Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Microsoft FY08Q1 Results

Updated: I added a couple of more links regarding FY08Q1 coverage. Hey, let's look at today's opening number- Holy Beejeezus! (pop-pop - socks flying off feet): we're above $36?!?! Dear Microsoft Leadership: walk the halls today. If this stays up there, enjoy the glow and celebration of newly motivated employees, and get a clue again about what a big difference that makes.

FY08Q1 ahoy! As always, my favorite post-analysis sites for the results:

Things are looking mighty sunny going into the quarterly results: Halo 3, Microsoft acquiescence to the EU, Facebook investment (and a "win" over Google there), new Live Search technology, a new Live Suite, reblessed by Goldman Sachs, etc etc. The only bad news is the love that's going to be lavished on Leopard in the meantime.

Update: From my preferred top three:

(1) MSFTextrememakeover Q1-08 Earnings - has a nice break-out of the positives and negatives.

(2) Microsoft Watch - Corporate - Microsoft Q1 2008 by the Numbers - Mr. Wilcox has a call-out of something I found interesting, too, regarding revenue from emerging markets:

In another turnabout, Microsoft is seeing some effect from its antipiracy efforts. The change is significant, as PC shipments to emerging markets exceed those for mature markets. Windows sales growth increased in Brazil, India and Russia, among other countries. Growth in Russia exceeded 100 percent. I should point out that in some of these countries, Brazil being best example, Microsoft works with local partners to offer sales alternatives, such as Windows PCs purchased on a subscription basis.

(3) Microsoft profit rises 23%, beating estimates from Mr. Bishop.

Additional coverage (added 10/26/2007):

Jay Greene at BusinessWeek: Microsoft Results Turn Heads - a very nice, encouraging read from start to finish. Start: Despite reliable growth, Microsoft's unsexy stock has often failed to attract jaded investors. Its spectacular first-quarter earnings have changed that. Finish: Investors didn't even flinch at the online business numbers. And that may just be the thing that ends the long fallow period for Microsoft's stock. And lots of goodness in the middle, like the following snippet:

"The only reason this thing has been trading where it has is because of the bad psychology," says Charles Di Bona, an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., who has a price target for the stock at $37. "Maybe this is the catalyst where people start to take notice and stop being bored with the stock."

Microsoft’s Billion Vista Bump - Bits - Technology - New York Times Blog Snippet: Nonetheless, a day after we marveled at the $15 billion value placed on the tiny business that is Facebook, this is a reminder that Microsoft, even if it is not so fashionable, has a business that makes real dollars and a lot of them.

Other interesting coverage:

"Growth stock." Nice to read that again.

My thoughts: all of this is great news. Late good news. But good news. The OS numbers are something we should have had coming in two years ago. The premium distinction looks like a good idea, confusing SKU backlash and all.

Here's my one and only ask to any powers in the universe: wherever Ballmer is, keep him away from any interviews or speeches for at least a week or so. Let us enjoy this time, this upswing, without him torpedoing the good news with some pessimistic warning.

The Q&A didn't hold much for me. There was a little bit of probing about SP1 and Liddell acknowledged that BigCos are waiting to deploy Vista based on the SP1, but I guess we don't care too much given that we have our money from them one way or another. No date for SP1 was provided (not that we don't know it already). There was a bit of pushing for OSB's date for profitability, too. Yeah. Right.

There was mention of our continued expense growth directly related to our headcount growth, but none of the analysts probed with respect to expense / headcount reduction. Guys!?!?!

And I think True Organic Margins has become some new financial reality distortion field for our numbers.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Promotion Velocity and Spin-off-Softs

Faster here, slower there: there have been a number of comments over the past about working in a place like Office or Windows being detrimental to your career advancement.

"Is it reasonable to think moving out of Windows would increase one's career velocity?"

Quite possibly. My skip-level manager in Office even talked in a team meeting once about the slower promotion schedule in our organization. Of course, it was spun as "being a level 62 here actually means something" instead of "equally skilled employees are paid less here".

Well, if you're working with a bunch of senior folk who have been doing the same thing for five, ten, or more years, yeah, not a lot of room is going to open at the top without the organization forcibly rototilling itself on occasion. I have ad-hoc mentored folks at the 59 and 60 levels in large static orgs and while their management said that the HR study came back with their org's promotion velocity is no different than the rest of Microsoft, some of those folks (fine, solid contributors) had been at their level twice as long as what my part of the company deems acceptable (e.g., if you're a 59 in product development for more than a year, there must be a problem).

The fastest promotions that I've seen have always come when you join a new group going through explosive growth. Usually the opportunity to shine happens when a new group needs multi-discipline impact from everyone, and those that can do it and not have to exist within a narrowband get to break-out and get exceptional, promotion-worth results. Too bad after steady-state arrives at this group you typically get back into your narrowband of responsibilities.

For product groups, I think if you're looking to reach a leadership level of Dev / PM / Test Manager or above, you really need to have several careers at Microsoft in very different groups. What mix do you think does it? One mix I can think of would be (1) Dev Div or SQL, (2) Office or Windows, and (3) a connected group like Live or MSN.

Many Microsofts lead to Spin-off-'Softs? Could implementing the Many Microsofts loosely coupled culture enable us to break-loose and break-up? This comment came in:

Mini – I think you prayers may finally be answered. Check out this interesting article about the future of MSFT.

Interesting article (spoiled a bit when a later comment pointed out it was by John Dvorak. D'oh.). Anyway, if you wanted to lay down the structure to break-off chunks of the company, ensuring that they become more autonomous and decoupled from the bigger picture is a big first step to take. In Dvorak's take, though, it's a bunch of little chunks, not huge-honkin' divisions, getting spun off. Mr. Dvorak has interesting point-of-view on a recent Ballmer interview:

After you read this sappy interview, it was easy to conclude one of three things: Ballmer is getting fired, Ballmer or Gates have some illness, or the company is going to radically change and things won't be the same.

If anything has a snowball's chance, it's #3. Pffft! Now just a steam-ball due to the word 'radical.' Beyond this but including it, MSFTExtremeMakeover has a new post, too: What if Microsoft wasn't a screwup? As always, it's a splash of cold water:

...primarily it's the post 2000 track record of poor "bets", even poorer execution, and chronic overspending, all of which come together in the lack of visibility wrt future earnings leverage. Hence the reason why even after five years of this stock going absolutely nowhere, $50B+ spent on buybacks, $30B+ down the hole in R&D, and $10B's of new "investments", most analysts still can't make a case for more than 20% upside from current levels, and the stock continues to badly underperform. Meanwhile, they have no trouble doing so for AAPL, GOOG and many others - despite their already spectacular runs - and those issues continue setting new all-time highs (AAPL and GOOG increasing more in the past month alone than MSFT has in the past 5 years).

Yahoo! Welcome, neighbor: Mr. Todd Bishop has a Q&A with David Sobeski about Yahoo!'s new Bellevue office. Snippet:

On whether Yahoo will poach Microsoft employees: "That's what everybody wants me to say, like 'Oh, yeah, we're going to go attack Microsoft, we're going to go siphon the top 10 percent.' No. ... Does Microsoft have great talent? You bet. Will some of that talent want to come to Yahoo? Probably. Are we actively going to go after anyone? Kinda no. ... We're here to build a good presence of engineers. You know what, if Microsoft guys want to come and ask us questions, great. Google guys? Great. We'll talk to everybody."

I'm just looking forward to a lot more hiring gears spinning in our ecosystem. Go ahead, poach some employees. If it all comes down to salary and job satisfaction in this post-golden-handcuff era, the more hiring options the better. And you've got to think there are some really good ideas that can come in from folks who move around, along with "whatever you do, don't do this" stories. When it comes to APIs and platforms, I like what Yahoo! is doing better than anyone else. But I don't understand their corporate culture and what it's like to work there. Hopefully Mr. Sobeski can explain that, along with the cool stuff they are doing.

I'm just looking forward to a far more enriching hang-out with the geeks environment in our area. Traffic around Bellevue actually getting worse, though? That's hard to imagine.

Speaking of hiring, when will Google start suffering from its drunken hiring binge (Google Promises Again to Swear Off Binge Hiring and What do 16,000 people 'do' at Google?)? I'm happy to share our hiring misery. I look forward to the harbinger (well, maybe not on The focus of such sibling-society culture at Google is interesting - Lord of the Flies interesting - as is how it will evolve given lawsuits from Old Guys who get managed out. Yes, soon you Googlers will get to enjoy watching yearly Standards of Business Conduct vignettes ("Don't call old farts old, m'kay? Especially before looking at everything they've accomplished compared to you.").

Oh, and speaking of misery, here comes the following comment:

I heard last week...this fiscal year, Microsoft is targeted to hire (between acquisitions and new hires) roughly 16K new employees.


Perhaps I should have a Giving Campaign auction to just put me out of my misery. Or at least a piƱata of me... hmm.

Kimstars: Charles wins a double reward: (1) for inventing the new term Kimstars, and (2) posting that Kimstar comment and follow-up better than anything I've typed out in a while. (As part of this, I embarrassingly found out that the original Kim post had a typo in the title! Now fixed: Not-so-limited Kim). Anyway, perhaps the concept of Kim is beyond the Limited II / 10% II designator. Follow-up commenters said how their recognition turned around under new, proactive management.

And if you're not a Kim now, just look down your career path. Do all roads lead to Kim-land? Are we all working to Limited/10% II? Going back to Charles' excellent comment:

I would argue Microsoft doesn't recognize "talent". Microsoft recognizes "passion". They are not the same. Microsoft recruits and retains passion as its talent evaporates unnoticed.

Q's for MSFT quarterly results: what questions do you want the analysts to pose this Thursday? A few quickies off the top of my head:

  • Hiring: a huge overhead for Microsoft is employee payroll (including building space). What is the projected hiring for the fiscal year (net of 16,000?)? What parts of the company are expanding and what need are they addressing that the shareholder can appreciate? Why are H1B visas changes needed if Microsoft is finding expansive hiring so easy?
  • Xbox: given the successful quarter for Xbox with Halo 3, what does the remainder of the fiscal year look like and when is it expected that all investment in Xbox will be recovered? (Trying not to spurt a sip of Starbucks out of my nose typing that last bit.)
  • Search: after the blip-up on Live Search from the bot-crazy search-game, what is the projected real-world gains around the search and advertising markets that would be qualified as a success?
  • Vista SP1: when will Vista SP1 ship? Sorry, I know we have Windows Update to keep fixes rolling into Vista, but it's going to take another OS release until the "wait until SP1" conventional wisdom is dropped.

What questions would you ask?

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Wrong-Right-Wrong-Wrong? Some comments on the Bungie split, starting with this blunt one:

Mini, you have never gotten something so wrong as your MS/Bungie comments.

This is not a Win/Win situation, the only party that wins is Bungie, MS does not win, you do not win. Bungie wins because they are no longer governed by Microsoft management, no longer have to deal with all the different diseases that MS management suffers from, and that have been brought up so many times in this blog.

You do not win, because you lost 100+ badges, but those badges were part of some of the most talented employees that the game industry has seen, MS is not better off if their best talent leaves, which is happening across the company. What do you envision? A Microsoft half its size but without its superstars? The superstars (teams and individuals) are the ones that have been carrying the company for some time now, you lose them you have nothing left, you need to keep your good talent, motivate them, and compensate them. On the different groups I have worked and that have interacted with I usually see one or two guys that keep the team afloat, fix/patch management mistakes, and do the work of the incompetent ones, without those superstars you have nothing. And note that most of these guys are not compensated well and will probably never make it to Partner level.


Microsoft stopped worrying about retaining the best talent long time ago, they are more worried about hiring new people (I belive Lisa said this almost verbally in one of the meetings when there was a question about attrition), so this should not be THAT surprising to anybody.

An additional comment here:

Giggling with glee when some of the best people your organisation have left for _whatever_ reason is just a bad call. It's not a numbers game. Not only do vast numbers of people have to leave, but they have to be the RIGHT PEOPLE. (Or the wrong people, depending on how you look at it.) The ones who drag down those who can actually make good decisions and execute them.


Without good people, it's unlikely that anything substantial will improve. The bad people will corrupt whatever good ideas or strategies are instituted, and they'll seriously hamper execution ability.

Okay, so putting aside the dim, snarky Mini-persona here: yes, (1) losing Bungie is bad for Microsoft, and (2) not being an environment where external creative teams are just dying to be a part of (as in, "Oh, man, if we were a part of Microsoft, just imagine the support, the ideas, the creative management and extra features we'd be able to deliver!") is a big problem. I'm still coming from the perspective that any attrition is good attrition and the loss of hyper-talented people will awaken some crisis-driven change to assess why this is happening and prevent it.

This is my destroy the village to save it perspective.

But I got to say, I never-ever foresaw the huge employee growth we'd be encumbered with in just a few years. I'm mean, Crazy-who-the-hell-is-running-this-place kind of growth. We're no longer a village. We're a sprawling, poorly-planned metroplex, and neighborhoods - like Bungieville - can be completely wiped out and life goes as as usual. Crap.

Given that, I like Mr. Ballmer's concept of Many Microsofts, not just one mono-culture Microsoft. There can be the Yawnville Microsoft for stable, IT-driven software products. And there can be a crazy, rule-breakin' bass-thumpin' tat-covered Bartown Microsoft for the entertainment side. And black mock-turtlenecks for the connected, beatnik Zen Hill Microsoft. I think that would be great (and about as close as we'd be able to come to a smaller Microsoft).

But we're by no means there and I don't see a path getting us there. Me? I think we would need to have leaders with strong, exuberant personalities that not only have people's interest but also their respect, earned through their results. Look, I don't expect to like our leaders. In fact, if leadership isn't pissing you off occasionally with an uncomfortable change in direction then they are doing something wrong. Leadership is hard and it usually involves knowing the right thing to do, and that right thing is something not apparent to everyone and reflects hard, comfort-zone-breaking change no-one wants to endure. Oh, sure, we'll all end up bitching and moaning about it (and maybe blog about it) but it ends up being the right thing due to the results and where it puts the company and its shareholders. Whoa. (thump-thump-peace-sign.) Respect.

What's that scorecard look like?

Facebook is Dead: the bloom is off this blossom. I hope Facebook has some interesting announcements queued up because more people are saying bo-ring. Well, that and Scoble wanting more than 5,000 friends.

Mr. Dave Winer: Why Facebook Sucks. Looking forward:

Sometime in November Google is rumored to be revealing their answer to Facebook. Whatever it is it will surely have an API, and will allow Google apps to share the info, and it will, if it hopes to compete with Facebook, provide some access to this data to app developers. But the true measure of their gravitas will be whether they give full control of the user's data to the user. If they do that, no matter what's missing from their software, it won't suck.

Yeah, I'm sure Big Broth- I mean, Google would love to have a thriving connected social network that rivals MySpace and Facebook. Oh, the targeted ads that you could sell! Continuing Scoble's 5,000 rant:

Facebook’s engineers tell me that the 5,000 friend limit is there because their engines have scaling problems. In fact, I’ve noticed parts of Facebook slowed down for me at about 3,000 friends. Also lots of stuff broke and didn’t work for me (videos, for instance, didn’t work until just recently for me).

Looks like November might be interesting.

Vote With Your Feet Already: the exit interview part of the last post pulled up some interesting first-hand experiences of leaving Microsoft (and getting threats from management) and mostly disinterested exit interviews. Regarding being under one of these bad managers at Microsoft:

  1. Vote with your feet.
  2. Vote with your feet.
  3. Vote with your feet.

Hiring, at least for me, is hard. And it's getting harder. Do you realize the power you have to influence management at Microsoft?

Google is sucking up talented college hires (yeah, if I was graduating from college and could work at Google I would, not even caring I was wedged to work on some flat surface out in the hallways). It's getting more difficult to find and hire experienced people. Good people inside of Microsoft are leaving. Somehow, the light bulb hasn't quite clicked on yet for all the great Microsoft contributors that they are volunteers, to a degree, and if they find a group that's more interesting in the company, that other group is probably desperate to hire. If you're good, getting the job isn't the question. "When can you start?" is.

This is still a great time to look around internally and reach out to other Microsoft groups and find a place where you want to be. Use your network or the liaison site to find a great manager. I would be delighted beyond all measures if, instead of a blog about complaining about all the everyday crap people go through, there was a blog bragging about the great managers and the great groups we have. Eh, make it internal if you want. Sure, people will complain about sycophants and all that. I trust you to be bright enough to see through that. Cut out the bad by supporting - and putting a spotlight on - the good. Raise them up as an example. And starve the bad managers and bad groups of people. When they can't get results, their leadership will be forced to replace them with people that can.

One idea. But it starts with you ensuring you are where you want to be, and if not, voting with your feet.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


My Two Cents on Bungie Parting with Microsoft: simply: win-win-win-win.

  • A win for Microsoft because without this split, I'd imagine the heart of Bungie talent splitting off into either new game development companies or other game development companies, probably a lot less committed to Xbox. Bungie would have become marginalized and mediocre-ized.
  • A win for Bungie because it's a lot easier to hire top talent for Bungie now that the big huge corporation infrastructure is out of the way and their destiny is within their own hands.
  • A win for the local Puget Sound game development community given that a freed up Bungie can kick some more virtuous energy into the local market. It's strange, but more and more the non-Microsoft techies I meet as of late are in game development more often than not.
  • A win for me (yeah, I could use one!): less full-time blue badges! Yeah!

When I read about the rumor of the split from 8bitjoystick the first thing I thought of was BillG using Halo 3 as an attack poodle against Sony's Playstation 3. From Mr. Bishop's blog post on this:

Time described [Bill Gates] as "radiant with bloodlust" over the prospect of using the exclusive Microsoft game to foil the Xbox 360's rival.

"It's perfect," Gates was quoted as saying. "The day Sony launches, and they walk right into Halo 3."

Yeah, that didn't happen, now did it? And I imagine there wasn't joy in Bungieville of being seen as a tool of domination vs. a damn fine game. Oh, wait, they do have some stuff about world domination in their manifesto... well, anyway, to have Monty Burns -- er -- Bill Gates telling you when you're shipping is one less thing they have to worry about.

Now You're Cookin' With Gas: along comes a recent comment:

After reading your blog for a few years I have been inspired to do a bit of my own bloging. Hopefully I will get a few people discussing how to improve MSFT as well. I am focusing on my pet peeve, poor mgmt. I hope it can be a forum where other MSFTies can expose poor mgmt and try to improve their situation by exposing bad practices.

And what does that lead to? Snippet:

I would like to create a forum to expose both good and bad management within MSFT. When I first came in the door someone said "Working at MSFT can be the best job in the world or the worst, it all depends on who your manager is". This is probably one of the wisest things I was told as a newbe. I have now been around a few years and have lived both worlds many times over. Sadly now I am in the worst job, but looking hopefully for my next Best job in the world at MSFT.

Yowza! And anonymous comments are enabled.

Exit Softly: from comments about Microsoft exit interviews, it seems the recipe is something like:

  • Your boss asks why. If you're leaving because of your boss, stay quiet.
  • Your skip-level or about asks why. This is the only chance you'll have to share as to why you're leaving and hope that something will come of it.
  • HR exit interview happens. A rather perfunctory session.
  • A few months go by.
  • A survey to fill out more information about your exit arrives. Where it goes and what happens with it, no one knows.

Bubba writes about his real exit interview as well and it's along these lines. I'm amazed one of the commenters here said that their boss went to Crazy Town on them when they said they were leaving:

My first level manager simply threatened me and warned me not to bring him down lest he would blacklist me at Microsoft and "pull out the big guns". What a colossal waste of space that guy was... and he's still "managing" at Microsoft in spite of the fact that I informed his superiors of the threats he made. He was just asked to move elsewhere in the company.

Wow. Recycling the hazardous management waste.

Should Microsoft Buy Facebook? Nice comment I'd like to call out a bit of:

[...] Yahoo is actually lucky they could not buy Facebook (and we should not invest in Facebook unless there is a real clear, guaranteed payback). And we should avoid creating any new social network sites. But what we ought to do is look at this trend – social network sites – and figure out what it would mean to become the best platform for developing, hosting, and monetizing these things. I'd love to sell tools to people who want to make new social network sites. I'd love to make money from hosting these things. I'd love to make money from supporting advertising on them. "Microsoft provides the best platform and tools for creating, deploying, running, and profiting from, social networking sites." I would not like to own one!

Chat with some senior leadership in the next week and ask them, "Hey, what do you think about Microsoft buying Facebook?" I'm curious if your experience will be like mine lately: usually, a calm comes over the face and the senior leader is quite articulate in explaining all the reasons why it would be dumb to buy Facebook, how it won't happen, and how it's so wonderful to partner with Facebook for ads and to also ensure we're a great platform for people to develop Facebook applications on (along with being a platform for future social networking applications). Consensus and clarity seems to have been reached on high around this, a new page has been put in the strategy hymnal, and everyone is singing to it.

Of course, my love has totally left for Facebook. Well, they broke up with me first. And Baby, you don't even answer my email. Cold. I'm not gonna beg. Where can I find a new place?

Google's Orkut?

Mr. Scoble has the following teaser:

Now do you get why the world is going to pay attention to what Google releases on November 5?


Facebook has real competition coming. Competition they haven’t yet faced.

It’s going to be an interesting period to watch them go at it.

Orkut? Really? At least maybe I'll be able to make a friend with our award winning Best Manager in Brazil.

Other things going on: Departure central: Mr. Kniskem over at not only notes some recent departures:

Somewhat coincidentally, some notable Microsoft employees voted with their feet this week, as Erik Selberg from Live Search, Danny Thorpe from Windows Live Platform, Bubba Murarka from Windows Live, and Bungie all announced their intention to leave the company.

He also provides some interesting advice (directed more around Xbox Live and Windows Live). Topics with lots more text in the full post:

  • First: Develop a solid, deep-rooted, fast moving, and complete transition into Live Services.
  • Next: Put names and faces on the future of Microsoft: to gain trust, to show leadership, and to focus the vision.
  • Finally: Openly and honestly face the future.

Additional departures noted in a comment:

Speaking of departures...Tanya Clemons going to Pfizer and I hear that Susan Delbene also left. Maybe there is hope with execs leaving of some room near the top.

Another on Ms. Clemons:

It's a real shame that we are losing someone of Tanya's caliber.

Tanya has a distinquished background and joined Microsoft to lead change in our dysfunctional culture. Based on her presentations, she thought there was quite a bit of improvement needed and she was working with Steve to do this. Listening to Tanya, I was buoyed by the thought that at last here was an executive that "got it".

Change our culture? Talk about dashing yourself on the rocks. Looking at human nature, there has to be a benefit to the change realized on the "me" level. Mr. Ballmer wants us to be more bold? Reward those who are bold. Pretty simple stuff. In the meantime, I see more and more boring country-club types succeeding and I'll be damned if I could label a single one of them as bold. Loud. Obnoxious. But not bold.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Microsoft 2.0, Now With Less Bubba

Mary Jo Foley's Microsoft 2.0: Ms. Foley announced her upcoming book: Coming Soon Microsoft 2.0 the book. Wow, what great timing, corporation inflection-point-wise. I've been thinking about the book and how it will be in a position to get scads of attention because a lot of business people and techies will no doubt be wondering what a post-Gates Microsoft will be like.

I know, I know, Gates will still be (air quotes) involved. But come on.

Nothing makes a room more serious than to hear someone saying, "We're off to our BillG review." You immediately do a quick assessment: are they nervous? Do they look ready for a wave of f-bombs? Who next is going to inspire the level of deep, cover-every base preparation as BillG?

Anyway, I've been thinking about the book and how various people with various agendas will no doubt be plying Ms. Foley with their take of the post-Gates Microsoft. I certainly will! Our competitors are probably having a hard time trying to figure it out how to position it: should we push for making Microsoft look weak and unfocused and vulnerable? Nah, if we do that then it's hard to pull on that anti-trust nipple-ring. Dang.

How do you feel about post-Gates Microsoft? Is it an opportunity to break with the past and make a break-out move? Of course you should feel free to send any great insights Ms. Foley's way. I'm still thinking about it myself...

Swoon! I don't know what the IdeAgency is about, but it has our own VP McDreamy AlexGo kicking it off, so it's gotta be good. And it has cookies. Just when I thought life couldn't get better.

How did your real exit interview go, Bubba? Everyone at Microsoft who enjoys knowing about The Bench, Goldstars and other formerly shrouded rewards and programs should give a big farewell tip of the hat to now ex-Softie Bubba Murarka due to his Fall 2005 Thinkweek paper An Exit Interview which first mentioned these programs in a subversive way that elevated their discussion here and into HR's new headache. Bubba's starting his own gig... all while Scoble is wondering Why Doesn't Microsoft Get the Love?

Microsoft's Makeover: I like this post by Mr. Joe Wilcox - it reminds of the research days. Nice read: Microsoft Watch - Corporate - A Little More Blush Microsoft's Makeover.

Microsoft Extreme Makeover: has a post up regarding the most important issue to vote on in our proxy statement. A missing issue. Change, or more of the same? It's up to YOU.

Zuuuuuuune! Man, if we had released this Zune feature set a year ago, I would have bought two and be-bopped around the Apple store squirting songs between the two singing "ah-neener, neener, ah-neener-neener-neener!" A year later and left behind by the next generation iPods I'm wondering whether it's worth doing a bunch of WMV transcoding to get an Apple iPod Touch. Heaven forbid if iPods ever natively support WMV. That would be game over.

Last year the Zune group was the loudest of all the teams at the Company Meeting. I really don't remember hearing a peep out them this year... or now. More from Mr. Wilcox: Microsoft Watch - Games & Consumer - Zune Gets More Social.

(And actually... I don't think I'll be buying an iPod Touch. I like stuff I can hack and add to, like a smartphone, and I don't want to get a Touch just to have Apple [stepping up to match Sony's anti-consumer control-freakism] go and brick or wipe my Touch. So much spending cash in my pocket and no one doing their best to earn it... and my trust.)

Where'z Mah Bukket? So Facebook doesn't like alternative identities or personas for their users and I had my account disabled. I'm asking for reconsideration. I (of course) like Ms. Foley's post on the Mini-Microsoft / Facebook situation, plus her take on letting me stay on:

Shouldn't there be some kind of clause protecting Facebookers who shroud themselves with the cloak of anonymity so that they don't risk being fired? I was one of Mini's many Facebook friends and I was in favor of him being part of "the social."

Meanwhile, I have an email note saying that Facebook has received my appeal, but nothing moves fast if it doesn't make money so I'm still waiting to hear back officially as to whether the account will be restored. Sigh. I don't know if this is part of a Facebook sweep of alternative identities or if there's something more dumb going on... like if someone, perhaps as they handed over a load of cash, complained and a Facebook admin decided "thems be the rules!" and flipped me off. Literally and figuratively.

Along with flipping the boring bit to on and derailing Facebook from becoming an even more interesting post-blog place to grow social interaction.

Meanwhile, there should be a group (or two?) for you to join around saying, "Hey, uncool, Facebook," and kvetch with other exceptionally good looking folks like yourself:

Monday, October 01, 2007

Mini Microsoft is... sad without Facebook. I can truly understand the deepest feelings around the before and after of this poor elephant seal and his bucket. Cos my blue bucket - my Facebook profile - is, well:

Okay, it's their sandbox, their rules. But I'm still sad.

"Sorry" to the friends I had a great time interacting with on Facebook. It was a lot more interesting and productive than just regular 1:1 random emails and I think representative of a side-by-side evolution of a blogging conversation building up an interesting eco-system. It gave me a lot of energy to stay engaged with folks who read this little of piece of the blogosphere.

I hope Facebook will reconsider. I've dropped them a note.

For fun, you could create two Facebook groups: "Let Mini Microsoft Stay on Facebook!" and maybe - because I'm all about the fairness - "Keep that Mini Microsoft Jerk Outta Here! TOU! TOU!" Ah, well.

I guess I'll have to put all that time I spent enjoying Facebook into writing more posts here (coming soon, especially to move on from this little indulgence).