks who show prejudice towards Indians

Racist much?

Anonymous said...

"Moral of the story: Someone high enough up the chain wants you gone, there ain't nothing you can do about it."

Were you in HDX?

Anonymous said...

I always held the MS presence in MA in my hip pocket as one of several possibilities if I grew tired of what I am doing.

Actually the admin positions are staying in MA so you should be ok...

Anonymous said...

No one answered this question during review season: Are partners (L68 level, not VPs) rated 1-5 like everyone else? If so, are 20% of the L68 band a Level 4 or 5?

Any partners out there willing to answer this?

Anonymous said...

Point of correction: there are many companies that have multiple billion dollar products. For example, Kraft Foods also has 11 B+ products. http://www.kraftfoodscompany.com/assets/pdf/kraft_foods_fact_sheet.pdf

Anonymous said...

Interesting article about Google, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft

http://siliconfilter.com/google-engineer-google-is-a-prime-example-of-our-complete-failure-to-understand-platforms/

The link to the full text is at the end of that article

Anonymous said...

Google Up 6%: Q3 Blows Away Estimates

Looks like Google is next to pass MS on market cap.

We love our strategy
- Steve Ballmer

Uh huh.

Anonymous said...

# we are hiring all these H1B or foreign trained employees or contractors who are willing to work for less.

Just FYI, I'm an H1-B, foreign-educated, and a relatively recent hire. At L62 (dev), I get $120k in base pay. I don't know who those mysterious H1-B slaves who are working for minuscule wages are, but it ain't me, and it ain't any other H1-B that I know in MSFT.

Anonymous said...

Anyone we know resemble this?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-burnett/who-killed-the-economy-ac_b_1010626.html

Anonymous said...

This is a blog which do not have any responsibility on comments moderation hence encouraging rasist, escapism & timid stupid who could only blame thier TV or India/China for getting low marks in mathematics..I am reporting as an abusive blog..

All the rasist heads who cant think about anything else other than blaming...go work hard !

Anonymous said...

In 2013 MSFT will not provide insurance for employees, only "savings accounts". For the HR and accounting weasles (this includes Lisa) to claim Obama care played a role in this is total BS.

The "Cadillac" tax does not kick in until the company provides $23,000 in health care coverage. MSFT is only paying $14,122 for my spouse and I.

Insurance was the ONLY bastion of benefits left at MSFT and now it is gone.

What's left, buy your own desk and computer in 2014?

Anonymous said...

Google shot up 5.8 percent to $591.68 after its quarterly income jumped 26 percent. Apple rose 3.3 percent to $422 as its new iPhone went on sale. Record-setting iPhone sales have helped Apple thrive this year even as the economy slowed.

The two tech leaders helped the Nasdaq gain 7.6 percent this week. That's the best week since July 2009. The Nasdaq rose 47.61 points Friday, or 1.8 percent, to 2,667.85.


http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/10/14/BU271LHU9A.DTL

Note that the article says nothing about MSFT.

Anonymous said...

Gurdeep was fired from running Lync, how did he end up taking over Bing R&D?

Anonymous said...

Recently left MS for another job and in my HR exit meeting they wanted me to sign a "Separation Certificate" saying basically that I returned everything that belongs to MS, that I would continue to comply with agreements I’d already signed such as the NDA and non-compete when I was first hired, and that I couldn’t provide employee names to others to try to induce them to leave MS (which is the non-solicitation clause I already signed). It seemed to me to be a superfluous document and I asked what happens if I didn’t sign it. The HR person said it might look bad on my part but didn’t say any specific things would happen. I refused to sign it and was told I could take it home and mail it in instead. I don’t see any benefit to me in signing this. Is there any reason I should sign it?

Anonymous said...

I am surprised, the way we have provided mango updates to customers.

Anonymous said...

..a frenzied competition to see who can "outrun the bear".

"Put on the meat ponchos"

Anonymous said...

Hi Mini, I have no idea if you already know about this or not, but check out this article on MS' Q1 profit statement, particularly the second to last paragraph that I'm quoting below.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/world/online-boosts-microsoft-q1-profit/story-e6frg90o-1226172507873

"The Wall Street Journal reported private-equity firm Silver Lake Partners is working with one of its investors, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, and Microsoft to put together a proposal to buy Yahoo, people familiar with the matter said. Under the proposal being discussed, Microsoft would put up several billion dollars of funding, with additional financing being arranged by banks, the people said."

Are they really trying this thing on again?

Anonymous said...

The "Cadillac" tax does not kick in until the company provides $23,000 in health care coverage. MSFT is only paying $14,122 for my spouse and I.

The amount exceeds $23,000 when you add children to the plan.

Anonymous said...

"Young Up Microsoft"

You haven't heard that Microsoft is targeting anyone over 50? They give them an assignment with unachievable expectations and getting rid of them for poor performance when they can't possibly deliver.

There should be a lawsuit over it.

Anonymous said...

Recently left MS for another job and in my HR exit meeting they wanted me to sign a "Separation Certificate" saying basically that I returned everything that belongs to MS, that I would continue to comply with agreements I’d already signed such as the NDA and non-compete when I was first hired...

I'm not an attorney but know enough contract law that for any agreement to be enforceable, there must be consideration. Consideration means that the party being requested to do something receives something of value in return. It may not be par value for what the party is asked to do, but there has to be something.

Unless they are offering you something in return, the agreement is completely unenforceable and a waste of time. It is hard for me to believe that they would ask you to sign away any rights without something in return like a severance package.

Consult your lawyer, but in my view the agreement is meaningless. If there really is nothing of value being promised to you, that is a shock. I find it hard to believe that a company with such vast legal resources would bother with pressuring a departing employee to sign a nonsencial agreement which just iterates what you already agreed to before and then tries to add to it, even though there is no basis for any court to recognize such an agreement.

Anonymous said...

It seemed to me to be a superfluous document and I asked what happens if I didn’t sign it. The HR person said it might look bad on my part but didn’t say any specific things would happen

Look bad on your part? Look bad to whom? Future employers? That sounds like a threat, which is one of the most legally stupid things an employer can do.

Anonymous said...

Looks like CTS is the place not to be unless you are in the top 50%. People are dropping faster than Paris Hilton's panties at a Limp Biscuit concert. I have heard from several this week, some with over 20 years that got the old heave ho! If you are in CTS you best be planning your next career move or getting colligen injections so your bigger lips can cover more asses at once.

Office Chairs said...

As a Windows Phone7 User i think MS has shown it can surpass IOS and Android if it will . Windows8 brings fresh Wind into the Pad Market and Windows7 is a proven Success .

Office Chairs

Anonymous said...

Google shot up 5.8 percent to $591.68 after its quarterly income jumped 26 percent. Apple rose 3.3 percent to $422 as its new iPhone went on sale. Record-setting iPhone sales have helped Apple thrive this year even as the economy slowed.

The two tech leaders helped the Nasdaq gain 7.6 percent this week. That's the best week since July 2009. The Nasdaq rose 47.61 points Friday, or 1.8 percent, to 2,667.85.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/10/14/BU271LHU9A.DTL

Note that the article says nothing about MSFT.


"The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about." (Oscar Wilde)

«Oldest ‹Older   201 – 400 of 400   Newer› Newest»