Friday, August 23, 2013

Steve Ballmer is Going to Frickin' Retire From Microsoft!

OH
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to retire within 12 months
MY
Moving forward
GOODNESS
Microsoft's next CEO Who's on the short list ZDNet
+1.

Liked.

Favorited.

Ka-ching!

A well prepared blogger, even a crusty spider-web covered 99.9%-retired one like me, would have at least had a post ready to go for this glorious circumstance, like how most news organizations have obituaries written up and ready to publish. I had no such optimism that this would be happening before 2017.

To me, this throws the whole in-process re-org upside down. Why re-org under the design of the exiting leader? Even if the Senior Leadership Team goes forward saying that they support the re-org, it's undermined by everyone who is a part of it now questioning whether the new leader will undo and recraft the decisions being made now. I'd much rather Microsoft be organized under the vision of the new leader and their vision.

As for that new leader? Let the guessing game begin. How about first crafting the list of skills. Microsoft is huge and complex and Ballmer does has to be respected for running something as crazy as Microsoft to the point where it always seemed like no one could possibly replace him.

The first skill I'm putting down on my CEO job requisition is: "Has architected and implemented software features at the Principal level." Yeah, I want someone who has written complex software to run a big huge software (and devices) company. Crazy.

What are your thoughts?

This is going to be in interesting 2013 Company Meeting. As for Ballmer's habit of coming out to an inspirational song, may I suggest Dancing in the Street. Because that's what my heart is playing right now. And of course, we need an exit song, too. Something, that perhaps begins with:

"Na-na-na-na, Na-na-na-na, Hey-Hey-Hey. -"


617 comments:

1 – 200 of 617   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

will they hire from within or bring in new blood?

Anonymous said...

There will be dancing in the hallways.

Let's hope they bring in somebody that actually understands computers and consumers. Too much of our stuff is aimed for enterprise and consumers have been the afterthought.

Hopefully they will bring in from the outside. The only VP I am aware of that has a clue is Dave Thompson.

Anonymous said...

Last thing MS needs is another engineer at the top.

Scobleizer said...

Wow.

1. Consider splitting Microsoft up. It has something like a dozen billion-dollar businesses. That's too much for one person to focus on. At least split it up into enterprise and consumer. Enterprise needs a far different leader than consumer does.

2. Get someone who loves the future. A CEO shouldn't just need to be a builder (like you said, someone who architects, runs software teams, etc) but also needs to stand up in front of the world and get everyone to believe. Ballmer NEVER did that for me. ScottGu? Yeah. David Sacks? Yeah. But needs to be someone who understands contextual systems (mobile, local, social, sensors, wearables). At least for the consumer side of the fence.

3. Integrate Microsoft R&D far deeper into the company. If I ran Microsoft I'd really rethink Microsoft's R&D. It still is too slow for the cool stuff to get out of R&D and into products. Needs to be faster. It might piss off a lot of people who think that Microsoft R&D is just like college where you get paid to write papers, etc. That attitude needs to go, but needs to go under someone who LOVES the future.

Unfortunately Microsoft's mobile program is in shambles with around 4% market share. I don't see what Microsoft can do about that at the moment. This CEO search will take months, and in those months Microsoft will continue falling behind and now employees are distracted by wondering who their new boss will be.

Anonymous said...

"Last thing MS needs is another engineer at the top."

It hasn't had one of those for a very long time. Ever since, well, the company started it's long slide. Maybe that's exactly what it does need.

Anonymous said...

too little too late

Alfred Thompson said...

Ballmer is not an engineer - he's a salesman and a numbers guy. Great at getting the sales people motivated. Unfortunately pretty good at demotivating engineers. Microsoft needs an idea person. Someone who can inspire and will reward creativity. Someone who will take a chance on small but interesting ideas even if it is not obvious that they will be billion dollar business is short order.

Anonymous said...

About time, I've been hoping this for years.

Anonymous said...

Hire Eric Schmidt.

Anonymous said...

Don't dance just yet!! ....there are a few VPs in the company you DO NOT want as CEO.

Anonymous said...

WOW!

OK, my guesses if the search committee goes with an insider: Tony Bates or Satya. HA! Nobody else will agree.

Hopefully not KT. Never. never. Never. please God: NO.

Whomever gets selected will have a monumental task just managing the transition and will probably last 3years or less. To me, the really interesting change will be which of the passed-overs will exit. My bet is that least three will leave within six months of the new CEO being named. Brummel won't last beyond early days of the new CEO getting onboarded (she's checked out anyways, so buh-bye). The other FOS's: good riddance, I hope.

If enough of the top people leave there actually may be an opportunity for the culture to change. Exciting opportunity.

And, it needs to be said, SteveB is going to be missed and deserves to enjoy the next chapter of his life. He was a good (not great) CEO and say whatever else you may about him, I don't think anyone ever doubted that he truly had the best interests of the company (rather than aggrandizing himself) at heart. He loved and cared about this company. So, thanks and good bye.

But, pull up a chair and pass the popcorn....the next 24 months will be a rollercoaster.

Anonymous said...

"It hasn't had one of those for a very long time. Ever since, well, the company started it's long slide."

It hasn't had an engineer at the top since Paul Allen got hodgkin's lymphoma in the 80's.

Anonymous One said...

Sorry, Mini, NO coders. Was Jobs a coder?

Besides a competent business person with a strong tech background, Microsoft needs someone who can inspire internally and externally. It needs someone with which the ordinary person would like to have a drink!

The press was allowed to caricature Ballmer into someone unlikeable. That was a big part of the problem.

Anonymous said...

Interesting to note that the last mini post was SteveS departure with sadness and surprise and now with glee on SteveB departure...

vanderleun said...

Enough speculation.

First wipe thoroughly .

Then, flush and flush again.

Bleach in the bowl.

Flush again.

Now speculate....

Anonymous said...

Ballmer going does not solve much for MSFT. The clay pigeons in the SLT who got these cushy new roles (Reller, Larson-Green, KT, Myerson, etc.) - all those blithering fools need to go as well. The bench is riddled with people who are SB YES MEN & WOMEN - so the problem is far more deep rooted. I hope the new CEO gets rids of a few of these folks as well....

Anonymous said...

From a Wall Street person - we are loving this....MSFT employees SELL SELL SELL your stock. This is a good bounce. At a minimum sell covered calls at the $37 mark....

Anonymous said...

Scoble's advice is worthless. Sorry, but everyone knows it and it's sad to see him commenting here as if people want to find out what HE thinks about all this.

Anonymous said...

I would say hire Eric Schmidt. He is the only guy I can think of capable of steering this big boat. I am about to leave the company. If Eric is the CEO I may stay.

Anonymous said...

I think a Microsoft insider (or former insider) would get more respect internally than someone from outside. Whoever takes that role needs a strategic vision that can encompass the entire company.

The new CEO doesn't need to be an engineer, he or she needs to understand engineers and be able to motivate and manage them, but doesn't need to be one. Some of the skills, single minded focus and attention to detail, that make for great engineers can be bad for a CEO of a huge company. The CEO has to maintain the big picture and vision, not get bogged down in details.

Anonymous said...

L60, got 3 n promoted to 61

Anonymous said...

Stack-ranking works. Finally.

Anonymous said...

Steve, good luck--seriously. Go get a basketball team--you'll do an awesome job.

And on your way out, take that grossly incompetent bully LisaB with you.

Anonymous said...

ballmer got 5 in the review, I guess

Anonymous said...

My speculation is that the re-org was done with the new CEO. I think the board already knows who it is and that person helped design the new organization.

Any other scenario makes everyone, except Ballmer, look stupid.

Anonymous said...

In the words of the infamous Jim Cramer on CNBC this AM...."the market is saying thank you!" :-)....nuff said!!!!

Anonymous said...

From within the company I would vote for Qi Lu. He has a strong engineering background (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qi_Lu), and is a great leader.

Anonymous said...

I suspect he didn't want to face a hostile crowd at the Company Meeting; now, he'll get a standing ovation. It will be interesting to see who "auditions"!

Anonymous said...

When Lisa Brummel leaves, can someone make sure Kevin Turner goes with her?

Anonymous said...

LB+KT: +1!

AmyGeek said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Terry Myerson, PLEASE!

Anonymous said...

What do you think about bringing Ray back? http://ozzie.net/docs/the-internet-services-disruption/ (from 2005)

Anonymous said...

Mini, glad to see you are back. I would have thought you were done when you didn't comment on the re-org last month. I also thought that maybe you are Mr. Sinofsky seeing the gag order he was under and your self imposed 'gag' happened at the same time. Welcome back. Now, we need a "mini-MS for CEO" campaign!

Anonymous said...

Yay! I'm sure the cheering can be heard miles away from the campus(es)!

Anonymous said...

I think that Ballmer is doing this just to smoke Mini out.

Anonymous said...

I'm probably what a lot of people would call an old-timer at the company. 18 years this fall. I have certainly had my moments when I wished Steveb made different decisions than he did but I have to chuckle a little bit when I see people cheering this news. Could someone else have done a better job running Microsoft over the last 10 years? Maybe, but I don't know who that would have been. Microsoft missed the boat when it comes to mobile and that's a huge bummer but the company is chugging along and still in a good position to do great things for a very long time. Microsoft could end up like IBM...largely irrelevant...but has a good opportunity to do what no other tech company has ever done - succeed in business and consumer software/services. That's a hard thing to do. I almost wish we could put some of the loudmouth bloggers in charge of the company for a while to see how they do running such a complex enterprise.

My thanks to Steve for everything he has done for Microsoft. He and the others who built the company made it possible for me to have amazing opportunities to learn and grow as a person. He/others also helped me buy a beautiful house, save money for retirement, put my kids through college...the list goes on. Thanks Steve!

Anonymous said...

Qi Lu? Hell no. Dude has the most poorly run and backwards organizations I have ever seen. Bing has spit out a good product, but the amount of waste, incompetence and horrific management in his org would spell doom. He isn't a visionary either.

The only visionary internal candidate worth a look is Satya. He understands the people, business and technical. More important the man has sound vision.

However, I think its just as likely to be Elop, J Allard, Sinovsky, or another departing Fortune 100 CEO as the replacement.

What pisses me off the most is that his announcement comes less than three weeks before everyone's year end awards.

If he had waited until after the Sept 1 deadline, all of us employees would have gotten a significantly higher stock award value bump.

So good riddance Ballmer.

Anonymous said...

"He/others also helped me buy a beautiful house, save money for retirement, put my kids through college...the list goes on."

You have it backwards. You and others helped HIM make billions through your hard work at Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

Here's the real goodbye (a la Mason) Steve Ballmer should have written: http://pastebin.com/iBurVwSM

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget that Bill's been on his own 'learning journey' these past 13 years: visiting communities around the world, battling systemic global issues, and developing a broader-than-tech perspective. Maybe he's decided to return to MS with a different leadership approach than the one he left behind?

Anonymous said...

Terry Meyerson? Really? Terry, please stop posting for yourself. Biggest douche ever.

Anonymous said...

About time the incompetent tosser finally got the hint. Let's hope that his evil minion LisaB decides to go with him.

Anonymous said...

Look at phone before and after Terry. If someone can save Microsoft it's him.

Anonymous said...

Yea Tery wasted pivot and came up with Metro with his band of merry men. Looks cool but how is it working out for the PC, Tablet and Phone businesses?

Anonymous said...

Gabe Logan Newell =D

Anonymous said...

Li Br is equally responsible for the disaster. When will she leave?

Anonymous said...

Ballmer leaving is good, but I'm not sure why people are so unhappy with him. The shareholders are to blame for not mopping up this mess long ago. Bill and Steve only own about 10% of the company, so why didn't the other 90% of the owners toss out the board and pick a new CEO? Just because Ballmer is gone doesn't mean that things are going to get better. Sadly, until the board is replaced you should expect more of the same. This board clearly doesn't understand technology nor does it have the guts to make hard decisions like firing a failing CEO.

Hoping for an Artist said...

He is a technocrat.

It's not about whether to put an engineer or a business person on top. It's not about their background. Instead it's everything to do with what the new CIO is as a person.

Someone mentioned an idea person is needed. That's exactly right. An idea person is an artist, who can have either engineering or business background. Or, none of those specifically.

Steve Jobs is an Artist. Current Apple CEO is either a Craftsman or a Technocrat.

Microsoft will be doomed if they pick another technocrat to lead the company, and as a result, all of the leadership team and anyone who can play the game to be considered "brilliant". They are not brilliant. They are just BORING. Stubborn.

Anonymous said...

@Scobleizer

STFU - first order of business, kicking your sorry ass out of any discussion. You have not had an original thought since you stopped wearing diapers.

Anonymous said...

We all now know who Mini is.

Thanks other-steve for keeping this blog.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see you posting. Left MS a few years back and this is one of the few sites that help me see what's going on now.

Ballmer was great for the Enterprise business, poor for the Consumer business. Please don't bring up xbox as I'm looking at the last 10 years, not the last 2.

To his credit, I have yet to see any company be BOTH a great enterprise and a great consumer company.

Anonymous said...

I would fire most of the middle to upper managers, that's like 30% of the company?

john kountz said...

I joined Microsoft after SteveB took over. As far as making money, SteveB started with stock @ $60. All of my grants expired under-water.

Hang the fool.

He will go-down in history as the CEO who destroyed more Equity value than any other CEO in history. Enron destroyed 16B, SteveB destroyed on-the-order of 11 Enron's.

I quit (Sr. Lead Software Engineer) in disgust in 2006 when it became apparent this fool was driving the ship aground.

Anonymous said...

They should have done this 5 years ago. Just as they should have done with the Zune, Windows Phone and everything else.

Anonymous said...

Now we'll find out how deep the infection runs.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Mini for coming back. I always speculated you were Sinofsky given the lack of posts starting at that time... it's good for the Microsofties to have a place to vent.

Ballmer is a bully who overstayed his welcome. Terrible decisions, terrible over-confidence, and terrible morale. Like many, leaving was the best decision I ever made (but no one I worked with would know I was unhappy). The company, after all of its re-orgs, is no longer in a place to stay ahead. It just will continue on for the next 10 years until it starts outsourcing during its decline.

The only people who are left are people who can't get jobs elsewhere -- either because they are terrified of loosing their immigration visas, have mortgages to pay, or are morons. Everyone else has left. This is not the recipe of making products and services people want.

Hoping for an Artist said...

Eric Schmitt couldn't run Novell. As he left Novell, he's cited with his experience there as "old boys club".

The only reason that he succeeded at Google is that he helped grew it from the beginning when it's small. Now google is like a junior microsoft.

MS is a billion time larger an 'old boys club' than Novell.

Anonymous said...

Let's all be careful what we're celebrating ... there's a lot of change gonna be coming and we might just get what we're wishing for!!!

The new CEO needs to go all Glengarry Glen Ross on the SLT.

Then (she/he/they) need(s) to start spinning off businesses.

Though I'll most likely end up on the killing floor ... the big RIF coming needs to be just that ... BIG!!!

And I'm tired of seeing us practice "Slow Fail"; the market already has us handicapped with every new product so we might as well use that to our advantage and get stuff out the door faster and 'rougher' than we are accustomed to. In the words of Patton, a good plan today ... etc., etc., etc.

My welcoming words of encouragement to the new CEO: Have fun stormin' the castle, be sure to buckle up and wear a helmet ... the ride's gonna be bumpy! ;-}

Anonymous said...

First things the new CEO needs to do:
1. Simplify the review system, and remove the forced curve at the top and bottom
2. Incentivize teams more than individuals
3. Use the silo model only where it makes sense
4. Increase cooperation (and not competition) between teams and individuals
5. Stop blindly copying GE, Apple, Google, etc., and instead focus on creating the "blue oceans" before anyone else

Anonymous said...

Ballmer did great, and he is leaving at the right time. The one that left at the wrong time was Gates. He not only left at the wrong time, but left in the wrong way, leaving to Ballmer to deal with the mess that he created.

Ballmer himself couldn't never get rid of a lot of other friends that Gates left inside the company, and friends of those friends, all at the partner left nowadays. Only a new CEO will infuse enough fear in those 1,000+ partners for them to chose to work, or leave. By the way Lisa: please leave voluntarily, before employees have to march into your office and repeat the French revolution.

Also: let's stop the BS that Microsoft has no talent left. Not only the company has great talent at all levels, but it is nowadays getting college graduates that prefer MS over Google or Facebook. Google has a median tenure of 2 years for engineers. People show up, see the inside and leave. And just talk with a friend working for Amazon and some other companies across the bridge. Working for those sweatshops is no fun, and most people only leave ahead or after bad reviews.

If the partner level club is broken, then this company can move forward successfully. Only a external CEO can do that!

Anonymous said...

Yawn. This won't make any difference. And nobody cares. The rest of the world has moved on.

Anonymous said...

If the new CEO covered these 5 points, I'd probably come back! :)

Anonymous said...

Ballmer was part the problem, but unless the Program Manager led culture changes the new CEO won't have much effect.

Anonymous said...

Mini is spot-on: MSFT needs a competent engineer (architecting and executing a feature of a major product is light years above coding) who also led a business. I'd like to see SteveSi back, but that seems unlikely, Tony or Satya are good candidates, but they lack the leadership charisma...

This whole story is really good news for Sonics fans - SteveB, please take LisaB and get the team back to the city!

Anonymous said...

> Not only the company has great
> talent at all levels, but it is
> nowadays getting college
> graduates that prefer MS over
> Google or Facebook.

The college graduates who prefers MS over Google are as elusive as tribes of Bigfoots riding dinosaurs.

> Google has a median tenure of 2
> years for engineers.

I doubt it. that number would be close for AMZN though.

> Working for those sweatshops is
> no fun.

What you call a sweatshop is a place where people WORK as opposed to show up at 10, leave at 5, and take a 2 hour lunch in between.
I've worked "across the lake". In 6 months with 20 people shipped a product that Microsoft took 2 years and 50 people to complete.

Brett Nordquist said...

Will you be dancing if Kevin Turner is the new CEO? Oh man, can you imagine that?

Anonymous said...

Too bad (and late) for all the executives who left in the past year.

Anonymous said...

Hitler finds out that Ballmer is out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JD0p-xl2Lc

bettyb said...

Two words: Craig Mundie.

Anonymous said...

This is just tragic. It is like Steve was the captain of the ship and convinced everyone that all is ok and that he would see the ship through the storm. Then, when the critical moment arrives. He says "just kidding, good luck" and he takes the last lifeboat. Now, everyone else is left behind to go down with his ship. I just wonder how many rats will jump now that the head rat has shown his true colors.

Anonymous said...

Ballmer was part the problem, but unless the Program Manager led culture changes the new CEO won't have much effect.


+1

Anonymous said...

>> Not only the company has great
>> talent at all levels, but it is
>> nowadays getting college
>> graduates that prefer MS over
>> Google or Facebook.
>
> The college graduates who prefers MS over Google are
> as elusive as tribes of Bigfoots riding dinosaurs.

You look like having worked at Microsoft, and so you can
easily verify this. Please show up at building 92 any Monday
and say you are attending NEO. Up to the door to the class
you will be able to enter, since everybody is there to get
their badge. Look around, talk with a few new employees,
and report back!

>> Google has a median tenure of 2
>> years for engineers.
>
> I doubt it. that number would be close for AMZN though.

If you don't like Bing, please Google "Google median tenure"
You can just feel lucky, and also learn that Microsoft's median
tenure is 4 years.

>> Working for those sweatshops is
>> no fun.
>
> What you call a sweatshop is a place where people WORK as
> opposed to show up at 10, leave at 5, and take a 2 hour lunch
> in between. I've worked "across the lake". In 6 months with 20
> people shipped a product that Microsoft took 2 years and 50
> people to complete.

Kudos for your achievement. However, it looks like you are one of
the Microsoft old timers that make the confusion between hard
work and smart work. Worse: for you product success is shipping,
not adoption. Please stay wherever you are, except if you are at
Microsoft. In that case, please leave!

Anonymous said...

Ballmer's Honest Goodbye Letter
http://pastebin.com/iBurVwSM

Anonymous said...

Lisa Brummel and Walmart dude KT need to go too along with their stack ranking philosophy of managing employees.. They along with Ballmer have turned the once mighty Tech giant to the sinking ship it is. This is a technology company for God's sake, not a Walmart counter. The stack ranking have killed all innovation, driven out all talent that was left, encouraged brown nosing, and destructive internal politics. In the lost decade we should have been competing against our competitors not back stabbing peers and doing nothing else but looking good to the people who drive the insane calibrations. Heck who cares about competitors in the industry when we have too busy competing against one another to get a higher rating or save our jobs. Lisa MS employees hate you.........go while you still can on your own terms........no new CEO would put up with your HR bullcrap policies. A 12 year old could have designed a better performance management system.........

Anonymous said...

Come on let us accept it. None of the people whose opinions are worth anything would be posting their thoughts on CEO-level news as comments here.

For the rest of us, let us just do the regular annual review comparison thing which we wouldn't discuss with anyone in person but would feel super comfortable posting anonymously. Is there going to be a separate post for that kind of stuff or should we do it through this post only?

PM
1
Promo 62-63

Anonymous said...

Mini welcome back!!! We missed you......been waiting for your post for the past year.......don't disappear this time.......we love you.........you are our Snowden..........MS employees......justice and truth shall prevail!!!!!

Anonymous said...

> Worse: for you product success is
> shipping,not adoption.

That's an assumption on your part and you're dead wrong.

Not only did we handily beat Microsoft when it came to shipping, but we also captured the bulk of the market. And being first probably helped us. The days where people needed a product / feature but didn't pull the trigger because they were willing to wait for the Microsoft version are long gone.

Those "sweatshops" across the lake and elsewhere are eating your lunch. Part of it is because their products are as good or better as yours and part of it is because they have quicker release and update cycles.

It took over three years for Microsoft to release something that didn't look like a Commodore 64 when placed next to an iPhone. the only company that is worse in that regard is RIM and we all now where they're headed.

Anonymous said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._Edwards_Deming ?

Anonymous said...

In office... been there for 5 years, now a lead.

While some college kids tell us they prefer Microsoft over Google and Amazon... I've been pretty disappointed by their actual skills and knowledge. You need to spoon-feed too many of these kids.

I suspect that the real talent are avoiding Microsoft entirely. They go to facebook, dropbox, or github if they want a corporate job or they do a startup and get paid the same from a VC firm with a lottery ticket.

The best devs from my team over the years have all left. The good people are truly gone, and I always wonder when I leave.

Microsoft just doesn't seem to have the same hopes as it used to, and I think Ballmer leaving is a consequence.

Anonymous said...

THANKS GOD IS FRIDAY !

Anonymous said...

Chuck Norris for CEO!!!!

Anonymous said...

It appears that Steve B. was on a PIP after last year's review cycle, and did not manage to improve. He received his '5' this review cycle, and as Vanity Fair's article last summer taught folks, the bottom 10% at Microsoft are shown the door. I hope Ballmer's departure is going to cause the implosion needed to get rid of all the dead wood in the middle management ranks and will improve the company culture from the backstabbing, throw people under the bus kind of place it has been for years now. For karma rebate to be complete, Microsoft needs to let chief 'people person' Lisa Brummel and COO Kevin Turner go too. There are tons of Microserfs and ex-Microserfs celebrating today after hearing this news, myself included.

Anonymous said...

Tony Bates

Anonymous said...

> In office... been there for 5 years, now a lead.
>
> While some college kids tell us they prefer Microsoft over Google
> and Amazon... I've been pretty disappointed by their actual skills
> and knowledge. You need to spoon-feed too many of these kids.

Sorry, but you didn't get the memo. The problem is not Microsoft.
The problem is Office... and the mentality you demonstrated in this post.

They "kids" know GIT, PHP, Phython, and how to deploy services in the cloud.
They are seeking how to write a new Facebook-like service, and are
really in despair when you point them to the pathetical internal
version control system developed in the middle ages.
The "kids" do have to be spoon-fed on how to use WinDbg to debug code
written 20 years ago, full of FAR, PASCAL, etc. As you would likely have
to be spoon-fed on how to enter code in punch cards. If the "kids" are
not showing up with the skills needed for Office, maybe the problem is
not in the "kids"...

Anonymous said...

"Please show up at building 92 any Monday and say you are attending NEO. Up to the door to the class you will be able to enter, since everybody is there to get their badge. Look around, talk with a few new employees, and report back!"


Most hilarious challenge ever, not even counting the possible trespassing charge.

Those guys are on their first day at a new job and a total stranger walks up to them and asks "Why did you chose to come work at Microsoft?". They obviously won't answer "Because I was told to take a hike when I interviewed at Google." even if that is the case.

Anonymous said...

> Most hilarious challenge ever, not even counting the possible trespassing charge.

There can be no trespassing. Just think: how would someone without a badge get in if those were not all public areas?

Most Microsoft new college hires also got offers from Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc. But if you just prefer trolling instead of taking up the challenge, so be it.

Anonymous said...

I am surprised that no one has mentioned in their commentary that Ballmer was handed the reigns of A MONOPOLY that has driven the core of MS performance.

Anonymous said...

I left Microsoft 10 years ago. Over the years I have regularly interviewed Microsoftees seeking employment with the various companies I found myself working for. It's always been kind of bad (with the occasional exception) but it's only gotten worse with time. I could fill a book with all the anecdotes.

Best quote ever out of an MS interviewee: "No I can't code a linked list but we can talk about linked lists if you want."

I am not making this up. Actually I wish I was.

Anonymous said...

Replacement speculation.. One name comes to mind: Mike Angiulo. He has the enthusiasm and deep technical depth. He can understand any customer segment, and sell a freezer to a penguin. Ill double-down on my stock purchases and seriously consider staying with the company for a longer duration with a man like him at the helm.

Anonymous said...

Truly speaking, stack ranking culture is harming MS a lot.I see that most of the PMs/Devs/SDETs are doing BS on each other instead of focusing on the products.

Anonymous said...

NOW I want to be back at Microsoft. Is he taking Lisa with her?

Anonymous said...

In windows, got my 15 year crystal.

I think both statements are true:

> I've been pretty disappointed by their actual skills
> and knowledge. You need to spoon-feed too many of these kids.

> The "kids" do have to be spoon-fed on how to use WinDbg to debug code
written 20 years ago, full of FAR, PASCAL, etc. As you would likely have
to be spoon-fed on how to enter code in punch cards. If the "kids" are
not showing up with the skills needed for Office, maybe the problem is
not in the "kids"...


I think the kids are not as good as we used to hire. It's clear we are getting leftovers.

However, it is also clear that kids are using different tech than we have at work. It may be the poor quality kids are (causing | correlated with | a consequence of) the poor quality tools we have. Don't know, but I see both trends.

Anonymous said...

Stack ranking does nothing for MSFT. Its parents should acknowledge that fact now!

Charles said...

At this point, the BoD should hire a transitional CEO from outside who will take the steps (and the heat) to seriously re-org the company and its values, and simultaneously work to select a sustaining CEO (probably from inside) who will take over once the heavy lifting is done.

Not an easy road, but that's the cul-de-sac MSFT finds itself in.

Anonymous said...

One has to be completely delusional to believe for even a second that there is a significant number of people out there who, given the choice to work at Google or Microsoft, pick Microsoft.

Nobody's ever heard of Larry Page throwing a chair upon learning that one of his key employees was leaving for Microsoft. There's a reason for that.

Anonymous said...

With luck any incoming CEO will get rid of the stack ranking system and move towards a culture that promotes quality and values contributions over jockeying for position in order to avoid the bottom or get the top.

Anonymous said...

To the person harping about college hires wanting Microsoft and median tenure of Google.

Try to understand what median tenure even means.

The data for median tenure is got by asking _current_ employees how long they have been at the current company.

A low median tenure does not imply people stay for a short period of time.

Google has been hiring quite a bit these past few years. Of course the median tenure will be low.

Median tenure is just another misused statistic.

Anonymous said...

Will there be a new post for this year's review like the one in 2011???

Anonymous said...

"I'm probably what a lot of people would call an old-timer at the company. 18 years this fall. I have certainly had my moments when I wished Steveb made different decisions than he did but I have to chuckle a little bit when I see people cheering this news. Could someone else have done a better job running Microsoft over the last 10 years? Maybe, but I don't know who that would have been. Microsoft missed the boat when it comes to mobile and that's a huge bummer but the company is chugging along and still in a good position to do great things for a very long time. Microsoft could end up like IBM...largely irrelevant...but has a good opportunity to do what no other tech company has ever done - succeed in business and consumer software/services. That's a hard thing to do. I almost wish we could put some of the loudmouth bloggers in charge of the company for a while to see how they do running such a complex enterprise.

My thanks to Steve for everything he has done for Microsoft. He and the others who built the company made it possible for me to have amazing opportunities to learn and grow as a person. He/others also helped me buy a beautiful house, save money for retirement, put my kids through college...the list goes on. Thanks Steve!"

Having spent 16 years at the company myself before finally leaving last year, I recognize this comment as coming from one of the people who are the problem.

It's not about your stupid fancy house and cushy retirement, asshole. It's about doing things that matter, which Microsoft hasn't done for a very long time.

Anonymous said...

Softies, as a former customer I'm looking forward to new MS products that compete on merit rather than force us to keep buying your stuff, no matter what its quality is.

MS can turn itself around, just as IBM did... please do it soon and skip the near-death experience that IBM suffered,

Without lockin I can propose a MS based solution to my bosses knowing that there will not be hidden costs (product X needs product Y needs product Z etc.) that will make me look like a fool through having to go back asking for more money, over and over...

Anonymous said...

> In windows, got my 15 year crystal.
...
> I think the kids are not as good as we used to hire.
> It's clear we are getting leftovers.
>
> However, it is also clear that kids are using different
> tech than we have at work. It may be the poor quality
> kids are (causing | correlated with | a consequence of)
> the poor quality tools we have.
> Don't know, but I see both trends.

Sorry, but Windows/Office seniors complaining about new
hire skills is very suspicious to me. Even accepting that
Microsoft is getting leftovers, the leftovers from CMU,
Stanford, Cornell, Harvard, Waterloo and others could not
get so much worse during the last few years (and those
are the main sources of most new hires, at least in the dev
discipline for the teams I’ve been working).

I would promptly accept that the new hires don’t have the
right skills if they were also failing all across Microsoft, and
also all across the industry. It is definitely not the case.
Either your team is not attracting the good candidates, not
having a good interview system or, just consider it: not
having a good onboarding system in place.

Sadly, I meet a lot of people like you in calibration meetings,
trying to dismiss all the achievement of new hires. It puzzles me
what happened to the principle of only hiring people smarter
than yourself?

Anonymous said...

I cant believe nobody even mention Paul Maritz.

Anonymous said...

Marlena Werder for CEO

Anonymous said...

But if I hire people smarter than me, they'll eventually beat me in the stack rank ;)

Anonymous said...

Alan Mulally

http://allthingsd.com/20130709/fords-mulally-says-hes-shared-business-transformation-tips-with-microsofts-ballmer/ - Mulally, whom Ballmer knows well, appeared at a Microsoft exec retreat several months ago, to talk about how he turned the automaker around. Since then, Ballmer has told many top execs that he was relying on some good advice from Mulally about how to reorg the company.

Anonymous said...

I want Sinofski back.

Anonymous said...

They need to get rid of Kevin Turner, Lisa Brummel, and Julie Larson-Moron. All at once - just kick them out the door (or crash a plane with them all in it, or something).

If they brought in an Eric Schmidt, I'd think about coming back ... and it's clear that a lot of people feel the same way.

Or just buy Juniper, and get Kevin Johnson and Bob Muglia at the same time. Or better yet, VMWare ... and get Paul Maritz back.

Microsoft failed the second Bill stopped doing QBR's - those need to come back. They don't have to be run by the CEO, but they need to come back. Bill understood one very simple thing - PEOPLE LIE. ALL THE TIME. After he stepped down, I watched my boss put a fake $1B on his executive report - and get rewarded and promoted for it.

Bill would have looked at that, beat the crap out of him, and fired his ass. And that's what needs to happen.

Anonymous said...


Welcome back, it's really good to see Mini-Microsoft updated.

As far as your hoped-for requirements for the New Boss...

Some years ago (about 15) I left a very large company and joined a small-medium software development company. The President and CEO of the company had developed the original, critical core software, for which I was now the software development Team Leader.

On the subjective side, I was proud to tell people that my President knew how to do my job, because had once done it.

On the objective side, after 10 years the company was 10 times bigger and 10 times more profitable than when I joined.

I do think that those things were probably related.

Anonymous said...

Elon Musk... no current MS VP would compare to him in future vision, business acumen -- albeit, he would not be interested in joining MS.. he is busy enough with his own ventures...

Claude

Anonymous said...


And, in other news, the NYSE price for the stocks of chair manufacturing companies closed down 20% today.

Anonymous said...

Too little - too late - UNFORTUNATELY. Let him PLS take KT, LisaB, even the newbee Julie Larson and hundreds of useless CVP's style Frank Holland who go where the KT flow takes them - have no personal opinion on anything and have zero vision. the new CEO has bloody times ahead - too much change for one CEO to handle

Anonymous said...

Months back I had lunch with a high-level executive who told me 3 things would happen soon.
1) Huge reorg. Check.
2) Ballmer retirement. Check.
3) Layoffs.

The reasoning is that the company is bloated, and Ballmer will do a Fall cleaning before handling the key to the next CEO. May be just coincidence but this morning I got a ping from a friend asking about open positions in my team, since his entire team is being shut down, and they have a couple of months to find positions inside the company. That is the offer for the ones getting good reviews. The ones with bad reviews are being given time to seek outside, since they won't be allowed to move internally. More like this to come, possibly to a team near you!

Anonymous said...

Dead. Wrong.

Anonymous said...

Per your song choice suggestion - I think it will be 'the song remains the same'

because anyone who thinks this will change anything for at least four years is deluded.

Here is my handicapping (some of it tongue in cheek and far too much of it far too close to a possibility) - sure I am missing some

Tony Bates - 2-1
Satya Nadella 5-2
KT - 10-1
Julie L-G - 10-1
Sinofsky - 8-1
Elop - 7-1
Scoble - 100-1
Myerson - 8-1
Qi Lu - 6-1
Maritz - 10-1
Schmidt - 20-1
Mini Microsoft - 100-1
Tony Hurd - 4-1
Bill G - 1000-1

Anonymous said...

Is Ballmer sick or something? The reorg pre-retirement strikes me as odd. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't.

If he or the board see "problems" then it's odd. if he and the board don't then it makes perfect sense...

Anonymous said...

Sometimes you get tired of bashing your head against the same wall every day and want to take a step back and look around a bit.

Anonymous said...

"we need an exit song, too. "


How about "Send in the clowns"? It would be fitting to kick off the replacement selection process.

Anonymous said...

To all those who can't see the facebook posts, twitter posts, private messages, and snarky emails (including a DE's reply-all), MANY MANY MANY people are happy he is leaving.

The company, culture, and products all suffered tremendously for the previous 6 years, and he is to blame by most employees.

It's sad because he is a human who deserves some compassion. But he also has caused a lot of pain I struggle to shed a tear.

Anonymous said...

I left last year for Google after being stabbed like Ceasar in the review cycle.

I wonder if my lead dev still remembers looking me in the eye and telling me those lies about not being "consistent enough" and "not having enough business impact". After all those years of busting my ass and staying late and shipping things in time for some ridiculous M1/M2/RC deadline... it really hurt me personally. Hopefully the culture changes post-Ballmer for the sake of the few friends that I left behind.

Also, RIP Windows Org.

Anonymous said...

The people on the bottom and in the middle don't change things because they're afraid the guy at the top will disagree with them. Then when things fail, the guy at the top gets the blame.

Anonymous said...

> In windows, got my 15 year crystal.
...
> I think the kids are not as good as we used to hire.
> It's clear we are getting leftovers.
>
> However, it is also clear that kids are using different
> tech than we have at work. It may be the poor quality
> kids are (causing | correlated with | a consequence of)
> the poor quality tools we have.
> Don't know, but I see both trends.

Seriously? Anyone thinking this has to really look at themselves, their teams and their interviewing skills. There are new hires from every quality college. The competition is fierce and the recruiting team/intern mentors are attracting great talent. No longer is MSFT the joke in campus recruiting like it was 5 years ago. They stepped up and are succeeding despite of our reputation.

If you think they can't perform on existing MSFT code and internal systems, have a look at that. Start asking questions like "We're only starting now to do unit-testing?" or "Let's support the teams refactoring the code so that we stop being labeled as bloated code writers". Seriously, it's no secret out there that our code isn't what it needs to be. Fixing that might need fresh minds - not the ones that created it and don't see the real problem.

Maybe these new hires are coming to MSFT despite managers like this - they want to and feel they can make a difference. Give them a chance.

Anonymous said...


"MANY MANY MANY people are happy he is leaving."

And more than a few are probably worried. The bloated middle management that has been slowing everything down for years is nothing but the product of Ballmer's cargo-cult approach to business. For years the man seemed guided by the principle that if we behave like a serious "grown-up" corporation by adding layers of management and wrapping everything in process then we'll magically become one.

If whoever is selected as a replacement CEO has half an ounce of business sense, he'll treat middle management as the problem that it is. Layoffs are the only logical option.

Now there’s always the chance that the successor is as bad as the current CEO. After all, a board that has let Steve run amok for as long as they have probably shouldn’t be trusted to fix the problem. But we all know it can’t last forever. If the board doesn’t do the right things, reality will eventually have its way with the company.

Anonymous said...

If there is any hope for MSFT to turn around, Lisa Brummel and Kevin Turner need to be walked out ASAP. They are both responsible for the current state of affairs. Balmer leaving without the exit of these two MSFT home wreckers will not be enough to keep the (R)MS FT Titanic from going down...

Anonymous said...

Greetings Microsoft people. Larry Page and Eric Schmidt here. We demand that you give us back those college candidates who turned down our employment offer and decided to work for Microsoft instead. We’re sending a self-driving Smart Car to Redmond. Please make sure both of them get on it.

Anonymous said...

"The bloated middle management that has been slowing everything down for years is nothing but the product of Ballmer's cargo-cult approach to business."

COULD NOT AGREE MORE. I hold my toungue every day at work, watching the peter-principled morons proclaim decisions. They have to go, but unfortunately they're survivors.

Anonymous said...

Ballmer was part the problem, but unless the Program Manager led culture changes the new CEO won't have much effect.

I was in an interview a while ago and the hiring manager said, "We are NOT looking for the typical Microsoft PM. Someone who can only take decent notes and execute on nothing." For those of you who take good notes, when the purge comes after Ballmer leaves, you might want to up your skillset.

Anonymous said...

When I left Microsoft after 10 years, HR asked me if I would ever return. I gave them the list of things that needed to change before I'd consider it. One down, a bunch more to go! Brummel and KT getting dragged through the muck would rank 2 and 3 respectively. Actually let me change that to Brummel being dragged through the muck is 2 AND 3. KT is 4.

Anonymous said...

There's one person who has 1) managed the transition from a legacy API to a modern replacement, 2) started and run a division of Apple that makes more money than all of Microsoft, and 3) is a genuine software engineer, with a serious body of code to point to.

Is MSFT's board smart enough to hire Scott Forstall?

Anonymous said...

As an AAPL shareholder, I want to express my deepest appreciation for all that Ballmer has done to scuttle the company that was once the biggest obstacle to our success. If we had placed a sleeper agent at Microsoft to destroy the company, he couldn't have possibly done a better job of it than Ballmer has.

On a related note, not that we needed the help, but whatzisface at Nokia made damned sure that Nokia would never be a significant player in smartphones again.

Anonymous said...

"another engineer at the top"

Microsoft has NEVER had an engineer at the top. I know you softies were indoctrinated to believe that BG had some coding chops, but anyone who read his BASIC interpreter back in the day knows better.

Anonymous said...

First of all, welcome back, Mini. Missed you.

Next -- we keep talking about the upcoming RIF, but isn't it a bit late, considering reviews are locked and loaded already (mostly) ?

Also -- Any estimate for a timeframe for Ballmer.Exit() ? Mid Year? Maybe a January RIF then?

Probably won't affect me, as I'm likely to (voluntarily) leave in the next few weeks. Dysfunction at all levels in MSFT is at hilarious levels right now...

By the way -- Lisa -- please do us all a favor, and LEAVE.

Anonymous said...

Martin Taylor is the most likely candidate.

Anonymous said...

I guess Mini might not be Sinofsky after all. One viable explanation for his silence had been that he signed an severance agreement with MS.

I think Ballmer was doomed by the memories of MS' Robber Baron period of the '90s... let's say 1990 (Windows 3.0) to 2003 (Win 2003, the last time Windows division looked like a well-oiled machine). It became very hard for MS to form alliances after that. Both hardware and software companies preferred to take a chance working with Google, Apple, or Facebook rather than with MS, who had a long track record of screwing over their business partners in brutal fashion. And Bill's buddy Ballmer served as a personal reminder of that era.

-a non softie

Anonymous said...

Is MSFT's board smart enough to hire Scott Forstall?

Oh, God, NO!!

Anonymous said...

I spent 9 years at MSFT and the first few were great. what finally drove me to leave was the lack of leadership. Like many companies, the management had all kinds of time to tell people What to do, and How to do it, but what was missing from the top down was the Why? In big companies if you don't have a leader that can inspire people with a vision (and focusing on killing the most recent threat is not a vision), then people start to do only what is required to keep their jobs, and keep a low profile. Or they are climbers that politic their way up the ladder. That's the beginning of the end. The Gates fans at MSFT (mostly the ones that were there early enough to get rich in the Windows and Office years) believe that Gates is a genious...i beg to differ. He was in charge of MSFT (first as CEO and always as Chairman) and consistently missed most of the big industry and technology shifts...this is why MSFT has repeatedly spent $10s of billions to catch and kill threats to their core businesses. Instead of creating new markets they have had to react after the competors have gotten a huge lead. this worked 20 years ago but now the change happens so quickly that the old playbook doesn't play. Whoever comes in to run MSFT will have to have a radically different approach, and if Gates is still Chairman i doubt that will be tolerated.

Anonymous said...

I don't see why there are so many people suggesting Eric Schmidt as CEO. His kind of lucked into Google. He didn't do that much to turn Novell around.

Surkanstance said...

As maligned as Ballmer is I am not sure there is anyone on the sidelines who could do a lot better. There is simply no equivalent of a Steve Jobs visionary who could step in and drive the company in a new direction. Sure, there are lots of people with “vision” but none who would command the loyalty and attention of the company (look at how the company chewed up Ray Ozzie). Messr Gates might be able to really turn things around if he came out of retirement but that is unlikely.

The core problem for Microsoft is not one of management, per-se. The issue is that the entire business model the company was founded on is slowly vanishing. Worse, Microsoft’s traditional business is still making gobs of money. It is exceedingly difficult for any company to succeed in completely new areas while they continue to have an older business that mints cash. The people and culture of the legacy business will always end up suffocating the new stuff in myriad small ways, ensuring it fails.

Anonymous said...

I was in an interview a while ago and the hiring manager said, "We are NOT looking for the typical Microsoft PM. Someone who can only take decent notes and execute on nothing."

I am not surprised you heard that. I’ve been out for 7 years and more and more I see Microsoft being considered a negative on a résumé. Some companies who have hired former MSFT employees got burned badly.

The truth is, priorities are so upside down in Redmond that for a lot of people it is next to impossible to "reprogram" themselves into someone who is employable somewhere else. When you think visibility trumps all including actual results, when competing with your own colleagues is more important than beating the competition, you will not be a good fit anywhere except in companies that have the same backwards culture. Not to mention that a lot of people who spend any time in management there seem to lose all technical ability.

ZiniMsft Drogo said...

Mini has turned soft. Folks, let's talk performance reviews elsewhere. Here for example:

http://zinimsft.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Amazing how many comments are written in the past tense. "I left N years ago and blah blah blah..." When I was reading this site years ago and it still had interesting content, this site was a helpful yardstick to me at least, and I suspect it was to many of us who saw the emperor without clothes. It is good to know I was not alone in leaving after all this bullshit.

As for those of you still there... I feel for you. Years ago I was feeling like the situation was hopeless and I needed to get out quickly, and it was very frustrating. I can only imagine what it would have been like to stay for another couple of years and been there for Ballmer's comeuppance. None of us know what's going to happen next but I'd be very nervous about it. We all know that Ballmer was crap but can you imagine: what if you end up with something even worse? It's not unlikely. That is, if you find yourself still with a job.

Since some of you are mentioning it, when I left a few years back I definitely did think that Seattle employers were already well into being weary about Microsoft hires. Probably rightfully so.

On the other hand, maybe those idiots at Amazon will hire you. I see more and more, the idiots I used to work with, the very dumbest of them especially, the bottom of the bottom, are being hired there all the time. Good luck to them. Meanwhile a word to the wise: if I were doing a web startup I'd stay the hell away from AWS.

Anonymous said...

Steve leaving is the best for the company and the best for Steve. At MGX he looked like hell....you could tell something was up - though everyone assumed it was KT who was leaving....

Speaking of KT - KT helped to bring clear organizational discipline but his time is up - he brings no innovation at all...the MYR process is a complete waste of money and time(what company pulls all their executives out of their jobs for 6 weeks).....what "major" change ever came out of MYR....it is KT's version of OK Corral and he is the only one with a gun. As it turns out, he does not have marketing skills (M&O is a process machine and marketing no longer exists in that org)and his sales skills are weak. His skills are in operations - I am sure he could find success in an operations role at another company.

The new CEO needs to put the employees as their number one customer(yes I know this may sound absurd but think about it). Employees have to be part of this change, they have to be all in or MS will not survive. It will be tough but the focus has to be on the employees so the employees can have the passion and knowledge to support our partners and customers. Yes, revamp the review system it is the most demotivating, archaic and communist system there is. Steve said, "he was not going to change it because there was nothing better out there". Well, lets get creative - what would happen if Microsoft HR (don't get me started on this group)developed a new review system - I mean what if Microsoft HR was innovative (yes I said, what if Microsoft HR was innovative)? Lisa does need to leave and we need an innovative, caring and kick ass leader in HR.

I believe Microsoft is a great company, with great people and great products but we have had some serious misses and man do we suck at getting anything out the door quickly, with top quality and our execution is TERRIBLE.

Change is hard for everyone, no one's job is secure because it can't be as we go through such changes BUT damn it, as an employee I want to see Microsoft succeed - We need the senior leadership team (including Terry Myerson who suffers from severe immaturity and insecurity reflective in his bully management style) to suck up and grow up. Put on your big boy and big girl pants and work harder to make the re-org work. And once you think your done, the hard work begins because what you thought would work will crack in places, each of you will have to work even harder with the employees to help make Microsoft successful. The question is are they up for it?

Anonymous said...

> Ballmer did great, and he is leaving at the right time. The one that left at the wrong time was Gates. He not only left at the wrong time, but left in the wrong way, leaving to Ballmer to deal with the mess that he created.

hey Steve, good try.

Anonymous said...

L60, 4 last year, worked really really hard this year in terms of owning critical responsibilities, visibility etc. Manager always used to say I am on inclining track. Today, he said I got 4. Reasoning: due to last year's baggage, he couldn't create a strong case for me. BS.

Anonymous said...

I am sure that Steve Ballmer would have read this blog post and the comments. He must have been amazed to see how much msft employees dislike him!!!

Anonymous said...

OK, Mike. Thanks for posting here...

Anonymous said...

Jeff Raikes is taking over as Microsoft CEO

Anonymous said...

Put the lawyers officially in charge since they have been telling the product teams what to do for the last 10yrs.

Anonymous said...

"I’ve been out for 7 years and more and more I see Microsoft being considered a negative on a résumé."

Complete nonsense. You may have a negative of MS employees but I can assure you most don't. After 10 years at MS I just went through the job search process myself. People were very eager to interview me. Many of my co-workers also left and are enjoying their new jobs at Google, Amazon, FB and startups in the Bay area.

ZiniMsft Drogo said...

OK, the comments are now allowed to be anonymous here:

http://zinimsft.blogspot.com/2013/08/ceo-leaves-ok-lets-talk-performance.html

I understand we all like to discuss our review scores but only anonymously.

Anonymous said...

A warning to anyone looking to change teams. Stay far far away from SQL Azure (or what ever they changed the product name to this week). That org is in complete disarray and getting worse. Which is the main reason people are leaving. It also doesn't help that many managers have been passed over for promos or been demoted. So of course they are pissed off and they are taking it out on their employees. In addition to a crushing workload you have pissed off managers to deal with. A great combination for suceess...NOT!

Anonymous said...

Been at Microsoft 14+ years. Actually liked the reorg. Felt for the first time since Bob Herbold let that that some of the massive investments in duplicate operational teams would start to get addressed.
All the talk about "1 Microsoft" was encouraging. It's long over due but if the company were truly collaborative and innovative we wouldn't need to say we "1 Microsoft" explicitly; it would show up in our day to day actions.

Then reality sank in, and I started hearing and seeing the following behavior; "Sure, I support 1 Microsoft, as long as it's MY vision of 1 Microsoft"

It is going to take a massive change in culture and thinking amongst the middle managers as well as rank and file to make this work. Yes it will start with the review mode. But it won't end there.

We all need to grow up and not charge ahead thinking we are the smartest person in the room without asking ourselves if what we are about to 'invent' has not already been invented.

The cultural change is something that no one CEO can do, or dictate alone.

Anonymous said...

"The first skill I'm putting down on my CEO job requisition is: "Has architected and implemented software features at the Principal level.""

Sir, permit me to insult you, and apologies in advance: you are f^&*ing dumb, my friend.

WTF has development level to do with what a CEO should do? Would it be a nice to have skill? Yes. But in any case isn't something required, nor the first thing to talk about.

Msft needs vision. Let me restate: VISION.

But, let me tell you, you are screwed, because at this point there is no f&*^ing vision in corporate america, internally and externally.

May the market have mercy on you.

Anonymous said...

Ms has made some great acquisitions over the years only to squash all talent and vision
Trust me on this, I was the CTO/founder of a company that I sold to them. During my tenure there I had
Many discussion with similar folk whom all did the same thing that I did, bolt as soon as I could due to politics and the simple notion that nothing ever gets done and if it does it is over worked and under developed

Very sad !!

Anonymous said...

L60, 4 last year, worked really really hard this year in terms of owning critical responsibilities, visibility etc. Manager always used to say I am on inclining track. Today, he said I got 4. Reasoning: due to last year's baggage, he couldn't create a strong case for me. BS.

You should have moved out of MS after first 4, the market is really good and your hard work will be more rewarding outside. 4 or 5 means leave MS ASAP

ZiniMsft Drogo said...

In a company as large as Microsoft, anyone below L65 should not care (and should not be required to care) about who the CEO is. Anyway, I read a post a while back from Mini about how being L63 is so great in Microsoft. I truly believe that is no longer true. At the Senior level there is just so much fluff.

Anonymous said...

I thought the news would mean new hope for MS employees, but then I remembered Lisa Brummel...I'll go back to my shell...

Anonymous said...

He didn't get to run MS completely into the ground? Interesting.

Now someone kick that 500lb dyke out of HR and MS can officially be on the right track.

Anonymous said...

Was he responsible for deciding that the Windows 8 design is good for all devices, mobile, desktop, notebook, etc? Was he responsible for the high price Windows Surface and the pro, with 6 million units collecting dust? Sometimes I wonder how can companies like Microsoft with so much resources foul up so bad on thinking that Windows 8 style interface (Metro/touch) targeted for tablets is also adequate for a server like 2012 server. Has he ever seen how annoying those big tiles are? How can I be productive when I want to manage the server’s using the tablet and touch interface? I want someone to pay for those bad decisions; if it is Ballmer then the sooner he goes the better.
KK

Anonymous said...

Complete nonsense. You may have a negative of MS employees but I can assure you most don't. After 10 years at MS I just went through the job search process myself. People were very eager to interview me. Many of my co-workers also left and are enjoying their new jobs at Google, Amazon, FB and startups in the Bay area.

Nobody said that MS employees couldn’t find a job anywhere. You've just been through the job search process. I left MS 7 years ago after 8 years there. I have interviewed a lot of MS employees for my various employers. I have also worked with a lot of ex MS employees. I know for a fact that with some employers, the name Microsoft on a resume doesn't carry the weight it once did. I have seen things change over 7 years and not in a good way. I know of some places (some of which I’ve worked at) that do not view candidates from MS as favorably as they once did. And I know of some managers who scrutinize MS employees extra hard after either having been burned by bad hires or having wasted their times with too many laughably inept candidates from Redmond (I have hilarious stories from first hand experience that people tell me they cannot believe yet are 100% true)

Anonymous said...

Hey Mini, I thought they found out who you really were and got you fired. Nice to see you're back with a bang.

Anonymous said...

Get an outside CEO and fire the dead wood left at MiSFiT.

Anonymous said...

LOL. Dev lead. Awesome team. Out numbered by PMs.

Maybe that will change?

Anonymous said...

Is he taking his lackeys, for example Lisa Brummel, with him? He has filled his leadership team with toadies over the last decade. His departure might not bring in much change in the short term until all his lackeys are booted out as well.

Anonymous said...

Between the chaos that the Civil Defense incident caused in the last two weeks inside the SQL org by some VERY stupid devs (good luck on SQL14 shipping on time).

The horrible morale (there's no way in hell I will help anyone in any capacity outside of my official title after the prison-shank my review was)

The general lack of direction. (I've given up even trying to remember my team's name - I want to just call us TLA)

I have little faith that it will be anyone OTHER than KT with all that I've seen in my last couple of years here.

Anonymous said...

The same Qi Lu who was tech leader at Yahoo and lost Yahoo's search leadership to an upstart, Google? The same Qi Lu who has done precious little to cut losses at Bing and OSD? He may be a great engineer, but he doesn't have a successful track record.

Anyone who ran Bing/OSD should have been fired long ago. Instead they are promoted...

Anonymous said...

Qi Lu isn't great, agreed. Neither is Satya, who was in control of Bing for three years since 2007 and lost market share from teens to 7% despite losing billions of dollars.

Why are folks cheering for incompetent oafs?

Anonymous said...

The hire has to be external. Someone who's been watching MSFT unravel from afar, is somewhat objective and agnostic about what the problems are, and can come in and change the culture. There might be a lot of good internal candidates, but MSFT needs a blood transfusion.

The second order of business is to demand that anyone at MSFT who has a copy of Jack Welch's book in their in-house libraries to take it down from the shelf, find a nice burning fireplace, and throw that POS in. Stack-ranking needs to be beheaded, amputated and disemboweled, not necessarily in that order. Another reason why the hire should be external.

Anonymous said...

I know for a fact that with some employers, the name Microsoft on a resume doesn't carry the weight it once did. I have seen things change over 7 years and not in a good way. I know of some places (some of which I’ve worked at) that do not view candidates from MS as favorably as they once did.

This is absolutely correct, and if you do not think it is you are only fooling yourself. Yes, Microsoft employees can still find jobs, but:

1) Particularly in the Seattle area "Microsoft" is a negative on your resume (just like working at the "Lazy B", also known as Boeing is).

2) Once you are successful at your next job, the Microsoft "stain" is somewhat mitigated.

3) Many businesses still use the Microsoft stack, but many do not, particularly the up-and-coming start ups.

Anonymous said...

Qi Lu as the CEO of Microsoft? Hell, no. Qi espouses interesting ideas (BingTop anyone?) but has zero executive acumen to rally an organization toward a vision. Demanding forecasts at +/- 5% accuracy is not the same as coming up with a product strategy, landing that across the org and getting everyone to execute on a set of goals. Where was the Bing roadmap? Qi's biggest contribution was establishing a very cumbersome business metrics process which masqueraded as product management. Yea, it was like working for KT.

Anonymous said...

I have a string suspicion that Sinofsky is Mini-MSFT.

Anonymous said...

"Mr. Sinofsky, Stever Ballmer announced his retirement on Friday. Do you have any comment?"

"Na-na-na-na, Na-na-na-na, Hey-Hey-Hey. -"

Anonymous said...

+1 on someone who understands software. Also please make sure they actually understand the competitive landscape, how to innovate and not just copy cat.

Anonymous said...

The 'underground' hangout of Windows devs is pretty happy with the news
http://www.techbroil.com/

Microsoft lost developers developers developers with Sinofsky and Windows 8. Stabbing Silverlight in the back sent the worst possible message during a time of uncertainty.

Anonymous said...

Reading through these comments, I am struck with a few truths: If Microsoft is to remain a huge company, it needs to turn this size into an advantage (currently it is not). To function as such a huge company, it needs vision. The company is too large, and too diverse, to push a vision through a rigid hierarchy - you can certainly see that from the comments here. The people who are happiest in a rigid hierarchy are not the people who habitually produce creative new ideas.

Thinking about this, I think the Board needs to make a clear decision. Microsoft is not the US Army and is not Wal-Mart. In fact, it is like no other company on the earth. It is actually more like a big city. Its customers are every type of person and every type of enterprise. There is no one-size-fits-all, either for the customers or the employees.

So who do you think excels at projecting vision directly to each employee, bypassing the hierarchy? Who is experienced at running a huge and extremely diverse community where at once they have tremendous power and no power? A politician! I'm talking about a real politician, a mayor or governor, preferably from outside the United States to minimize the political baggage. A politician does not pretend to be able to code linked lists or write an enterprise sales contract, just like real-life politicians can't design a bridge or teach third-graders. The job is purely to motivate people to follow a vision - it is primarily communication. In such a system, the leader needs strong deputies who know the business, are respected by the workers, are compensated very well for it, and can make the leader's vision work. Microsoft can do that, with the right CEO.

I imagine the Board itself is not innovative enough to do something like this. They would be laughed at in some quarters, and would not be able to take it. The stock price might take a hit in the next quarter. That's too bad. There's a real opportunity to do something innovative on a large scale, if the Board can stomach it.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft does not need a politician as a leader. We have too many of those already.

Anonymous said...

Ben Affleck for CEO

Anonymous said...

I suggest the old Kevin Johnson approach to the middle management problem. When he took over the support org, management was beyond dysfunctional ... and in the old 2-sided strategy, most of the engineers outranked their managers by 2 or even 3 levels, and the relationships ranged from a complete lack of respect (they were basically admins with titles) to outright hatred (for those who chose to throw their limited weight around ...although Lisa Brummel has no such problem. That woman's got some real big girl panties, and that is NOT a compliment).

Anyway, one day he simply re-leveled all the management positions and made everyone re-interview for the "new jobs".

He rehired 1 of them. And THAT is exactly what needs to happen.

Anonymous said...

+1 for SQL Azure posting. I would see if you consider to move, never consider SQL Team. Trust me.

Anonymous said...

mini no longer works at MSFT

Anonymous said...

This 100%, especially point 1. Know quite a few folks (at least 4) who would actually consider returning if the curve was truly removed for once and for all.


First things the new CEO needs to do:
1. Simplify the review system, and remove the forced curve at the top and bottom
2. Incentivize teams more than individuals
3. Use the silo model only where it makes sense
4. Increase cooperation (and not competition) between teams and individuals
5. Stop blindly copying GE, Apple, Google, etc., and instead focus on creating the "blue oceans" before anyone else

Anonymous said...

> The new CEO needs to put the employees as their number one customer(yes I know this may sound absurd but think about it).

Can we start with the development tools please? How in hell are we supposed to be productive if improving our tools is always the last priority?

"Focus in shipping the product will be the answer if you want to improve something internal". Right, and ignore that tool that is making 1000 engineers waste 2 hours per day. Very smart...

Anonymous said...

> Mini has turned soft. Folks, let's talk performance reviews elsewhere. Here for example:

> http://zinimsft.blogspot.com/

Finally, a blog owned by a true Microsoft employee. Why innovate when you can just copy!

Anonymous said...

Don't expect big changes.

Steve may be leaving but you know he didn't do the reorg without Bill and the Board's buy-in and approval. Bill and Steve still own significant amounts of stock and there don't appear to be any changes on the Board.

What would make anyone think big changes are coming? Bill, Steve, and the Board set it all up for someone to step in and run. Any changes the new CEO wants to make are going to have to be approved by the Board.

I wouldn't hold my breath for a big change.

Stay tuned for more of the same. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Surkanstance said...

I can vouch for the comments about how Microsoft experience doesn't count for as much as it used to at other companies. I left Microsoft a while ago and have had numerous interviews where the employers wanted me to explain how I wasn't infected by the Microsoft way.

I heard very explicit concerns regarding my time at Microsoft from both large and small employers. Startups in particular were the most skeptical.

That said, my Microsoft background didn't prevent me from getting a job I am just not sure that it helped either.

Anonymous said...

To the person who wrote:

>> Mini has turned soft. Folks, let's talk performance reviews elsewhere. Here for example:

>> http://zinimsft.blogspot.com/

> Finally, a blog owned by a true Microsoft employee. Why innovate when you can just copy!

How about innovative copying?

Anonymous said...

I am pretty sure Microsoft Dev/Test will struggle to find a job elsewhere. PMs however due to their superior strategy skills will find it a cakewalk.

Anonymous said...

As for the "Microsoft experience" ...

I worked for Microsoft for more than a decade.

After retiring, I was asked, out of the blue, to do a contract analyzing a Linux system. The request come from someone I'd worked with and for for 20 years. He was now the CEO of a small company.

The HR person talked to me, looked at my resume and said, right out loud, that I was the first Microsoftee that she'd ever talked to that wasn't just an arrogant windbag.

The executive, as he introduced me to his key employees and clients, would say this "trust me, she's not the usual Microsoftee".

Anyone who thinks that putting Microsoft on a resume today is a good thing, has their head, firmly up their ass.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft senior leads are only good for playing double standards when it comes to stack ranking and promotions.

Anonymous said...

I am pretty sure Microsoft Dev/Test will struggle to find a job elsewhere. PMs however due to their superior strategy skills will find it a cakewalk.

That's hilarious.

Honestly, the PM discipline is part of the problem at Microsoft. There are some good ones (and the good ones are super valuable), but in my experience, the majority are just dead-weight communication proxies & paper-pushers. They see their value as attending meetings, and "answering" a question by connecting the person asking with the person who knows the answer. (The good ones can make a compelling case for what needs to built & why...).

The worst thing is the move to calibration in functional disciplines - devs no longer benefit from the PMs to fill out the bottom of the stack.

Anonymous said...

[I]Anyone who thinks that putting Microsoft on a resume today is a good thing, has their head, firmly up their ass.[/I]

That's silly. Microsoft still hires really good engineers & computer scientists, and if you're in one of the major product groups, you have a wealth of experience that isn't attainable in many other places (e.g., size of codebase, size of team, really skilled peers,...) Any company discounting this, or thinking it is a negative, is not a company I would ever consider working for.

The only negative I see to having Microsoft on your resume is most companies can't even come close to matching the comp. I was talking to a startup a few months back, and the recruiter was pressing me for salary information - I was reluctant, but told her with the caveat that salary wasn't my only consideration. Got the "thank you were exploring other candidates" email the next day.

Their loss. I'd take a 50% cut for the right opportunity.

Anonymous said...

To those who think that 'Microsoft' is a negative sign on their résumé, should look deeper into their skillet, achievements, etc. I left the company a few months ago after almost 14 years. I was L65 SDE. I loved what I was doing and had some pretty impressive achivements behind my belt. But after getting 3 year after year and feeling I was not challenged enough by the management ('we love what you are doing, keep doing it, here is your 3, of course we know you deserve more, blah blah blah'), it started to get boring.

When I went to the job market a few months ago, companies were dying to interview me. I am not sure if it was because MSFT was on my résumé or because I was principal IC or because of the skillet, which included some serious performance work on real products, strong design, coding (C++, java) and algorithmical skills.

I ended up accepting an offer from Google, which was hard to reject.. I got substantial pay rise - an overall package equivalent to above average L66 at MSFT. Microsoft tried to counter with instant promotion to L66 and offered more or less to match my Google numbers, but I did not accept. My skip was crying when I said no.

Few months forward and so far I am glad I moved. Google is a big company, but there is a big difference in work culture and management. My productivity is up 300%, I am challenged every day (and loving it) and I am encouraged to speak up, bring issues, bring crazy ideas and even implement them. Did I mention that my peers are encouraging and helping?

Microsoft needs to change culture from process driven to result driven and get rid of all dead wood that can not deliver. Get rid of the curve and promote cooperation between teams and individuals.





Anonymous said...

My memory isn't what it used to be, but it seems to me that the review system LisaB originally came up with was the one before this, the three level system that replaced the previous 1-5. She also introduced the Connector and some other perks for employees. Then she was brought back from a sabbatical to announce the new 1-5 review system. Since then she's been silent. Maybe she should have quit rather than be their apologist, but how many of us are that strong minded. I agree now she should quit or be fired since people have short memories and hate her now. The misogyny and homophobia of some of the comments about her is depressing but not surprising given MS culture.

Anonymous said...

I was principal IC

I would jump at the chance to hire a principal IC from Microsoft anytime. As a matter of fact any experienced IC from Microsoft. Yet, I also believe that in the aggregate, having interviewed dozens of them, Microsoft employees are no better (and maybe even worse) than the rest.

Right the January 2009 layoffs I interviewed quite a few of the affected people. And to my surprise those interviews went A LOT better than I expected. I had been interviewing candidates several times a week for a few years and those weeks after the MS layoff announcement I had an almost supernatural winning streak. When I looked at it though I realize that most of the candidates were experienced ICs. I don't know if my data was biased by the kind of openings IO had but it almost looked like experienced ICs were the specific target of the firings. And they were so good we could actually afford to be picky for once.


But I also have horror stories about interviewing MS employees. And the worst involve people with management experience. Like that dev lead who couldn't write a simple binary tree algorithm. He kept adding *'s and &'s at random and asking “Is this right?”. I've seen spectacular flameouts involving high level managers who went back to Redmond within a year. And when the office gets emptied overnight without warning or their boss tells the whole team “I don't want to hear that guy's name ever again”, you know the departure wasn't amicable. I have seen this happen multiple times at multiple companies. And once a hiring manager has had to deal with something like that, he's going to look twice at any candidate from Microsoft. And he'll tell his friends. When people hear that once they might be willing to believe it's a fluke. When the stories keep coming they start thinking maybe there's something to it. In one organization I worked for three former MS director-level people had to be fired with prejudice because they couldn't find their own a-hole if you gave them a mirror and a flashlight. Needless to say the lure of the Microsoft brand is now gone for that HR department.


Just because ONE person (yourself, or your buddy, or whoever) has had no problem finding a job doesn't mean that there isn't a trend of companies and HR professionals questioning value of the “Microsoft experience”. I consider myself lucky to have left when I did, when such skepticism wasn't as widespread yet. I have since had successful stints at companies whose culture, value and reputation are very different from those of MS, thus proving that I wasn't stuck in the Redmond mindset. Yet every once in the while an interviewer will make a remark about how I shouldn't expect things to be like they are at Microsoft, or what have you.

Anonymous said...

My memory is really good - LisaB is the one who did away with the "life-time performance average" which let people take huge risks and made Microsoft great.

THAT, was huge BillG wisdom. You could look at your score over time and do some really simple math to see what kinds of risks you could take. And then suddenly, a 15-year running average of 4.0 turned into "your current manager doesn't like you, and he's required to fire one of his 10 no matter what, so you're fired".

She also did away with the standing rule that you could take any written standing offer - NO MATTER WHAT (unless you were actually fired for cause) - which was Bill's way of ensuring that great engineers couldn't be tossed out by one horrible ass-kissing manager ... which is pretty much all of them today.

The day that it became possible for a single crappy manager to fire someone for saying "I disagree", or "That's Wrong". Microsoft died.

And when's the last time you saw that lovely deck of laminated cards that started with "a passion for technology" ... and a really logical employee development plan? yea, right, somewhere around 1995.

But nothing will change unless Ballmer, Turner, Brummel, and Larson-Greene ALL LEAVE.

Anonymous said...

I'm an SDET, I write a ton of code, I make a ton of money, I love almost everyone who I work with, I'm freaking proud of the quality of the product I work on, and customers are proud too. If you don't like the company, leave or change it. But don't just complain.

Anonymous said...

I agree that PMs are the heart of this org. I'm a PM and if it wasn't for us this company would be in a big mess now. Devs and SDETs need to step up to our level, and fast. Please.

Anonymous said...

If KT announced his retirement, we'd see the stock rise another 7%.

Anonymous said...

DevDiv is the best place to work in Microsoft. SDE, SDET and PM in DevDiv are all rock-stars. CEOs come and go, DevDiv rules.

Anonymous said...

Why all the negativity about SQL Server? I spent a few years there during the SQL Server 2005 development cycle and thought it was a great org with (mostly) great management. What happened?

«Oldest ‹Older   1 – 200 of 617   Newer› Newest»