Mini-Microsoft Cutting Room Floor

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

A Place To Be While Mini Pauses

Mini Pause. If you just gotta share a comment or two while the main Mini-Microsoft blog Takes Five (or however long it's gonna take), feel free to add it here. In all of it's unmoderated glory. Cheers.

710 Comments:

  • Damn. Your blog was therapy for those of us still trying to make some heads-or-tails of this madness. Every day I wake up and wander my house wondering, "What did I do wrong?" Your blog was helping me to sort it out. You will be missed. Life goes on.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 4, 2009 at 8:21 PM  

  • A week later. Has anything *really* changed with the departure of the 1,400? It saddens me to think of lives disrupted while 3x their total salaries (or more) were likely wasted somewhere else in the company this week.

    Who's next? And what will really change then?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 4, 2009 at 8:24 PM  

  • Sorry to be a stickler, but it will be two weeks tomorrow. Those of us in the 1400 are painfully aware of the passage of time lately.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 4, 2009 at 8:45 PM  

  • Mini, Thank you for your time and service. You have touched the hearts and minds of a lot of people. Your blog helps me know that I am neither crazy nor alone, particularly during this very troubling time. It's people like you, with vehicles like this blog that bring people together to do work that matters.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 4, 2009 at 9:47 PM  

  • (Is this pause layoff related? Sorry to disappoint the Just Deserves club out there, but, no, I'm not in the 1,400 and I can't imagine my group being touched by the remaining 3,600.)

    Yeeeeah, right. An anonymous blogger who's been hopping up and down asking for Microsoft to downsize for years, suddenly shuts down his/her blog and claims it's not because of either being laid off or threatened with it? You have no way to prove it other than revealing your identity. I call shenanigans. ;) ;) ;)

    Just kidding. You're probably off in some deep, evil stack ranking review, behind on writing comments on your reports' reviews, and trying like mad to get your own review done so you can stay on track for a promo to partner.

    Just promise us that if you ever do leave, voluntarily or otherwise, you reveal who you are.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 4, 2009 at 10:29 PM  

  • holy cow they got to mini whos next

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 4, 2009 at 10:29 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger megamsft, at February 4, 2009 at 10:35 PM  

  • My guess is that Mini is just tired of answering the moderating emails for the blog and wants to use his personal time on more productive/enjoyable things.

    By Blogger megamsft, at February 4, 2009 at 10:45 PM  

  • Ok, the cat is out of the bag: the next round is upon us http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHg5SJYRHA0. Hold on to your hats!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 4, 2009 at 11:55 PM  

  • Good for you Mini.


    You've taken a break before, go ahead and take another one.


    Honestly, I'm just glad that you finally have come around to seeing that those leading the company do not share either your old-school passion for Microsoft or have a new vision beyond plodding along.

    You should seriously consider sponsoring a Ballmer-kicking shareholder action which gets him off the Board. There simply is no other way to send the message that will be effective to such s large shareholder who feels entitled to stay as long as he wants as CEO.

    The stock market has hated Ballmer ever since he jawboned the market into a terror in 1999 [by being honest about overvaluation at that time]. Developers have realized that Ballmer's bravado is not backed by anything they can rely on. Managers have realized that he will let fiefdoms go unchecked until his vassals annoy him. Throughout, he has proved to be reactive instead of proactive.

    Have a good rest Mini. If you want to leave MSFT I have a place for you (and yes, we are hiring).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 5, 2009 at 2:29 AM  

  • Sarcasm on.

    So glad to see that we're focusing on our core investments and aligning our business strategy.

    http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2009/feb09/02-05WonderwallPR.mspx?rss_fdn=Press%20Releases

    Sarcasm off.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 5, 2009 at 2:32 AM  

  • Would any laid-off employees be willing to share what they've encountered, good or bad, since the news broke?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 5, 2009 at 6:09 AM  

  • Sorry to see that mini is taking a break.

    We have enjoyed reading the posts and also the numerous comments from employees, consumers, shareholders...

    One of the comments in this post refers to getting rid of Ballmer.

    Throughout our reading comments, we have discovered that along with mini..there are numerous frustrated employees and shareholders.

    We have created a campaign that can be viewed at Microsoft SubNet called "Shareholder Activist". It will include a series of articles concerning a activist campaign.

    We have also created a blog outlining our campaign at http://thecrandreagoupr.blogspot.com

    While we will not fully outline the campaign in this comment section, part of our agenda is forcing the resignation of Mr. Ballmer and injecting vision and innovation back into Microsoft.

    As employees and shareholders there is the potential to effect change. This blog has demonstrated that numerous employees and shareholders want change.

    View our blog and post a comment or contact us via email at thecrandreagroup@hotmail.com

    By Blogger Crandrea Group, at February 5, 2009 at 7:26 AM  

  • I can't take seriously any kind of Ballmer-ousting effort, without seeing even greater effort and evidence around who to replace him with. Simply saying 'off with his head' is mindless and pointless.

    No board of directors would seriously consider ousting someone unless they had a plan for who to turn to instead.

    So, 'Crandrea Group', or other shareholders, or trolls, whoever else is advocating removing Ballmer - show us who should be in charge instead, who would actually do the work and be involved in that kind of a coup.

    (And um, crandrea group, if you're going to promote some great mass movement, it helps to spell your own blog's URL correctly. :) )

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 5, 2009 at 9:42 AM  

  • It's 'just deserts', not 'just deserves'. http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/just_deserts

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 5, 2009 at 9:45 AM  

  • A great quote from Braveheart when William Wallace said to Robert the Bruce " Now tell me, what does that mean to be noble? Your title gives you claim to the throne of our country, but men don't follow titles, they follow courage. Now our people know you. Noble, and common, they respect you. And if you would just lead them to freedom, they'd follow you. And so would I"

    With no apparent leadership and BillG no longer at MS, maybe it's time for more good people to leave...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 5, 2009 at 12:59 PM  

  • So I came to MSFT in the acquisition of aQuantive and I have to say, you speak the truth. It's probably not as evident to a person who's been inside the walls for some time, but for someone that came from a company that was constantly seeking out customer problems and building solutions that made an impact in a timely fashion..I just don't see that within MSFT. It's the reason they continue to be 3rd, 4th or worse in almost every unit outside of windows, office and browser (but the others are gaining steam there).
    The level of arrogance is absurd. MSFT doesn't listen to market demands, it dictates and when you have share, you can....but the reality is that MSFT is losing share, it's losing touch and pretty soon, it will probably lose the cash cows that fill the coffers. I've only been here a month and I'm saddened to say, I don't "love" it either. I guess I'm a romantic because the benefits are nice, the salaries are good, the ability to work wherever and whenever are nice, but the work is not stimulating, the strategy is not clear and the powers that be, "68 and higher" don't like to be challenged.
    Microsoft to me, is the government. You strive for levels and pay grades, you schmooze and politic your ideas and your reputation, but you surely don't listen to the customer and react accordingly. Ray Ozzie had it right..sequestor a small team and accomplish great things. Screw the beauracracy.
    And yes, the frustration of potentially being laid off, and the reality that MSFT needs to lay people off, weighs into all of the above.
    Yet I still wonder, how is it that line level folks, who are in the offices of our customers see the reality of what MSFT has become, but management fails to even fake realization.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 5, 2009 at 1:11 PM  

  • Microsoft should change its name to "MonkeySoft". Its Monkey Boy CEO is seen at the link below doing his famous Monkey Boy Dance.

    The World Famous Monkey Boy Dance of Steve Ballmer


    And speaking of animals, why in the Hell was Bill Gates unleashing live mosquitoes on people at the TED 2009 Conference on February 4, 2009?

    Click Here to See the article about BillG unleashing mosquitoes

    Hopefully the world is starting to see the cracks in the mental foundation of the Monkeys that led and are leading Monkeysoft.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 5, 2009 at 1:48 PM  

  • "Sarcasm on.

    So glad to see that we're focusing on our core investments and aligning our business strategy."

    /trolls

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 5, 2009 at 2:41 PM  

  • "I can't take seriously any kind of Ballmer-ousting effort, without seeing even greater effort and evidence around who to replace him with. Simply saying 'off with his head' is mindless and pointless."

    Why, do you think suitable replacements don't exist? There are at least a dozen well-qualified candidates. The decision should come down to a careful evaluation of his accomplishments versus failures and likely future performance given that, not availability of alternates.

    "No board of directors would seriously consider ousting someone unless they had a plan for who to turn to instead."

    It's part of their job description to always have that contingency plan. Also, not to stand by doing nothing as shareholders lose 70%.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 5, 2009 at 3:11 PM  

  • Why, do you think suitable replacements (for Ballmer) don't exist? There are at least a dozen well-qualified candidates.

    Name 3. Seriously, name 3 that the board would put up. Otherwise, an "oust Ballmer" effort is just an aimless crusade, and a way for people to vent, rather than something positive to improve the company.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 5, 2009 at 4:10 PM  

  • I just read this BillG quote in a book:

    “Take our twenty best people away, and I can tell you that Microsoft would become an unimportant company.” - The Microsoft Way By Randall E. Stross.

    It seems that although mostly the salespeople stayed (from that “20 top people”); nobody is really minding the shop.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 5, 2009 at 4:37 PM  

  • I don't know what to do now.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 5, 2009 at 4:37 PM  

  • To the Anonymous author who states" Ballmer ousting doesn't exist"

    Shareholder activism is extremely prevelent and has gained popularity. Eric Jackson of Ironfire Capital owned less then 100 shares of Yahoo. Through blogs, and youtube the "Plan B" for Yahoo rallied support from numerous frustrated shareholders. It rallied enough support to force the resignation of CEO Terry Semel.

    We have created an activist campaign. We have a subsidary of a media company conducting a four series report. We are in contact with hedge funds which own Microsoft shares. We are also in the process of potentially having a large Microsoft shareholder interviewed for the report.

    Campaigns can force resignation of CEO's, especially when it involves "public indignation".

    Lastly, just so you know, Yes, our URL is spelt right as it appears. It is how blogspot assigned the address.

    Rather than wasting time and comments about a URL..if you have nothing better to say might we suggest you refrain from comments.

    In response to other comments concerning our campaign and ousting Ballmer, we do have a suggestion. We suggest recruiting Carly Fiornia formely of HP. During her tenure at HP she orchestrated "innovation" and created shareholder value. This is more than what can be said of Ballmer.

    View the campaign at http://thecrandreagoupr.blogspot.com

    View the first article report at Microsoft Subnet. It can be accessed at http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/37991

    By Blogger Crandrea Group, at February 5, 2009 at 4:53 PM  

  • If you want to see the problem, take a look at the board of directors. Where do they come up with these people?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 5, 2009 at 5:48 PM  

  • "I just read this BillG quote in a book:

    “Take our twenty best people away, and I can tell you that Microsoft would become an unimportant company.” - The Microsoft Way By Randall E. Stross."


    It's this hubris that is directly responsible for the Partner culture we have today and the glut of thousands of mediocre hires we made over the years.

    There's a notion that we only need to really worry about the top 20% superstars, and that everyone else can be average and under-valued. It's the Microsoft culture of competitive rewards at its worst.

    In a culture where only the top 20% matter, if you take them away then yup -- you're an unimportant company... because you're only left with toadies and dullards. However, in a culture where everyone is an important player and everyone is valued and expected to contribute fully, then you can take away that top 20 and you'll still have a great team, and a team capable of hiring 20 more awesome people.

    Our company was built on fundamentally flawed principles, and evolution is proving that Bill's faulty DNA wasn't built to last generations.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 5, 2009 at 7:13 PM  

  • "Name 3. Seriously, name 3 that the board would put up."

    The board wouldn't put up any. For all practical purposes they're an extension of Steve and haven't made their independent presence felt once despite shareholders losing 70%. But if your question is name three they may eventually be forced to consider, off the top of my head I would include:

    - the 3-4 current internal candidates
    - at least three ex-MS senior executives (Maritz, Raikes, KJ)
    - obvious industry candidates (Katz at Oracle, Benioff at Salesforce, Mills at IBM, Chizen ex-CEO of Adobe, Hurd at HP)
    - other industry candidates
    - candidates from other industries(Gerstner came to IBM by way of RJR Nabisco after all.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 5, 2009 at 7:45 PM  

  • "Sarcasm on.

    So glad to see that we're focusing on our core investments and aligning our business strategy."

    Looks like we're competing hard with AOL again. So, let's warm up: when I say AOL you shout: MSN!

    The crowds are roaring!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 5, 2009 at 9:45 PM  

  • crazy, those who think foreigners should be removed, remember its skills and performance thats the criteria usually, and even if americans get layed off they get unemployment benefits, and foreigners too contributed to that when they were working and when they are out of jobs they have nowhere to go to beg for benefits isnt it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 5, 2009 at 10:17 PM  

  • "crazy, those who think foreigners should be removed, remember its skills and performance thats the criteria usually, and even if americans get layed off they get unemployment benefits, and foreigners too contributed to that when they were working and when they are out of jobs they have nowhere to go to beg for benefits isnt it."

    shut the fuck up and GFY -- nobody is beating that dead horse here, douchebag.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 5, 2009 at 11:10 PM  

  • Re: Crandrea ...

    You suggest Carly Fiorina? The one who is even more enamored of offshoring and having American companies not be interested in American workers than the leadership we have now? The one who stepped down from HP when the board of HP to want to find ways to share more of her power with the division heads, b/c the board didn't like the direction the company was going? The one who was in serious consideration to be John McCain's running mate this past election cycle? That Carly Fiorina? Wow, you guys are more misguided than I thought.

    And if you can't persuade a blogging site to give you a URL that spells your own name right, I sure as hell don't think you can influence significant shareholders.

    You might consider taking some time to regoupr. I mean, regroup.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 5, 2009 at 11:12 PM  

  • shut the fuck up and GFY -- nobody is beating that dead horse here, douchebag.

    Dead horse to you maybe. Not to those Americans who lost their jobs.

    What kind of screwed up government set ups policies to discriminate against its own fellow countrymen? This is totally insane.

    Yeah, a few people will make higher profits by importing foreign labor, but this is against the interests of American citizens. Americans fought for centuries to build this country, and is this how their government treats them?

    Please don't confuse race with H-1Bs. I am non-white American citizen, and I don't want to see all American employees replaced by illegal Mexicans and H-1Bs from China, Russia and India.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 5, 2009 at 11:31 PM  

  • So I'm trying to figure out...the gentleman with the blue monster "Change the world or go home" tattoo who was in the 1400, was he in fact MSFTextrememakeover?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 6, 2009 at 12:06 AM  

  • Most level 68's that I've meet were not all that innovative. They would come up with ideas that you are supposed to follow regardless if the idea stunk. I would also say that most folks above 65 have become too complacent and comfortable to really challenge and stretch their teams. Most tend to be lacking in leadership skills and were not all that great as managers. Oh I almost forgot they are a manager if they have 1 direct! Wow, talk about compartmentalization.

    Even so, If you did have an Idea (at least in my group) they would not help evangelize it. And, if you evangelized the idea you would get into trouble. Whatever happened to thinking outside the box? How can someone edify those around you if you are always stymied?

    People will work 8 hours a day for pay, ten hours a day for a good boss, and twenty-four hours a day for a good cause! Yes, it's causeless in Seattle...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 6, 2009 at 1:18 AM  

  • MSFTextrememakeover: I keep hearing references, but could you elaborate/post links? Who is MSFTextrememakeover?

    Thanks!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 6, 2009 at 1:18 AM  

  • Have a good break, Mini. I can understand. There are likely a lot of us that walk in just tired, a bit beat up, carrying a lot of extra mental weight.

    Re: Imaginative >L68s: once upon a time it was about surrounding yourself with bright, driven, creative ppl that will disagree with you. With that we were much more successful. Now? Surround yourself with people that agree with you, no matter how idiotic your direction might be. If you disagree, your chances of being one of 3600 increase dramatically.

    My best to the folks who were sacked the other week. It's difficult to watch your friends go through what you're going through.

    For the rest of us... (shrug) I wonder if the poll will accomplish anything...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 6, 2009 at 5:25 AM  

  • "Dead horse to you maybe. Not to those Americans who lost their jobs.

    What kind of screwed up government set ups policies to discriminate against its own fellow countrymen? This is totally insane.

    Yeah, a few people will make higher profits by importing foreign labor, but this is against the interests of American citizens. Americans fought for centuries to build this country, and is this how their government treats them?

    Please don't confuse race with H-1Bs. I am non-white American citizen, and I don't want to see all American employees replaced by illegal Mexicans and H-1Bs from China, Russia and India."


    Fuck "American citizens" -- most of us are assholes anyway.

    Nationalsim leads to the kind of xenophobia that's rampant in other parts of the world, the parts that are constantly bombing each other. The more you talk about "protecting American citizens" through panic over foreign workers the more you head down that slippery slope.

    Foreign workers are NOT our problem -- the rot is all from the inside, buddy. Eliminating foreign workers will not make these cocksucking CEOs and rapacious executives any more likely to save your own job -- they will find a way to squeeze the lemons for themselves until there is nothing left of you but a little gray nub... even if we seal our borders and never deal with the outside world again.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 6, 2009 at 5:30 AM  

  • Possible Ballmer replacements: http://255255255255.blogspot.com/2007/02/what-if.html

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 6, 2009 at 7:00 AM  

  • In response to Anonymous and comments concerning Carly Fiorina:

    Seems that HP was similar to what Microsoft has become today. In the late 1990's the company was losing share, revenue and had ultimately lost its former "glory".

    Fiorina during the tenure focused on the "re-invention" of HP. It shifted focus to re-establishing the company image and brand.

    The company pushed into new markets and solidified its leadership in existing markets. The company increased revenue, earnings, and subsequently this was reflected in the company share price.

    Despite her resignation, critics of Fiorina also recognize that she was responsible for establishing the foundation for the company turnaround and future success.

    If you were to take the time and read all the comments from employees of Microsoft, consumers, analysts and ultimately Wall Street..this is the fundamental problem with Microsoft. The company has lost its "glory". Within this comment section there is references to lack of innovation. There are comments referring to the company lacking vision. There are comments concerning the company losing marketshare with OS. Wall Street has recognised these problems and for eight years Microsoft shares have remained flat.

    Another primary issue is the company brand. Apple is popular based on its store's. Then there is Microsoft. The company has a poor brand image. It has lost consumer loyalty. All this despite the fact that the company sells CRM which is designed to improve relationships with consumers.

    Based on employee comments, and analysts reports, the company requires MSFTextrememakeover..which was a site or blog created by another Microsoft employee..which has been disbanded.

    The reality is that Microsoft is essentially what HP was a decade ago. Fiorina was successful in creating brand awareness, propeling innovation, increasing product mix, increasing revenue and market share. However, according to you these issues are not relevent.

    Another post requested who would replace Ballmer. The reality a Monkey could replace Ballmer. However, Fiorina had a record of turning around a company that at the time displayed characteristics similar to Microsoft currently.

    There are naturally other candidates, however, other large Microsoft investors agree that Fiorina would make a possible candidate based on turning around HP.

    We suppose these issues are not relevent to someone more content and focused on the real issue..the spelling of a URL.

    If we are in discussions with large institutional shareholders and hedge funds..and obtaining positive feedback based on our analysis of the issues..what type of constructive analysis of the company underlying issues can you provide.

    Can you provide analysis of company issues?

    Can you develop a strategy that is obtaining positive feedback?

    Can you compile research and data to create a "New Strategy" that addresses the issues and creates vision for the company?

    If you want to discuss the company and the underlying and issues and how to resolve the company problems we are open to discussions.

    We are open to obtaining insight and analysis from other parties. We are interested in suggestions, ideas, thoughts about how to improve the company.

    However, if your only focus is the spelling of an URL..you have lost focus of the real issues.

    Employees of Microsoft are frustrated with the company direction or lack there of.

    Wall Street is frustrated with poor decisions, massive spending and loss of market share.

    Consumers are frustrated because the company fails to listen to the consumer.

    Review the campaign..read the analysis and interview..we are open to comments concerning the real issues of how to improve the company.

    The "New Strategy" can be accessed at http://thecrandreagoupr.blogspot.com

    Lastly, to the author of being a former aquantive employee and now being at Microsoft:

    We are having a media report with four articles being conducted. We would be interested in having a Microsoft employee interviewed by the media company. It can obviously be conducted anonymously to maintain your job.

    This invitation is extended to any current Microsoft employee that is willing to constructively discuss the problems with the company and potential solutions. It is NOT the intention to get a disgruntled employee..which with the layoffs, we are certain there are many. However, it is our intention to have the media company conduct a interview that outlines the company problems and ways to correct and improve the company. It is not intended to beat up Ballmer or the company. It is reviewing company strategies, decisions, spending, acquisitions, R&D and what can be done to improve the company.

    If anybody is interested we can be reached via email at thecrandreagroup@hotmail.com

    And to Anonymous..you will notice that the email is spelt correctly...we seriously would be willing and open to discuss the problems with the company and how to improve.

    By Blogger Crandrea Group, at February 6, 2009 at 8:02 AM  

  • "We suggest recruiting Carly Fiornia formely of HP. During her tenure at HP she orchestrated "innovation" and created shareholder value. This is more than what can be said of Ballmer."

    OMG. That's the one former CEO who could make Ballmer look good.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 6, 2009 at 8:25 AM  

  • Fuck "American citizens" -- most of us are assholes anyway.

    Nationalsim leads to the kind of xenophobia that's rampant in other parts of the world, the parts that are constantly bombing each other. The more you talk about "protecting American citizens" through panic over foreign workers the more you head down that slippery slope.

    Foreign workers are NOT our problem -- the rot is all from the inside, buddy. Eliminating foreign workers will not make these cocksucking CEOs and rapacious executives any more likely to save your own job -- they will find a way to squeeze the lemons for themselves until there is nothing left of you but a little gray nub... even if we seal our borders and never deal with the outside world again.


    Nationalism is what made America what it is today. I agree excessive nationalism is bad, but saying American jobs for Americans is not excessive nationalism.

    I am not talking of eliminating foreign workers. They are definitely not a "problem". This is about restricting the apparently unlimited inflow to the point where American wokers are losing their wage earning power.

    Yeah, the CEOs are cocksuckers. These are the guys who wrote these laws that are in place. How can the free market work for the middle class, when the labor pool is unlimited?

    Here is some irony. Right now there is a violent backlash in Mumbai,India against people from *other regions of India* for moving in to Mumbai and "taking the jobs of native Mumbai-ites". In China there are restrictions on how many rural Chinese can move into cities. There are "illegal" Chinese in Chinese cities!

    I am not suggesting Americans do anything like this. But this is the kind of narrow minded people from other countries who come here and talk about "globalization".

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 6, 2009 at 9:01 AM  

  • Seems people are not happy with Ms. Fiorina. As mentioned, we choose her a possible candidate based on turning around HP. However, it appears that this is not gaining popularity within this forum.

    As mentioned, it is receiving approval from shareholders. we obviously understand that there are other candidates.

    As mentioned in a previous post we are open to comments.

    Shareholder activism has gained popularity. Although we don't want to offend other activists and hedge funds, since we intend to rally support from hedge funds. However, there is one minor dilemna with many activist campaigns. Typically, the campaign is created a hedge fund with numerous analysts conducting research of the company. Then based on the analysis the company will force a "New Strategy".

    Eric Jackson of Ironfire Capital created a "Plan B" for Yahoo. Through blogs, wiki's and youtube rallied comments and support to effect change at the company.

    The problem with most campaigns is that they fail to gather information from every potential party. Typically, frustrated employees of the target company that were are at mercy of management are then left to the mercy of a hedge fund with its own agenda or strategy.

    We wanted to adopt a approach more reflective of Ironfire Capital. Most hedge funds fail to ask the company employees what is required to improve the company and unlock value. Essentially, who knows better the problems with the company than the employees of the company.

    Before launching the campaign we attempted to follow this logic. Since we could not walk the halls of Redmond asking employees what is wrong with the company outside of Wall Street's analysis..we tried the next alternative.

    We entered numerous forums similar to Mini. We entered sites such as msftextrememakeover. We read comments from employees. We read about massive R&D spending with paper process and minimal innovation. We read about frustration with the Yahoo bid. We read about lack of vision and leadership.

    Based on essentially walking the halls of forums like this blog..we complied a consensus of the main problems. We conducted an analysis of data, charts, annual reports, historical share prices, and other companies.

    We then developed a "New Strategy" for the company. The logic for the strategy is outlined within the campaign. Essentially, both employees and Wall Street recognize that Microsoft is slowly losing share with OS. It has lost share in MSN and iphone. Both employees and Wall Street recognise that the company requires alterntatives to replace the depletion of its cash cows.

    This is the reason for the "New Strategy". Microsoft is required to have a alternative to replace OS, if Windows 7 obtains a similar reponse as Vista. It is required to have a replacement for OS as trends move towards SaaS and netbooks, and as PC sales diminish and with President Obama announcing a paper to be drafted concerning "Opensource". The reality...numerous employees and Wall Street have recognised this threat and this is reflected in the company share price reamining flat for eight eyars despite the company announcing revenue and earnings growth during this period.

    As mentioned in a previous post, we are open to obtaining comments from employees of the company. We are conducting a campaign for a "New Strategy". We are in discussions with hedge funds and large shareholders. We want a "New Strategy" that will improve the company long-term. A strategy that will create value and vision. Our logic..the best platform to obtain this information is from Microsoft employees that already openly discuss problems with the company within posts such as Mini.

    So..we are still seeking a employee that will be willing to conduct a interview with a media company. It will involve discussing the issues and seeking ways to imrove the company.

    We are also seeking comments concerning the campaign. The primary premise of the campaign is..
    1) Abandon share buybacks. This deployemtn of $40 billion is despised by investors and Wall Street.
    2) Use the $40 billion for acquisition growth.
    3) Utilze current market conditions to accelerate growth through acquisition.
    4) Not be content with mobile alliances when the company can buy a telecom..numerous analysts are frustrated that alliances with Verizon are share grabs and will not create future revenue growth.
    5)Expand product mix to offset potential increased depletion in OS.
    6)Establish 'search' only deal with Yahoo to increase market share.
    7) Become CRM focused. Start asking consumers what they want from products and services.

    The full campaign and interview with Microsoft SubNet can be viewed at http://thecrandreagoupr.blogspot.com

    If you visit..please read the analysis, comments extracted from other blogs concerning Microsoft..and please leave suggestions and comments on how we might improve the "New Strategy". We are seeking to establish a viable "New Strategy" that will create a New Microsoft.

    Our 'New Strategy' is being recognised by hedge funds and other shareholders as viable and potentially a solution to the company problems. However, as we continue to proceed with the campaign, we are open to comments.

    By Blogger Crandrea Group, at February 6, 2009 at 9:15 AM  

  • http://msftextrememakeover.blogspot.com/

    Blog similar to mini's, though usually with more in-depth technical analysis (which resulted in fewer comments...because trolls can't handle too many big words in a single post).

    Finally threw in the towel last June.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 6, 2009 at 9:45 AM  

  • Reply to comment on the main blog:

    "You should save every penny you can now and don't put more than 6% into your 401-k. Do you believe your taxes will be lower or stay same in the future? I think not, with federal deficit will be staying so high for many many years, higher taxes would be a sure thing. Your 401-k contribution wouldn't be that valuble if taxes are higher in the future. Also, having money avilable in taxable account looks like a much safer thing if you cannot find a job for a long time."

    MS has a Roth 401k option. So, if you believe that tax rates will higher in the future - specifically your own personal tax rate will be higher - then it still makes sense to contribute more than 6% of salary to the ROTH 401k. You pay tax now at the lower tax rate and take the money in the future, tax free.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 6, 2009 at 10:06 AM  

  • Did I read someone mention that there are no layoffs in India. I got some friends there and here's the news ... layoffs are happening in India only very very quietly and getting disguised as "normal" attrition... Avoid bad press? Some examples without taking names... One group has lost almost all women employees to health, family or career reasons. Another team lost their 'not so popular team mate(s) & no one knows what happened'... Yet another group is on the verge of losing a few (bad apples)...

    instead of being upfront about it the management team is giving cock & bull stories of 'Headcount rationalization & redeployment'... Why can't they just come out in the open... if job losses are happening everywhere why should India be any different and pray what's the point in denying what people would anyways guess.. except when you are hell bent on having them find out the wrong way. Folks in MS India speak up... Or are you too high on the KoolAde to bother.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 6, 2009 at 11:19 AM  

  • who is this candera group, they are troubling a lot, they should stop posting here.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 6, 2009 at 12:24 PM  

  • cary will suck more money, seems candera is being payed by cary, so stop all this so called as shareholder movement, if you want gather shareholders, and mostly groups like candera would force microsoft to do things which are of course not in the interst of employees. Fire more people and make it more profitable, how much more do you want to suck. if you dont like the stock, just sell it .. dont be like yahoo shareholders who wanted to kill the company, just for short term gains.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 6, 2009 at 12:27 PM  

  • I love steve balm-er, so dont scold him please.

    By Anonymous microgirl, at February 6, 2009 at 12:28 PM  

  • "crandrea group" wrote:

    The primary premise of the campaign is..
    1) Abandon share buybacks.
    2) Use the $40 billion for acquisition growth.
    3) Utilze current market conditions to accelerate growth through acquisition.
    4) Not be content with mobile alliances when the company can buy a telecom
    5)Expand product mix to offset potential increased depletion in OS.
    6)Establish 'search' only deal with Yahoo to increase market share.
    7) Become CRM focused. Start asking consumers what they want from products and services.



    Almost every single point in here is about expanding Microsoft rapidly. Isn't that the antithesis of mini?

    And #7 is already being done, just apparently not done well.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 6, 2009 at 12:30 PM  

  • To be fair, there is one attribute about Fiorina that might be considered a positive. Fiorina has a tremendous amount of experience in laying people off.
    She was the first Fortune 500 CEO to achieve Six Sigma Black Belt in Layoff Process Management.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 6, 2009 at 2:17 PM  

  • Can the Crandrea Group just go away, please? Carly Fiorina? My God, people, what are you smoking? Do you really have such a short memory? What is your real agenda? (Don't answer that....just go away).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 6, 2009 at 2:33 PM  

  • I don't fully understand this Crandrea Group and as the last post stated..what their agenda is.

    It doesn't fully make sense. But, it seems that it is not a bad thing they are trying to do. I certainly don't agree with Fiorina as a replacement, but, ther comments seem they are trying to improve Microsoft.

    Whoever they are, they state that they reviewed this site and other Microsoft sites seeking information and comments. They stated they couldn't walk the halls of Redmond, which are that pleasant right now anyway, so they are trying to get information from employees to improve the company.

    I don't understand what its all about, but, they also reference msftextrememakeover, which I use to frequent. msftmakeover tried through analysis and comments to try to change this company. Maybe that's all this Crandrea is trying to do.

    Fiorina would be worse then current leadership. But, maybe shuold would actually let us all go at once rather than Ballmer and wondering.

    Just my opinion.

    By Blogger anonymous, at February 6, 2009 at 3:33 PM  



  • Should Carleton Fiorina lead MonkeySoft?

    Well... a revealing interview with Carleton Fiorina is here at this link .

    But the really important question is this: Can she do the requisite Monkey Boy Dance?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 6, 2009 at 4:37 PM  

  • Crandrea Group, please go away. You sound more like a ranting schizophrenic than a serious critic of Microsoft.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 7, 2009 at 7:28 AM  

  • This will probably be our last comment. However, we must admit that we are perplexed.

    First, we have reviewed comments that we are seeking to layoff more employees. We have been asked what is our agenda. Does anybody actually read the posts?

    We have publicly stated that we are opposed to layoffs. Ballmer and management have only reciprocated the economic crisis. Layoffs only create more economic pressure. Subsequently, we will eventually have 5,000 more citizens that may not be able to pay their mortgage creating more pressure on the banks. Layoffs are merely a tactic were leadership cannot determine more strategic methods to improve the company. This layoff in our opinion actually surpasses the Yahoo bid as the stupidest decision in the company history. Layoffs to obtain a modest reduction in operating expenses. However, it increases R&D spending and announces it will spend $40 billion on share buybacks.

    We are sorry for mentioning this company within Mini-Microsoft. However, Apple was trading at $7 per share four years ago. Some were stating that the company should simply return money to investors and fold the company. Instead, it propelled innovation, introduced ipod, itunes, iphone and the shares have increased dramatically.

    We were asked what is our agenda. We have openly referred to our agenda. We have introduced our campaign. We have stated that we are actually interested in the company employee perspective. We are certain that you are all aware of typical activist campaigns. You are all familiar with the Yahoo bid. Icahn Partners had a agenda to unlock value. It never consulted the employees. Other companies have been the target of activism. We don’t want to insult other activists, however, the human component is never considered within the creation of a campaign. Typically, campaign involve looking at annual reports and other data to determine a strategy. However, the human component is not considered.

    We stated that we viewed sites such as this blog and msftextrememakeover. We understood that along with analysts, and consumers, there are numerous frustrated employees. Has anybody known an activist campaign to take the time to enter a forum and attempt to gather information?

    If we had a hidden agenda, would we waste time in a forum?

    If we had a hidden agenda would we comment on reviewing numerous comments to compile a understanding of the underlying problems with the company.
    We also viewed comments concerning our accelerated strategy for growth. It is contrary to Mini.

    However, we also mentioned msftextrememakeover. This site was more analytical in its postings. Within this comment section is the following comment in a condensed form:

    So I came to MSFT in the acquisition of aQuantive and I have to say, you speak the truth. It's probably not as evident to a person who's been inside the walls for some time, but for someone that came from a company that was constantly seeking out customer problems and building solutions that made an impact in a timely fashion..I just don't see that within MSFT. It's the reason they continue to be 3rd, 4th or worse in almost every unit outside of windows, office and browser (but the others are gaining steam there).
    The level of arrogance is absurd. MSFT doesn't listen to market demands, it dictates and when you have share, you can....but the reality is that MSFT is losing share, it's losing touch and pretty soon, it will probably lose the cash cows that fill the coffers.

    Wall Street has recognized that Microsoft is losing share. It is losing share within OS. There is an increasing trend towards netbooks. SaaS is also gaining popularity. MSN has lost share to Google. Microsoft Mobile created a alliance with Verizon to obtain share, however, analysts predict that it will fail to generate the required revenue.

    We understand the premise of Mini-Microsoft. However, as mentioned, msftetrememakeover provided more of an analysis of the company. Wall Street also provides analysis of the company. It perceives the company losing its share. It perceives the company losing its cash cows. If an employee within this site recognizes this reality, four to five years from now where will the company be financially?

    If Windows 7 obtains the same response as Vista, which reports are indicating that its only an updated Vista, there will be more of an exodus from Microsoft OS. How will that impact a company that derives the majority of its revenue from OS?

    Wall Street witnessed Ballmer in 2001 announce that tech companies don’t offer dividends. Dividends according to Ballmer at the time were for companies with no growth potential. However, two years later Ballmer announces a dividend.
    In 2004 at an annual shareholder meeting Ballmer is confronted with a stagnant share price for four years. Ballmer states that the company has a plan and that the shares will take care of itself. Four years later the company had deployed $115 billion on share buybacks and dividends. In 2008, the shares remain at approximately the same eight year level.

    However, Ballmer then announces, despite a loss in earnings, despite layoffs, the company will spend another $40 billion in an effort to increase share price. This is the reason that Wall Street refers to Microsoft as a utility. It offers dividends but lacks growth.

    Since 2004 the company has spent approximately $12 billion on acquisitions. In that period revenue grew from approximately $40 billion to $60 billion. Microsoft Investor Relations states that the company experienced double-digit growth. However, if Wall Street subtracts the cost of acquisitions, the company only increased revenue by approximately $8 billion. This fails to account for the massive R&D within the same period. Subsequently, this fails to translate into stellar growth. Therefore, from Wall Street’s perspective, the company requires an alternative to replace the depletion in market share and offset the potential continued loss in revenue and growth. If Microsoft continues losing share, four years from now Wall Street doesn’t favor a loss in revenue. In 2013 will Microsoft be a $70-80 billion in revenue company or will it detract to $40 billion based on a loss in OS.

    Based on this analysis, Wall Street determines that the company is required to execute a strategy that will ensure growth. Therefore, although it is contrary to Mini-Microsoft, the acceleration of growth is a strategy that will create revenue streams if there is a continued depletion from other operations.
    We mentioned that typically activists create “strategies” or agendas that fail to consider the concerns of employees at target companies. Prior to launching the campaign we wanted to go to the source. We knew what the consumer was stating about Microsoft. We knew what Wall Street was stating about the company. However, we wanted to understand what employees were saying about the company. Therefore, we entered msftextrememakeover and this blog. We read thousands of comments from employees.

    Numerous employees expressed frustration. This is perhaps why msftextreme stopped. It was abandoned last year after numerous posts and comments. However, the author perhaps felt that management was never going to listen and ultimately change.
    Within this blog there are comments that leadership doesn’t listen to consumers or to its employees.

    We create a campaign seeking to rally large shareholders. However, we also attempted to listen to the employees. We don’t believe that Icahn Partners cared about Yahoo employees when they were speaking with Ballmer and pushing the $45 billion bid for Yahoo. The employees of Yahoo were at the mercy of the activist and its agenda.

    We read numerous complaints from frustrated employees that Ballmer must go and leadership doesn’t listen. We create a campaign for change. We state that we are gaining media attention. We state that we are talking with large shareholders that have influence. We state our address for the campaign. We state that we want positive constructive comments from an employee for a media interview. The interview would be real opportunity to have an employee voice concerns about the company.

    The response we obtain is employees prefer we go away. Shall we leave and like most activists pursue our own agenda?

    We have conducted the analysis like Wall Street. We have reviewed the annual reports. We have reviewed charts, graphs and data. We can base our campaign on this information only.

    Would you rather us rally large shareholders and then publicly announce “this is the strategy” all employees of Microsoft, we are forcing the resignation of Ballmer, we are initiating these strategies of acquisition and that’s the way it is.

    It’s perplexing that employees complain leadership won’t listen and then when an activist campaign states “we want employee comments, the employees won’t listen and say “go away”.

    Someone was trying to genuinely listen. Seems hypocritical from employees to say leadership won’t listen and tell someone that is trying to listen to “go away”. Seems that you have learned from the very management you’re complaining about.

    Seems ludicrous to complain that management won’t listen and then just keep on complaining amongst yourselves.

    Msftextreme, he/she, they packed it in after realization that Ballmer was not going to listen. The author of this blog is now on a break. If this blog also stops similar to msftextreme, were will all you frustrated employees complain and who will actually listen.

    You will continue to complain in quit in the cubicle at work. Maybe complain to the trusted colleague. However, will it ever change the company?

    Although this blog is a great resource for comments and expressing frustration, will it ever effect change at the company that employees you?

    Activists have forced resignation of CEO’s. It has engaged in “public humiliation and indignation” forcing the CEO to resign. It has effected change of strategy with target companies. We have stated that we have a campaign. We are going to be using media and the Internet to rally support. The campaign is going to be eventually forwarded to media companies such as CNBC and BNN.

    There is the potential for employees to anonymously express concerns and problems and have a activist listen. We were sincere in our effort to actually listen to the employees and try to adopt strategies that would genuinely improve the company LONG-TERM.

    As mentioned msftextreme no longer generates posts. Therefore, when we started reading comments it was from a blog that is discontinued. A post from the author thanking Mini, lead us to this blog. We started by reading the comments. Then, recently, we attempted to create a platform were employees could complain, vent and comment to a activist that is trying to effect change.

    Here are a few comments extracted from msftextrememakeover that caused us to attempt gaining current comments from frustrated Microsoft employees.

    In the April post :

    So are you still around at The 'Soft or what? I am a long time reader here and have commented on every post you've made. I left the company three weeks ago after 10 years in. I am now a VP at a partner. I have to tell you, leaving was the best decision I've ever made. Sold most everything at $30 and $32 before leaving. Now, enjoying every day so much. Actually working at a company peopled with grown ups makes all the difference. Being treated with respect, priceless. The Microsoft detox feels so good, SOOOOOO good. 6:03 AM

    In the April post another Microsoft employee "Former MS Winbuilder "states:

    "leaving was the best decision I've ever made"'Extreme, I have to admit, my experience has been the same, even in this short time. I'd go so far as to call it an epiphany period in my life! The freedom, the satisfaction, the people actually, sincerely thanking you for coming to their company and helping them (when was the last time that happened), the joy I'm experiencing in my life now, it is truly a revelation, a liberating experience.I find myself now wondering why, why did I hang on so long? And then I realize that the reason was so I could truly learn to truly appreciate how good it is to be away from the toxic success I knew as a 'Softie.Your life, your TRUE life awaits you outside the gates of 1 Microsoft Way! 6:03 PM


    A Microsoft employee stated:

    I look forward to the day I leave Microsoft, or the day Ballmer does. Until then I can't stop caring how we do and every day it kills me a little more watching this once great company rot.4:12 PM

    Another Microsoft employee states:

    This is by far the best article I've read on the subject. It should be mandatory reading for every exec in the company. Hard to believe it's been 3 (great) years since I ended my own short-lived blogging career and left Microsoft. That place just isn't worth the frustration and aggravation.

    Perhaps the last comment summarizes many employee feelings. We read numerous comments from frustrated employees. Here is the reality. You can continue to be aggravated and frustrated. You can continue to post comments within this blog. Msftextreme stopped posting based on leadership not listening. Ballmer will continue being the CEO. He will continue to preside over the company in a similar fashion. Layoffs, massive spending, lack of consumer focus, lack of innovation, poor public relations, lack of vision, poor work environment…

    You can continue to complain amongst yourselves. If Mini is still posting you will have forum to comment. BUT WILL ANYTHING REALLY CHANGE.

    If you want to legitimately help try to change the company and create long-term vision and value our blog is http://thecrandreagoupr.blogspot.com

    If you are an employee and genuinely want to discuss the problems with Microsoft and potential solutions to resolve the company problems, leave a comment on our blog or send an email.

    By Blogger Crandrea Group, at February 7, 2009 at 7:46 AM  

  • crandrea group said:


    "blah blah blah no one is actually reading our comments

    (massive quoting of other comments)

    'we' are doing something, 'we' are talking to analysts, 'we' have a 7-point plan and a 4-point market analysis blahdiblah

    (massive quoting of other comments)

    (lack of response to any of the comments about the cradrea goupr's intent to make MSFT even more massive than it is)

    (some more speaking not just in the 3rd person, but 3rd person plural, for something that is probably just one person)

    (bewilderment at why no employee wants to come to them to talk about their experience, in an atmosphere where people are fearing for their jobs and there's no predictable criteria for how layoffs are happening)



    I think that about covers it.

    Go back to your blog and play your little fantasies. The grown-ups over here would like to talk about grown-up things.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 7, 2009 at 8:52 AM  

  • I learned the hard way. I went to Microsoft NEO (New Employee Orientation) where they get you all excited about working for one of the world's truly great companies, where people and ideas and contributions are valued. I brought this enthusiasm and positive energy into my work environment and very quickly learned that Microsoft is a truly dysfunctional company, where managers bully and torment their employees for trying to provide creative, original contributions. But it doesn't stop there. They will invade your personal life and if you have a website, they will scour it for anything they can use to belittle you, and trash-talk you to your peers, guaranteeing that you will be rated low on performance. I was in shock most of the time after I realized what was going on because I brought a lot to the table as a new Microsoft employee. If you think this type of phenomenon doesn't happen, click here. At the end, I was so happy to leave, yet I still have nightmares about the horrible manager I worked for. Fortunately that manager was laid off on January 22, 2009. Anyway, Microsoft is a sick, paranoid, gang-like culture. Those that like it are spoiled, sick or both. More than any other company I can think of, it deserves to fail and be carved up and sold off, the same way other failed large technology companies have.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 7, 2009 at 8:59 AM  

  • "I learned the hard way. I went to Microsoft NEO (New Employee Orientation) where they get you all excited about working for one of the world's truly great companies, where people and ideas and contributions are valued. I brought this enthusiasm and positive energy into my work environment and very quickly learned that Microsoft is a truly dysfunctional company, where managers bully and torment their employees for trying to provide creative, original contributions. But it doesn't stop there. They will invade your personal life and if you have a website, they will scour it for anything they can use to belittle you, and trash-talk you to your peers, guaranteeing that you will be rated low on performance. I was in shock most of the time after I realized what was going on because I brought a lot to the table as a new Microsoft employee. If you think this type of phenomenon doesn't happen, click here. At the end, I was so happy to leave, yet I still have nightmares about the horrible manager I worked for. Fortunately that manager was laid off on January 22, 2009. Anyway, Microsoft is a sick, paranoid, gang-like culture. Those that like it are spoiled, sick or both. More than any other company I can think of, it deserves to fail and be carved up and sold off, the same way other failed large technology companies have."

    Whoa there, little fella. I've worked at Microsoft for 12 years and have watched things go right into the toilet since 2000, but what you're writing above is the exception and not the rule.

    By-and-large I still work with good people who are trying to do the right thing in a system that is totally broken. The number of outright psychos I encounter is about the same as anywhere else -- fairly low.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 7, 2009 at 9:43 AM  

  • Question: who the fuck is "The Crandrea Group" and why do they keep spamming Mini's CRF with tl;dr nonsensical garbage?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 7, 2009 at 9:45 AM  

  • "All this despite the fact that the company sells CRM which is designed to improve relationships with consumers"

    Can someone comment on CRM Online and its future (3600s)?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 7, 2009 at 9:45 AM  

  • CRM is CUSTOMER Relationship Management, not consumer. And it's a product for our customers for running their business. That product has nothing to do with our management of our customers. Just because a company sells CRM software and solutions doesn't mean that they manage their customer relationships well.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 7, 2009 at 10:54 AM  

  • I remember reading in Nicholas Carr's book, The Big Switch, that he expected it was going to be a very challenging effort for Microsoft to transition from a software company whose business model was based on making software that sold in boxes, to being a Cloud Computing company. Judging from the recent events at Microsoft and the postings here and at Mini-Microsoft, I think we are seeing the beginning of what Nicholas Carr predicted. See stuff about this book, which is in its 7th printing for yourself here.

    Bad Economy. Uncertain Times at Microsoft. Paradigm Shift to Cloud Computing.

    Folks, time to get your career Plan B ready.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 7, 2009 at 2:21 PM  

  • Hi. I'm a MS troll. You can find me here. Days, nights, weekends, it doesn't matter. I'm there. Have been for a decade. I'm unemployed. I got fired again. Can't remember if it was from MS this time or whether they're one of the many who rejected my application. But I know I hate this company. Love Linux and Apple though. They're the bestest. I write under lots of different names. It makes me feel like I have friends. I comment on Yahoo, Microsoft Watch, TechFlash. Basically anywhere I think someone will listen to me. No one who knows me in the real world does anymore. I post here too. Often, I pretend to be an employee. I usually start with "As an employee of Microsoft, my employer, where I work... this company is finished". When I don't do that, I like to link to articles predicting the end of MS. I use "we" a lot. Like "we know where technology is going and it's away from MS". It makes me fell like I'm part of something bigger. I like to write Microsoft as M$ and Ballmer as Balmer too. Mostly for fun but also because I can't spell. Thank you for reading, it makes me feel less worthless.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 7, 2009 at 3:26 PM  

  • There is something fundamentally wrong with how Microsoft engineers products and no amount of spending, hiring, firing, layoffs, cost cutting, or changes in corporate strategy is going to fix it.

    What Microsoft and its employees don't seem to realize is that an excellent, customer-delighting piece of software can be delivered by very few people in a short amount of time with high quality and low expenses.

    According to data from last year, Microsoft has 91,000 employees. Consider that Google has 16,800, and think about all the (often great) software they make. Apple has 35,100 employees, and they make an enormous amount of software AND hardware. Nintendo has 3,400 (!!) employees.

    Microsoft needs a major rethink of its software engineering methodology. The current idea is that you make a product by forming relatively large teams of devs, PMs, and testers and mash them together, then plan a bunch of milestones, then everybody works for a while and eventually you get a product.

    This is engineering by committee and is the opposite of how any good thing is made.

    Until Microsoft reorganizes to allow individuals with great vision to run small teams to create great things, it will continue its market-share-losing death spiral.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 7, 2009 at 5:06 PM  

  • @Anonymous, at 5:06 PM

    Do you even know how many different products Microsoft makes? 250 SKUs that can be volume licensed alone, from the list I have, which doesn't include any of the dozens of online services that MS offers.

    Google has 65, according to their page, of which most fall under one product group. Can you really count image search and video search as different products? Additionally Google doesn't need a very large sales force since they mostly get their money from one source, adwords, which requires a relatively small salesforce. Microsoft has the burden of being mostly packaged software products that need sales teams, retail and enterprise, to move units. Google primarily needs to publicize their services to consumers, since that's the vast majority of the income generation. Google is also known to employ more contractors than full time employees, the opposite is true of Microsoft.

    Apple has very few products, about 40, compared to even one of Microsoft's customers, Dell, which is a smaller company than Microsoft, so you can't compare them. Despite having more than half the revenue of Microsoft, they have 3 times less profit, and when you consider how high their hardware margins are that's pretty expensive revenue. So, using your numbers their profit per employee is one fifth of Microsoft's, so from an investor's point of view that's expensive revenues and profits. It gets worse if you realize that the 35,000 employee number doesn't include the thousands of people it takes to make all of Mac hardware and iPods and iPhones.

    Nintendo has only 2 platforms, DS and Wii, and don't make anywhere near the number of games even EA makes for Wii or DS each. You can't compare Nintendo to even Sony's games division, let alone the entirety of Microsoft.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 7, 2009 at 6:53 PM  

  • April 20 = BOHICA 2.0

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 7, 2009 at 7:31 PM  

  • @7:31 PM (or anyone else who can answer):

    What is the significance of April 20? Can anyone give any insight into why it's being handled in this unorthodox piecemeal fashion?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 7, 2009 at 7:39 PM  

  • "According to data from last year, Microsoft has 91,000 employees. Consider that Google has 16,800, and think about all the (often great) software they make."

    OK, let's consider "all the (often great) software they make."

    Shall we?

    1. Search and associated offerings -- definitely great

    2. Gmail and associated offerings -- great, but still in beta after what, 5 years now? Longer? What does it contribute to GOOG's revenue stream?

    with the exception of gtalk, which is a piece of utter trash and a usability nightmare

    3. Google docs/office -- good but not great, very little press or public attention and no revenue model.

    4. Google Chrome -- good but what are they doing to monetize it?

    5. Android -- mediocre and behind the iPhone 8-ball

    6. Google OS -- um, ready when they are...

    7. Do please fill in the blank here, I'm at a loss...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 7, 2009 at 7:48 PM  

  • Managers @ Microsoft... Aah thats one hell of a topic to write about. BTW how're they different from folks elsewhere??? I have been around for sometime and I have seen the whole spectrum... ranging from soft spoken tyrants to total jerks, from reasonable sounding gentlemen (spineless kind) to true leaders... and believe me we're no different from any other average company out there in that respect. What does it say about what we can or will become... wait and watch. So far the goings have been good Bill's ideas are still keeping the cash registers ringing... but we don't have that class of leaders or visionaries anymore. Give it another couple of years for the present dispensation to start coming on their own or go down and take the company with them

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 7, 2009 at 8:06 PM  

  • Microsoft Employees = Under orders NOT to use Google. You can only use Live.com.

    Google Employees = Use whatever you want.

    BTW - I notice MOST Microsoft Employees represented here (Present and Former) don't have a clue about HTML and Anchor Tags. (I get it... You never HAD to learn about it, so you didn't!!!) How amusing!

    P.S. Pssst! You might want to learn a little HTML and even some XML for your Plan B.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 7, 2009 at 8:09 PM  

  • You folks need to be careful...

    BillG may unleash some mosquitoes on you, too!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 7, 2009 at 8:11 PM  

  • Hey, bold writer above, you are such a troll -- we are not under any orders, many use Google search as it is better for finding technical stuff, we can download and install Firefox (we in Windows division are even a bit encouraged to try various software on Windows), we certainly do know HTML and XML...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 7, 2009 at 9:21 PM  

  • "Microsoft Employees = Under orders NOT to use Google. You can only use Live.com.

    Google Employees = Use whatever you want."


    Fuck you, troll.

    I've worked with a few fellow 'softies who use Live.com, but the majority of us use Google just like the rest of the world.

    Please try harder.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 7, 2009 at 10:08 PM  

  • If you're listing Google applications, you should include

    • YouTube

    • Google Maps

    • Google Earth

    All of which are pretty formidable.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 7, 2009 at 10:11 PM  

  • Re: Google Products/Apple Products - please note that number of products is not the correct metric to optimize for, try total profit/employee and take another look.

    Re: Using live - notice that MSFT is large, and some divisions might have different approaches. Third hand knowledge, but apparently some managers in STB are very concerned with enforcing use of live by their directs.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 7, 2009 at 10:35 PM  

  • Gmail and associated offerings -- great, but still in beta after what, 5 years now? Longer? What does it contribute to GOOG's revenue stream?

    Okay, let's talk about Gmail vs. Hotmail.

    First, to answer your question, I know that Google makes a ton of money off of Gmail. If you haven't used Gmail, it shows context-sensitive ads on every screen. The ads are unobtrusive and relevant, and they are very profitable.

    Let's compare to Hotmail's ads--Hotmail shows me large, animated, annoying ads that are not relevant to me at all. Mostly they're for dating services and weight loss services, which have nothing to do with me or the content of my email at all and I've never, ever clicked on any of them.

    Aside from ads, Gmail gives me free POP3 and IMAP access to my email, which is brilliant. Okay, maybe it's a feature for nerds, but I'm a nerd and it makes me happy and more likely to recommend Gmail to other people.

    Gmail also has a terrific spam filter. It's so good that I can sign up for random stuff using my Gmail address with complete confidence that I won't receive spam. Not only does Hotmail let a ton of spam through, it often decides to randomly block important emails from people with whom I correspond often. This has happened often enough that I simply can not rely on Hotmail for anything of any importance.

    Gmail also works beautifully in every browser, desktop or mobile. Let's say you're in a pinch and need to access your Gmail from an iPhone's browser--it's great. Good luck even logging in to Hotmail.

    I could also say that I find Hotmail's interface garish, slow, and clunky, but those are more subjective complaints.

    So, beta or not, Gmail wins as a dramatically superior service to me. And I'm willing to bet that it makes much more money than Hotmail. So this illustrates my point perfectly. Thank you.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 8, 2009 at 2:49 AM  

  • Thanks!

    Did you happen to notice that Mini-Microsoft's e-mail is whodapunk@gmail.com?

    Also, BLOGSPOT.com is owned by Google.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 8, 2009 at 3:34 AM  

  • Right, I forgot about Blogspot. So you've got

    • search (where they're so entrenched that the word "Google" is already in the damn dictionary, meaning "search")

    • YouTube
    • Blogger
    • Gmail
    • Maps

    Each of which is entrenched as best in class and probably unbeatable. Then you've got

    • Earth
    • Chrome
    • Apps

    Etc. Admittedly blue-sky projects, but they're there, they work, they're well done, and they're conceptually sound. Taken together, it's a great suite of products that are beautifully integrated with each other, reflect genuine user enthusiasm, and aren't going to be replaced by anything else in a hurry.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 8, 2009 at 7:57 AM  

  • Anonymous @ 8:59AM writes:
    Microsoft is a truly dysfunctional company, where managers bully and torment their employees for trying to provide creative, original contributions. But it doesn't stop there. They will invade your personal life and if you have a website, they will scour it for anything they can use to belittle you, and trash-talk you to your peers, guaranteeing that you will be rated low on performance. I was in shock most of the time after I realized what was going on because I brought a lot to the table as a new Microsoft employee.

    Only parts of Microsoft are like this. They're not everywhere, but I'm just lending a cautionary tale somewhere between the above and "oh, they're honestly not that common so don't sweat it." Because if you hit one of these pockets of badness, you may find the politics so dirty and entrenched, that you cannot get out.

    After 6 managers in as many years, I was reorged into one of those bad environments, starting the beginning of the end of a once-very-promising career there.

    Trashtalked from day 1 by my new manager, she refused my permission to interview on another team as a "performance problem" even though I'd just earned a gold star right before the re-org. I was released to transfer elsewhere nearly a year later, once they'd saddled this 20%/exceeded with a 10%. By that time, the 4 opportunities that had found me during the prior year, because people knew the contributions I'd make to their teams, had all been filled. Two opportunities came to me after I was freed, but were eliminated by the hiring freeze.

    Likely the highest-paid person on the team, especially once stock award vesting was factored in...

    My last day was January 23.

    My former manager is still there. Probably still hitting the caps lock key any time she has to go to a Command window, too. She was sanctioned slightly late last year (all her IC reports were reassigned, including me), but that's it.

    Three gold stars in six years, a record of results and work ethic that had multiple teams around the company interested in hiring me while my mentally disturbed manager was playing the sadistic game of keep-away that ultimately cost me my blue badge, were all for naught.

    Until YOU are the person caught in it, it sounds OK that maybe only a few places at MS are like that. Because you figure, you know better than to get caught in a toxic environment; you'll recognize it and stay away from it. Sometimes, you don't have the option to stay away, and sometimes you don't have enough time to get out.

    And before you rag too greatly on the poster of the 8:59AM post above, consider this. Once YOU are ensnared in it, and all of the smarts, great results, political savvy and internal connections you've built can't get you out, hopelessness gives way to disgust gives way to the desire to speak out as the person I quoted did, above.

    Anyone in King County need an engineer about whom four people on a critical project said, we simply could not have shipped on time without you?

    I'm available and ready to give your team/company my all.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 8, 2009 at 8:15 AM  

  • @8:59 AM Anonymous Poster:

    E-mail me at former.msft@live.com. I am getting several prospects every week and will be glad to share some with you.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 8, 2009 at 8:28 AM  

  • oops, I meant @8:15 Poster! Sorry. former.msft@live.com

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 8, 2009 at 8:30 AM  

  • "Three gold stars in six years, a record of results and work ethic that had multiple teams around the company interested in hiring me while my mentally disturbed manager was playing the sadistic game of keep-away that ultimately cost me my blue badge, were all for naught.

    Until YOU are the person caught in it, it sounds OK that maybe only a few places at MS are like that. Because you figure, you know better than to get caught in a toxic environment; you'll recognize it and stay away from it. Sometimes, you don't have the option to stay away, and sometimes you don't have enough time to get out.

    And before you rag too greatly on the poster of the 8:59AM post above, consider this. Once YOU are ensnared in it, and all of the smarts, great results, political savvy and internal connections you've built can't get you out, hopelessness gives way to disgust gives way to the desire to speak out as the person I quoted did, above."


    The cautionary tale here is that Microsoft is not exempt from human nature -- the danger is that people believe it's substantially different elsewhere.

    I have friends with horror story after horror story just like the poster above of rancid management and toxic politics at Amazon, Google, Real Networks, Adobe, MySpace... and don't get me started on the drama at startups that happens when things start to go South, as they so frequently do.

    The lesson to be learned is that when you find a good place where you can do your best work in a supportive environment, enjoy it while it lasts and do whatever you can to keep it that way for as long as you can. But in the real world the good times are always bookended with bad times, and when the good times are over you *must* move-on quickly and cleanly or else you will hate your life.

    With all of the above said, I believe Microsoft has turned the corner and that the bulk of what's left -- based on what I see for myself every day -- is filled with probably more bad than good. If you're on a good team under a strong leader then you should enjoy your good fortune, but just as with anywhere else if you're on a bad team with a bad leader there's little you'll probably be able to do.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 8, 2009 at 9:29 AM  

  • Anonymous @9:29 AM:

    Really well stated. I agree. Thank you.

    Former MSFT Employee
    But still a MSFT Shareholder

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 8, 2009 at 10:04 AM  

  • Can someone recommend an employment attorney who specializes in matters for the employee? I am looking for someone in the Seattle metro.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 8, 2009 at 12:50 PM  

  • Whoa there, little fella. I've worked at Microsoft for 12 years and have watched things go right into the toilet since 2000, but what you're writing above is the exception and not the rule.

    By-and-large I still work with good people who are trying to do the right thing in a system that is totally broken. The number of outright psychos I encounter is about the same as anywhere else -- fairly low.


    I have no doubt that you're being completely forthcoming and truly believe that the poster you replied to was in a microscopic minority.

    Sadly, my experiences have shown exactly the opposite. Pockets of rationality lie in seas of insanity. (I'm not replying specifically to you; please don't interpret this as any sort of attack on you individually; it's addressed to all.)

    I've worked in several different divisions of MSFT. I've seen perspectives that the "I've been in the same division for 9 years and am now the GPM for my org." crowd cannot fathom existing.

    Asking myself "Why are many people in denial?", the only answer I can come up with is that the company has treated them well; the "system" has worked well for them, they've been rewarded at least fairly, if not generously. Claiming that the system is horrible, broken, dysfunctional, damaged, schizophrenic, etc. calls their experiences into question. That level 66 promo you got: You DESERVED that, right? You got it because you OUTPERFORMED everyone else, RIGHT? Call the system into question, you call people's successes into question, and that's not something anyone really wants to do. It's like suggesting that a startup zillionaire "got lucky". We're all human; egos do get bruised.

    What I've seen - from division to division to division to division (and back - got to love those reorgs) is:

    - Cronyism. Truly STUPID, TALENTLESS people are rarely promoted unless someone's trying to commit career suicide by putting a moron in a position of power under them. However, good people (but not necessarily the best candidates) are frequently promoted into high positions due to their friendships. Do you pal around with the big boss?

    - A complete lack of vision. I've been involved in promoting ideas, demos, etc. to executives who completely pooh-pooh'd the notions. Two years later, they start initiatives using exactly the same ideas and concepts because they were admired in a competitors product and they were apparently admonished by their superiors, who have never been told that their subordinates trashed a proposal years earlier and still wonder why their subordinates don't innovate. (I've had GMs tell me that they don't see the point in innovation, as they'll get marching orders in a completely different direction in 3 months anyway, nullifying any innovation, then get an about-face order immediately after that, followed by a new project that almost duplicates the original project, and so on ..)

    - The need for managing UP has become ridiculous. I see more leads managing up than ever before. It used to be Managers (GPM, TM, DM) who managed up to a PUM or GM, now it's the Leads managing up. The amount of time actually managing the ICs has become nearly zero.

    - I see the masses get promoted from 59 to 60, 60 to 61, all within 3-4 years and feel happy. They expect a promo every 1.5 to 2 years. Then things slow down, and 62 comes slower. Then getting to 63 takes a different kind of effort. 64 is more of that effort. 65? Only if they've been in the right place, on the right project, with the right visibility (hint: cronyism can help make this a reality if you fail with luck). The higher you go, the nastier people are and the more you should be looking for sharp objects in the hands of your peers. 65 and above, it's a knife-fight. Some people think Partner level is the 'top' and big-money-forever. Nope. Very competitive. Yes, you're making fair money, but there are lots of very bright people and only so much limelight, and you know you have to be in it to go further.

    - Although not necessarily cronyism, even if you can do the work of 10 others, be completely critical to the success of your organization, and effectively be irreplaceable, unless the higher-ups SEE you doing it and KNOW you, you won't get the recognition you hope for.

    - I've met people who've stayed in the same org since the dawn of time and seem to have the skills just slightly superior to that of a college grad, but the level of Principal. Despite our legally-required claim that we promote based on BUSINESS NEED and MERIT, Microsoft definitely promotes heavily based on TENURE. (TENURE = more likely over time to be known to upper management, etc., etc.) These people end up in positions of power and shouldn't be.

    - Worst of all, in org after org, division after division, I've seen teams where everybody's moving in "Whatever Direction Favors Them The Most". Not in "What the Division Wants/Needs". Why? Well, that's the corporate culture.

    The words said by so many that "YOUR DIRECT BOSS MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE." seems so very very true to me.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 8, 2009 at 12:51 PM  

  • http://www.waemploymentlawblog.com

    Has a good Q&A section on employee rights and more.

    No direct conflict of interest with MS either.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 8, 2009 at 12:57 PM  

  • Who is "Crandrea Group"? It seems to directly link to incompotent "bad hire". Talking about Carly's "turning around", GOD!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 8, 2009 at 1:37 PM  

  • I worked at Microsoft for more than 5 years before I left. And I thoroughly enjoyed it with some of the annoyances that you would expect with any big company over such a long time.

    But I do think that Microsoft is a company past its prime and on the decline. And it is facing some of the same issues that come with old age and declining health. Its business model is under attack by cloud computing and web service. No matter how hard it tries, Microsoft is going to be hard pressed to cannibalize its windows and office revenue. Overall, microsoft is only paying lip service to online services (how can you do anything else when most of your revenue comes from businesses that are not online services).

    I also think that Microsoft's vision is too broad and me-too with no focus. The power of software can be rephrased to mean "we want to be in any software business that is over 1B dollars". The problem is that this is great as long as it works but as Microsoft is seeing, you can not fight competition on their turf. If you do, you are playing to their strengths. It would be like american manufacturing competing with China on cost instead of quality. It just doesn't work. Microsoft can not compete with Google in "traditional search".

    Microsoft is also a victim of its own success. I think that the highly profitable windows and office have given execs the freedom to be unfocussed. Most of microsoft is like a spoiled teenager with a lot of money in inheritance and not knowing how to spend it wisely.

    Finally, Microsoft has become such a large company that it is a world within itself. You can be at Microsoft all your life. As a result, it has become too inwardly focussed. Employees strive to impress BillG and the execs, not the customers. Employees are interested primarily in advancing their careers and not the business (which are not always aligned).

    I think Microsoft was a great company, did enormous good but all good things must come to an end. Microsoft has done better for longer than any other company but it can not do it forever...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 8, 2009 at 2:00 PM  

  • Finally, Microsoft has become such a large company that it is a world within itself. You can be at Microsoft all your life. As a result, it has become too inwardly focussed. Employees strive to impress BillG and the execs, not the customers. Employees are interested primarily in advancing their careers and not the business (which are not always aligned).

    Sadly, employees strived to impress BillG 10 years ago and *that* was when things were fun and crazy. Sure, Bill is a childish, raging asshole... but he is also usually the smartest guy in the room, and striving to impress him was a worthy pursuit.

    Now we only strive to impress whatever random low-level Partner is within our sphere... back in the day I participated directly in a BillG review when I was a junior PM. Today I'm a 65 and haven't even met my current VP, because our GMs are the only people allowed into his rarefied godly sphere.

    Microsoft has been a dead-end for years. I'm there because as a 65 I'm doing well enough to be saving sufficient money to open my bed-and-breakfast in a few years, lol. I still love technology, but haven't loved doing technology at Microsoft since 1999.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 8, 2009 at 3:01 PM  

  • You could probably impress BillG again... but it would probably have to be with mosquitoes.

    BillG and Mosquitoes

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 8, 2009 at 4:02 PM  

  • I'm curious, how many of the first 1400 were over the ages of 40 or 50. And at what level they attained prior to 122; the 911 of tech.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 8, 2009 at 4:45 PM  

  • Microsoft is the most open company, I have been too. Each and every executive is open and approachable. Okay not each and every but almost.

    This unmoderated blog is full of lies.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 8, 2009 at 5:09 PM  

  • too -> with

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 8, 2009 at 5:10 PM  

  • "Microsoft is the most open company, I have been too. Each and every executive is open and approachable. Okay not each and every but almost."

    And you've had a personal chat as an employee with... how many executives?

    Buddies with Steve, Robbie and Kevin are you?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 8, 2009 at 5:18 PM  

  • I'm curious, how many of the first 1400 were over the ages of 40 or 50. And at what level they attained prior to 122; the 911 of tech.

    41, L62, industry hire. According to the hit list received at my termination meeting, 3 L62 positions occupied by 40-somethings in my division were eliminated. Less productive but newer to the company, or older than 55, L62's were kept on.

    Having large stock grants/options and being 55, due to the MS policy that they would continue to vest "after retirement" seemed to protect the oldest. Having lower salaries, and less time at the company that meant less stock to vest, seemed to protect the youngest. The exceptions are the whacking of entire teams.

    And don't you think "the 911 of tech" is just a bit over-dramatic? We'll all get through it, and it certainly didn't change the global landscape.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 8, 2009 at 5:21 PM  

  • 40, L63

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 8, 2009 at 5:49 PM  

  • "And don't you think "the 911 of tech" is just a bit over-dramatic? We'll all get through it, and it certainly didn't change the global landscape."

    Not just over-dramatic, but clueless and narcissistic considering the number of people being laid off each week in tech across the country.

    I hate my fellow Microsofties sometimes... we are such myopic, selfish asshats.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 8, 2009 at 6:07 PM  

  • >>>And you've had a personal chat as an employee with... how many executives?<<<

    Have you ever tried reaching to any executive? I have had discussions with many members of SLT. And I am at level 65.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 8, 2009 at 9:01 PM  

  • >>>>>>>
    Have you ever tried reaching to any executive? I have had discussions with many members of SLT. And I am at level 65.
    <<<<<<<

    Interesting. I was a Level 63. My boss threatened me with a write-up and ultimately with the loss of my job if I ever e-mailed our GM or anyone above.

    Note: I am no longer a Microsoft employee, and as of Jan. 22, 2009, neither is my ex-boss.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 8, 2009 at 9:16 PM  

  • >>>>>>>>>>>My boss threatened me with a write-up and ultimately with the loss of my job if I ever e-mailed our GM or anyone above.>>>>>>>

    There are all kinds of people, especially in the middle management.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 8, 2009 at 11:37 PM  

  • Have you ever tried reaching to any executive? I have had discussions with many members of SLT. And I am at level 65.

    L65, last time I spoke with a VP was 2006, Chris Jones. I then moved to a different division for an "exciting opportunity" and have yet to personally speak with a VP here. It's simply not done.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 9, 2009 at 12:01 AM  

  • "My boss threatened me with a write-up"

    a write-up? is this first grade?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 9, 2009 at 12:33 AM  

  • ""My boss threatened me with a write-up"

    a write-up? is this first grade?"

    Any MS execs who think the culture of openness is inviolate here, take note.

    On our team, we were threatened with notes in our personnel file and on our reviews if we even communicated to the GPM without getting approval for exactly what we were going to say, from our lead first.

    Control freak middle managers whose careers rest on controlling the message upward (the dreaded "managing up") can't stand it when those beneath them seek to "manage around" them.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 9, 2009 at 1:27 AM  

  • The official justification for why it was worth a hand slap on one's review? It shows "poor leadership" to not "respect" the time of the higher-up by "bothering them with things that could be taken care of at lower levels of the org" (but which aren't) and to "disregard the the manager's desire" to have "a consistent message" (read: only the one he wants to deliver) presented by him to execs.

    "Poor leadership" is used a lot in our area as a euphenism for "did anything the manager didn't like", and is a guideline that is applied differently from person to person and day to day, so it's difficult to guess whether taking any action is a CLM.

    The net result is that it absolutely buries any desire to innovate and improve things, and forces an unhealthy full dependency on one's manager for visibility. To go out and get visibility oneself, even if one is complementary to their manager in the process of doing so, is "poor leadership", because the manager wanted that visibility for himself.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 9, 2009 at 4:13 AM  

  • Several people have asked for a good employment attorney in the Seattle area, but I haven't seen any recommendations yet. Does anyone know of one that isn't in Microsoft's pocket? Or any suggestions on how to find one? I wasn't part of the 1400, but I have another issue.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 9, 2009 at 6:31 AM  

  • If you read the Candera posts and imagin the AI voice from Portal saying it.

    "The Candera group has found it says so right here in your personal file. Unlikable, liked by no one. A bitter unlikable person who's passing will not be mourned. It also says that you were adopted, so that's funny too."

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 9, 2009 at 6:47 AM  

  • Steve talks (to Dems), stock drops.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 9, 2009 at 8:20 AM  

  • "If you want to accomplish anything at all, you’ve got to be committed, you’ve got to be motivated, you’ve got to be tenacious, you’ve got to be smart." -- Steve Ballmer, Feb. 6, to the U.S. House of Representatives Democratic Caucus Retreat

    And then if you're committed, motivated, tenacious and smart, we'll axe your job.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 9, 2009 at 9:00 AM  

  • "If you want to accomplish anything at all, you’ve got to be committed, you’ve got to be motivated, you’ve got to be tenacious, you’ve got to be smart." -- Steve Ballmer, Feb. 6, to the U.S. House of Representatives Democratic Caucus Retreat

    Unless you're Steve Ballmer, of course... in which case you can make shitty decisions and preside over your company's stock doing nothing FOR AN ENTIRE DECADE, you can sit idle at the helm during the Vista and Yahoo debacles and you can be hugely rewarded for sucking wind.

    Just the way the world works.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 9, 2009 at 11:45 AM  

  • Must admit that I was sick of reading about the Candrea Group and all their annoying comments. I was feed up reading another comment and especially Carly replacing Ballmer.

    I thought we were finished with them, whoever they are..then there was the comment about the voice from Portal.

    I thought it was a troll..or just some idiot. But, I actually went to the blog to check it out. It seems alot like msftetrememakeover..which I use to read and enjoy. Don't agree with everything the site has got to say..but I got to admit that whoever they are they make some interesting arguments about our once Great company.

    Like me..you may not agree with everything they say..but to replace msftextreme..the blog might be worth reading some more.

    Just my opinion. Do what you want with it.

    By Blogger anonymous, at February 9, 2009 at 4:33 PM  

  • "Must admit that I was sick of reading about the Candrea Group and all their annoying comments."

    Ahem.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sockpuppet_(Internet)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 9, 2009 at 9:33 PM  

  • Several people have asked for a good employment attorney in the Seattle area, but I haven't seen any recommendations yet. Does anyone know of one that isn't in Microsoft's pocket? Or any suggestions on how to find one? I wasn't part of the 1400, but I have another issue.

    The OP is right about many of the larger firms in King County being in MS' pocket, but that is not a show stopper.

    Finding an attorney that isn't, is as easy as finding one that is, and asking for a referral to another firm. Most should be able to offer one. And don't stop at one. Ask a variety of firms for referrals so that you have more than one name to check out.

    Once you have the names, google is your friend.

    Look for attorneys with experience in representing the employee, rather than employer, side of employment law. However it can be a plus if you can find one that has a history on the employer's side as well. And a double-plus if they've worked for another firm on MS' side.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 10, 2009 at 6:46 AM  

  • Ballmer is the worst thing happened to this company. I have created a petition to spread the voice, please sign.

    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/msft/

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 10, 2009 at 1:51 PM  

  • Actually, I think if Mini starts the petition against Ballmer, he will not stand a chance.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 10, 2009 at 4:26 PM  

  • "Actually, I think if Mini starts the petition against Ballmer, he will not stand a chance."

    LOL, yeah -- that's how it works. Microsoft's board of directors -- unwilling to stand up to Ballmer after all of the crazy shit he's done over the years and as the company's stock has flatlined -- will absolutely oust him because Mini starts an internet petition.

    LOLOLOLOLOLOL.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 10, 2009 at 7:41 PM  

  • score. <3 Alex Blagg

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 10, 2009 at 9:58 PM  

  • While packing my office into sad brown boxes, I came across the book "Microsoft In Our Own Words" and cracked it open for old times sake. It's a laugh riot when not thoroughly depressing. All the "important" names are the exact same names running things now; about 90% of the movers and shakers then are the ones in charge now. Conclusion: in 9 years nothing has changed - stagnant.

    WTF quote on pg. 145: "Microsoft, the smallest big company in the world" - HA!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 10, 2009 at 10:16 PM  

  • RE: wtf are board of directors from.

    One is the head of Netflix, I think he is a great new blood on the board who has disrupted the entire video rental industry and created a pretty remarkable new business and company.

    I would also wholeheartedly support him to take over for Ballmer based on NFLX alone.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 10, 2009 at 10:20 PM  

  • re: employment attorney

    Steven B. Frank

    of Frank Freed Subit and Thomas. Biggest employment figure I think in Seattle. Located in the legal / courthouse area downtown seattle (look it up, I'm not an ad service).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 10, 2009 at 11:01 PM  

  • "I hate my fellow Microsofties sometimes... we are such myopic, selfish asshats."

    Oh thank the gods I'm not alone. I can't even last the entire bus ride into work without that exact thought entering my head. every.single.gorram.day.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 10, 2009 at 11:24 PM  

  • "Hi. I'm a MS troll."

    Hawcreek is that you?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 10, 2009 at 11:25 PM  

  • ""My boss threatened me with a write-up"
    a write-up? is this first grade?"

    And all the good little boys and girls get gold stars!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 10, 2009 at 11:25 PM  

  • Wow. Microsoft Appoints Simon Sproule as Corporate Vice President of Corporate Communications. Nothing against Mr. Sproule, however, coming from 2 companies that are losing revenue and are also laying off people. Why does MS feel that someone who was part of Nissan and Ford management teams can make a difference here? Stay tuned.
    http://news.moneycentral.msn.com/ticker/article.aspx?symbol=US:MSFT&feed=PR&date=20090210&id=9598041

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 11, 2009 at 7:47 AM  

  • Control freak middle managers whose careers rest on controlling the message upward (the dreaded "managing up") can't stand it when those beneath them seek to "manage around" them.

    You hit the nail on the head.

    Everyone's managing up.

    What I don't understand is why those executives being managed by their reports don't quite recognize it.

    I've reported to several executives who only wanted affirmations of their opinions/strategies. Thinking of one in particular, he very clearly did not want free-thinking bodies: They were moved out quickly. I wonder if there is any chance he was actively unaware of what he was doing, and honestly believed that if people didn't agree with him, they were "not team players", or some other rubbish.

    Of course, you can explain it all by assuming that they're all sociopaths. :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 11, 2009 at 8:11 AM  

  • Those of you who doubt if mini doing something online could make a difference can "LOL" all you want to, but it's clear that his blog impacted the decision to change the archaic, punitive, crazy-making behavior of the former review system. if you doubt me, go back to the Lisa B meetings where she actually credited him for it.

    The arrogance and hostile attitude you all show toward one another is just astounding. Seriously. It makes me so unbelievably grateful I escaped that place years ago, I can't imagine working in such a toxic environment. You're all here, blaming your leadership and Steve Ballmer for what's gone wrong, yet so many of you seem blind to how asshole-ish you're being to one another.

    Consider that Steve Ballmer isn't the entirety of the problem, or your managers, or the politics. Maybe the problem is you. Maybe it's your piss poor attitude when things get tough and the quality of what you bring to conversations and ideas - if this is any example, I'm almost sure of it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 11, 2009 at 9:00 AM  

  • "While packing my office into sad brown boxes, I came across the book "Microsoft In Our Own Words" and cracked it open for old times sake. It's a laugh riot when not thoroughly depressing. "

    I have two such books on my shelf - one from MSFT and another from my previous employer, DEC. In both cases, the book was evidence that the company had 'jumped the shark'.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 11, 2009 at 1:37 PM  

  • Anonymous Poster at 9:00 AM, Feb. 11, 2009

    I 100% agree with you.

    and

    Anonymous Poster at 1:37 PM, Feb. 11, 2009

    I 100% agree with you, and I too had a similar experience, because I too worked at DEC before they were bought by Compaq.

    I sincerely wish everyone a better situation than the one they have right now.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 11, 2009 at 2:54 PM  

  • "For a long time, mobile wasn't looked at as a place that was going to be a big platform for the future," says Bach.

    Does anyone know why Robbie is still here?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 11, 2009 at 4:46 PM  

  • To those of you who left - do you really want people like this as your co-workers? I can't imagine how scary this must be for you, how stressful - but look at the comments on this blog. Look at how arrogant, angry and dismissive these people are of you. Look at how the blame everyone else but themselves.

    I've never seen this kind of ridiculous, whiny, self-absorbed offerings from (allegedly) brilliant people, it's almost parody. To those of you who do see it and are trying to be compassionate - or at minimum, civil - wow, I can't believe you get through work everyday with these people.

    You know the really sad thing? So many of you have commented, so many of these quotes have made their way to the press, that Steve B isn't really the bad guy anymore. It's the collective employee base at Microsoft that's been put under a microscope and under the bright white light of anonymity? You turn into entitled, shallow assholes, many even racist grammar nazis who probably still believe the iPhone is going to fail.

    For those of you who were let go - I bet you look back at this experience in a year and see it as the lifeboat to the Titanic. And to those of you kind, decent people showing up on this blog? Man, I hope you get out of there soon. What a nightmare to work with these people. I'm embarrassed for all of you.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 11, 2009 at 8:12 PM  

  • "I've never seen this kind of ridiculous, whiny, self-absorbed offerings from (allegedly) brilliant people, it's almost parody."

    Apparently you've never been around brilliant people, then.

    I'd love to introduce you to a room full of brilliant academics, scientists or the like -- THEN you would understand what delicate flowers they all are.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 11, 2009 at 10:09 PM  

  • Employment Attorney

    Recommend Cliff Freed, from same employment law firm. Frank Freed Subit and Thomas.

    A MS 1400.

    Those 'lucky' enough to still be at Microsoft, consider your friends and neighbors for jobs before you post on a site in India. The job you save may be your own.

    Over 500 "Visa" jobs posted on MyVisaJobs.com for Microsoft Corporation in Seattle since 1.22.09

    Steven B. Frank

    of Frank Freed Subit and Thomas. Biggest employment figure I think in Seattle. Located in the legal / courthouse area downtown seattle (look it up, I'm not an ad service).
    By Anonymous,

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 11, 2009 at 11:59 PM  

  • were there any layoffs/RIFs in the MountainView campus?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 12, 2009 at 2:26 AM  

  • Apparently you've never been around brilliant people, then. I'd love to introduce you to a room full of brilliant academics, scientists or the like -- THEN you would understand what delicate flowers they all are.>>>

    With all due respect, I work with several in my current job. There is always an exception to a rule - always - but the representation on this blog indicates this is widely representative of Microsoft as a whole (and frankly, companies who have brilliant people tend to not outsource so much work to "ground-breaking vendors" who end up doing all of the work and Microsoft takes the credit for it.

    The really innovative employees are at Apple and Google, and a few other tech companies who are setting the bar for how things should be done, not part of teams that copy good ideas and make them better. Does that take some form of intelligence? Sure. Is it genius? Not at all.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 12, 2009 at 7:12 AM  

  • "With all due respect, I work with several in my current job. There is always an exception to a rule - always - but the representation on this blog indicates this is widely representative of Microsoft as a whole (and frankly, companies who have brilliant people tend to not outsource so much work to "ground-breaking vendors" who end up doing all of the work and Microsoft takes the credit for it. "

    With all due respect, I come from biotech and have spent my career working with brilliant scientists. You have never seen how childish genius can be until you've watched a globally recognized geneticist throwing a tantrum because he can't get his preferred style of doughnuts.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 12, 2009 at 7:58 AM  

  • Consider that Steve Ballmer isn't the entirety of the problem, or your managers, or the politics. Maybe the problem is you.

    Bzzzzzt. I'm sorry, the right answer was "Yes, it's self-absorbed management and a damaged corporate culture."

    Unlike many (most?), Microsoft isn't the only company I've worked for, and I've certainly seen 'bad' elsewhere.

    It's a different scale at Microsoft.

    So many are positive that it's 'whining', 'bullshit', etc. until they find themselves in a surreal situation that doesn't match up at all with their previous experiences and are forced to come to the conclusion that maybe those people weren't all making up crazy stories after all.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 12, 2009 at 8:08 AM  

  • With all due respect, I come from biotech and have spent my career working with brilliant scientists. You have never seen how childish genius can be until you've watched a globally recognized geneticist throwing a tantrum because he can't get his preferred style of doughnuts.

    With all due respect, that is the mark of a globally recognized scientist. These folks tend to be perfectionists and the tantrum is sometimes a result of that drive for perfection. This is something the ones who happy with regurgitating unoriginal & half-assed work, such as the Microsoft ilk, will never understand.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 12, 2009 at 8:12 AM  

  • "With all due respect, that is the mark of a globally recognized scientist. These folks tend to be perfectionists and the tantrum is sometimes a result of that drive for perfection. This is something the ones who happy with regurgitating unoriginal & half-assed work, such as the Microsoft ilk, will never understand."

    This doesn't even make sense. The original point was that geniuses don't throw tantrums. The counter-point is that geniuses DO throw tantrume. Your response is nonsensical.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 12, 2009 at 9:25 AM  

  • "Does anyone know why Robbie is still here?"

    No.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 12, 2009 at 10:12 AM  

  • It might just be me, but in the last few weeks since the layoffs things in my part of the world have actually taken a turn even for the much worse -- and that's saying something considering how bad it was *before* the layoffs.

    For the last 2 weeks senior managers have been in a panic trying to figure out what executives want to see, and changing work priorities and job descriptions every few days to see what sticks. I can't imagine that this is sustainable for long -- we've always played the "what corporate god are we trying to please today" game, but it used to be a quarterly exercise... not it's virtually daily.

    This is now officially the most ridiculous job I've had since high school. I am going to try very, very hard to leave MS as quickly as humanly possible, because there's only so long you can visit the circus before you become a clown yourself. :P

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 12, 2009 at 11:14 AM  

  • We initially entered a comment on this blog approximately a week ago. Prior to posting the comment we had reviewed msftextreme., and followed it to Mini.

    Without elaborating, it was the intention to post briefly information concerning an activist campaign. Didn' see it to be prudent to spell out the entire campaign within a comment section.

    The main reason for the post was simple. Reporters, analysts, Wall Street and even employees within msftextreme and this blog have complained about Microsoft. Our understanding was there are financial issues, however, there are also cultural issues. Therefore, we sought to get feedback from actual Microsoft employees in an effort to better understand the problems and potential solutions.

    We mentioned, it was legitimate. Mentioned, we were speaking with Media companies. Mentioned, we were speaking with analysts. Mentioned, we were in discussions with major shareholders. Thought we would gain support from this blog. Many are employees and shareholders.

    The result, we were insulted, called every name known to man. We continued to monitor the comments, however, stopped posting until now. Some person even went so far as to accuse us of making our own anonymaous posting as a puppet. Yes, in the midst of speaking with the media, working on a campaign, speaking with analysts, shareholders..we have nothing better to do than to make pretend posts.

    We don't need to pretend to be creating attention, we are creating attention.

    Go to http://channel9.msdn.com/forums/Coffeehouse/456780-FYI-Crandrea-Group

    An actual employee that possibly was responsible for some of the insults, recognizes that the campaign is legitimate.

    There is another post at http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/02/10/2012201

    Or simply check out the articles at Microsoft SubNet located at http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/38350

    Or check out our blog by following the link in the Microsoft SubNet article.

    When this series of articles are complete it will be forwarded to other media companies including CNBC. Yes, this is real. Yes, we are pushing to remove Ballmer and help improve the company LONG-TERM.

    We are trying our original strategy one last time. We want to be able to help improve the company morale, and work environment besides financial mandates and strategies.

    We are open to real comments concerning the problems confronting Microsoft. We are open to real potential solutions. However, we want real analysis, similar to what msftextrme., used to conduct. We don't want beating up Microsoft for the sake of it, that is not constuctive and productive.

    If you seriously want to help us try to improve the company, as opposssed to other activists that fail to examine the human component than leave legitimate comments on Microsoft SubNet or our blog.

    FYI-We have also recently obtained an email from a former employee and will perhaps have the media company conduct a interview.

    By Blogger Crandrea Group, at February 12, 2009 at 11:16 AM  

  • "The services will be profitable "within a reasonable timeframe," Doug Hauger, general manager for Microsoft's cloud infrastructure services, said at a conference in San Francisco."

    Sure. Like Xbox.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 12, 2009 at 11:23 AM  

  • "We initially entered a comment on this blog approximately a week ago. Prior to posting the comment we had reviewed msftextreme., and followed it to Mini."

    Please, for the love of christ, STOP TALKING WITH THE ROYAL "WE".

    It's creepy and retarded at the same time.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 12, 2009 at 12:21 PM  

  • Dear Crandea Group,

    Please consider that no one really cares how you have been treated, OK? Peoples' lives have just been devastated. Nobody cares that you were called a name in light of that. Toughen up and consider spending less of your energy defending yourselves and responding to ad hominem attacks and more time listening and responding with ideas that might work instead of showing us how butt hurt you are about the feedback you're getting.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 12, 2009 at 12:42 PM  

  • I visited they-who-shall-not-be-namedr's site, and it seems like they've put some thought into their analysis.

    A Sprint acquisition doesn't strike me as particularly prudent, because that brand's reputation is not something MS needs right now. If they think Vista has damaged the MS brand, they really won't like what being associated with Sprint will do to the brand. Talk about a pile of customers who dislike their vendor but stick with them because they're the low-price solution... I believe Sprint has the lowest CSAT and worst reputation of any major carrier in the cellular provider industry, and tremendous subscriber churn, which would mean MS would have to get good - fast - at acquiring new customers without spending an arm and a leg (Live Search Cashback anyone?) in SAC (subscriber acquisition cost). This isn't something MS has shown themselves to be very adept at recently, in niches other than Xbox.

    In contrast, RIM is a much sexier company with a good degree of loyal "addict" mindshare, which provides a more profitable moat with less price elasticity than Sprint's low-cost-provider-based moat. It would boost the MS image, even if it requires a more significant investment. And MS' recent difficulties attracting new customers wouldn't hurt as much here, because of the loyal user base and the inherent attractiveness of the RIM platform to those who consider themselves more "business people" than "technologists". Absent a telco willing to pay MS for new customers (AT&T / Apple iphone), if MS is intent on playing in the mobile space, it might be worth trying something disruptive in the market. After all, what MS has done so far hasn't been resoundingly successful.

    I also like RIM because they've been running a successful service business -- along the lines of the cloud computing model -- for an extended time. MS might be able to learn something from studying what they've done right.

    Another reason to avoid Sprint, and Verizon as well, is that those companies use CDMA cellular technology, as opposed to the GSM technology in use in most other countries. I think MS would get more bang for the buck in an investment that is so focused on the largely-US-specific CDMA world.

    And now to get this back somewhat on topic (mini msft, lean and mean). Brief web research nets that Sprint has over 50,000 employees and RIM has less than 10,000. If you had to select a sinkhole to throw cash into, with some hope of ROI, would you rather it be a sinkhole requiring 10,000 additional paychecks, or 50,000?

    Consider that MS already owns Danger, maker of the Sidekick. Acquiring the Blackberry platform would mean that MS would have presence in both the "youthful consumer" and "business" segments of the cellular communication device market. This has the potential of annoying the OEMs, but consider that MS has had Danger for a while so far and has not to my knowledge lost any OEMs because of it. And RIM is far more than just the phone hardware -- it's the Blackberry service as well.

    While I don't necessarily agree with everything the activists propose, I'm also not on the side of doing nothing. If these people are willing to do the work to try to get something to happen, I'm not going to stand in their way. And if they do get something to a vote, I might even vote their way, although the chances of that are much greater if Sprint is not the acquisition target.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 12, 2009 at 1:15 PM  

  • Dear Crandea Group,

    Please consider that no one really cares how you have been treated, OK? Peoples' lives have just been devastated. Nobody cares that you were called a name in light of that. Toughen up and consider spending less of your energy defending yourselves and responding with ideas that might work instead of showing us how butt hurt you are about the responding to ad hominem attacks and more time listening and feedback you're getting.

    The posted comment had nothing to do with the way we were treated. That's not the issue. The issue was stating the response given by frustrated employees.

    Yes, fully understand peoples lives were devastated..completely aware of the layoffs and the obvious does not need to be stated. But, do you really think management gives a crap.

    In regards to ideas and feedback. Tried that. Nothing but stupid comments failing to address the issues and problems.

    Seems everyone is so angry, frustrated, scared..that all you're doing is yelling and fighting with anybody.

    In regards to feelings being hurt..let's get serious..don't know anybody in this blog..so therefore nothing is takin personally. Reality, simply was stating the initial response based on what transpired and it had nothing to do with saying feelings were hurt. Try focusing on the real issue..how to fix this once great company..apart from Ballmer as you stated devastating peoples lives. Because..there are other words that come to mind beyond "devastated"..and..it rhymes with ducked.

    If you want to try to improve the company rather than ranting in a blog that won't change anything follow the links on our previous post and leave legitimate comments on operational problems, structure problems, morale problems and it will be brought to the attention of analysts, shareholders and the media as the campaign progresses. This seems more productive than venting and ranting in a blog that consists mainly of other employees in the same situation.

    By Blogger Crandrea Group, at February 12, 2009 at 1:30 PM  

  • Crandrea group = Carly Fiorina advocates = headcount bloat advocates = diversifying into even more industries = opposite of mini-MSFT lean-and-mean = just plain wrong.

    Name your media companies, analysts and shareholders that you're supposedly talking to. Otherwise this is all smoke.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 12, 2009 at 3:09 PM  

  • "Microsoft to follow Apple with its own family of retail stores"

    OMFG. Just let Apple buy you and get it over with.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 12, 2009 at 4:40 PM  

  • If you want to try to improve the company rather than ranting in a blog >>>

    You do realize you're here and participating *every* *single* *time* you react, right? Perhaps exercise a little bit of self-control and stop REPLYING, justifying yourself.

    I'm done with you now, you may go.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 12, 2009 at 8:55 PM  

  • Microsoft opening up retail stores? Source please, I don't believe it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 12, 2009 at 8:56 PM  

  • February 12, 2009 3:55 PM
    Microsoft opening retail stores
    by Benjamin J. Romano

    http://blog.seattletimes.nwsource.com/techtracks/2009/02/12/microsoft_opening_retail_stores.html

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 12, 2009 at 9:11 PM  

  • <<1,400 apply for job of Tacoma meter reader>>
    http://www.king5.com/localnews/stories/NW_021209WAB-800-applicants-one-job-LJ.bd594e8.html

    1400? Coincidence? I bet everyone had C/C++/C# skills on their resumes :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 12, 2009 at 9:35 PM  

  • http://www.americanworker.org/

    Americans, check this site out if you want to keep your jobs.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 12, 2009 at 10:16 PM  

  • To the 1400 from the 1/22 RIFF: how's the job search coming? have you found a job? any leads? are the internal recruiters being responsive?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 12, 2009 at 10:23 PM  

  • To the 1400 from the 1/22 RIFF: how's the job search coming? have you found a job? any leads? are the internal recruiters being responsive?

    My network has forwarded multiple leads on internal positions, but I've am stuck in a holding pattern when I pursue them. Hiring managers apparently can't consider to the non-corpnet-access RIF'd employees until the position is opened externally. And this apparently happens a few weeks after they're opened internally.

    As someone who is still considered enough on the MS payroll to be subject to NDA, the moonlighting agreement, and other contractual provisions that benefit MS, I find this to be a disappointing policy on the part of my still-for-a-few-weeks employer.

    One of the problem is that it's running the 60-day internal transfer clock. There will be positions posted internally in a few weeks that I will have no shot at transferring to, because they won't be posted externally until after March 23.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 12, 2009 at 10:47 PM  

  • "http://www.americanworker.org/

    Americans, check this site out if you want to keep your jobs.
    "

    fuck you, you bigoted, xenophobic assmunch.

    GTFO.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 13, 2009 at 12:54 AM  

  • I visited they-who-shall-not-be-namedr's site, and it seems like they've put some thought into their analysis.

    In an article at Microsoft Subnet a shareholder by the name of Mr.McDonald (who is also referenced in a TechFlash article) states he agrees with Microsoft being required to purchase a telecom company. However, states that it should be RIM.

    In a recent post on the they-who-shall-not-be-namedr's site, it mentions the rationale for selecting Sprint over RIM.

    Fully appreciate your analysis and insight into why Sprint may not work. Certainly understand the brand issue. Apple is cool..RIM is cool..You're analysis of RIM is very respected.

    RIM was considered as a possible acquisition. However, the cost appeared similar to the Yahoo bid. It would equate to tremendous capital for minimal revenue.

    Understand also the premise of this blog. It is lean and mean. The logic for the acquisition was analysts are stating that Microsoft is losing share in OS and there is a transition to SaaS, netbooks, and cloud computing..the concern is that if there is a depletion in revenue that the company will become lean in terms of revenue and potential growth.

    It has been mentioned, the desire for constructive feedback. The Sprint idea is certainly not definitive. Activist Eric Jackson of Ironfire Capital used wiki's to gather additional ideas for the "PLan B" for Yahoo.

    If the author of the analysis of RIM reads this comment, would be very interested in more review, insight and comments. Would you consider posting more insight on the blog at http://thecrandreagoupr.blogspot.com or at the article at http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/38350

    Would be very interested in more insight into why RIM would potentially be more viable for a long-term strategy. Based on the comments within this blog and R&D of Microsoft..do you think that RIM would still remain innovative and cutting edge if acquired by MSFT?

    By Blogger Crandrea Group, at February 13, 2009 at 5:44 AM  

  • "Crandrea group = Carly Fiorina advocates = headcount bloat advocates = diversifying into even more industries = opposite of mini-MSFT lean-and-mean = just plain wrong".

    "Name your media companies, analysts and shareholders that you're supposedly talking to. Otherwise this is all smoke".

    Prior to launching the campaign, the blog msftextrme., and the comments were reviewed. It provided insight into the problems confronting the company. However, msftextreme., no longer operates. Comments on this blog were reviewed and considered.

    The initial post on this blog was a tactic to gain deeper insight. Can certainly understand employees being skeptical..trolls. However, the initial intention was to direct employees towards the analysis at the blog or campaign and recieve deeper insight and feedback. Didn't want to initially create a long exhaustive comment if the reader could be directed. Obviously, that tactic failed.

    The logic of trying to attract employees was simple. With a former background in law..it is more influential to state that someone told me as opposed to I heard someone say through second hand information. Comments from Mini posts have been extracted and placed on our blog to verify arguments. However, the desire was to attract employees that made the comments to elaborate and provide more insight and analysis. It was intended to get employees to say..made this comment, however, based on the campaign it could be improved this way. Or, agree with the premise but this could be considered or this part can be improved.


    However, other employees have recognized that the campaign is legitimate. Refer to http://channel9.msdn.com/forums/Coffeehouse/456780-FYI-Crandrea-Group

    The author by the name of Jamie directs readers to three various links. It includes a reference at slashdot and also the two Microsoft SubNet articles.

    Reports refer to Microsoft "evangelists" and James Plamondon. There are also comments within this blog concerning trolls. Therefore, it didn't and still doesn't seem wise to outline the complete strategy. However, there are the articles at Microsoft SubNet. This series is not completed. It will include several other posts. When completed, it will be directed to other media companies. However, it is already getting attention. As the campaign moves forward it will be directed to other companies. But at this time the intention is to respect Microsoft Subnet and provide them with the initial full report.

    In regards to openly mentioning on a blog shareholders..this also doesn't seem wise. Mr.McDonald is referenced in the article. Also, there are hedge funds listed with SEC that have substantial Microsoft holdings. These firms let's just say are aware of the campaign..but with numerous funds experiencing loss in the current economic conditions..are proceeding with caution but are also very interested in a "strategy" that could potentially improve Microsoft.

    Understand the skeptism, however, follow the links on channel9 or go directly to Microsoft SubNet. It's not just smoke. It has only been in effect since mid-December and is getting media attention and is over the Internet in other blogs.

    Feedback is desired. Read the blog. Understand completely that it is contrary to Mini "premise", however, it aligns with msftextrme., and the need to inject strategy to ensure the company is successful in transitioning towards SaaS, cloud computing, netbooks, and handheld.

    Leave comments within our blog. Would like to hear constuctive feedback. Within this Mini blog there are employees probably from each division of the company. This will provide insight and analysis into what could legitimately improve the company for the LONG-Term.

    Read the articles and blog. Leave comments that can be possibly integrated into the campaign. Or comments that would improve the campaign.

    By Blogger Crandrea Group, at February 13, 2009 at 8:08 AM  

  • So what we're seeing here is that the Crandrea Group is doing a hostile takeover of minimsft, right?

    Crandrea Group: it would be great if you would stop spamming this site with the shit you're posting on your own site. Few people want to engage you in conversation here.

    If you are desperate for traffic, try advertising on Google.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 13, 2009 at 8:12 AM  

  • Have you ever tried reaching to any executive? I have had discussions with many members of SLT. And I am at level 65.

    +1 on this (also a L65). The key, of course, is when you do reach out, you need to be prepared, thoughtful and reasonable.

    I've reached out to people at the VP level many times before, and have only had one bad experience.

    That time the VP actually gave me a meeting, and it ended horribly. He was visibly annoyed 10 minutes in and the meeting was over. This happened a couple of levels ago and at the time I thought it was because he was a grade A douchebag.

    As I've risen in level, I've now got some visibility into what folks at that level are dealing with on a day to day basis. It's changed my perception and how I interact with folks at that level, let me share my advice -


    1) Don't waste their time. Think through your issue. Make sure you are going to them with something that ends with a call to action.

    Be concise and to the point. Don't write a 5 page rambling email, because most aren't going to have time to read it. If you can't get it concise and to the point, you haven't spent enough time on it. If you haven't taken 'Precision Q&A', then take it.

    2) These men/women are a valuable resource and usually have a larger workload/meeting/travel schedule. Sometimes you'll get a response right away, but if they're traveling across countries in Asia, a country a day, you might not get a response for a couple days or a week. Make sure you have that expectation.

    3) Recognize the possibility that your idea isn't a great idea and/or an idea that someone has already attempted. Sometimes a 'great idea' just isn't - either isn't feasable, can't support a revenue model, doesn't contribute to strategy, or just isn't something that fits here.

    4) Also realize that if you waste their time, they're just as likely to remember you as if you had a good idea. This is generally not going to work in your favor at promotion time.

    5) Think long and hard why you're going to them and not through your management chain. Is it really appropriate? Is it because your manager, skip level manager said it was a 'bad' idea for some reason? Did you take that on board and if not agreeing with them, did you atleast come up with a counterargument?

    Is it because you don't have a great relationship with your manager? If it's the latter, what can you do to improve that relationship? You could have some managers and skip level managers who seems like assholes at first blush, but once they got to know what you could do and your ideas, will become your biggest champions. I'm not talking about playing politics, I'm talking about being able to clearly communicate ideas and working on soft skills. If you do that and still need to escalate, you know you can atleast check that tick box.

    Just a couple of constructive ideas, I hope they help. As someone who's worked in different companies and verticals in my career, Microsoft is one where the senior leaders are the most accessible.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 13, 2009 at 8:16 AM  

  • Microsoft is opening stores? That is the worst idea I've heard since the stupid Yahoo offer.

    Our competitive issues with Apple aren't related to not having stores - its the product, marketing and perceptions.

    Adding stores will tick off our partners and cost tons of cash.

    Thank Kevin Turner for hiring his Wal-Mart buddy for this great waste of cash.

    By Anonymous MCSInTheField, at February 13, 2009 at 8:36 AM  

  • >> let me share my advice

    You forgot one bullet point:

    6. Realise that a person you're talking to could be a grade A douchebag who doesn't give a shit about anything but his SPSA payout. If your "idea" doesn't get him closer to it, you might as well not bother.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 13, 2009 at 9:01 AM  

  • "As I've risen in level, I've now got some visibility into what folks at that level are dealing with on a day to day basis. It's changed my perception and how I interact with folks at that level, let me share my advice -


    1) Don't waste their time. Think through your issue. Make sure you are going to them with something that ends with a call to action.

    Be concise and to the point. Don't write a 5 page rambling email, because most aren't going to have time to read it. If you can't get it concise and to the point, you haven't spent enough time on it. If you haven't taken 'Precision Q&A', then take it."


    Fellow 65 here with a very different point-of-view.

    As *I've* risen in level and watched the company change, I've seen that our executive leadership has become increasingly isolated and surrounded by an ever-shrinking group of like-minded people. This is absolutely our biggest danger at the modern Microsoft: our leaders have lost touch with the people who make the products.

    Your entire response highlights the wall that has been built up around these "super busy" people who are flying the globe and only talking to other "super busy" executives. Your good advice about not sending a rambling 5-page email was good advice 10 years ago... it's far beyond that now, and crafting your communication to a VP usually involves many days and many eyeballs and BLAMMO! It's become a de facto executive review.

    I will fall on my sword and say that when our company was small enough that I could occasionally walk down the hall, find my VP in his office and have a casual, unscripted human conversation with him -- frequently just relaying some feedback from our customers -- that it made him better at his job because it kept him grounded in the real world of the products we built. I did not agonize over "managing" my communications.

    You can assume that there is a difference between an impromptu chat with your VP about something relevant and a long, rambling speech about something that wastes time. The latter has always been ill-advised, but the former is vital to maintain a sense of connection through the ranks, and the former is what we've completely lost.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 13, 2009 at 9:22 AM  

  • Response to the 10:47 PM poster (searching for a new internal job without corpnet access):

    I'm hesitant to write this, given how it may end up sounding, but please believe that I'm saying this with the utmost sincerity, and with no intention of being callous or trying to make what I know is a hideous, frightening situation any worse. I just can't help thinking that there may be a lot of people in the same circumstance who are pursuing a similar course, some of whom have never had any experience with layoffs before now, and it seems like somebody needs to voice an unpleasant truth. So, here goes:

    I think you really, really need to reconcile yourself -- sooner rather than later -- to the fact that your next job probably won't be at Microsoft. I'm sure the HR rep who broke the bad news told you that you were welcome to apply for any advertised open position in the company, and that's true as far as it goes, but the same would be true if you'd never worked here at all, and were just coming in off the street with a resume. Everybody gets the same script read to them during a layoff. It's legal cover for the company, nothing more. To get any clear picture of the situation, you need to focus on what they're doing rather than what they're saying.

    Fact is, they could have given everyone who was laid off access to corpnet and internal job postings. Nothing was preventing them from doing that if they'd wanted to, so the only reasonable conclusion to be drawn is that they didn't want to. In essence, they've divided the laid-off folks into two groups: people they wouldn't mind keeping, and people they really don't mind losing. If you aren't in building 25 with corpnet access today, then you have been sent a pretty clear signal that you're in the latter group.

    (There are lots of possible reasons for this that have nothing to do with how good an employee you were or how well you did your job. You may have been getting paid a higher salary than others doing similar work and become a more tempting target for cost-cutting; you may have had a lot of stock awards owing to you over the next couple years that they'd rather just hang onto; you may have some highly specialized skills that they just don't think they'll need as much in the future; you may simply have worked on a product or project that they viewed as "tainted" and wanted to wash their hands of. The sad truth is, no one is ever going to tell you honestly what it was that landed you on the "out" list, so you might as well just assume that it was one of those things beyond your control that don't reflect badly upon you in any way, and move on.)

    The thing about your post that most grabbed my attention and moved me to write this message is that after all of this has happened, you're still referring to Microsoft as "my employer." Honestly, that's not what they are anymore, and you're not doing yourself any favors by continuing to think about them that way. They kept you on their payroll for 60 days because the law said they had to. They've stacked the deck against you to all-but-ensure that you won't be able to make an internal transfer before those 60 days run out, which means that even if you do find another job here, you'll be treated like a new employee -- so you'll not only still lose your unvested stock and any other future rewards you'd been expecting, but your previous salary won't have any bearing when you sit down to negotiate your new one. You should really think hard about how you'd feel about continuing to work at MS under those circumstances, because that's the scenario they're forcing on you if you do manage to land something new and stick around. And even if you could live with that scenario, you shouldn't hold out any great hope of it happening, because the plain truth is, they aren't making any special effort to hire you over anybody else in the world.

    I guess my worry is that you and a lot of other people have been encouraged (quite cynically, in my opinion) to believe that MS still cares about you when they really don't anymore, and that you'll end up wasting these 60 days that you could have been using as a golden opportunity to get paid while finding the next company you're going to work for. The obstacles you've described in your post are not only real, but they were laid in your path deliberately. Holding out hope for a new MS job until the bitter end is very unlikely to change the outcome -- they've already indicated by their actions what they intend for that outcome to be. So in all likelihood, it will simply mean that you start your real job hunt 60 days late, at the exact same moment that your income and your health benefits finally disappear.

    I'd love to be wrong. I'd love it if every person who still wants to work here were able to find a way to do so, and was able to hold onto all their stock and benefits in the process. But I'm pretty certain that isn't what Microsoft wants. I wouldn't discourage any of you from continuing to network and try to find something here -- you never know, you might get lucky -- but please, please make sure this isn't the only place or even the primary place you're looking. If you're spending more than 10% of your time on this, you need to rethink your priorities from a more realistic point of view, however painful it may be to do so. In short, don't let yourself stay in the "holding pattern" until you crash, instead of finding a safer place to land while you can.

    I hope that makes sense and doesn't sound cruel. It's just the perspective of someone who's been on one side or the other of several layoffs at previous jobs. (And with another 3600 yet to come here, it's entirely possible that I'll be having to practice what I'm preaching before long.)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 13, 2009 at 11:22 AM  

  • "I think you really, really need to reconcile yourself -- sooner rather than later -- to the fact that your next job probably won't be at Microsoft. I'm sure the HR rep who broke the bad news told you that you were welcome to apply for any advertised open position in the company, and that's true as far as it goes, but the same would be true if you'd never worked here at all, and were just coming in off the street with a resume. Everybody gets the same script read to them during a layoff. It's legal cover for the company, nothing more. To get any clear picture of the situation, you need to focus on what they're doing rather than what they're saying.

    Fact is, they could have given everyone who was laid off access to corpnet and internal job postings. Nothing was preventing them from doing that if they'd wanted to, so the only reasonable conclusion to be drawn is that they didn't want to. In essence, they've divided the laid-off folks into two groups: people they wouldn't mind keeping, and people they really don't mind losing."


    I would like to echo the truth in this post, and also give a shout-out for the delicacy in which it was presented.

    I am in a group that is still hiring. We have interviewed a number of people in the 1400, some of whom were reasonably good hires, and the message has been this: "There are a lot of extremely high-caliber people on the market externally -- perhaps we should wait and see if we can get one of them."

    If you're in the 1400 and you don't already have another offer in-hand, you need to consider yourelf an external at this point. It can be really difficult and very painful to get back into that mindset, but it will help you make forward progress with a lot less time wasted (and likely a lot less heartache).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 13, 2009 at 12:58 PM  

  • "http://www.americanworker.org/

    Americans, check this site out if you want to keep your jobs."

    fuck you, you bigoted, xenophobic assmunch.

    GTFO.


    Hey moron, Americans wanting to keep their jobs is not bigoted.

    There will always be controlled immigration in a nation like the USA. But in a time of serious economic crisis, with millions of job losses every quarter, asking our government to reduce immigration is not xenophobic.

    Yeah, foreign labor is usually cheaper and more subservient and is good for corporate profits. But this is a question of survival for millions of people.

    The free market cannot work for the middle class when the government floods the labor market with millions of foreigners every year.

    http://www.americanworker.org/

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 13, 2009 at 2:00 PM  

  • I was at Microsoft for just under 10 years in technical and business roles and left a few years ago. The thing that's struck me is how intense the politics have become. Even when I was leaving, it was getting crazy.

    The lack of honesty in the company is simply startling. Remember how people used to make "passion for Microsoft" used to be a high priority in hiring?

    What a great way to recruit sycophants and politicians.

    Looking back at my MS days, I shake my head at the things I thought were normal. Product not getting traction in the market? Quick! More slides. And then the inevitable "socializing" meetings, where someone who is goaled on "cross-group collaboration" and "influencing" demonstrates their effectiveness by giving you 5 more people to talk to before you can actually get to an exec to make a decision.

    In the mean time, really smart and talented MBAs say in private conversations that they're really not doing anything, that the learning sucks, and the experience is questionable. Eventually the sharp ones take off, especially if they're single and can move easily. The ones that can't often have a really hard time.

    Over time, though, behavior adapts to the real incentive system. People quickly figure out what matters in promotion, and focus on those things.

    Rather than admit what people actually do (and what actually works), the senior folks push competencies and evaluation methods down. It's the right thing to do.

    Another dynamic happens. Folks at the top might actually become convinced they got their level because of competence, pure and simple. When you're on top, you realize all your promotions were because you DESERVED THEM.

    Suddenly your org is a brilliant meritocracy. In any event, you have to act that way. People have to believe that being great at marketing is the way to get promoted in a marketing org, right? If you're senior, you have to be perceived as good, right? What choice do you have?

    At the end, everyone knows what the real story is, and what you really have to do to move ahead. But no one ever talks about it. You get graded on competencies or whatever they're calling them now, but you also know at the same time they kindof don't matter.

    Microsoft's culture of thinking it's different than other companies only reinforces the cycle. (Clearest example: How many times did I hear someone say to a new hire "titles don't really matter at Microsoft.")

    Everyone's afraid. Competition is intense and the pressure is high (especially for the VPs).

    I hope this can get fixed. I have a lot of friends at Microsoft, and know that for many of them the culture is corrosive (especially on the business side).

    Telling the truth internally about how the company really functions would be a good start.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 13, 2009 at 2:35 PM  

  • Today I'm a 65
    And I am at level 65.
    +1 on this (also a L65)
    Fellow 65 here


    Is this why MSFT is in such trouble? All the L65's are sitting around posting on public forums. Interesting...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 13, 2009 at 3:58 PM  

  • "Is this why MSFT is in such trouble? All the L65's are sitting around posting on public forums. Interesting..."

    L65 ain't what it used to be, kid.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 13, 2009 at 4:16 PM  


  • In contrast, RIM is a much sexier company with a good degree of loyal "addict" mindshare, which provides a more profitable moat with less price elasticity than Sprint's low-cost-provider-based moat. It would boost the MS image, even if it requires a more significant investment. And MS' recent difficulties attracting new customers wouldn't hurt as much here, because of the loyal user base and the inherent attractiveness of the RIM platform to those who consider themselves more "business people" than "technologists".


    Your supposition regarding the possible acquisition of RIM is fascinating and I think the potential for strong synergy is obvious. In addition, considering the recent and planned layoffs at Microsoft, I can think of many Microsoft employees, present and former, who, if this acquisition successfully occurred, would probably enjoy having a RIM job, as opposed to having no job.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 13, 2009 at 4:40 PM  


  • Hey moron, Americans wanting to keep their jobs is not bigoted.

    There will always be controlled immigration in a nation like the USA. But in a time of serious economic crisis, with millions of job losses every quarter, asking our government to reduce immigration is not xenophobic.

    Yeah, foreign labor is usually cheaper and more subservient and is good for corporate profits. But this is a question of survival for millions of people.

    The free market cannot work for the middle class when the government floods the labor market with millions of foreigners every year.


    Agreed.


    Until the economy recovers, the H-1, L-1 and E-3 programs need to be suspended. It is not about xenophobia, it is about looking after our own citizens and legal residents.


    The Immigration & Nationality Act should be amended such that companies prove without a doubt that no qualified worker be hired prior to USCIS issuing non-immigrant work status.

    Futhermore, an independent body (e.g. Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers, or the Association for Computing Machinery) should provide USCIS and the State Department guidance as to what a qualified worker is in CS and EE fields.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 13, 2009 at 4:52 PM  

  • I attended the IE Breakfast Series this morn. We have a great product. The Q that bugs me is why did we remove our feet off the pedal after winning against Netscape? Is it technical complacency, leadership dysfunction or some other reason? It just doesn't make sense that every few years we have to re-boot and focus on gaining back market and mind share in the browser market.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 13, 2009 at 4:56 PM  

  • "And so I think what you're going to see is a lot of work on our part to take what we've built with Zune -- we'll continue to do the hardware, we can make that a good business for us -- but to continue to take that software and services and those assets, and use it in a lot of other places. I won't make any specific announcements, but you are going to see us think about the great software we've done as an asset that can be used across multiple screens, as opposed to just on a dedicated Zune device."

    Only Bach would attempt to spin total failure into some sort of asset evolution.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 13, 2009 at 5:08 PM  

  • Can someone please comment on the job situation i.r. to ZUNE, XBOX, FLIGHTSIM, CRM LIVE, MOBILITY, OFFICE "INCUBATION", IE, etc?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 13, 2009 at 7:27 PM  

  • "The Q that bugs me is why did we remove our feet off the pedal after winning against Netscape?"

    The company's explanation is that it got sidetracked during the Longhorn debacle. The real reason is that the manner in which MS prevailed against Netscape ended up costing the company a felony conviction and kept management busy with legal headaches. And the IE team was effectively disbanded in a belief that embracing the web meant hurting Windows dominance and sales. It was very shortsighted. Another feather in Ballmer's cap.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 13, 2009 at 7:28 PM  

  • Microsoft is opening stores? That is the worst idea I've heard since the stupid Yahoo offer.

    Our competitive issues with Apple aren't related to not having stores - its the product, marketing and perceptions.

    Adding stores will tick off our partners and cost tons of cash.

    Thank Kevin Turner for hiring his Wal-Mart buddy for this great waste of cash.


    I think you have very valid point. When I saw that article, I had me a quick look at the % sales of Apple retail stores vs. total sales. In-store sales is not big portion. It is possible their retail stores influence buying behavior online or through other alternative channels by acting as showcase. I still can't fathom it being such huge factor. Conceivably, they sell so damn well cuz them products are so damn sexy.

    Gateway pulled out of retail. Dell has done just great online. Amazon sells online everything from pin to battleship and posts monster quarter results in bad economy. Netflix beats street, I dont see Netflix store when I drive down Juanita. I could find another 10 examples if I looked for 5 minutes.

    So then what could this be about. Maybe the guy who got a mop for mustache has to show he did something to cash in this year's bonus and SPSA and whatever else the pork barrel rolls in while Rome burns. This company has lost its way ..

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 13, 2009 at 8:49 PM  

  • >> There are a lot of extremely high-caliber
    >> people on the market externally

    Why the heck anyone truly "high caliber" would even consider to work for Microsoft?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 13, 2009 at 9:03 PM  

  • Anonymous at 4:40 said:
    I can think of many Microsoft employees, present and former, who, if this acquisition successfully occurred, would probably enjoy having a RIM job, as opposed to having no job.

    This member of the 1400 would enjoy having a RIM job, period. To work for a company with rabid fans as customers is an energizing, exciting career experience. Most such companies recognize the value of this rabid fan base, and actively work to not disappoint or alienate it. Yeah, there's real-world customer focus based on units sold and the word of mouth vibe, not the type where customer sat is calculated by vendor-initiated polls. Been there, done that, had fun building products that customers couldn't wait to get their hands on, and would do it again.

    And to the Crandea (spelling?) people, buying RIM is not analogous to buying Yahoo. To many engineers, YHOO is a company that peaked ages ago, like Sprint is well past its prime, and is full of many people who rather actively dislike (hate) MSFT. RIM is still riding its wave, and that's why it commands a premium. It's WORTH more. The more I think about that RIM analysis posted earlier this week, the more I get where the guy is coming from.

    A simple metric. I'm an engineer. I would not go out of my way to apply for YHOO, even though since I'm one of the RIFfed 1400, it may eventually come to that. In contrast, RIM makes my short list and I have already made inquiries there. RIM is likely to get MSFT more raw, engineering talent as well as SaaS business savvy. The company needs more agile people who are used to working in a "make or break your P&L on your own, we're not your personal VC" way, and fewer politicians, in order to turn around.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 14, 2009 at 1:17 AM  

  • Heads-up Microsoft 1400 and others seeking employment:
    Potential Scam.

    Beware of recruiting agencies offering obscenely lower wage contractor positions for Microsoft

    A H1B recruiting agency approached me yesterday about a contracting opportunity for a “dumbed” down version of the Microsoft FTE role I held until Jan 22 2009. The maximum wage for contractor position was $31 – $31 / hour, factoring medical insurance, a 50% lower than my pre-layoff FTE salary.

    The request was appalling. First, because I was told I was being laid off because my job was eliminated, and second, because the wage is 50% less than my FTE salary (recruiter indicated lower wages are result of the economic crisis) .

    I believe this practice may be a scam… and possibly ploy to work around new, stricter policies that address immigration fraud. I believe these H1B firms may be targeting recently laid off Microsoft workers and offering inappropriate, lower wages to prove that “qualified American citizens not available to fill tech jobs (see story in Business Week http://www.businessweek.com/blogs/money_politics/archives/2009/02/stimulus_tighte.html )

    For details see the infamous US employer training video on how not to hire US citizens here: http://www.youtube.com/programmersguild

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 14, 2009 at 1:43 AM  

  • It's hard to understand why we're opening retail at this point. I can think of a handful of retail companies that sold software that are no longer around or struggling in a major way. Perhaps there is a strategic angle, but it's hard to see it, especially in an industry that needs to remain agile.

    I can't help but wonder if it's another manisfestation of hiring execs from big-box retail. Will we also add houseware, garden, and grocery sections someday?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 14, 2009 at 4:42 AM  

  • Sorry, Anonymous at 1:43 AM,

    As much as I dislike that the H1B import machine is still running full-speed yet in this economy, what you describe is not soley an H1B issue.

    Contractors are being hired all around MS at lower rates right now because people, including but categorically not only H1B's, are willing to work for those rates. Many contingent staff positions have been eliminated, which means that more contractors are competing for fewer positions. And it's happening fast sometimes, too. I know multiple long time CSGs who have interviewed for positions and found the offered rate declining $10 or more per hour by the time the position was offered to them. Wage deflation is the natural result in a free market, and the apparent limitless supply of H1B vendors does seem to be a contributing factor.

    Many of my former position's duties are now being performed by contractors earning no more than 70% of the salary I drew as an FTE before January 22, too. Not all of them are H1B, though.

    We're just another segment of America feeling the effects of the economy. It's similar in a way to those who bought and could afford a home in this area at 2007 prices, and now find themselves under water on it because prices have declined so much. We didn't necessarily do anything "wrong" ourselves, but the market shifted and we ended up temporarily on the short end.

    How each of us ultimately fares will largely depend on whether we spend time playing victim and wishing it weren't so, or on constructive activities designed to pave the way for our next great professional opportunities.

    Don't like the current H1B policies? Get out there and network, and lobby for changes. Do your research, be able to quote it off the top of your head and work for face time with people who have influence on this stuff, and don't take no for an answer. Someone will eventually listen. Complaining here may get you some sympathy and a chance to express your (IMHO rightful) frustration, but it won't produce any changes in how it works.

    What the US has over many other countries is our ability to innovate. And if I had to name one MS weakness right now, the first one that comes to mind is that many people who work there aren't free to do so in ways that can really make a difference in the company's bottom line. MS lets level 65+ employees innovate, and often expects rank and file engineers to be the unquestioning good soldier implementers. Many parts of the company are not structured in a way that enables us to add the innovative value that we could. An H1B with adequate but not great communication skills is often just as good as an American engineer for those good soldier roles. Even Think Week, the historical way that an engineer with a great idea could cut through the middle management guff and Be Heard, is a shadow of its former self. What clearer indicator is there, that the company thinks it doesn't need one of the most valuable things that many of its employees bring to the table?

    The way to respond to that, seems to me, is not to complain about it, but to take your value-add, your ability to innovate, elsewhere to some place that wants it. Microsoft apparently doesn't, and most mini readers are aware of how well that's recently been working (or not) for them.

    Off to the gym now.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 14, 2009 at 5:50 AM  

  • I can think of many Microsoft employees, present and former, who, if this acquisition successfully occurred, would probably enjoy having a RIM job, as opposed to having no job.


    The analysis and comments concerning RIM over Sprint are greatly appreciated. The thought and arguments provide tremendous insight.

    However, with RIM there is one concern. Currently, as one post mentioned "RIM is sexier". Within this comment section is a reference to Zune. If MSFT acquired RIM, would it remain sexy, innovative and cutting edge?

    Would MSFT controlling a "hot" tech company turn RIM into a "has been"?

    Certainly, understand the brand issue that was articulated in a previous comment. There is no arguing RIM and its brand awareness.

    Several of these comments have already been extracted and integrated into our blog.

    There appears to be a link now at the bottom of this comment section Crandrea Group FYI.

    Perhaps, we need to thank Jamie..at Channel 9..and providing links to the campaign.

    Would love to hear more comments concerning the campaign. Employee insight and analysis is greatly appreciated.

    One simple request however. In a previous post there is reference to a hostile takeover of Mini. That was not the intent. It was perceived as a platform to attract real MSFT employees to the campaign to attempt to effect change. Therefore, please respect Mini..and if you have comments concerning the campaign place them at the article at Microsoft SubNet or our blog.Both of the above are monitored daily.

    Thank you

    By Blogger Crandrea Group, at February 14, 2009 at 6:18 AM  

  • Crandrea, if you want open and honest feedback comments on your blog, you might consider opening it to anonymous posts.

    Mini wouldn't be the scene of so much frank, open discussion were it not for the safety provided by anonymity.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 14, 2009 at 7:09 AM  

  • Crandrea, if you want open and honest feedback comments on your blog, you might consider opening it to anonymous posts.

    There's also a usability and readability issue -- I'm sure there's interesting information there, but the layout and presentation makes it virtually impossible to wade-through.

    I would imagine that a large % of people who visit the blog don't make it through more than a paragraph or two... it's just a mammoth, endless vertical stream of undifferentiated paragraphs.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 14, 2009 at 10:10 AM  

  • I joined Microsoft as an H-1B worker, and now am a US citizen.

    When it comes to lay-offs, I'm on the side of those who say that an American company cannot, in good conscience, lay off American workers even as it retains H-1B workers.

    Microsoft's mass lay-off of American citizens is certainly contrary to the spirit, if not the wording, of the H-1B laws.

    The H-1B program was designed to fill vacancies for specialized areas where there is a shortage of qualified Americans. It was not instituted to help deserving foreigners immigrate to the United States.

    Valid concerns about Microsoft's mass lay-offs of US citizens have been raised by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) in a letter to Steve Ballmer:

    January 22, 2009

    Mr. Steve Ballmer
    Microsoft Corporation
    One Microsoft Way
    Redmond , WA 98052-6399


    Dear Mr. Ballmer:

    I am writing to inquire about press reports that Microsoft will be cutting approximately 5,000 jobs over the next 18 months. I understand that the layoffs will affect workers in research and development, marketing, sales, finance, legal and corporate affairs, human resources, and information technology.

    I am concerned that Microsoft will be retaining foreign guest workers rather than similarly qualified American employees when it implements its layoff plan. As you know, I want to make sure employers recruit qualified American workers first before hiring foreign guest workers. For example, I cosponsored legislation to overhaul the H-1B and L-1 visa programs to give priority to American workers and to crack down on unscrupulous employers who deprive qualified Americans of high-skilled jobs. Fraud and abuse is rampant in these programs, and we need more transparency to protect the integrity of our immigration system. I also support legislation that would strengthen educational opportunities for American students and workers so that Americans can compete successfully in this global economy.

    Last year, Microsoft was here on Capitol Hill advocating for more H-1B visas. The purpose of the H-1B visa program is to assist companies in their employment needs where there is not a sufficient American workforce to meet their technology expertise requirements. However, H-1B and other work visa programs were never intended to replace qualified American workers. Certainly, these work visa programs were never intended to allow a company to retain foreign guest workers rather than similarly qualified American workers, when that company cuts jobs during an economic downturn.

    It is imperative that in implementing its layoff plan, Microsoft ensures that American workers have priority in keeping their jobs over foreign workers on visa programs. To that effect, I would like you to respond to the following questions:



    * What is the breakdown in the jobs that are being eliminated? What kind of jobs are they? How many employees in each area will be cut?

    * Are any of these jobs being cut held by H-1B or other work visa program employees? If so, how many?

    * How many of the jobs being eliminated are filled by Americans? Of those positions, is Microsoft retaining similar ones filled by foreign guest workers? If so, how many?

    * How many H-1B or other work visa program workers will Microsoft be retaining when the planned layoff is completed?

    My point is that during a layoff, companies should not be retaining H-1B or other work visa program employees over qualified American workers. Our immigration policy is not intended to harm the American workforce. I encourage Microsoft to ensure that Americans are given priority in job retention. Microsoft has a moral obligation to protect these American workers by putting them first during these difficult economic times.

    Sincerely,
    Charles E. Grassley
    United States Senator

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 14, 2009 at 10:30 AM  

  • "Don't like the current H1B policies? Get out there and network, and lobby for changes."

    A simple way to lobby for change: Donate to NumbersUSA at http://give.

    NumbersUSA is the most influential and effective pro-American lobbying group around. If you donate through http://give, Microsoft will match your donation! This is how I do my part and help my team get to 100% on the Giving Campaign every year :-)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 14, 2009 at 10:38 AM  

  • "Microsoft has a moral obligation to protect these American workers by putting them first during these difficult economic times.

    Sincerely,
    Charles E. Grassley
    United States Senator"


    This made me LOL. Microsoft has never done anything out of moral obligation that I've been aware of in my long tenure with the company.

    Microsoft wants to get away with anything it can get away with to save a buck and steal market share, and we don't care if it's amoral or not... hell, half the time we don't even care if we get caught.

    Appeals to Microsoft's sense of fair play are silly.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 14, 2009 at 10:50 AM  

  • Thank you to the 5:50am poster responding to my MS 1400 warning last night regarding a dumbed down contract version of my job at a radically reduced rate.

    It is sad that you too are experiencing what appears to be an increasing and alarming trend, rapid wage deflation.

    I was feeling a bit encouraged by a recent increase in the number of job postings in the Seattle area that fit my skills. Now, after reading your post, I get a sick "Donner party" feeling.

    I suspect most of the recent postings, obviously for Microsoft, appear to be backfilling our eliminated jobs with contractor replacements at lower wages.

    I checked the US DOL wages and discovered that the maximum hourly rate quoted by the recruiter, $32, is significantly lower than the hiring wage ($48) and prevailing wage ($39) quoted by Microsoft in DOL immigration reports (link http://www.flcdatacenter.com

    Is the delta the cut for contract firm overhead?

    Are decreasing wages related to "blaming the economy" or are they
    a deliberate strategy developed by smart and lobbyists on behalf of Compete America employers (www.competeamerica.org) to prove the need to increase H1B visa caps because ‘no qualified US citizens’ are available for these jobs?

    The H1B visa deadline is April 1 2009.

    Hiring Microsoft managers, can you please weigh in?
    - How are hiring wages established? By whom?
    - How are recruiting firms selected? Can you specify a preference for US citizens?
    - How are recruiting firms selected to fill contract positions?
    -Do you have restrictions on hiring laid off Microsoft workers?

    Current and former Microsoft employees, what are you experiencing? Any good news to share?

    Thank you for your help. The job you save may be your own.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 14, 2009 at 10:50 AM  

  • "Current and former Microsoft employees, what are you experiencing? Any good news to share?"

    Current employee here.

    Over the course of the last few weeks any veneer of "career development" has been stripped away in my organization: projects and people were cut, and those of us remaining were reassigned to cover the workload. My peers and I have found ourselves doing jobs that don't resemble the jobs we were hired to do, and it's become obvious that in the current climate there is no room to think about growth, career development or fitting the right people to the right tasks.

    I've been amazed at how quickly my senior managers have capitalized on the current economic climate to stop pretended that they care *at all* about the line staff. We're all work-for-hire right now with no ability to influence our roles and no interest from anyone else if we're happy and fulfilled or not... the overlords know that they have us where they want us, and it shows more and more each day.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 14, 2009 at 11:08 AM  

  • Anonymous Poster @ 11:08 AM, Feb 14, 2009:

    Reminds me of something I heard after I left another large technology company a while back:

    "... and the living shall envy the dead..."

    By the way, as a former Microsoft employee, I can tell you that I don't miss that toxic, dysfunctional high-tech cesspool one bit!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 14, 2009 at 11:30 AM  

  • "By the way, as a former Microsoft employee, I can tell you that I don't miss that toxic, dysfunctional high-tech cesspool one bit!"

    The second I can find the right exit opportunity, I will be lifting a toast right there with you buddy.

    Toxic cesspool is the most apt description I've heard.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 14, 2009 at 12:03 PM  

  • Current and former MS employees, we are the canaries in the mine. Microsoft is the #1 Visa employer in the United States, and sponsors 226% more visa workers than the next highest US corporation, IBM. You don't believe me? See for yourself. Check the US Department of Labor or http://myvisajobs.com/Top_Visa_Sponsors.aspx

    The bottom line impact of US corporations exploiting immigration loopholes - we lose our ability to earn a fair wage for a job well done. This is not fiction. It is happening right here, right now.

    - One-third of the Microsoft workforce are guest workers.

    The down economy is an easy smokescreen that makes it easier for CompeteAmerica.org corporations to blame the economy on layoffs and lower wages.

    -What can we do to get our voices heard and deman the US government take immediate action to stop this egregious exploitation of American workers?

    - Who do we contact? How?

    Thank you

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 14, 2009 at 12:11 PM  


  • - Who do we contact? How?


    Hmmmm... Contact Microsoft VP of HR, LisaB, at lisab@microsoft.com.

    She has always talked about much she cares about Microsoft employees. Surely she will listen and help you...

    (right out that door, bro!)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 14, 2009 at 12:30 PM  

  • The H1B program needs to be scrapped along with all our other laughably impractical, ineffective, harmful immigration laws.

    I say anybody should be allowed to be a citizen. Make it a form you fill out at the DMV for $15, like if you lost your driver's license.

    This will end the H1B program which oppresses our foreign guest workers and harms American jobs by artificially lowering salaries (why pay the market salary for a job when you can get an H1B to do it for less, because he has basically no choice).

    This will also sort out our migrant Latino worker issue, allowing them to pay taxes, integrate into our society, get medical/auto insurance, get educated, etc., and above all they can walk away from (or blow the whistle on) their employers who often keep them like slaves.

    I am a white US-born citizen and I say welcome to my country!

    If you're a redneck who's been going on about "American jobs for Americans" then maybe it's time for some introspection. What's gone so wrong in your life that you're afraid of some competition from foreigners on a level playing field? I'm proud of my education and confident in my skills and abilities and I say bring it on. Please quit your bitching because you're making us look lazy and stupid.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 14, 2009 at 12:44 PM  

  • "- Who do we contact? How?


    Hmmmm... Contact Microsoft VP of HR, LisaB, at lisab@microsoft.com.

    She has always talked about much she cares about Microsoft employees. Surely she will listen and help you... "


    Amen to that, brother.

    LisaB is such a cautionary tale about how people become corrupted and lose their way.

    She really was once an awesome leader... but now? Now she posts snarky retorts to people complaining in the InsideMS blog that read a lot like "if you idiots would actually listen to what I'm saying, you'd agree with me..."

    She's a monstrous overlord now just like the rest of 'em and whistles past the graveyard as she divests her millions. ;-)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 14, 2009 at 12:57 PM  

  • in response to 12:44pm "If you're a redneck who's been going on about "American jobs for Americans" then maybe it's time for some introspection. What's gone so wrong in your life that you're afraid of some competition from foreigners on a level playing field?

    The assumptions you make diminish the impact of your statements. I am not a redneck, nor afraid of competition. I am blessed that nothing has gone wrong with my life, and I am proud of my education, earning an MBA from a top US university while working full time. I am a minority and embrace diversity. I applaud people who work hard, regardless of where they are born, to live the American dream. I have had a successful 15+ year career, and until Jan 22, I was never laid off from a job.

    Here's what happened,
    I am an American citizen and ONLY person laid off my team. All of the guest workers, in their jobs for less than 1 year, remain in their jobs.

    I applaud your good fortune in not being selected as one of the Lucky 1400. I simply raise an issue and ask a question -

    How can Microsoft continue to get away unscathed from exploiting immigration law loopholes? Why do they continue to recruit people from far off lands while equally qualified experienced people in the community, former employees, are solicited for contracts at 50% less wage than they earned a month ago?

    Sounds like a gaping workaround designed by smart attorneys to continue to exploit the system to lower the overall cost of labor.

    I am serious when I say that the job you save may be your own. I wish you continued success and hope that you remain lucky enough to not get voted off the island.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 14, 2009 at 1:12 PM  

  • in response to 12:44pm "If you're a redneck who's been going on about "American jobs for Americans" then maybe it's time for some introspection. What's gone so wrong in your life that you're afraid of some competition from foreigners on a level playing field?

    The assumptions you make diminish the impact of your statements. I am not a redneck, nor afraid of competition. I am blessed that nothing has gone wrong with my life, and I am proud of my education, earning an MBA from a top US university while working full time. I am a minority and embrace diversity. I applaud people who work hard, regardless of where they are born, to live the American dream. I have had a successful 15+ year career, and until Jan 22, I was never laid off from a job.

    Here's what happened,
    I am an American citizen and ONLY person laid off my team. All of the guest workers, in their jobs for less than 1 year, remain in their jobs.

    I applaud your good fortune in not being selected as one of the Lucky 1400. I simply raise an issue and ask a question -

    How can Microsoft continue to get away unscathed from exploiting immigration law loopholes? Why do they continue to recruit people from far off lands while equally qualified experienced people in the community, former employees, are solicited for contracts at 50% less wage than they earned a month ago?

    Sounds like a gaping workaround designed by smart attorneys to continue to exploit the system to lower the overall cost of labor.

    I am serious when I say that the job you save may be your own. I wish you continued success and hope that you remain lucky enough to not get voted off the island.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 14, 2009 at 1:12 PM  

  • How can Microsoft continue to get away unscathed from exploiting immigration law loopholes?

    That's exactly what I'm saying. Get rid of all our immigration policies. Open up the country as it has been in the past, Ellis Island style. No H1Bs, no H1B loopholes for Microsoft to take advantage of. Better for everybody. But unfortunately never going to happen since the powers that be benefit from the system as it is.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 14, 2009 at 2:39 PM  

  • "Crandrea, if you want open and honest feedback comments on your blog, you might consider opening it to anonymous posts".

    "There's also a usability and readability issue -- I'm sure there's interesting information there, but the layout and presentation makes it virtually impossible to wade-through".

    Sincerely apoligise for the anonymous issue. Terrible oversight that is completely understood. Believe that it is now rectified. Any problems..please inform.

    In regards to the length..that really can't be rectified. Unfortunately, the campaign requires anlysis, charts, graphs and more information than the typical blog post other than perhaps a news article.

    Regardless, as mentioned, now that the anonymous issue has been fixed..sorry...would still be very interested in what Microsoft employees have to say regarding the campaign and the articles at Microsoft SubNet.

    Follow the link at the bottom of this blog.

    Thank you

    By Blogger Crandrea Group, at February 14, 2009 at 3:42 PM  

  • "In regards to the length..that really can't be rectified. Unfortunately, the campaign requires anlysis, charts, graphs and more information than the typical blog post other than perhaps a news article."

    No, there is plenty you can do to make your site readable and usable -- far more complex sites than yours do not suck 1/10th as much from a UX point-of-view.

    Learn to present your information in a logical and readable way, and you will find more people visiting your site and more people taking your seriously -- as it stands now it's unreadable and kind of a nightmare.

    This is just a suggestion, of course. But realize that as your site stands today, most people will not read more than the first paragraph or two before moving on because there's no organization or information archtecture.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 14, 2009 at 4:45 PM  

  • My manager told me two weeks ago that she was at a party with some Microsoft managers and those managers were advising against hiring any of the people who were part of the 1400 people laid off because they are all the worst of the worst employees. We work at a different company. I'm going to meet with Jay Inslee's assistant on Tuesday to talk to him about how Microsoft managers are setting up the laid-off employees so that they cannot get another job and to demand an investigation of Microsoft work practices. I'm also setting up appointments with Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell's office. I'm going to try to see if I can meet with Cantwell in D.C. since I used to work with her. In any case, if anyone is aware of managers using these tactics, please call or write your federal legislators and demand that they investigate. If Congress decides to investigate, they can subpoena the managers to find out what is going on. Since I am disabled and was forced out of Microsoft because of my disability, I am particularly concerned that many of the people affected by this layoff are people with chronic medical conditions.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 14, 2009 at 9:16 PM  

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