Thursday, June 15, 2006

Bill Gates Will Retire. One Day. Kinda.

(What the? This is the third post in a week? Aren't I supposed to be on extended sabbatical? Mini-Microsoft, I wish I knew how to quit you.)

Right now, I'm feeling all nostalgic. It is the beginning of an end of an era, indeed. So long, Classic Microsoft. Hello, emerging Next Generation Microsoft. And I think it's a good thing, but, boy, when Gates got choked up on stage today thinking about not seeing Steve everyday my lip starting quivering, too, and my eyes got a bit misty. That little devil popped up on my shoulder, muttering, "I suddenly feel guilty for all those bad things I encouraged you and your commenters to say..."

Microsoft has indeed come a long way. I'm working at Microsoft today simply because one day, back in the early 1980s, I bought a TRS-80 with Microsoft Basic (basically, though it was also called a Dragon) and immediately dropped my nascent creative career path and started instead making pixels do things. Without Microsoft and Gates I'd have had a very different life. And I've had a blast in my life so far.

One of my thoughts before the Town Hall meeting: we're going to need a Bill Gates action figure for those future program reviews, one that has the recorded line, "That's the stupidest f'ing thing I've ever heard!"

Change is great. Change allows for opportunity and realignment and breaking up the fiefdoms and the silos. It sounds like everyone is singing a mea-culpa tune over Vista and focusing on the need for agility. Are you a cool hunter? Hunting for agility and being a streamline champion is the new hotness right now.

I think the world will be a better place for Mr. Gates - er, Bill - focusing on his foundation. And Microsoft is ready to re-invent itself. Hopefully with less people. I did my best to make sure I didn't groan as Mr. Ballm- Steve corrected Bill saying that we're not in the 60,000s for employees, we've gone over 70,000! Oy! And I don't know who in the world they are hiring so easily. It must be MBAs, because I can't find qualified software engineers who know a pointer from a hole in the ground. Anyway.

I have hope that opportunities abound for Microsoft to resurge. And for that stock price to start moving up (though I expect a summer of stock spanking, both from the Financial Analysts Meeting and the shareholders meeting). I just wish amidst all of this change that we could go on a the 20/20 plan for employment size.

Coverage:

Elsewhere...


100 comments:

Fazal Majid said...

I think most of Microsoft's current woes are due to Gates' attention being drawn away by his foundation. Perhaps the public humiliation of the antitrust trial was the last straw.

But without his authority, grasp of the big picture and former unwillingness to tolerate BS, the trend towards bloat and lack of accountability you decry in this blog is only bound to accelerate.

It seems like Bill's heart is elsewhere, and he is content with letting Microsoft settle into a future of comfortable monopoly-milking. If that is the case, Microsoft might as well shut down every division but Windows and Office.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what happened to MarkZ?

Anonymous said...

I missed the webcast while onsite with a customer today, but didn't they announce the departure of the WRONG person? Seeing that BillG is leaving makes me want to buy a drink to drown my sorrows (and charge it to my AMEX), seeing SteveB leaving (immediately, if not sooner) would have prompted me to buy an entire round for the entire establishment with my own money.

I'd even give up any bonus or raise I might be getting for FY06 just to see SteveB being run out of town.

Anonymous said...

Gates was famous for reading biographies of Napolean on his way up, so it wouldn't be surprising if he's been inspired by the life stories of Rockefeller, Carnegie, Vanderbilt, and those other robber barons-turned-philanthropists.

Well, that's an interesting turn for him. Although I won't be surprised if he gets bored with sitting on a whole bunch of charity boards (and playing bridge) and decides to start a technology incubator. Or maybe he'll join Myrhvold's. Perhaps he found Microsoft to be stifling and wants to get small again.

As for Ozzie, this is an uninformed opinion because I've never met the man, but I suspect that he's cut from the Ken Olsen/Edson deCastro/Dave Cutler mode of Route 495 (the outer beltway around Boston, MA). The general idea is to design and implement a grand architecture in-house, that attempts to be technically superior as well as integrated, solving a bunch of difficult problems at once - not just superior because of aggressive marketing and product position which was more the Gates approach. Certainly he'll have plenty of talent and resources to implement that vision, however, I don't think that the world will be a hospitable place for giant IT shops that remain inwardly focused. I could be dead wrong, but I don't see him reaching out to other companies to partner on an equal basis, assuming he becomes the man in charge.

Anonymous said...

HAH! Mini will Retire. One day. Sorta. Admit it, to mix movie lines, not only can you NOT quit Mini, but Microsoft WILL keep SUCKING YOU IN -- ain't it cool?

Anonymous said...

Can't believe it, just can't! He did get me choked up as well when he intro'd SteveB.

meanwhile, Slashdot crowd is still demonizing him. bogus. I consider myself part of the "/." crowd, but think I will have to embargo for a bit.

Anonymous said...

Second step towards ultimately breaking up the company. The first was creating 3 divisions with division presidents. So mini, your wish will come true in 2 years. Hang in there.

Anonymous said...

God help us all. Ray Ozzie, the man that gave the world the atrocity that is Lotus Notes is taking Gates' place.

I seriously think it's time to start dumping what little MSFT stock I have.

Anonymous said...

I was there. I saw Bill choke up. I got misty-eyed. Ahhhh.

fewerlesser said...

>>>And Microsoft is ready to re-invent itself. Hopefully with less people.

Fewer people. Fewer fucking people, goddamit. Less milk. Less water. Fewer pencils. Fewer people. Quantity. Number. Sweet Jesus Christ, is that so hard to remember?

Anonymous said...

Well well, we all knew this day would come eventually...

As a former employee of 12+ years, I have bittersweet memories of my interactions and observations of Bill - mostly good but not entirely. While I am not a disciple of his purported genius, I do respect him greatly for capitalizing on one of the best "right place, right time" success stories of the 20th Century. I respect him even more so for his and Melinda's great example of charitable work - may every other (m/b)illionaire follow suit and be as generous.

At the same time I think it's past due to see Bill retire to his lakeside fortress and foundation and let the next generation try their hand. To fully embrace the geekness of this moment however, I don't think that this Next Generation will be as engaging as the Star Trek that followed the Original Series. No, besides Mundie and Ozzie the company is bereft of vision and those who really "get it" and I think it will be tough to have an ensemble cast of 2 people. I for one would be glad to see Microsoft's sun set a bit more and allow a new era of ITC, where Microsoft's (i.e., Bill and Paul's) "right place, right time" moment of 30+ years ago no longer really matters. Having happily divorced myself from all MSFT stock upon my departure, I don't mind seeing it continue to plummet steadily - particularly if it leads to the departure of the least effective part of senior management, SteveB.

So I hope Bill finds the gumption to leave sooner than later - I think his chartiable efforts will ultimately have a far greater impact in the pages of history than his Microsoft endeavor. As for Microsoft itself, I honestly couldn't care less - may the googling vulturish yahoos continue to swoop...

A Former MSFT'ie who Took The Red Pill

Anonymous said...

I hate the fuel the fire, but this reaction (http://www.marketwatch.com/News/Story/Story.aspx?guid=%7B57E3FE44%2D5224%2D4967%2DAFF0%2D11FA39DDD53F%7D&source=blq%2Fyhoo&dist=yhoo&siteid=yhoo) had me thinking about some previous comments suggesting our leadership is deliberately trying to hold down the price of the stock.

"What concerns me is the two-year timeline. Investors should not have to wait around for two years to only then begin see what the new Microsoft is going to be like.
Thus in the short term Gates has created two years of uncertainty, which never benefits a company's stock price."

Anonymous said...

Say what you like about Gates (some people notice that he likes to play cards when he should be attending meetings) in his youth he created an unchained terror called Microsoft. Comparatively speaking, Microsoft delivered more productivity faster, with higher return, and fewer mistakes, than any commercial enterprise in recorded human history. Gates was the first mogul to cut his employees into every nickel and dime. By 2000, Microsoft had produced a whopping 10,000 millionaires. All extra cash went to hiring the smartest people in the world who pulled in even more money that was used to hire even smarter people. World dominance wasn't an objective just a by-product. Eventually ‘guidance’ was imposed by the DOJ, but no matter. Over the short track, nobody did it better faster EVER.

mfaizalzul said...

Bill Gates will retire??i dont think so..:)

Anonymous said...

I agree, Mini. It is sad to think that the one person who so personified the glory of Microsoft is leaving the company. Of course, his temper and shortsitedness also caused us a lot of harm, like the DOJ case and letting Allchin run rampant with the crown jewels. Still, I got a bit misty eyed when he talked about not being around. He was and still is a class act, and I truly admire him for what he has done, both with the company and with his foundation. Who else can honestly say that the lives of hundreds of thousands of people have been saved because of your generosity?

Anonymous said...

I have not seen a smarter person than Bill. I am happy that he is planning to put his brain on world's problem rather than on a single company's problem.

He is a visionary. He visioned a computer on every desk and made it come true at least in the developed world. Now he is visioning a better world for under-priveledged. I am sure he will get it.

Anonymous said...

Its obvious, BillG just couldn't bear the fact that Scoble was leaving ;)

Anonymous said...

Ahh, it's a darn shame Balmer doesn't have a foundation. That's all I'm sayin'.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Bill. What you're moving on to do is so much more important than what you're leaving behind. You have been a personal hero to many of us nerds (in the closet or otherwise) for a long, long time. And now you're going to rightfully become a hero to the world. It has been an honor to work for you for 10 years.

As for Microsoft, will this also hasten the departure of the old guard--the 15+ year veterans who have built fiefdoms and maintained a lock on all creative decision-making? Will a next generation of leaders (currently L64 and higher and just itching for the opportunity to take their leadership skills to the next level) be allowed and encouraged to thrive? Will we return to our roots as the "nerdy little company that could" instead of the "overwrought MBA company that can't"? What will the company look like without the "Cult of Bill"? Will we ever ship Vista? Will enough of the talented ones want to stick around after this review period to watch the train wreck right itself?

fCh said...

Mini, you got so uncharacteristically (of you) emotional when you learned about Bill's decison to leave.

The real question becomes now: What next? Is Bill's departure going to improve things at Microsoft, why?

Then, if there is more energy for future scouting, Who's next?

Cheers,
fCh.

Anonymous said...

Quote of the day: "By any measure Steve's been very successful."

Second quote of the day: "Stock markets do what they do"

Oh boy! If we weren't in trouble before we sure are now.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe more people haven't pointed out Bill's email. I'm completely ambivilent about Bill leaving. I've been at MS for 9 years, been succesfull on core products and have zero feel for what impact he actually makes. So he's going to part time? Gee - how many hours do you think he spends on MS right now between travel, interviews, and just generally being the richest mofo in the hizzy? I'll bet not that many. So there's news here. But back to my point.

For him to say that Steve has been a success "by any measure" made me laugh out loud and I couldn't even hide it from my directs when they sayd "WTF?"

Dude, the stock is DOWN 25% in like 2 or 3 months after basically zero growth for 5 years. Since when is that not a metric? Sigh...

Anonymous said...

Thank you Bill, for everything. Thank you Steve for everything and more to come.

I never got the chance to talk to Bill 1:1 but I met Steve a few times. I made a request once, and Steve delivered. That is Steve, never too high to relate to the little people.

Bill, Paul, Steve created something that cannot be duplicated. Microsoft has many lives, we will continue to reinvent ourselves. I have poured my heart and soul into MS and will continue to do so.

Yes I didn't get to be one of those 10,000 millionaires Bill and Steve created but I am not bitter like a few of those that also missed the gravy train. Someday I will get a chance to help the company in a bigger role. I can only hope to have the tenacity that Steve talked about.

I beta tested the Google Spreadsheet last week (the one from the myriads of companies they are buying). I still find myself laughing whenever I recall my test of the app. Google is not fit to lace MS sandals but we need the challenge. 'Nuff said

Anonymous said...

This article on CNN today says it all in terms of what Steveb should do....

http://money.cnn.com/2006/06/15/technology/business2_workingtech_0615/

I will miss Bill and respect him tremendously for the company and the foundation he built....but I do think his moving on is the right thing for him, the world at large and Microsoft

Anonymous said...

Very recently I made the decision to leave Microsoft, and in fact I was relocating to CA the day when Bill made this announcement, so it did affect me and caused mixed reactions:

(1) Microsoft had lost its way (product and culture wise), and Bill was part of the problem (i.e. after so many product reviews, how did you let the Vista debacle happen)? So the cleaning up, the fresh new start, the new era is coming. Of course, I can't personally afford to wait and see (internally) how it turns out, but it makes me optimistic about MS nevertheless.

(2) I really wished that Steve would also take a break, or better yet, a hike.

(3) I was sad that this visionary, one of the few great icons of our industry, threw in the towel. Like McNealy at Sun. Will there be any personal vision, passion, and drive behing the company as a whole, or will MS turn into a soulless MBA automaton like GE or GM? Perhaps a question facing the industry as a whole.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what happened to MarkZ?

Mark is alive and well in building 43, still working on file systems in one form or another...

Anonymous said...

This is even more disheartening than when Bill handed Steve the CEO belt. The soul of the company is leaving. Who else can keep all of the fiefdoms focused on the end result? And why would you want to work there when it's no longer led by the king geek? Bill actually understands code monkeys like most of the readers here. Does Steve? I doubt it.

In other words, this is the stupidist f'ing thing I've ever heard. This is f'ing cow poop. (Yeah, so I cleansed that.)

We already know that Steve can't lead. Ray is unproven, but worse, can he stand to be Bill's puppy dog for two whole years or is he as out as all the other cross-corporate transplants who inevitably leave? And frankly there's nobody else in senior management with enough clout or knowhow to take the reins. At the risk of invoking Bill-speak again, you're f'cked.

Lucky for the engineers that Google is hiring . . .

Goodbye, Microsoft, I knew ye well.

(btw, I'm outta there. Attrition++. Or attrition +=2 if ya wnat to count Bill.)

Doing my part to make Microsoft more mini.

Anonymous said...

The wrong man has retired.

SteveB, get the hint. Not even Bill cares much any more for the political mediocrity you have created.

I remember when MS was about raw smarts. Now it's about MBA's and small time politicians. Like yourself.

And , oh yeah, "I LOVE THIS COMPANY". You should. You would have been long fired from any other one.

Omega said...

I can't fathom why Bill Gates is leaving before Steve Ballmer. This makes no sense at all.
Every single change that has happened to Microsoft since the Vista problems have started are so short sighted, I fall down.
It's like as if doing the right thing is the last thing anyone in the administration wants to do.

Where Vista could have been abandoned with a sincere "let's start again", it is dragged on. Now regional IT magazines have articles titled "Is Vista worth it?"
Where Microsoft can get rid of it's pug-faced, boisterous and dishonest Ballmer, he is kept onboard. Why? This guy is singlehandedly destroying Microsoft's image!?

Microsoft's stock value looks more like a leaf falling from a tree with each passing day: Slipping left and right, sometimes jumping for a second on a gust of wind - but overall, going down...

Anonymous said...

I have long suspected that Bill Gates was trying to position himself to win the Nobel Peace Prize. After being named one of Time's Persons of the Year, there is a good possibility that he could win it in the next two decades. His foundation is following a similar model that former President and Nobel winner Jimmy Carter has used with the Carter Center. This is the ultimate ego prize, and he has to first distance himself from the bad PR that comes with running Microsoft.

He wants people to see him in a positive light as one of the greatest people who ever lived and not as someone who used anti-competitive practices and stolen technology to become the world’s richest man.

Anonymous said...

> And I don't know who in the world they are hiring so easily.
> It must be MBAs, because I can't find qualified software engineers
> who know a pointer from a hole in the ground.

Maybe it's because all the engineers who do know a pointer from a hole in the ground don't want to work at Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

Mini, I just read this today:

"Losing both Gates and Ballmer will spell a big change for Microsoft. But it's likely to be a positive one. At this point, Ballmer's associated more with the hard-charging business tactics that led to Microsoft's antitrust woes and a low stock price that's sapping employee morale. Whoever replaces him will have a host of problems to solve - but unlike Ballmer will be able to start with a clean slate."

from:
http://money.cnn.com/2006/06/15/technology/business2_workingtech_0615/index.htm?section=money_technology
Why Ballmer should leave Microsoft

It starts with:
"(Business 2.0) - Now that Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates has started his two-year goodbye from a day-to-day role at the company, it's time for CEO Steve Ballmer to set a resignation date, too."

Looks like you started some positive attrition. ;)

Yours Eponymously
Epon

Anonymous said...

Re Adobe PDF & Microsoft...the discussions going back and forth between Adobe and Microsoft re PDF is real simple: Adobe has a $500 million/year business on charging for Adobe PDF creation. Microsoft by its market share for Office has to be careful what it does. By including it for "free" in the new Office it potentially runs afoul of anti-trust laws regarding anti-competitive pricing practices...e.g., sucking the air out of a currently viable market. The 'discussions' have nothing to do with the customer experience, blah, blah, blah. It's all about antitrust law and lawyers.
Ex-Adobe Exec

Anonymous said...

Its about time that Bill retires.

Ballmer should be next.

If the Board of Directors weren't such wimps, both of these would have happened years ago.

Both are cuplable in spending billions of dollars over the last 5 years on "r&d and growth" and the stock going nowhere. Now growth is in Ozzie's hands...who was bought for chump change.

Time to change the leadership. At least with Billg going, hopefully there are a whole lot of EVP and SVP toadies that are now "exposed" and will be moving on too!

Silicon Valley Product Manager

JMBalaya said...

re. It must be MBAs, because I can't find qualified software engineers who know a pointer from a hole in the ground.

Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Seems like it might be a good thing because the qualified software engineers that I meet (who know a pointer from, well, non-pointers) are mostly over-hyped nitwits. Their idea of good engineering tends toward asking interns stupid questions, reaching down and grabbing their crotch during the answer, and then saying, "I drive a Boxster so suck it."

Everyone knows that those guys tend to make good business decisions.

Anonymous said...

"My First BillG Review"
By Joel Spolksy

http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2006/06/16.html

Joel's one of my favorite tech bloggers, and he's a former 'Softie running his own company now. A nostalgic look back that provides some fascinating insight into BillG's intellect.

I found myself wondering yesterday exactly what Bill does here on a day-to-day basis ... and no one I have talked to has any idea really.

Any of the Partners who regularly lurk here willing or able to provide us a sense of what full-time Bill does?

Tiggy said...

:-( Sad news for MSFT.

I hope he's happy at the foundation. He's the luckiest guy in the world to have been able to really change the way the world works with technology and now to have the $$ and power to change the world philanthropically. MAJOR props to him and I say: GOOD MOVE, BILL.

Anyway....now comes the close of THE era for Microsoft. It will be "interesting" to see what happens to the company with no founder at the helm. Hopefully it won't go the way of most behemoths and become just another lifeless, soulless profit-focused machine....but unfortunately, it probably will. And, expect to see lots of icky things like benefit cuts, cubes instead of offices, more overt MBA mind-games, etc etc etc after he's gone.

Sad day.

Anonymous said...

Can you let Bill be human?

He could code. And he could manage programmers. And he could make great strategic decisions.

So eventually it got so big that he couldn't effectively run it anymore. So? Let him be human. Let him have limitations. It's OK. Not many people can effectively run something this big.

Bill Gates should have retired five, or even ten, years ago. The problem is, he didn't have a replacement. He didn't have somebody who could run the giant that Microsoft became. (Ballmer sure isn't the guy.)

Microsoft is going to continue to flounder until you get someone who can really run an organization this large. How will you know when he's arrived? I don't know. But I'm pretty sure that he's going to have a lot of people mad at him at the start, and after five years people will grudgingly admit that he knew what he was doing.

MSS

PS: Yeah, Mini, I think you were kind of forced to say something about Bill leaving. It was too big of a bombshell. But now go have a sabbatical. Blog when you feel like it. As I've said before, we don't own you, and you don't owe us a blog.

FARfetched said...

I don't know who in the world they are hiring so easily. It must be MBAs, because I can't find qualified software engineers who know a pointer from a hole in the ground.

Y'know, you left yourself wide open for a /. cheap-shot (or twelve) with that comment.

And the anon who pointed out that Ray Ozzie was behind Lotus Notes should be a huge red flag. You need less bloat, not more! We use Notes at work, and it distinguishes itself by making this MS-hater pine for Outlook.

Anonymous said...

So MINI, you wonder why you can't find programmers worth their salt anymore? Because the smart ones have left. Left for better opportunities, to places where the best idea is not the one shouted loudest. Left for places where their options might be worth something. Microsoft is a living example of the "Brazil Nut Principle" as applied to anthropology.

Bill has left, let's hope that 35,000 more will follow.

Anonymous said...

I will miss Bill, though the truth is that he has begun checking out for a while. His move is no surprise, he has said many times he'd move from making money to giving it away, began the transition with giving up CEO in 99, now extending it in 2008.

The saddest thing is htat Bill didn't scale to the company - he could no longer review every feature, and the other management was incompetent at calling bullshit on the engineering plans. It's not that he was a genius (though I'm sure he is) but that he CARED, and people in a review with him didn't want to fuck him over.

Steve is a person I respect, but much much less so than Bill. He's had an opportunity that no one else has had - to take Paul Allen's place basically. Between Bill, Paul and Steve, all the talk of the Board of Directors cracking down on Steve is so much hot air. The company is Steve's now to do what he wishes. The main intent of the owners is no longer to build their fortunes but to preserve it. Bill gave a big thumbs up to the management team.


That's why Microsoft is different now. Steve doesn't have a vision "Agility! I love this company! Developers! Customers! Anywhere, any place, any device! Software as a Service! I'm in, are you? Realise your potential!".

The vision articulated today was that software has just begun, doubling in size (did Bill actually say profit doubled? Um, no it didn't.) in 6 years is GREAT work, and that Microsoft will expand into EVERYTHING. That's not vision.

So if there was any doubt (and there really shouldn't be) that Microsoft has turned any sort of corner, it hasn't. Steve Ballmer is no Thomas Watson Jr. "Think!" is trite but is much better than Ballmer's slogans.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have a link somewhere to what it would actually take to bring about ousting SteveB? Can any old shareholder (which pretty much all fulltime employees are) single-handedly bring up the issue at a shareholder's meeting for vote or something?

Anonymous said...

Reviewing the Channel 9 footage of Bill and Steve I can't help but notice what incredible nerds they are. I don't mean that judgementally either in a positive or negative sense, it's just an observation. I mean, my friends are nerds and they are not in the same nerd ballpark.

If someone were to ever do a serious in-depth character study of these folks (and I've never seen one) I think you would have to conclude that much of their drive to succeed is derived from this social outsider status. Microsoft's bullying tactics are simply scheming nerd vengefulness taken to global levels. I bet to this day they think of themselves on some level as outsiders. Social success is alot more than just money, we are quick to forget. Bill, as a prominent public figure though, I'm sure has not. For example:

1:20 into the Channel 9 interview:

"The world is always a bit overfocused on my role or what I have done and hopefully this a chance for them to see that broad set of people."

Watch this segment about 4 or 5 times, and listen to his laughter and watch his playful eyes. I think Bill's getting out before this blog snowballs into a mainstream media consensus -- which I think it is quickly doing as I type this. Every media figure and power broker that reads this blog has a potentially huge and multiplicitive effect on the general consensus.

(To sucessfully analyze this segment it is important to be impressed by how controlled and unnatural are Bill's speech and body movements. It's as though he is in perpertual scheming mode, his brain calculating in advance all possible permutations of the conversational tree, prepared with the most advantagous answers to any question. That is why whenever you see a flicker of life in his eyes, as shown in this segment, pay close attention.)

MBTI ISFP

Anonymous said...

By any chance is The B&M Charity Foundation focused on third world projects?

Where is the next big explosion of Technology use going to be?

Has BillG really left Microsoft or is he simply expanding company horizons under a different brand.

Am I a conspiracy theorist?

Anonymous said...

Look at the photos in newspapers today. Look at the faces. Could you work with these new guys with polished faces like ones you can see on the big bank's commercial? Do you believe these guys can bring innovation and new blood to the stagnating from lack of innovation and common sense company? No way. They will declare one bullshit project after another, being monopoly will save everything. What I think is that BillG can not work with these guys either.

Anonymous said...

Look at the photos in newspapers today. Look at the faces. Could you work with these new guys with polished faces like ones you can see on the big bank's commercial?

What a genius you are. Now faces are the barometer to measure executive ability. Do you even realize the imbecility of your thoughts?

Ah my MS!!

Anonymous said...

God help us all. Ray Ozzie, the man that gave the world the atrocity that is Lotus Notes is taking Gates' place.

Relax...David Vaskevitch has everything under control. First order of business is even a bigger office for himself.

Anonymous said...

Look at what MonkeyBoy (who grew up and became more matured. Now he is called FurnitureMan) has said in today's CNET interview:

There does seem to be this disconnect between the way that you guys talk about where the company is at and the conventional wisdom. People point to a number of things--stock price, morale, faster-moving competitors.
Ballmer: The morale thing is a weird one. We poll our employees. Morale is in pretty darn good shape, in fact. We've recruited more people, we've had better success on college campuses and industry hiring. Attrition rates of good performers is near an all-time low. People want to work here; they are excited about the kinds of stuff we are doing.

Stock prices do go up and down but profits don't. Our profits have grown steadily...blah, blah, blah


In short, he gave his usual crap answer and didnt say anything useful.

Sorry for the anticlimax but its MonkeyBoy...oops!...FurnitureMan we are talking about after all.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what happened to MarkZ?

Mark is alive and well in building 43, still working on file systems in one form or another...


no he isn't...check the GAB.

Anonymous said...

Just read that Joel's post. This Joel dude seems to be like a high school girl ogling at Bill and all.

I thought about how strange it was that he had two legs, two arms, one head, etc., almost exactly like a regular human being.

I fail to see why one would think that this wouldnt be the case. Cause he is the richest guy in the world? Jeez, grow up! Oh wait, did you check his private parts? Maybe he had a horizontal b*** crack or something. I know, I know - its not in good taste. I have nothing against Bill but this Joel dude, jeez!

F***Counter?? This is another thing I hate about the executive leadership - we have all these great company values and all of us are to imbibe it (which is great; thats the way it should be). But look at the executives - see, they are the gods above us, exempt from all these things that apply to the rest of us. See, they are all James Bonds of the modern world...telling Attorney Generals to shove it, vowing to kill other CEOs, and yelling and screaming the f-word as when they please when oglers like Joel dude gleafully keep track of how many times it was said.

Oh, the arrogance! Stupid fu**ers...

Anonymous said...

I must say that I am impressed with the story depicted at http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2006/06/16.html. He read a 500 page spec overnight?!! I remember a company meeting where Steve Ballmer said something like his wife expected him to leave work at 5 every night...and we wonder how we obtained a culture of slackers. Not that I think that we should revert to 24/7 work hours, but at least don't eat, drink, sleep, and be merry while the competition is killing us.

On a separate note, has anyone's org published the MS Poll results as yet? Complete silence in my org so far.

jet said...

Hello... do you know anyone who likes working for msft? Anyone?

It is so weird that so many people are puzzled about Bill leaving. It is so simple, he hates this place, just like all of you.
Except for the newbies who have still not realized that this company has been dead for many years, i have not met anyone who is not dreaming of leaving. Bill is doing it, so can you.

As for Bill, he's up for a major identity crisis and the mother of the mid-life crises. The charity work is just one way to attempt to make sense of his life. But he wont find the answer there.

Good luck to you Bill ! You have some 30 years before you die. Hopefully, at some point, you will learn how to have fun.

Anonymous said...

By any chance is The B&M Charity Foundation focused on third world projects?

Where is the next big explosion of Technology use going to be?

Has BillG really left Microsoft or is he simply expanding company horizons under a different brand.

Am I a conspiracy theorist?


You are correct. It is healthcare and BillG will help Microsoft corner the market. The new cures are going to be developed with the help of computers and medical records automation is already taking place.

Just like Ross Perot who made his billions by computerizing Medicare records with EDS, the next revolution in healthcare automation is taking place.

Anonymous said...

This is all a dream. We're going to wake up and find Bill in the shower, still with us . . .

Anonymous said...

Anybody else laugh at Steve's "I don't check the stock price" comment? This is our CEO?

Regardless, while it is sad to see Bill leave I don't think he has been as effective these past few years and his foundation is definitely the better cause. It will be interesting to see how planning for the next wave of Windows goes - were all the neat features that we couldn't deliver (eg WinFS) his idea, or other sr management?

Anonymous said...

Mark is alive and well in building 43, still working on file systems in one form or another...

Really? He doesn't show up in the address book.

Anonymous said...

"Does anyone have a link somewhere to what it would actually take to bring about ousting SteveB? Can any old shareholder (which pretty much all fulltime employees are) single-handedly bring up the issue at a shareholder's meeting for vote or something?"

Send an email to investor relations. Any shareholder can try and get items on the agenda and/or put to a vote, so maybe a "CEO confidence" motion could be added (though it's likely too late for this year). But otherwise, the CEO serves at the pleasure of the Board of Directors, who in turn are elected by shareholders and supposed to represent our interests. In reality, they were selected and appointed by Steve and Bill (both Board members in their own right) and likely to maintain that loyalty. As "any old shareholder" you can't do much there except withhold your vote for any/all Directors. For example, you could specifically withhold your vote for Steve as a Director. If enough other shareholders did that and he failed to get re-elected to the Board, that would be a significant warning shot across the bow for him, and difficult for the Board to ignore. Otherwise, hope for large institutions to get more vocal. Now that MSFT has been dumped by most growth holders and ownership is slowly moving to [longer term orientated] value guys, you're already seeing some of this happen (e.g. 3-4 big holders who recently went public calling for an immediate buyback ranging from $15B-$100B). Unfortunately, as Steve showed in Manhattan, he apparently doesn't plan on being receptive to the concerns/suggestions being expressed by these folks. With Bill and Steve collectively controlling 15% of shares outstanding, I suspect he feels confident that a lot of shareholders would have to stand up in order to have any chance of voting them down. Given the track record of the stock and 85% being outside his control, he might not want to be so cocky.

Anonymous said...

Hello... do you know anyone who likes working for msft? Anyone?


Right here fool. 8 years going and planning on 20 more.

MS is the place to be. If you don't likes, you quits. Beeyatch!!

Anonymous said...

Now faces are the barometer to measure executive ability.

Right, it is hard to measure ability. But inability is much more noticeable. And if add words they are saying to our image, the impression will be quite solid. My forecast is that these guys will break all Bill has built.

Do you even realize the imbecility of your thoughts?

Can't not think without numbers, aren't you?

Anonymous said...

My take on BillG's departure is that yes he represents an end to an era. BillG was a shrewed negotiator with IBM in those days and he did foresee software has having a more important role than hardware. It was that vision that enable BillG to get the upper hand over IBM and Apple as well. In addition at that time software was generally easily availible it was BillG who really mastered putting "gates" around source code.

Therefore I see that the one person who really put BillG into retirement is Richard Stallman and the GPL. Microsoft success ironically, its arrogance, the 2000 recession, the inablility to use the stock to extract economic rents, and the GPL are all factors in Microsoft's recent difficulty to maintain their propreitary business model.

In addition, during the days I was an employee of Microsoft, when I first started there, I was impressed that the compensation level at the top was extremely modest for a company the size of Microsoft. The upper level compensation IMO start to get out of whack with the emergance of Bob Herbold at COO. Herbold who came from a ossified company -- Proctor & Gamble, imo, help to set the reactionary stage of Microsoft. His wife also became a firm supporter of I200 which in no measure help to make Microsoft reacationary as well. This diverence exemplified by Herbold, help to set the stage for the crisis that has developed at Microsoft.

Clearly Microsoft needs change but it will never be the dynamic place that is was during the 90's. Those days are over. The dynamicism are now at smaller and more nimble firms. Microsoft has succeed with Windows and Office into commodifing the O/S and office suites and those area are pretty much played out with not much room for further growth. Microsoft and grow if they become like many U.S firms that use the political process to curtail free market activities that limit competition or Microsoft alters the nature of the company. But such alternation may not produce any real benefits for the employess who see Microsoft turning into another Proctor-like company where all their valuable intellectual property bubbles up to upper ranks in the form of executive compensation, perks and power.

This is the real symbolism of BillG's departure. BillG personified a geek at the helm not an MBA who doesn't understand software development. The vacuum at Microsoft will now be filled by the MBA leaches rather than a person has affinity with our passion for software development.

Going back to Ballmar's remarks, Microsoft will increasingly rely on college recruitment because many students today are so emcumbered by debt that they will be desparate for a job at Microsoft not only to be able to start paying down their debt but to have Microsoft on their resume to increase their marketabililty. In other words: Don't fall in love with the company use it as you would use any tool as these past several years would indicate Microsoft has been using you.

jet said...

To the person who calls herself Beeyatch!!
I did quit almost 2 years ago (just after selling the last options at $38). Good luck to you.

The Nog said...

Say what you like about Gates (some people notice that he likes to play cards when he should be attending meetings) in his youth he created an unchained terror called Microsoft. Comparatively speaking, Microsoft delivered more productivity faster, with higher return, and fewer mistakes, than any commercial enterprise in recorded human history.

Wow, I totally disagree with this. This isn't meant to knock Microsoft in any way, but their unchained success wasn't a result of Bill Gates' genius business skills, as is often described. It was because of IBM's big mistake--giving Microsoft control of the operating system on every PC. It was a very fortunate stroke of luck that infused the company with gobs of cash.

Microsoft delivered more productivity, faster, with fewer mistakes? Are we talking about the same company? Microsoft is known for delays, overpromising features that never appear, and several high-profile flops in its history. In the 90s, Microsoft's success was glorified and worshipped, but in 2006, I suspect those writing in retrospect on Microsoft in the future will temper descriptions of the company's success with mentions of its many failures, its antitrust abuse troubles, and the missteps of Bill Gates (ignoring the Internet, hello!). Microsoft is a very lucky and fortunate company, but lately it seems people don't believe the company is, or has ever been, as successful on its own merits so much as it managed to be in the right place at the right time, making the right deals with the right people. Unfortunately, that's the legacy Bill Gates will leave behind at Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

It's great that Bill is a programmer instead of an MBA, but he's also a nerd. He loves technology for technology's sake, without considering cost, complexity, or usefulness. This is exemplified by his decade+ long infatuations with home automation, pen/tablet computing, database file systems, and other nonsense that wastes company time and money. Unlike Steve Jobs, Bill is just not good at predicting what people will want, use, or care about.

Anonymous said...

It is so weird that so many people are puzzled about Bill leaving. It is so simple, he hates this place, just like all of you.

I don't think bill hates the place, but the last 5-6 years have been very tough on him. When he's in a game and has a chance to pick up all the marbles, that's when he's at his best. The last several years have been an attritive quicksand of antitrust, tech slump, employee unrest, missed web opportunities, etc. To reflect on these things too deeply might cast aspersion on oneself, and that's not going to happen. I'm sure the Gates Foundation has provided a pleasant sidebar for him. All for the best. It will be awhile before Microsoft is able to control the industry by the short hairs again. Bill did some quick math to figure out when that day might come, and saw that it was an unacceptably long time from now. Unlike some executives that merely sit on their cash, bill put his to work in a constructive way, and now his life is going to have a rewarding second act. He is probably wondering why he didn't do this sooner.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft is a very lucky and fortunate company, but lately it seems people don't believe the company is, or has ever been, as successful on its own merits so much as it managed to be in the right place at the right time, making the right deals with the right people. Unfortunately, that's the legacy Bill Gates will leave behind at Microsoft.

Well, in terms of a legacy, what more do you want?

Since we’re at the bottom of a well looking up, it would appear your comment has merit. However, Microsoft will not be down forever. It will have its renaissance, and when it does, you might re-think Gates’ role. From bootstrapping the first software to ever run on a PC, to creating a stripped basic (quickbasic) that was so innately practical it sneaker-netted the globe in a week, to launching platforms with thousands of partner apps ready to ship, to bundling (bundling wasn’t always a bad word) the office components, Gates had a knack for getting leverage. Didn’t Gary Kildall punt on the OS before Gates picked it up? Possibly, the knock on Gates is that he had a knack for getting ahead, and would do almost anything to stay ahead, but when the contest was decided otherwise, he may have lost interest. A contrarian like Waren Buffett Gates is not. Did Gates catch a lucky break or did he make his own? Historians and b-schoolers can debate it a century from now.

Anonymous said...

What will happen to ThinkWeek?
Who will read the papers now.

Ballmer - Ha ha ha...

Anonymous said...

Joel Spolsky seems to be making two points:

1) Back in the day (before Netscape, let's say) Gates was a very technical, hands-on CEO, and that kept everyone at the top of their game. Even though it's debatable exactly how brilliant he was.

2) Spolsky was the dude that came up with the ideas for OLE automation.

Now, leafing through a long spec and coming back with lots of questions is not terribly impressive. I'm sure Joel has done that himself many times. You don't have to understand the whole proposal, just enough to ask some pointed questions, leveraging your knowledge of some areas that you happen to be expert in. But I agree that it's impressive that the CEO was doing that on a regular basis (some business types would argue the opposite of course).

As for OLE automation, I agree that was an impressive brainstorm to have on one's resume. But dude, that was one of the things that ended up finishing off COM. In order to make it through a design review, the external APIs of any COM-enabled application had to be spec'd with dual interfaces to properly support VB4 and then JScript (a piece of added flexibility which often went unused in practice), because adding that support was "free" - you just change a couple lines in the IDL. But it was not free, because it greatly restricted the data types you could support, and you also had to add kludgey and low-performance layers to both client and component code. In a sense, the VB team hijacked the COM architecture and made it much less elegant. Variants, BSTRs, safearrays, and Visual Studio-generated IDispatch wrappers (actually there were two sets, one with MFC and one w/o) are an episode of programming history that all of us would like to forget. And a good chunk of our career time we won't get back again.

Anonymous said...

As for OLE automation, ..., that was one of the things that ended up finishing off COM.
The idea of COM was quite good, but there were some implementation details which turn everything badly. Instead of fixing things, make them working, new dudes are coming, creating something new as crappy as before, repeating all mistakes. So we have .NET instead of COM. Is it better? Kinda. It will be retired. One day.

MSDecade said...

As for OLE automation ... an episode of programming history that all of us would like to forget.

Interesting perspective. Mine is a bit different. From my perspective, OLE Automation (later just called 'Automation') brought us closer to the promise of software as packages of objects than anything else.

What we in Redmond tend to forget is that most of the rest of the programming world (IT folks trying to get business work done) prefers VB and other scripting languages. You non-geeks won't know what I'm talking about, but dual interfaces allowed objects to be invoked with high performance vtable interfaces, as well as lower performance (but highly flexible) late-binding IDispatch interfaces. These allowed objects to be used by the universe of programming languages: C & C++, VB, JScript, Perl, etc.

Joel's essay is a bit self-aggrandizing, but that's okay. I think self-promotion is an attribute that we programmers need to be better at (in order to counter the jerks who self-promote without having the foundation to do so with respect).

If you've read this far, now I'll talk about Bill. I have mixed feelings about Bill phasing himself out. What Bill drives, which has helped and hurt, is a tremendous sense of urgency. Bill wants to see us bring our technology into the hands of customers as soon as possible. This has led to some amazing triumphs as well as to some very visible failures. If we (the next generation) can maintain that sense of urgency and balance it with good quality and customer focus, we will have served Bill well.

Anonymous said...

Call me crazy but I would have been all for Bill Gates giving two weeks notice rather than two years. Sure, this might have had a more immediate impact on the stock price, but I think it would also have been the necessary jolt to force real change. Bill would have the opportunity to spend all his time on charity work (go Bill and Melinda!), and Microsoft’s leadership team without Bill would either have to prove to be the great leadership team they are claiming to be or ship out. Kind of like a snow globe where snow is flying everywhere until it eventually settles out.

Anonymous said...

No, the poster who said the VB-interop crap was the downfall of COM was right. COM originally was a really powerful idea, and simple enough to use that programmers could keept their focus on whatever problem they were trying to use COM to solve.

but once all the interop crap got added in, just using COM became such a hairball that you spent most of your brain cycles keeping the COM crap straight, and didn't have much left for the real problem. COM got in the way.

I've enjoyed reading Joelonsoftware and thought the guy had a lot of good things to say. But if he's the one responsible for BSTRs and IDIspatch, I have to rethink my evaluation of him.

And I think COM is an example of what went wrong at Microsoft once things got beyond Bill's ability (a-bill-ity. get it? I kill myself sometimes) to personally control. Too many techie hairball ideas got green-lighted and people stopped paying attention to how the crap was going to get used. Pet "brilliant ideas" like COM interop got larded onto otherwise useful technology, and everything got top-heavy.

I think Mini has the right idea. If we had fewer people, it would help focus the ones left on solving problems instead of creating new ones.

I'll miss Bill. I wish him the best. He's not doing this to sell Windows to third-world kids. Maybe he's doing it to win a Nobel prize, but if so, hey, isn't that what Nobel would have wanted? An incentive to do good deeds?

Anonymous said...

Paul Thurrott actually got it right:

"There's little doubt that Microsoft chairman Bill Gates is an incredible businessman and borderline genius. His qualifications as technical visionary are, however, quite suspect: This is a guy who hasn't coded since the days of Microsoft BASIC, and let's face it, his 1995 book "The Road Ahead" barely even noted the existence of the Internet. Moving as he is to a life of donations and giving, Gates will establish for himself a deserved reputation as history's greatest benefactor, a title that would far outshine any human's contributions to big business. But let's face facts: Gates is also the reason that Microsoft has gotten into horrible legal and antitrust troubles around the globe, and the culture he established at Microsoft will only slowly be eradicated from his company. It may never be completely exorcised."

There's more. Much more. Read it for yourself at www.wininformant.com

Anonymous said...

"Wow, I totally disagree with this. This isn't meant to knock Microsoft in any way, but their unchained success wasn't a result of Bill Gates' genius business skills, as is often described. It was because of IBM's big mistake--giving Microsoft control of the operating system on every PC." - the nog

Yes and no. Gates got the break of a lifetime from IBM. He then leveraged it brilliantly to take over control of the bulk of the entire software industry for his own benefit. Otherwise, Microsoft would now be merely "that company that made DOS, back in the day", and no more.

MSS

Anonymous said...

Has anyone read this yet? I'd love to hear insiders' views on his ideas.

http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/pulpit20060615.html

Anonymous said...

Mini,
Appreciate all the comments concerning Mr. Gates announcement about his future.
We have our's to concern with...
Is there someone there somewhere who is inventing a "conversion tool" for those with pre-live msn or hotmail accounts who now use their "live" accounts much more than the prior?
Have to clean IE after several uses between domains to log-in thru passport...
Mr. Gates, Thanks for inviting us to the product release. Appreciate it very much. We are doing our part everyday to promote Microsoft software. Every person we met on campus (every) Team(s) member(s) were very cordail and made us feel at home and do to this day.
Thank you for attending our event.

Customer

Anonymous said...

"Has anyone read this yet? I'd love to hear insiders' views on his ideas.

http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/pulpit20060615.html"

How come most things on PBS always seem to include black helicopters flying overhead in whisper mode feeding black suited agents into the streets below?

Anonymous said...

"In short, for Microsoft to have the barest hope of preserving its monopoly, it has to build a whole new monopoly based on honest, original work devoid of politics, backstabbing, and lies. This means not only does Gates have to go, but for all practical purposes CEO Steve Ballmer should go, too, because he's as responsible as Gates for this mess."

Overall stupid article but there's an element of truth to this.

Anonymous said...

"We made mistakes, of course. Most of them were omissions we didn't think of when we initially wrote the software. We fixed them by doing it over and over, again and again. We do the same today. While our competitors are still sucking their thumbs trying to make the design perfect, we're already on prototype version No. 5. By the time our rivals are ready with wires and screws, we are on version No. 10. It gets back to planning versus acting: We act from day one; others plan how to plan -- for months."
-- Bloomberg by Bloomberg

jamie said...

Well Ray Ozzie just posted on Channel 9 in a normal user thread in the Coffeehouse

http://channel9.msdn.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=206140#206140

so i like him already
(bill never did that ;))

Anonymous said...

Looks like Martin Taylor just punched out. Good news or bad? Sounds like maybe Gates' leaving is setting some other balls in motion...

Anonymous said...

Did someone say other execs will soon follow?

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13447862/

Anonymous said...

Did Martin Taylor leave, or was he fired? According to the MSNBC article, the company stated, "We have made the difficult decision to part ways with Martin, but we don't comment on personnel matters," the company said. "We appreciate Martin's contributions at Microsoft over the past 13 years."

Sounds like maybe it was not a voluntary exit from the way they phrased it. It sounds like it was Microsoft's decision to "part ways".

Anonymous said...

It better be that Martin Taylor was found naked in bed with a 9yr old girl or that he pee'd in the church and murdered a few parishioners during Sunday service, to be let go like that.

Any other reason will be unacceptable.....

Anonymous said...

Word on the street was major HR violation, pretty ugly stuff. So it's like it's a house cleaning thing..

Anonymous said...

On top of Taylor being gone, this Hase guy is gone.

What is Taylor's exit about? I've seen the Enron exec's getting shown a better exit. I mean a press release the day before a firing? This better be a SERIOUS hr violation, because anything else would be disrespectful, and I'm not sure anyone worth their salary should join this organization at a high rank if they are willin to discard their execs in such a distasteful manner.

Three months after a promotion? Wow

Anonymous said...

Word on the street was major HR violation, pretty ugly stuff. So it's like it's a house cleaning thing..

Must have been major...never seen a corporate bio updated that fast!

Anonymous said...

Hmm...Martin was Steve's guy. I thought they were grooming him for the inner circle.

Anonymous said...

Word on the street was major HR violation, pretty ugly stuff. So it's like it's a house cleaning thing..

Would this be a "violation" in the DiPietro mould?

Anonymous said...

Hi Mini,

I dont know if you have read this , but since it does mention minimsft, I thought you would like to read this !

http://www.proudlyserving.com/archives/2006/06/the_microsoft_c_6.html


The level 71 developer snorted. "Well, around here the 'firm scion' would be Bill Gates. And 'omit' is pretty obvious. Sounds like he's one of those bloggers who wants to get rid of Bill."

RobertLa said, "Oh right, I've heard of those guys. There's a site they all get together on to complain about management. I forget what it's called--miniature something-or-other."

VirgilI spoke, his voice steely. "You mean Mini-Microsoft."

AnonBlueBadge said...

Mini,

Any comments or insights on Martin Taylor leaving MSFT so "unexpectedly"?

jamie said...

http://www.channel9.ca/mstribute.wmv

Anonymous said...

According to Microsoft HR guidelines, there are only two reasons a person can be walked to the door without due process. One is being in possession of child porn, and the other is physical violence on campus.

When I was a GM, I had an employee that had a fight with his girlfriend in the Microsoft parking lot. He pushed her, which was caught on camera. She filed a complaint, HR made me terminate him the next day. He was here on a visa, and was sent back two days after that.

No due process, no warnings, no negotiation on these two issues, per Microsoft HR.

If someone is walked to the door in a hurry, one of these is the likely reason.

Anonymous said...

The reason, why Martin Taylor was kicked?

Who da'Punk == Martin Taylor

They found out.

Anonymous said...

http://www.proudlyserving.com/archives/2006/06/the_microsoft_c_6.html

Interesting evening reading after the days work is finished for any non Microsoft employee.
Still goes to show that most of the posts here still miss the boat, plane, etc...
Your so wrapped up in whats in it for me! or Who's going next (could be you) etc...
Musical chairs is being played there and many people will be left without a seat after the music stops.
Not the new hires but those that have been there and are riding coatails.
To borrow a phrase...
"It's not personal it's just business".
Hopefully these changes will help the average consumer that purchases your BOX software everyday.
Does anyone there know how much this market provides $.$$$.$$$.$$ to your bottom line and props up your profit and stock price?
Without us your stock would be worth much less than the current bitch and moan price!!!
Damn shame that all the Scoble evangelical stuff could not have been used to ADVERTISE your INTERNAL software to the masses.
Who are you trying to evangelize?
Us or your employees?

Customer

Anonymous said...

>>>Word on the street was major HR violation<<<
I think that is a likely explanation. That is what happened to the ex-CTO they got from Overture to head up the MSN Search advertising effort (forget his name now). That was back in late '03/early '04. Rumor was he engaged in some highly inappropriate actions (read: sexual harrassment) at an offsite conference. He was in his post at MSFT for about 4 months before getting suddenly canned.

Anonymous said...

According to Microsoft HR guidelines, there are only two reasons a person can be walked to the door without due process. One is being in possession of child porn, and the other is physical violence on campus.

There's many different things that will get you escorted out the door. Sometimes those doing the escorting are the nice men with short haircuts wearing suits with bulges just over their hips. No, they don't wear sunglasses (inside). No, they're not looking for Mr. Anderson. Yes, they will provide a ride in a van or a Crown Vic. Saw it happen a couple yrs ago.
Over the yrs, like in any excessively large gov't like bloatocracy, there will be a number of times a yr when someone gets the free car/van/SUV ride to the house of concrete and really strong glass windows. I've seen, heard rumors of, and helped spread unsubstantiated gossip about several such busts over the last decade at MS.

Anonymous said...

I heard it was his foot

-Spaz

Anonymous said...

To the idiots that knock Bill Gates I say:

"Look at the scoreboard losers".

Anonymous said...

We've got so big, slow and boring that even BillG is leaving.
It seems that "The B&M Charity Foundation" is going to be a very good place to work.

Anonymous said...

"I wish I knew how to quit you"

Is Mini-Micro a homo? Please let the answer be yes! I fancy him already!

(Or maybe quoting from a 'gay' film doesn't automatically determine someones sexuality, who knows!)