Saturday, June 24, 2006

WinFS is Dead, Hiring Stop, Another Missing VP, and Stack Ranking 2006 - Comments

Just a quick post to break away from the lascivious conclusions around why Mr. Taylor is an ex-Microsoftie. Seems as though the comments have gravitated to a consistent assumption, and if true, I think we're all glad to see such violations lead to termination vs. hand-slapping "don't do that again"-isms.

(1) Some interesting comments, starting off with a WinFS update:

WinFS is DEAD DEAD DEAD:

http://blogs.msdn.com/winfs/

Specifically, in the post What's in Store WinFS Update, Quentin Clark sort of says "WinFS is dead. Long live WinFS!" Aspects of WinFS are being rolled into other products, WinFS is going away, and that grand relational-filesystem is going back into ivory-tower incubation. Great. So how much money and cross-team integrated innovation randomization did we invest in WinFS?

Is this why Mark Zbikowski left Microsoft (for those that wonder why I keep bringing up MarkZ: he had been with the company for over 25 years. Only Bill and Steve have been at Microsoft longer. His departure: mmm, kind of big. The silence about it, internal and external, is weird, to me.)?

(2) A fun rumor (?):

Newest news at MSFT: Due to crappy stock price now the big bosses are talking about STOPPING ALL HIRING in FY07.. The non Business groups are already calling off interview loops for this. Of course there will be "Some exceptions" (we all know they will be in Vista).

Goodness knows we need that. How many times has Ballmer remarked lately that our hiring has exceeded our expectations? First: stop squeezing more and more new people into the offices. Second: rebalance needs internally (I hope easy internal transfers are still on LisaB's to-do list). Third: start aggressive downsizing, realizing for teams that have screwed up that it takes a lot less people to screw up, anyway.

(3) Someone wrote me asking about Corporate VP Robert Uhlaner. ¿Dónde Está? Not off the main VP pages. Not in our Outlook Global Address List. What was Mr. Uhlaner's responsibilities? Corporate Vice President, Corporate Strategy, Planning and Analysis. Oh. Well that explains it. Looking through our extensive VP list, there's a new corporate strategy VP. I've said it once. I've said it twice. #3: Dreamy. Sorry, Robert.

In the meantime, it's looking like I need to write a script to run every week during this time of change to find out whois disappearing from the VP ranks...

(4) Lastly: how's the new review system treating you? My team's stack rank is coming up this week and I've wandered the halls and buildings talking to various managers about their experience so far. Some are stressed out trying to figure how to distribute their budgets fairly and recognize their super achievers, plus roll that up and ensure it's inline with their group in general. Others are just happy they are not forced to draw a line the middle of a bunch of excellent people but can move the line down a few folks to a more natural divider. Others are bouncing up and down in their seats, quite happy that they've designated everyone in their group as "Exceeds! Outstanding!"


152 comments:

Brandon Gilchrist said...

WinFS being "dead" seems like a move from new management to me. Just two weeks ago they were showing off WinFS at Tech Ed and now they're canning it.
Maybe it's for the better because WinFS was rife with issues but I really think they could have worked them out in the next year or so.

Well at least we know one thing: Ray Ozzie works fast.

I wrote more about it on my site:
http://www.osreview.com

Anonymous said...

Robert Uhlaner returned to Mckinsey Consulting where he will no doubt make loads of $$$ telling the IBMs & Oracles that they need his services because he was in charge of "Corporate Strategy" at Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

A hiring freeze at Microsoft could be a great thing if coupled with the cancellation of its sillier attempts to enter new markets. I'm thinking of one area in MBS where MSFT is trying to establish itself as a player in a market dominated by Intuit. The management there is so corrupt and incompetent that I watched a VP rip a GM a new one in front of his entire team last week. It was clear the VP was completely washing his hands of the whole sorry mess.

No, go ahead and cancel that effort now. There are some good people on the team, and I am sure they could make contributions elsewhere in the company.

MSFTextrememakeover said...

"WinFS is DEAD DEAD DEAD"

Sounds like the right decision given all the problems, but yet another embarassing, expensive failure for MSFT. You'd think that at this point, senior management would be tired of these high-profile screwups making them and the company look like the keystone cops, and that pride/self-respect alone would drive them to make massive changes - but apparently not. And where's the visible accountability for this latest failure? Or as Dare asks, the review to codify the lessons learned to avoid similar mistakes in the future? Dissapointing leadership once again.

Anonymous said...

Were there really posters and cards that said "Hey Windows Live! Come pimp my office!" or are you Microsofties having the rest of us on?

rayted32 said...

What is this sound -- "Boink"? Choose One (1):

(a) The sound of Martin Taylor bending a co-worker over a desk;
(b) The sound of the second Alka Seltzer hitting the water in Steve Ballmer's glass;
(c) The sound of Ray Ozzie hitting the "chaff from the wheat eject button";
(d) All of the above.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the hiring freeze...I know in Raikes org he has frozen all headcount growth. Existing open reqs and headcount stay, but all "bubble heads" disappear and no group in his org is getting a new headcount allocation.

Regarding disappearing execs...GOOD. I don't care if they're finally combing through the HR practices of these people, auditing expense reports (BTW if anyone wants to see some of these expense reports just ask for access to Calypso and you can see them...they raise my eyebrows a LOT..."where in Denver can you stay for $700 a night?") or whether the new powers that be (Mundie, Ozzie) are taking out the knives for some crony blood-letting...I don't care. In fact, I say BRING IT ON. That sort of churn can only be good to those in the org aspiring to be noticed as the future leaders.

Anonymous said...

What was the problem with WinFS? Performance? If so, why wasn't this known ages ago? If it was, why was WinFS still touted by the marketing people? Couldn't they have waited until its performance was actually acceptable?

-- a confused non-MSy

Anonymous said...

You're barking up the tree with markz's departure. Anybody who knew Zibo could see this coming over the last couple years. The guy was burned out, had some family changes, and was ready to go do something completely different with the rest of his life. There was a big going-away party for him a couple weeks ago. Just because you didn't get invited doesn't mean it's some vast cover-up conspiracy.

Anonymous said...

On the off topic of blogs and blogging ... Microsoft needed a shot of reality and that came more from Mini than Scoble. That said, Scoble presides over a moveable feast. The Scobleizer brand goes with Scoble wherever he goes. Mini is more or less tied to Microsoft and its fortunes or misfortunes. Scoble has been written up at least twice in the Economist where other prolific leaders might execute their careers and not be mentioned there once. Scoble is a published author with one successful book on a topic he knows more about than anybody - with hopefully more to come. He is connected with other leaders both in and out of the industry, some who have made contributions on par with Gates, and of course leagues more than Ballmer. It would be a shame if Scoble were to - in a moment of weakness - out poor Mini. Scoble mentioned in a parting blog of how Ballmer came down questionably on the topic of diversity and specifically gay rights. Scoble's rebuttal was a lone voice in the woods but it was heard and Microsoft reversed its stand. What Scoble didn't mention is at the same time he was blogging for the underdog he was being attacked by one of his own senior managers on another blog, and asked to respect and honor Ballmer's vision right or wrong. So, while Scoble has moved on, there is still a task at hand, and that is to comb through Microsoft and try to figure out which employees (managers or otherwise) have made their position on merit or who have simply made their way with pom-poms and/or by selling out their creditable peers. I hope that Ray Ozzie is up to the task, and I hope Ballmer yields the floor to him. Toward this end, and I think even Scoble would agree, the Mini blog can do wonders for identifying problems within Microsoft without engaging in personal attacks or naming specific individuals. There is still plenty of work to be done here.

Anonymous said...

This was late but entirely the right move. Having support for "integrated storage" for free in Windows but not work at scale in SQL server doesn't make any sense. Also, the number of things in Windows depending on SQL Server is increasing (SharePoint, etc), being in SQL probably makes it just as easy to get back into Windows when the time is right.

Also, re the "parts of WInFS that will remain in incubation", I've heard rumors that that will be Project Orange. They have a truly fantastic team on that project, I wouldn't count them out at all.

Anonymous said...

On the hiring stop: my group is indeed tightening up on reqs. Rumor mill says Windows will be letting go hundreds of folks past Vista, and they are trying to ensure the deadbeats that are let go don't just find slots in other teams.

Anonymous said...

Were there really posters and cards that said "Hey Windows Live! Come pimp my office!" or are you Microsofties having the rest of us on?

Yes, there really are posters around campus that say that. The first time I saw one I thought, "When did the average age of people at this company hit 15?".

Anonymous said...

If I hear another thing about WinFS it'll be too soon. What a fiasco. Did anybody have a plan for it or were the devs just writing code for typing practice? The fundamental design of the project changed on a month-by-month basis. Was it a file system or did it work on NTFS? Did it index everything or just My Documents? Did it require Longhorn or did it run on XP? Who knows! (Nobody, apparently.)

The biggest joke about the whole thing, though, was that it was completely incomprehensible and useless to our customers. It's a SQL metadata XML managed file system thing, but WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?? Oh, it lets me search my music? I can already do that. It lets me tag my pictures? Any photo management program lets me do that. It lets me search my e-mail? THERE ARE ALREADY A MILLION DIFFERENT WAYS TO DO THAT.

No wonder (almost) everybody hates Microsoft. Apple sells little boxes that play music. Google gives me a web page where I can search for stuff. Microsoft makes Indigo?!?! To this day I still have no idea what Indigo was, is, or will be, except that it had some vague thing to do with making web services. Is it still even in Longhorn? I mean, come on!

Steve Severance said...

As a non MSFT developer who spent quite a bit of time with WinFS I can say that I am dissapointed. Ok let me rephrase that...Why did I spend so much time with a product that is now canceled? WinFS is exactly what Vista needed. As it is Vista is only incrementaly better than XP in terms of features. I understand the core is alot better but how is it making my life better? And that is a question that recently in the beta process I have not been able to answer.

Steve

Anonymous said...

1. All of the above

2. Yes, there was even an email that announced the "Pimp my office" thing complete with the dictionary definition of "pimp" (yes, that's right something like "a male person who arranges sex with prostitutes") actually in the email.

3. Good riddance on Uhlaner, McKinsey has been milking MSFT dry for years. Fiscal year 2003 we spent something like $700M on McKinsey "help". I would put Accenture in that bucket too.

Anonymous said...

Yes, there were 'pimp my office' cards and posters around campus. Lo and behold, someone was offended and complained to HR. For some reason it never occurred to the ad creators that 'pimp' might be a bit offensive. The net result is that internal ad campaigns will now have to be reviewed by Diversity.

Anonymous said...

hiring freeze?

This is in Server and Tools too.

Anonymous said...

>Others are bouncing up and down in their seats, quite happy that they've designated everyone in their group as "Exceeds! Outstanding!"

As predicted. I wonder what plan, if any, HR has to rein in this sort of nonsense.

Anonymous said...

What does the hiring stop mean for interns?

As an intern at MSFT I was looking forward to at least having a CHANCE at getting a FT offer, if that's down the tubes I'd like to know so I don't have to work as hard this summer.

Although I can't say I blame them, I've only been here a few weeks and it's obvious to me that there are WAY too many PMs and sub-par Devs. No experience with Test so I can't comment.

Anonymous said...

I can't stop laughing reading this thread. The side-line speculators are throwing the rocks again without even knowing the first things about what they are writing about.

Work at Microsoft and want it to be a better place? How about giving your fellow employees the benefit of the doubt? How about taking the time to learn somethign and understand before you start casting stones?

Stop being such Victims.

Anonymous said...

Back in the day when I wore the blue, I knew Uhlaner and whatever he did, apparently he was pretty good at it. At least he was great in front of customers. He was the the executive sponsor for my customer and they loved him. They made sure he was on the their list of preferred speakers for every EBC visit.

He was also a pretty nice guy but his hair was always a mess...like he just rolled out of bed. Our short-hand for him on reports was BHF (bed-head Fred).

Anonymous said...

I can't even tell from that msdn blog wtf he's talking about, and am taking the word of others who can interpret that mumbly-technojargon spin doctor post that, even though WinFS was demoed as an intended standalone add-on to Vista just two weeks ago, it is in fact not coming at all as originally promised.

Besides the fact that guy hasn't even blogged in a year, is he just trying to put a good corporate face on the fact his pet project just got kicked in the face again, this time for good?

Anonymous said...

Charles Stevens retired from the company months ago but still appears on the MS.com executive profiles site.

Anonymous said...

"A hiring freeze at Microsoft could be a great thing if coupled with the cancellation of its sillier attempts to enter new markets. I'm thinking of one area in MBS where MSFT is trying to establish itself as a player in a market dominated by Intuit. The management there is so corrupt and incompetent that I watched a VP rip a GM a new one in front of his entire team last week. It was clear the VP was completely washing his hands of the whole sorry mess."

So what is your job there? Are you on the team? Do you actually listen to your customers?
If your on the team why couldn't you help make this particular product better? You sat mute during the meeting?
So by your post, there is no one there somewhere who can make a better product than Intuit? Who are you to make judgements on corruption and incompetency?
Nothing personal, it's just business since we invest in YOUR company to prop up YOUR stock price...
Jeez Freaking Louise...

Customer

Anonymous said...

I really wish they were making a bigger deal out of killing WinFS. Gil Amelio took a lot of shit for some of his decisions at Apple, but absolutely the best thing that he and Hancock did was to make what could have been a quiet back-room bullet to the head of the Copland project into a high-profile public hanging. You can be sure that the resumes of a thousand pieces of deadwood hit the wire at Apple that day, and it was the decision that set the stage for Jobs' return and OSX.

Nothing communicates intent at the executive level quite so clearly as the willingness to stop throwing good money after bad. Here's hoping this is a sign of things to come.

Anonymous said...

Ok let me rephrase that...Why did I spend so much time with a product that is now canceled?

Because you haven't paid attention to history.

I don't mean that to sound snide, but this isn't the first time MS has done this. This isn't the first time MS has heavily promoted a new "industry-changing" technology that was years away from being viable and then drop it (or seriously neuter it). Spending any significant amount of time on any product that hasn't reached at least the "Release Candidate" stage is likely to be a waste of your time. I'm not condemning Microsoft for this...I've been in this industry for a long time and realize that business needs change, company focus changes, engineers reach technical limits, budgets run out, etc. However, they have a tendency to bring out the hype machine much too early for these "big bets" and third-parties fall for it again and again.

Anonymous said...

As a former WinFS'er, WinFS's problem wasn't performance - it's problem was in how to expose all the data stored in it in a way the end users (i.e., your grandmother, who probably can't deal with even files and folders and isn't ready to write queries, even natural language ones) could manipulate directly. All the redesigns I saw over the last year were concerning this one issue. Everything else seemed to be coming together except how to expose it to the end user. My perception is once management realized they had all the other problems solved except this one and could ship everything else in SQL Server and benefit a whole bunch of people without waiting for solution no one had found after a huge investment, they decided to merge everything that did work into SQL Server/ADO.Net. And break off the part they were struggling with into a new, much smaller, prototyping team, not called WinFS. So all the parts of WinFS are still alive, just broken up into stuff we know how to do and can ship and stuff we don't know how to do and aren't sure when or if it'll ship.

Anonymous said...

Wait, I thought MiniMsft and his sycophantic followers were calling for cutting of the FAT in order to raise the stock price (stock price seems to be the only thing this blog really cares about). WinFS wasn't making money, so it was a prime candidate to be cut. Continuing to develop it just for the sake of pride is simply throwing good money after bad. Regardless of how much was invested in it, you have to cut your losses.

Or is it that you guys really don't want to cut the fat and just want to bitch. If WinFS is cut, you bitch; if it's kept but didn't contribute to raising the stock price (your prime concern), you bitch.

Anonymous said...

Here's my problem with this blog.
WinFS was a grand project that didn't meet its goals. It happens. Other projects "fail", and you guys call for "aggressive downsizing". The problem is we don't know who you guys are. How do we know that *your* projects are failures or money-drainers? How do we know that Mini-Microsoft himself isn't working on a failed project, and as a result, he should be downsized?

The owner of this blog and all of the posters are anonymous, calling for firing of others, when I'd bet dollars-to-donuts that many of you guys yourselves are on money-draining projects or screwed up projects.

Regarding WinFS, treat it like a research project, like many of the projects at research.microsoft.com, if that makes you feel any better. None of those projects make money *directly*, but some of the work done in those project makes its way to commercial projects. So it will be for WinFS.

Anonymous said...

"Also, re the "parts of WInFS that will remain in incubation", I've heard rumors that that will be Project Orange. They have a truly fantastic team on that project, I wouldn't count them out at all."

///////////////

Hmmm.
I just assumed that with WinFS' death/morph/whatever, that Project Organge was dead. Do you know different?

Anonymous said...

regarding easy internal transfer, if you go to http://careers (internal), there is a link to HR internal blog site asking for feedback. there is a LOT of feedback on the blog...but we have seen no visible change so far.

Anonymous said...

can you post the "pimp" e-mail?

Anonymous said...

Look this is simple. WinFS is not dead. An earlier anonymous poster had it right. The biggest issue the project had was that there was never a user experience that made sense on WinFS.

So we took all the "platform" stuff and put it in SQL, and took all the Ux stuff and left it with Project Orange in incubation mode.

Project Orange is very much still alive. Like I said, don't count them out.

Anonymous said...

Whoever came up with the idea and whoever approved the "pimp my office" campaign just need to be fired NOW. Its just plain stupid, thats it. I'd really like to know how many meetings and how much $$ went into it.

Anonymous said...

Regarding WinFS, treat it like a research project, like many of the projects at research.microsoft.com, if that makes you feel any better.

That's bullshit. WinFS has cost the company millions if not billions of dollars in development costs, delays of major products, lost credibility in the marketplace and employee morale.

The only saving grace is that they only took down Windows and SQL with them and not Office as well.

WinFS is a microcosm of everything that is wrong with Microsoft.

As a former WinFS'er, WinFS's problem wasn't performance - it's problem was in how to expose all the data stored in it in a way the end users (i.e., your grandmother, who probably can't deal with even files and folders and isn't ready to write queries, even natural language ones) could manipulate directly. All the redesigns I saw over the last year were concerning this one issue.

WinFS is always redesigning and changing their goals. That should have been a red flag for you if you were really on the project.

Anonymous said...

Another way to look at this is: what was the plan really to put this into Windows? An out-of-band Windows filesystem update? Come on... Wait for "Vienna"? If you bet on some upcoming OS release, you fail the IQ test...

So if WinFS had no foreseeable way to get into Windows, what do you do with it? You salvate as much as makes sense to put into SQL (so will Katmai expose a filesystem?) and keep some people around to keep messing with the user model. I have also heard that "Orange" isn't being killed as part of this, so maybe that's what they are doing.

Anonymous said...

So what is your job there? Are you on the team? Do you actually listen to your customers? If your on the team why couldn't you help make this particular product better?

Is it my fault we're at war in Iraq, too? I probably have more influence over American political policy than I have over the management at MSFT.

Anonymous said...

I don't get the internal ad campaigns at all. What is the purpose of paying a designer and a texter to produce pretty cardboard inlays with at most three lines of text, print and distribute them to all employees, who then dutifully chuck those into the trash receptacles in the mailrooms stante pede?

Anonymous said...

"What does the hiring stop mean for interns?"

Short story: If you get an internship at MS, you have the oppotunity to get a FT offer.

Longer story:
When an intern comes and works at MS, there is a dedicated headcount devoted to the intern - for the most part we assume that the intern will turn into a FT hire. Groups that don't have the headcount room don't get interns.

Being that you already have an internship this summer, the headcount is available for you to get the FT offer at the end of the summer.

Moving forward with the hiring freeze, I'm not sure how it will work - will we not have any interns? Will interns just not get FT offers? Do we delay the FT offer until we have headcount?

Keep in mind that from what I've heard internally, the hiring freeze only means that no new headcount will be created. Any outstanding headcount reqs will continue to exist until they are filled. For the group that I'm in, we've had multiple open reqs for a few years now - we're really picky on making strong hires and don't rush just to put bodies in chairs. This has worked out extremely well, since every hire we've had in the past two years has turned into an awesome IC.

Anonymous said...

Reviews 2006:

The mantra in my team is "pay for performance", and we've made it so that the merit/bonus awards for our top performers (those who exceeded the most) are getting 9% bumps.

The hardest thing that will trip up most teams (ours included) with the new system is that you'll want to revert back to the old system and say "person x did better than person y", but we've been good in our group about avoiding this and moving towards "person x is at level z and here are their commitments, and here's how they performed against them".

The thing that has been the best is that we can having a conversation about the IC's performance that is honest and true - everyone who exceed their commitments (relative to their level) got an exceed, those who did not got an acheived. We're about 40/60 in the exceed/achieved ratio, but what's nice is that *it doesn't matter anymore what this ratio is*.

Anonymous said...

As an intern at MSFT I was looking forward to at least having a CHANCE at getting a FT offer, if that's down the tubes I'd like to know so I don't have to work as hard this summer.

With that attitude I would not hire you (I am not at Microsoft). My advice is work hard, do an excellent job, grow your skills and you should have little trouble finding a career (within or outside Microsoft). You have a great opportunity, dont waste it.

Anonymous said...

The owner of this blog and all of the posters are anonymous, calling for firing of others

I think it is very troubling that the whole premise of this blog is very disingenuous. It brings out the worst in people and is ultimately bad for the people who propagate negativity like I've seen on this blog.

Anonymous said...

Canceling WinFS is quite easy to explain. MS always protects its biggest dinosaurs by canceling projects, which can do the same in more efficient and compact way. Small, fast and reliable RelDB in a filesystem? No way! Users will use it instead of MS SQL! The ovbious MS way would be to try squize a version of MSSQL into kernel, and when it will not fit (obviously for everyone except great MS's architects), the project will be canceled, making everyone happy.

It always remind me that "justify" button was removed from WordPad, when underlying RichEdit control has it for free, because of danger for Word sales.

Keeperplanet said...

AS A NON-Softie; NON-Codehead; NON-Sparkie and Definitely a user of
MS OS products since 1981, I can tell you this site is more interesting than Gone With the Wind and Huck Finn combined.

I do not admire Ozzie's task ahead as MS has suffered for a few decades now from a problematic issue relating to the combination of a growing pathos in the Corp Coiture being thrust ever higher into the stratos by a simple success and wealth. And the Emperors New Clothes seem to be worn by a lot of people there.

If it helps, here's my two cents:

1. Divide and Conquer. It would not hurt to think about spinning off a few independent Corps from MS, i.e., hardware, Office, MSN, OS/Server OS, etc. Sink or swim will either generate profit or not. Use a holding company to bail a losing company if you really want to.

2. Be proud of what you have accomplished. Microsoft has changed the world. Make it so.

3. Humble thyselves and adopt a true spirit of service to others instead of your perceived den of vipers.

4. Somehow, you have to move the innovators out, somewhere small and hidden, away from the madding crowd, so they can accomplish what is needed to be accomplished.

5. Begin a corporate-wide process of training to teach those who do to recognize that which doesn't, and give them the power to make a difference that does.

6. Clearly a flatter Org Chart is needed, maybe separated into two arms: production (pointy org chart) development (flat org chart). But it is my observation that MS really has a problem seeing its own trash. Trust me on this, being an MS user for so many years I can attest to my long dissatisfaction of being trapped using the product (because of the CAD software that only works with MS OS products). I hate it and know it well at the same time. There's more, but I don't want to bore you too much.

Good luck with "the next great wave of what software should do!"

md

Anonymous said...

MarkZ leaving wasn't due to things being sour at work. It was purely due to personal reasons. The silence around his departure mystifies me though.

Anonymous said...

WinFS being dead is no surprise. The folks running the show (Dave and Peter) had no clue how to manage this thing. They were building their feifdom with a mega project - with their cronies managing the show - and all that happened was it delayed Yukon to no end.

And trust me, no one is taking the rap for this. I remember the SteveB mtg where he pretty much divided the "responsibility" among everyone (including himself). What will happen now? Folks in WinFS will move back into SQL, some will get promoted, they will try super hard to integrate this junk into Katmai and probably delay that as well.

Re: Uhlaner leaving - I think the writing was on the wall once Conners left. The Corp. Strategy grp has been losing good folks ever since. Wonder if they know something the rest of us dont.

Anonymous said...

The head of our division has a commitment that looks to be reducing the headcount by a couple of hundred people, if you count both FTEs and non-FTEs. Not sure if that's going to be accomplished by a conscious RIF or by 'good' attiriton.
Any other divisions seeing 'interesting' commitments from above?

Anonymous said...

What percentage of interns get offers in a year like this?


(Another curious intern)

And yea, to the person above, just work hard anyway because the experience is pretty valuable by itself. I find the work pretty fun anyway so it's not a big deal. If you aren't having a good time doing the work then MSFT is probably not the place for you anyway.

Anonymous said...

While the rantings of mini-sarcasm is fun to read, you guys had better start thinking about how to change the culture at MS and therefore change the face of what you produce.

Adam Barr's Proudly Serving blog has a great piece about the effects on code and culture on the success of products.

From where I stand, looks like changes in the MS culture itself are required but also in MS's interpretation of what it is they are trying to make.

It's going to be a long tough haul.

Michael Davis

Anonymous said...

That's bullshit. WinFS has cost the company millions if not billions of dollars in development costs, delays of major products, lost credibility in the marketplace and employee morale.

The only saving grace is that they only took down Windows and SQL with them and not Office as well.

WinFS is a microcosm of everything that is wrong with Microsoft.


No, THAT's bullshit.
I've worked at Microsoft for over 10 years, and have never given WinFS a second thought. It's progress has had zero effect on my morale, nor did I ever hear any of my teammates stressing over WinFS. Affecting morale? Give me a break. (I wouldn't be surprised if it affected *your* morale (assuming you even work at Microsoft), since most of those that post here are those stressing about other projects and their affect on stock price.)

As for WinFS being a "microcosm of everything wrong at Microsoft", rather that just throw out something that you think sounds catchy, elaborate on your point (assuming you have one). I seriously doubt you have the first clue as to the details of WinFS, but please explain how it's a microcosm of what's wrong at Microsoft. You're just throwing out rhetoric without anything to back it up.

As for the "billions" spent, is the knowledge accumulated just beign thrown away? No? Then it's not been wasted. If Microsoft weren't making record profits each and every year, you might have a point, but WinFS's expenses has had relatively little impact on Microsoft's bottom line. Xbox has incurred a much heavier loss (I don't consider that money to have been *wasted* either).

Anonymous said...

LOL, I love how Mini-Microsoft goes into unsubstantiated speculation regarding the departure of Mark Zbikowski. Hey, Mini, he just wanted to retire, get it? Here's a clue, if you have no clue as to what you're talking about, keep your mouth shut!

Who da'Punk said...

LOL, I love how Mini-Microsoft goes into unsubstantiated speculation regarding the departure of Mark Zbikowski. Hey, Mini, he just wanted to retire, get it? Here's a clue, if you have no clue as to what you're talking about, keep your mouth shut!

(1) I'm glad to have given you an out-loud laugh.
(2) If I kept my mouth shut under that pretense, I probably wouldn't say much. Well, thank goodness for keyboards, anyway.

Maybe MarkZ wanted a quiet exit. Strange, additionally, it's not too long after the wine-and-cheese portrait of heroism or whatever that was. When your #3 length-of-employment employee leaves, you want to at least say, internally, "Thanks, Zibo."

Silence.

And silence leads to people connecting the random dots in the absence of information.

Now, it seems that Mark just decided to ride off into the sunset. I guess. Would still be nice to hear that and stop all the LOL rumors.

Anonymous said...

Jim Allchin, 2004:

"The three pillars of Longhorn are WinFS, Indigo and Avalon".

One out of three big bets isn't bad. I'm glad we will be getting 3D effects on our future file servers.

Anonymous said...

I really wonder if this blog is really necessary or healthy anymore. It got some results - the review model was changed in some part due to the attention showered on the curve. The problem is that most of discussions are spinning into wining, bullshit pronouncements, unsubstantiated speculations. This much negativity is simply unhealthy and unhelpful. We all got work to do to make things better that are under our control, make someone's life easier with the product or service we work on dialy, and help our team mates by bringing a sense of optimism and support to the workplace. If you don't do that - you need to clarify what it is that you want to be doing, fix your frame of reference and go do it, either at Microsoft or somewhere else. If you post problems here, try to make it constructive and outline a view of a better state and what can be done to get there.

Anonymous said...

I heard some of the "Deniers" (yes, well know who we mean, there) refering to you as "mini misfit"... So.. it seems they grok the RIF iidea, but have the wrong idea about where it should start, Mini :)

As one former "Eunuchs' guy, to another - tip of the hat, to you, Mini! Stay sharp, stay low. The castrotors (aka, "The truth spankers" are out for ya! ;)

Anonymous said...

I agree Mini, there must be some public expression of gratitude to thanks MarkZ.

Who is the next earliest employee after Bill and Steve? Any guesses?

Anonymous said...

Wait, I thought MiniMsft and his sycophantic followers were calling for cutting of the FAT in order to raise the stock price

As it turn out Vista will still support FAT, FAT32, ISO9660 and NTFS - only WinFS has gone AWOL.

Anonymous said...

"Jim Allchin, 2004:

"The three pillars of Longhorn are WinFS, Indigo and Avalon".

One out of three big bets isn't bad. I'm glad we will be getting 3D effects on our future file servers."

-------------------

Huh? Both Indigo (WCF) and Avalon (WPF) are still in Vista (so that's two out of three, not one out of three), and WFS was announced to not be in Vista a loooong time ago, so what's your point?

Anonymous said...

Huh? Both Indigo (WCF) and Avalon (WPF) are still in Vista

Avalon is reduced to glass effects, after the XAML API (core value) has been gutted.

Anonymous said...

"Is it my fault we're at war in Iraq, too? I probably have more influence over American political policy than I have over the management at MSFT."
Appreciate your reply but,
What kind of answer is this?
It has nothing to do with my question(s) and your suppositions on YOUR upper management.
Corrupt, incompetent were YOUR words.
We are just trying to run OUR business on YOUR software.
Your answer sounds like the Intern's question. Will I be hired or do I just need to coast...
Nothing personal here but there are so many whiners on this blog,
My stock price is going down wha wha, my boss is an idiot, wha wha, someone needs to be fired wha wha, etc, etc, etc... that its very hard for the average customer (enterprise or joe 6 pack) to find ANY positive things coming from YOUR company for OUR software.
Amazing that so many there can just work without any actual contribution to the company bottom line.
In our business EVERYONE contributes and provides feedback from customers to the best of their abilities or they don't work for us. Very simple concept.
Not to give advice, but if I were you I would not get out of my chair while the music is playing...

Customer

Anonymous said...

If you maybe have forgotten, the WinFS is not a first attempt to do a new rich file system. As I can remember in early 90th, the rich file system was advertized as a part of NT5, which was promised to ship about year after NT4. And Object-Oriented-FS was cut when shiping W2K several years later (W2K is the OS with internal name NT5). And again, the same story after 7 years repeats with the same sad result. Something is wrong in the file-system department, isn't it? Is this a reason of MZ's quiet retirement?

Anonymous said...

Divide and Conquer. It would not hurt to think about spinning off a few independent Corps from MS, i.e., hardware, Office, MSN, OS/Server OS, etc. Sink or swim will either generate profit or not. Use a holding company to bail a losing company if you really want to.

This, I agree with. The quickest way to achieve this blog's ostensible goals (trimming fat, raising stock price) is to split the company. The split would be on Microsoft's terms, rather than that of an idiot judge (if it were a judge ordering a split, then I would NOT favor it).

It's much easier to have a fast rising stock if the company is small. If say, Office, were split off into its own company, within a year, the stock on that company alone would equal the current MSFT stock (not justly so, but simply due to the idiocy of Wall Street) and would continue to rise.

Anonymous said...

While the rantings of mini-sarcasm is fun to read, you guys had better start thinking about how to change the culture at MS and therefore change the face of what you produce.

While it may seem like an orthogonal approach, much of what is discussed on Mini is pertinent and worth picking over time and again. You have to remember, prior to Mini, Microsoft was an autocracy. It was understood that Bill was brilliant and Steve was amazing. To comment with less than adulation on any work-related topic could - and usually did - cost you your job. You'll have to disregard much of what you read here. Its been worth all this chaff to get a few grains of wheat.

Anonymous said...

Just one comment (after noticing a trend here).

If people feel that this blog is useless or dont see the value in it, then please dont come and read this blog! I mean, why do you want to spend your precious time reading (on an average 100+) comments from losers and whiners!?

On the other hand, there are a lot of people who do find some value in this blog or just read it for the kicks or whatever! We love the work Mini is doing here - Mini has become a cult hero, if not a legend! Let him do his work please...

Anonymous said...

You're funny:

In our business EVERYONE contributes and provides feedback from customers to the best of their abilities or they don't work for us. Very simple concept.
Not to give advice, but if I were you I would not get out of my chair while the music is playing...


You must not work in a fading monopolistic enterprise where people are more concerned about advancing careers than customer satisfaction. Good luck to you!

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one who is annoyed with the fact that there's a RIF coming, everyone knows there's a RIF coming, and noone is talking about it with the staff?

Newsflash - with a stock price that's in the shitter, poor management communication downstream, paying below market rate salaries, and employees turning to a blog run on a competitors platform to air grievances in the public square - we are on a one way track to bad attrition.

Unless people were there early, cashed in when the stock was good, and have no dependence on reviews (upper management)or near term stock sales, smart people are going to head elsewhere.

The answer is simple -
* SteveB step down, Kevin Johnson step up.
* Pay your employees a compelling wage such that stock grants are bonus' and not seen as deferred compensation
* Start listening to customers
* Make thinkweek ongoing. Just like hollywood has script readers, hire people to sift through the papers and bubble up the good ones monthly.

Anonymous said...

Rumor has it that starting salaries are getting slashed for new hires in addition to the hiring freeze.

The gap between google and msft will continue to widen...

Anonymous said...

I really wonder if this blog is really necessary or healthy anymore.

You know, I wondered this as well. But since the early days of this blog, the number of whiners have been pretty high. I'd say merely 10% or so of the comments actually display a working knowledge of not simply how we build, but how we market, sell, and support products. Many of the comments (including some of Mini's own) reflect a profound lack of big picture thinking. Further, the blog and its comments are so Redmond-centric that it's laughable that Mini wants to cut the 70k person workforce when he rarely shows an understanding (or at least acknowledgement) of how the field operates. That's been the case since the beginning of this whole thing, though. And, despite all of that I do think discussion of the kind found here, misguided or not, is good. Heck, Mini and all of us commenters still managed to get changes to our review model.

Then again, the old adage be careful what you wish for has never been more true than here. From what I've seen so far, I'm not so sure this is a better deal for employees.

As for whether this blog should die, I can only point to the diversity comments on the previous entry. That is actually a very healthy debate on a very important topic, the kind which I'm sure we're all aware rarely takes place at Microsoft. If our execs do actually read this blog and its comments, then this is precisely the kind of discussion they should take note of.

On another note, does anyone know if Lisa is still doing her periodic employee gatherings or not? It would be a shame to have spent all that time gathering feedback and making some changes, and not continue the dialogue.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand how the user experience of WinFS was left until now before it was decided that it couldn't be done. When someone first came up with a relational file system, wouldn't the idea not have gone anywhere at all if there wasn't some plausible idea for how the user would interact with it?

Anonymous said...

Mini,
Do you like Microsoft as a company? Do you like working at Microsoft? - I believe you do!
If so, why do you allow people to post completely irrational, pointless, misleading comments? (Stuff like 'WinFS is a microcosm of everything that is wrong with Microsoft' or as you've rightly put , lascivious guesses :))

I have been reading your blog since mar 2006 (thats when I applied for a full time job at Microsoft).

A lot of stuff you posted was very helpful but some of the comments posted by people scared the crap out of me (especially those predicting massive RIFs, talking about sub-par developers and horrible managers). Well, I got the job offer and accepted it anyway and have been working at Microsoft for a couple of months now (while still following your blog).

Quite honestly, I really think a lot of things mentioned in this blog (and again, especially in the comments sections) are largely overblown.

I am going to unsubscribe to your blog feed. The signal to noise ratio is becomming too low. Its just messing with my brain man!!.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Check out the CNN article claiming that Warren Buffett will be donating several billion dollars to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Anonymous said...

WinFS is DEAD?

Oh boy, I hope Mr. Jobs won't present something like WinFS in his keynote at WWDC 2006. I remember reading apple's interest in ZFS some time back - if he does show something, would that be the beginning of the end for MSFT?

Ever since my neighbor has bought a mac mini as his 'digital' computer, I've never slept soundly.

It looks like Apple has (almost) consistently delivered what they mentioned - be it features like spotlight, or their switch to intel and universal binaries. I don't understand why do we publish features like WinFS so early when we are not sure that we'll ship them real soon? I guess that's where Mr. Jobs and his team has done a superior job.

I'm too depressed to write anything more. :(

Anonymous said...

Newest news at MSFT: Due to crappy stock price now the big bosses are talking about STOPPING ALL HIRING in FY07.. The non Business groups are already calling off interview loops for this.

-
Not right. We are hiring people in HR.

Anonymous said...

Dear Customer,

You sound as bitter as some of the posters here.

Keeperplanet said...

"You'll have to disregard much of what you read here. Its been worth all this chaff to get a few grains of wheat."

Anything I might have said in my two posts have nothing to do with this blog's commentary: it is gleaned from 25 years of using Microsoft products.

Look, I really understand the dynamics of large organizations, good vs evil both inside and out of what you do, and my difficulties probably lie somewhere in the arena of being an independent consultant having to use a product set that is designed pretty much to allow others to control what I do on my computer.

Heck, the latest rampage is the you want to license even the hardware instead of sell it for what it (like the OS itself is in many ways) is: a commodity. Individuals understand that. I look at the whole licensing tos process as a huge neverending infringement on my individuality and need for independence and self control of my life. Corporations don't work that way and have spend the last 100 years or so litigating a system which competes with individual rights.

The software Microsoft makes is positioned somewhere on a sliding scale toward where all the (perceived) money is. I understand that much anyway.

Not to change the subject, but related is the WinFS discussion. An individual's concept of WinFS? One box in the right click of every document, folder, song, video on and on that says "share". A simple clicked or unclicked answers the question. All the rest and anything added to that relates to what I wrote above that essentially reduce my choices and freedoms. These are the things that Microsoft needs to get a handle on or not. Based on what I read this morning about Raikes New Adventure, I can see that not much will change. Or will it? It really is up to you.

Anonymous said...

Quite honestly, I really think a lot of things mentioned in this blog (and again, especially in the comments sections) are largely overblown.


Actually, I have to disagree with this. As much 'whining' as there may be on this blog, it is doing one very important thing that simply cannot be accomplished any other way: It is surfacing the rot at the core of Microsoft to the air of public discussion, much like turning over a rock and exposing the bugs.

For example: One of the major issues Microsoft faces is the mass of firmly entrenched 'inbreds' that have now advanced to very senior positions within the company and have developed a way of communicating that only makes those around them confused and feeling stupid.

As you may all recall, the definition of the 'Microsoft inbred' is someone who entered the company right out of college and has been at Microsoft more than 10 years. Typically these individuals have lost all sense of reality and have zero customer empathy, yet they are making the 'big bets' inside Microsoft and failing time and time again.

The Microsoft landscape is littered with these 'big bets' that went awry for various reasons. The value this blog has is exposing that there is a common thread through these massive failures: the people in charge. Most, if not all, of these big bets collapsed under their own weight. I find it fascinating that the WinFS blog entry from Clark recently is so full of obfusion, smoke and fancy wording that nobody can really understand what is being said. The best inbreds are masters at this style of communication. You are afraid to admit that you have no freaking idea what they are talking about, so you nod your head wisely and go back to you office, as confused as ever.

The more this blog can do to expose this rot within Microsoft the better. There may be no other way to get the bugs to leave the compound than to expose them to the harsh light of public scrutiny, judgement by their peers as it were, and start calling bullshit on their activities.

The sooner Microsoft wakes up to the fact that it needs people that actually know something about creating consumer-friendly products and less about how to talk the talk, the sooner Microsoft can begin to fix the problem.

This blog, as harsh as it gets at times, is a critical start to that healing process.

Anonymous said...

to Anonymous @ 12:29AM -

"If so, why do you allow people to post completely irrational, pointless, misleading comments? (Stuff like 'WinFS is a microcosm of everything that is wrong with Microsoft' or as you've rightly put , lascivious guesses :))"

It is a sign of everything that has been wrong at microsoft in the sense that it is another example of over promising a tech/feature that is comming soon (tm), and so much better than a competitor's SHIPPING feature (Spotlight - Apple) and then delivering absolutely nothing like you promised.

Anonymous said...

This blog is a continuing distraction to the core company mission: Ship Vista!

Instead of talking how RIF would benefit Microsoft, we all should work 16 hour days to get Vista out the door by November, receive our pink slips (yes, it's official) and hope that we placed enough bugs among 50 million lines source base to get quickly re-hired into WinSE at a higher grade.

FARfetched said...

If you can't come up with a good user interface to a relational file system, there are two ways to proceed:

1) Hide it from the user, mostly.
2) Kill it.

Either method, IMO, is valid... #2, especially, if it doesn't add value to the OS. Imagine the black eyes if it had turned out to be yet another malware/virus opening. So this outsider (and non-MSfan) sees this as a good move on Microsoft's part — roll the technology into products where it will add value and move on.

As to those who complain about the blog itself, foo on you. It's a window into Microsoft, a place I'll probably never work at but find interesting in many ways even if I don't use their products. I get to see people who love MS more than I dislike it, and what motivates them (even if I can't understand them).

Keep 'em honest, mini!

Anonymous said...

Call me crazy, but I still have high hopes for Microsoft. I experienced some absolutely insane moments in Windows, and moved over to Office, where I was instantly 95% more productive. Yes, Office has its own problems, but there is a lot of good in many groups that the titans can learn from. If any of you Microsofties really care, try at least one of the following:

1. Right now, change 75% of your Manager/Lead/Etc. positions back to individual contributor positions. The old wisdom was to have four ICs per lead/manager. Forget it; hire competent ICs and flatten, flatten, flatten! If you are a Manager/Lead/Etc. and can still code, go back to being an IC. I did, when I realized that my lead position was fully redundant with at least three others. Instead of reporting status, I help customers deploy our products. It is way more satisfying. Too bad they hired someone to replace my old lead position. Sigh.
2. Unplug any servers that host programs to manage your bloated processes. If ICs are spending more time justifying and describing their project than they are actually producing it, FIX IT BY SCRAPPING YOUR PRECIOUS PROCESSES.
3. Drop all of your open headcount. You really don't need it, especially if you try #1.
4. If your underlings tell you that something will take a certain amount of time, believe them. All of my estimates as an IC have been correct. Every time I tried to tighten what I could on the schedule, the time was eaten up by PROCESS. Get out of the way and let us trim the process from the schedule. It could save weeks, months, years.
5. Be a customer. Spend a week a month in their IT departments. Hey, did you know that what they do with our software is still a lot different than what you are planning/programming/marketing?
6. The change in the review process is good, but commitments are still pretty fuzzy. Give your employees real numbers (how many lines of code, how many hot fixes, how many resolved issues, how many targeted white papers provided, how many customers helped, etc.) to shoot for. Double your original estimates, and ask your employees to meet them. Stay out of the way, and let them work. Believe me, it would be a breath of fresh air. The complainers are the rest-and-vesters, and they're the ones that really need the kick in the patootie.

And yeah, I got a Gold Star once. That year, I ignored 90% of my e-mails, skipped 95% of my meetings, evaded every single process, and instead produced something that removed major deployment blockers for our customers. The person who gave it to me was several managers up, who said, "Don't let this go to your head. I expect you to follow all of our new processes exactly." I am glad that there were a few other rebels in our org who also managed to produce something that year. All of us have since left for greener pastures elsewhere at Microsoft and beyond.

Anonymous said...

"I don't understand how the user experience of WinFS was left until now before it was decided that it couldn't be done." - anyonymous

Because often the user interface is less hard than the backend.

Because when you start something like this, you often don't have a complete roadmap for either the UI or the backend. You have an approach that looks like it will work, and you figure that you'll have to solve some problems along the way.

And because, when you try to do something new, it's not immediately clear whether the problem you are running into is:

1) one that you don't immediately know how to solve, but can figure out with enough people thinking about it, or

2) a problem that you don't know how to solve, and won't know how to solve for years, even if you put a bunch of people on it.

With technical problems, you can look at academic papers and such. With UI problems, well, you may only figure out it's a type 2 problem after failing when you try to treat it as a type 1.

No, I don't work for Microsoft, let alone in the WinFS group. But I have been a software engineer for 20+ years, so I do have a faint clue...

MSS

Robert Scoble said...

Mark McDonald is Microsoft's first employee after Gates and Allen and he's still working here (left for a while and came back). I interviewed him here: http://channel9.msdn.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=119342

Anonymous said...

And, despite all of that I do think discussion of the kind found here, misguided or not, is good. Heck, Mini and all of us commenters still managed to get changes to our review model.

Is that all this blog is about? Review models? Oh, and the towels? Somehow, I thought it was about larger issues.

Anonymous said...

> 3. Drop all of your open headcount. You really don't need it, especially if you try #1.

We are at 70K FTE, shouldn't we hit 100K soon so we can be like GE and IBM?

Anonymous said...

When will MBF follow WinFS? I wonder how much money was spent on this "great" project without a single deliverable after so many years of development?

Anonymous said...

I do, Sir Customer, loves me my Microsoft. Most of us just want to put out products that make life easier for our customers, but we're impeded by people more interested in their careers than in their customers.

Anyone else catch the whole Unified Communications brouhaha today?

Here's a choice quote from Raikes:

"The dial pad is not an intuitive user experience," said Jeff Raikes, president of Microsoft's business division. "The PC will replace the older, less functional phone experience."

What do you guys think? Doesn't this sound like classic Microsoft? Doesn't it sound like the old Soviet Union's five year plans?

Prosperity is just around the corner.

The dial pad is not intuitive? Well, then neither is my light switch, my toilet bowl, or the thousand other things I move through my day without even thinking about.

Don't the books about innovation and disruptive technologies tend to show that paradigm shifts represented by the phone, the car, the plane, and even the PC surprise even their inventors? Xerox had the PC revolution in their hands and didn't see it. It's not like the horse-breeders and wagon-makers in the 1900s were looking for the "next big thing in transportation" and invented the Model T.

I'm just not sure most people (i.e. customers) want to use the computer for a phone, no matter how much we tell them to. The phone is great--it just works, and it's gotten cheaper, and unless you're the poor guy whose gods just dropped a coke bottle on your head, you know how to use it. Microsoft should be going the other way--creating a computer as easy to use as the phone; not a "Smart Phone" that's as easy to program as the starship Enterprise, but a really simple information device that just gets you what you need without telling you how cool it is. (My real estate agent lovingly calls it her "dumb phone," as she's trying to answer the damn thing.

Anonymous said...

MBF is already dead - another example of total lack of leadership.

Anonymous said...

What is with the Kevin Johnson love? If this is the CEO in waiting then I am afraid we are going to be in the doldrums for another decade.

Anonymous said...

"The best inbreds are masters at this style of communication. You are afraid to admit that you have no freaking idea what they are talking about..."

That's a great comment. I went back and reread the WinFS update post with that in mind, and got a good laugh.

Anonymous said...

"What is with the Kevin Johnson love? If this is the CEO in waiting then I am afraid we are going to be in the doldrums for another decade."


Yeah I was wondering the same thing.Why is Kevin Johnson loved so much?

Anonymous said...

Be a customer. Spend a week a month in their IT departments. Hey, did you know that what they do with our software is still a lot different than what you are planning/programming/marketing?
Just regular manager's bullshit.
Aren't we working on Windows/Office/VS/SQL ourselves? What we, our families and our friends have at home? Aren't we fixing our friend's computer every month or so? Aren't we professionals who can give direct answers about what we want and how to do that? Just nobody listens. Look, for example, at the IE7 blog. About hundred of replies asking turn off Clear Type by default or, at least, ask during setup. No! IE PM loves it! So everyone should! Even if you monitor is incompatible. All bugs I've opened against Windows and .NET are resolved by design or won't fix for compatibility reasons. If we can't do anything, what customer can do?

Anonymous said...

"The PC will replace the older, less functional phone experience."
Note, that he did not say, that we created something new, and we can do a good deal on this new market. No. These folks still talking about replacing one existing market or another. Was it said once about replacing TV market? And now the phone's market. Oh, not again...

TheKhalif said...

Mark McDonald is Microsoft's first employee after Gates and Allen and he's still working here (left for a while and came back). I interviewed him here: http://channel9.msdn.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=119342


And so Robert how's life on the outside? I'm ecstatic.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the "freeze" is Puget Sound only (oh yeah, no one in Redmond knows there is more to this company than just the greater Seattle area, I forgot) - they are adding technical staff to the sales org to support all the telecom crap Raikes was spouting about.

The Nog said...

WinFS was started with no idea of how the user was actually going to interact with it? Please, please forgive me for another Apple comparison, but it does illustrate the difference between the two companies in terms of design. The user interface would have been the first thing Apple designed, and the technology would have been developed to support the interface.

The thought that Microsoft went for years on this with no clear idea of how it was going to be implemented is a little scary. Developing something without a plan of how the customer was going to use it is a solution in search of a problem, a horse before the cart, etc.

Being a non-Microsoftie, I'm perfectly willing to be corrected on this if that's not quite how WinFS went down, but from what I'm hearing, that's why.

Anonymous said...

"We are at 70K FTE, shouldn't we hit 100K soon so we can be like GE and IBM?"

GE is just a hair under 500,000, so there is a ways to go...

Anonymous said...

MarkZ leaving wasn't due to things being sour at work. It was purely due to personal reasons.

OK, here's some paranoia for you:

Based on my reading previous comments, MarkZ is:

- reasonably (or very) intelligent
- a senior guy at MSFT
- plugged in to the GOBNW (Good Ol' Boyz Network)
- approaching burnout
- comfortably well-off financially

So, taking all of the above observations into account:

It's probably safe to say that MarkZ has a pretty good clue as to what's coming down the pike at MSFT, and he'd probably rather be elsewhere when it comes.

Anonymous said...

Not right. We are hiring people in HR.

Staffing in HR usually increases temporarily in order to handle increased workload during RIFs. Always pay attention to HR staffing levels (especially TEMP staffing.)

Anonymous said...

The dial pad is not intuitive? Well, then neither is my light switch, my toilet bowl, or the thousand other things I move through...

You move thru your toilet bowl? I feel for you, man.

Anonymous said...

"You sound as bitter as some of the posters here."
You are correct, and do appologize for the tone of my comments.
Frustration is what I'm trying to project.
Just want my software (Microsoft products and services) choices to work with each other in the way we use them. We have to do this everyday to ensure our survival.
Send kids to college, Finally get to build our new house. You know everyday stuff...

Customer

Lazlo said...

I'm just not sure most people (i.e. customers) want to use the computer for a phone, no matter how much we tell them to.

Oh come on! All us customers are champing at the bit for the chance to move from simply picking up a handset and punching a seven digit number to the richer experience of going to the room where the computer is, booting up the computer, logging in to the computer, waiting for all our startup applications to load, firing up the telephony application, hunting for the call recipient in the directory, double-clicking the call recipient in the directory, clicking though a "Give the telephony application permission to connect to the Internet?" dialog, clicking through a "This call might cost money, do you really want to continue?" dialog, clearing a "There is not enough bandwidth available to complete this connection" dialog, shutting down or throttling any apps that started hogging precious bandwidth in the background when they started up after we logged in, finding and double-clicking the call recipient in the directory again, clicking through the permissions dialogs again, and then...getting a busy signal. Sign me up for this immediately! :rolleyes:

keeperplanet said...

Just a not of sadness reading about Jeff Harbers passing this past weekend in a plane crash. (Source: Todd Bishop's MS Blog @ SeattlePI.com). I only found out he was responsible for most of what Office is today from reading the article.

I still use Office97 because it is the cleanest and best group of software products I have ever used. Nothing before or since is as good. Thanks Jeff.

Anonymous said...

"Just want my software (Microsoft products and services) choices to work with each other in the way we use them."

You think people at Microsoft don't? You know, the rank and file at MSFT can be just as frustrated as you are with the software choices. We have to support frustrated customers, too.

Hey, I work at Microsoft and I just bought my son an iMac. I was stunned at how he was up and running in less than 5 minutes. Right out of the box. Don't I wish Microsoft software and my PC would work like this? You bet I do. I'm not in a position to do much about it. So I hear you!

Anonymous said...

Please, please forgive me for another Apple comparison, but it does illustrate the difference between the two companies in terms of design. The user interface would have been the first thing Apple designed, and the technology would have been developed to support the interface.


Nog, Shut the eff up already and go and jerk off to a statue of Jobs. Design UI first then technology? All the years at MS didn't teach you that there are several ways of approaching software engineering? Ever seen a cyclical product cycle chart? Ever seen UI mock ups?

No wonder you were RIF'd. Oh I remember, last time your beef was that the folder icons were open & facing downwards.

Anonymous said...

GE is just a hair under 500,000, so there is a ways to go...

-
This sad. We catch up to our competition is top agenda.

Anonymous said...

> Staffing in HR usually increases temporarily in order to handle increased workload during RIFs.

MSN hire lot HR. RIF in MSN mean no Google.

Anonymous said...

As a former WinFS'er, WinFS's problem wasn't performance - it's problem was in how to expose all the data stored in it in a way the end users (i.e., your grandmother, who probably can't deal with even files and folders and isn't ready to write queries, even natural language ones) could manipulate directly.

In other words, WinFS idea was: we have some human problem that we don't quite understand and don't have any idea how to solve. Instead, we will work on a technical solution for some other problem that we know how to solve! It does not matter a bit that the solution does not move us any closer to solving real problem, we will keep ourselves busy anyway.

Anonymous said...

There seems to be more freezes at corporate in the product groups than where I sit in the field. But of course, the field in terms of headcount and recruitment, is a lot like what you would see at your local Army, Marines, or National Guard recruiting office.

Anonymous said...

La(s)zlo, that was brilliant. But you left out the part where the default phone number to dial is set by the last app to dial a phone (eg. your modem), rather than by a per-user configured precendence rule, and that Microsoft Phone Dial Manager (tm) uploads the numbers you dial for quality assurance purposes, and the only way to zero out your dialing history on your local box is to delete a massive user config file that also wipes out your custom settings on most other Microsoft apps, forcing you to spend yet another 10 minutes hunting through Word menus to find the disparate spots to disable automatic spell correction, auto-init-cap mangling of what you input correctly, grammar underline distractions (sometimes one types in the vernacular deliberately), and automatic paragraph format propagation.

Anonymous said...

"Jeff Harbers [...] was responsible for most of what Office is today"

It is an often made mistaken assumption that the people overseeing a change in a management function or the people most vocally blogging to the outside world about a feature have any influence on the nature and quality of said change.

Having worked during a number of such changes, in practice it's the ICs and leads who actually make change happen (make go/no go decisions, propose working designs, alternatives and alterations).

Anyone with a 'manager' part in their job description sits along for the ride and is often perceived by persons outside the or as responsible, but contributes little to nothing.

Anonymous said...

Look, for example, at the IE7 blog. About hundred of replies asking turn off Clear Type by default or, at least, ask during setup. No! IE PM loves it!

You have it slightly wrong.

Bill Gates loves Clear Type. IE PM loves loving what Bill Gates loves.

Get Real said...

There have been too many rumors propagated on comment section.

1. There’s no hiring freeze
PERIOD. Hiring will increase.

2. There will be some layoffs.
Expect announcements this
week. Some org. have too many
people for their own good.

3. Stop spreading rumors about
Martin Taylor. It’s something
similar to Ken Di, he knows the
rule but there is always
redemption.

Anonymous said...

I've been reading this blog for quite a while, reading all the bitching and moaning from microsofties and others. The immediate impression I get is "what an unhappy lot!"

Now many people have said and I believe it, that Microsoft has a lot of smart people, I mean really really smart. When other companies arent doing so well more of the smart people have been migrating to Microsoft. You would think that with so many smart and experienced people under one roof, overcoming technical challenges would be a breeze. But it seems a paradox that more smart people there are, less effective the organization tends to become. There have been high profile disasters, Vista, WinFS and perhaps more in the making even as we speak.

So what the heck is going on?

Anonymous said...

All the years at MS didn't teach you that there are several ways of approaching software engineering?

After this comment I couldn't tell if your post was tongue-in-cheek or not. Yeah, there seems to be the Microsoft way of designing software, which results in endless feature cuts, product delays, broken promises, and employee morale disasters, and the Apple way, which results in users who are so delighted they're often compared to cult members. I wonder which way is better. I also wonder how many hundreds of dollars the typical Apple user has spent on OS upgrades over the past 5 years vs. the typical Windows user. If Microsoft could generate half that enthusiasm (by making well-designed, useful products, instead of WinFS), the stock price would double overnight.

No wonder you were RIF'd. Oh I remember, last time your beef was that the folder icons were open & facing downwards.

This guy took a lot of flack for that comment but I don't see why. It's a good observation. Are you trying to claim that if you open a file folder sideways, the papers DON'T fall out? Yeah, it might just be a trivial icon, but that means it'd also be trivial to have it make sense. The kind of inattention to detail you're complacent with makes me hope that you don't work on any products *I* use.

Anonymous said...

RIF in MSN mean no Google.

That was my first impression when I heard the RIF talk also. Doesn't this seem to contradict SteveB's latest "big bet" to invest in people and infrastructure to beat Google? Last I heard, MSN and Windows Live is on track to make thousands of new hires over the next several years. Isn't there large-scale new construction happening on the Redmond campus over the next few years? Most offices going away in favor of higher-density cubicle space? The physical signs taken together with Ballmer's stated plan doesn't seem to point to big RIFs and headcount slashing. Maybe in the Windows division where the business is more cyclical I can see it. I have my doubts they are going to slam on the brakes and throw the bus into reverse on a company-wide level though.

Anonymous said...

"Exceeds! Outstanding!"

There's more than one way to be outstanding, though, isn't there?

Like a colleague just said to me:
"When Ray Ozzie came to Microsoft, he was told that there was some Outstanding work, being done, in Windows Division: now he's had a look, and he's found out that there's some work, still outstanding, in Windows Divison."

Anonymous said...

and the Apple way, which results in users who are so delighted they're often compared to cult members. I wonder which way is better.

This is just a guess, but the better way might be the one that nets you ~90% client market share. I currently own a Mac, neither the hardware nor OS X impresses (don't even get me started on the Finder...Explorer beats it down every which way for sheer usability). Using it daily would be an angst-ridden chore. Let me speculate that millions of people share this view. I'm happy for those who love it, though.

There have been several points at which Apple has tried to sell the Switch campaign. All have been high profile. For some reason they get no traction. The preponderance of users simply don't buy the RDF claims.

I suggest that Microsoft not take the route of fussily designed chrome and gimmicky applets. Sadly they seem to be going that route with Vista. The world does not need an OS X wannabe, it needs an OS in the tradition of NT/2000/XP.

Anonymous said...

But it seems a paradox that more smart people there are, less effective the organization tends to become.

Correction: there are a lot of clever people at Microsoft. You can be very good at board games and still be clueless about what customers want and how to design it in a straightforward fashion.

Anonymous said...

>So what the heck is going on?

What's going on is that Mini-Microsoft is a self-selected group of MSers who are (rightly or wrongly) dissatified enough to post here, i.e. the unhappiest of the unhappy. Satisfied MSers rarely post here.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, there seems to be the Microsoft way of designing software, which results in endless feature cuts, product delays, broken promises, and employee morale disasters, and the Apple way, which results in users who are so delighted they're often compared to cult members

The fact that they are (rightly) compared to cult members calls the validity of their 'delight' into question: after all, cult members are not known for their willingness to question the cult leaders.

The Mac has some things going for it; Apple has had some success of late, but let's get real here - if Apple faced the same workload as Microsoft (ensuring compatibility with a broad range of hardware not manufactured by Apple, backwards compatibiliyt, etc.) Apple's products would be plagued by similar problems. Fact is, Apple's task is much simpler than Microsoft's. Of course, Microsoft chose to take on those tasks, so I have no sympathy for MS here.

Or, do you really think that Apple, OS/X, and Steve Jobs possess special qualities that make them 'better' than Microsoft? Step right up, have another dixie cup of kool-aid!

Anonymous said...

"Hey, I work at Microsoft and I just bought my son an iMac"
Thanks for your reply, but...
Can you take yours and join it between domains and do business? We have already invested way too many $$,$$$.$$ in MS to afford this as a new expense.
Apparently you have been watching too many of those new Mac commercials.
They are great. Damn shame that someone somewhere there can't advertise Microsoft effectively.
As a business owner this would be the "straw that broke the camels back" and whatever "manager" that I put in charge of this area of my business would be "re-assigned" at the least, so to speak...

Customer

Anonymous said...

> What's going on is that Mini-Microsoft is a self-selected group of MSers who are (rightly or wrongly) dissatified enough to post here, i.e. the unhappiest of the unhappy. Satisfied MSers rarely post here.

-
I hear ya. You sound like the NDT HR manager that pooped all over the place and went to office.

Anonymous said...

Look, for example, at the IE7 blog. About hundred of replies asking turn off Clear Type by default or, at least, ask during setup. No! IE PM loves it!

Live with it. You have an easy method of changing the default. We love the customer but the know-it-all who bitches and moans over little things that they can easily change while cursing out hardworking MS engineers don't get my pity.

This is why there are alternative browsers. Sorry to put it bluntly.

Anonymous said...

...and the Apple way, which results in users who are so delighted they're often compared to cult members.

I have always jumped on these Mac apologists who make the mistake of comparing grapes (Apple) to watermelons (MS). Sometimes I use harsh language. Sorry about that and thanks Mini for obliging me.

The fact is compared to MS, Apple is a non-starter. OS aside name one Apple app that 1 in 100 people on the street use or even know about. All these cult love and still the Mac has not made a whole number increase in market share over the PC in a dozen years. 4% of market share? Give me a freaking break.

What is the presence of Macs in businesses in the US? Less than 1%. And Steve Jobs is a genius? Aaaaarghhhh!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Some shuffling of the executive deck chairs today, but the iceberg hits tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

As an IT guy, I can say that Vista will arrive in our company with a huge plop.

The technical staff will, as they did with XP, disable Avalon (its overhead) and work in "classic" 2K mode. There will be no WinFS. Technical people do not (generally) care whether they can run DirectX 10. What benefit is left to Vista?

The line-of-business people will be utterly confused by the new interfaces of Vista and Office 2007. We (as a company) will lose countless manhours of labor between struggling employees and an overloaded internal helpdesk. Our LOB 3rd-party apps will likely have UAC issues -- everything will be messy for months.

The executives will gawk at the pretty chrome and then ask why the hardware budget is up 30% YOY.

Indigo will usher in a whole new world of viruses, exploits, trojans, and triple the workload on our firewalls. Sweet.

Please make Server better somehow. At this point, I don't think anyone in IT really cares exactly how you do it, just do something meaningful. Improve SNMP and PerfMon. Broadly expose WMI. Make DNS more standards-based. Expose more of the AD API so that apps outside of Microsoft can actually leverage it. Improve AD so that it doesn't take 8 CLI apps to manage.

Does MS' IT department get any input on product design?

Anonymous said...

What's going on is that Mini-Microsoft is a self-selected group of MSers who are (rightly or wrongly) dissatified enough to post here, i.e. the unhappiest of the unhappy. Satisfied MSers rarely post here.


That is true but how many people are truly satisfied. Not very many I imagine. How many people would be satisfied if the ratings, stock awards, hikes, levels etc of all their co-workers are revealed? There are very few of us who can remain unaffected by all this. There is no perfect answer to all out work problems - Minimsft is just an attempt to better our work conditions.

Anonymous said...

Big reorg being announced tomorrow in DMD. Looks like it is happening elsewhere in the company as well...

Microsoft shuffles more executives
http://news.com.com/Microsoft+shuffles+more+executives/2100-1022_3-6089338.html?tag=nefd.top

Anonymous said...

name one Apple app that 1 in 100 people on the street use or even know about.

Itunes.

No, not the music download service, but the cd ripping to your ipod functionality.

Now, before you start saying "yabbut..", consider this: Itunes drives ipod sales. People are actually buying hardware 'cause of the app that lets them enjoy their music collection. And some of us end up fondling a shiny new ibook when we buy our ipods, and thinking: "maybe the next laptop will be a shiny one..."

Anonymous said...

ok Mini, you're getting your wish. My org announced today a roughly 50% RIF. One group of 65 in the org is being cut to 36. My group of 12 is being reduced to 3. Management is being cut from 21 to 8 people.
Good for Microsoft? Nearly everyone in my group has a family at home they provide for. One just moved his expecting wife and daughter here from the midwest, and now he's hunting for a job again.
What do you tell them Mini?

Anonymous said...

you mean iceberg besides this one

Anonymous said...

Vic Gundotra is leaving, long before Office/Vista/Longhorn ship. Here's the article.

Guess now we know why he took the time to tell his team in their last all-hands all about how much he deserves the big bonus he's getting this summer.

Anonymous said...

ok Mini, you're getting your wish. My org announced today a roughly 50% RIF. One group of 65 in the org is being cut to 36. My group of 12 is being reduced to 3. Management is being cut from 21 to 8 people.
Good for Microsoft? Nearly everyone in my group has a family at home they provide for. One just moved his expecting wife and daughter here from the midwest, and now he's hunting for a job again.
What do you tell them Mini?


Wake up Mini! Who da Punk!! This is not a time to sleep on the dump machine. The RIF party has started and now we are being reminded of those with families, incurable diseases and paraplegic parents. The venom quotient on this blog will climb geometrically in the coming months. Mini it is time to closely monitor the "I used to work for MS but..." rhetoric. If you think the guy who was riffed from NDT was bitter (he is still chasing the HR person that helped seal his fate), just wait for the oncoming onslaught.

I don't care if you are supporting all the orphans in Sudan, if you are RIF'd go find another job. Don't blame it on the review system, bad managers, Ballmer etc. Just go

Anonymous said...

Or, do you really think that Apple, OS/X, and Steve Jobs possess special qualities that make them 'better' than Microsoft? Step right up, have another dixie cup of kool-aid!

Yes, actually, I do.

Is such a thing so hard to imagine? Or do you contend that all companies are roughly as good as each other? Do you care what kind of car you buy? TV? Digital camera? Then why not software?

Anonymous said...

"The line-of-business people will be utterly confused by the new interfaces of Vista and Office 2007."

I think you will be surprised by how quickly endusers will be able to use Office 2007 more efficiently than they have ever used previous versions of office before.

Technicaela said...

It is relatively easy to see the company's viewpoint on the departing executive from the press release or lack thereof. Compare Taylor's departure with Ken DiPietro and Ed Fries, where Fries was allowed to make statements in the press release:

http://www.gamesindustry.biz/content_page.php?aid=2810

Versus the more terse press release for DiPietro's departure:

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/221204_msftexec22.html

Anonymous said...

Is such a thing so hard to imagine? Or do you contend that all companies are roughly as good as each other? Do you care what kind of car you buy? TV? Digital camera? Then why not software?

Yes, companies are different.

Yes, I care what kind of camera I buy. And car. But I choose cameras and cars according to my needs, the features offered, and ultimately, the values I perceive to be important (to me) based on my research and experience.

Specifically, I would *not* buy a car or a camera based on the praise of zealots or fanatical followers of a cult. In fact, I'd tend to shy away from such products.

For example: some time ago, I rejected the cult of the BMW motorcycle 'enthusiasts' when selecting my most recent motorcycle. Why? Because, for all the praise of the BMW bike crowd, I just couldn't see how I was going to get 75% more performance and enjoyment out of the 75% higher priced BMW over the Honda I ultimately chose. (BTW, I test-drove the BMW for an extended period [overnight!] - the Honda I chose flat-out smokes the BMW I was considering in every metric I considered important, except resale value, and I'm willing to live with that.)

I choose to buy, use, and develop for PC/Windows combo over the Mac, as I have for a long, long time, for the simple reason that I get more value for my money with that platform. Note that my choice may not apply to others. YMMV. Etc. When that is no longer the case, I may switch over to the Mac or some other platform.

If I was starting out fresh, today, I'd probably have to look at the Mac a little harder than I did, say, in 1984. But the Mac, as pretty as it is, is just a computer with just another OS running on it, designed and made by just another company made up of just another crowd of engineers and marketing types, etc. and ultimately, my choice has nothing to do with anyone's perceptions of social values, "who's better", "Microsoft is evil", etc. As if Apple isn't capable (and desiring) of being in Microsoft's enviable position. Apple is fully capable of "being evil" as is Google, etc.

My point comes down to this: Apple (computers and corporation) are not imbued with mystical qualities. I've used Macs recently, and you know what? There's nothing special about them, or their users.

Cheers!

just a disgruntled customer said...

"Does MS' IT department get any input on product design?"

Yes, sort of. It is the same input that test usually gets.

Before I interviewed at Microsoft, I thought everyone must be idiots to produce such bad software.

Now, I know that management just cuts corners everywhere in a futile attempt to meet schedules.

If the individual developers, testers, and most of the people doing product design were given the power to make design changes without approval from 15 levels of management, MAYBE things would work well.

One team tried four times before giving up when Bill Gates killed the idea by requiring compatibility with a horrid previous design that everyone curses on a daily basis.

Why do VPs and the Chairman of the board insist on personally doing last minute design reviews of everything?

Anonymous said...

Earlier someone said...

<<<<<
"The best inbreds are masters at this style of communication. You are afraid to admit that you have no freaking idea what they are talking about..."

That's a great comment. I went back and reread the WinFS update post with that in mind, and got a good laugh.
>>>>>

Hilarious but true. A widely cited WinFS demise mail was penned by one of the most empty-headed phonies to have existed in the company in the 1990s. He was a brilliant master of enhancing his "cross group visibility" and cloaking himself in a hurricane of PM crapspeak, and that's all that mattered in the eyes of those who repeatedly promoted him. They either never saw, or didn't care about, the world class verbal gymnastics he'd engage in to pretend he knew things he didn't, even when it was wasting time and resources far across campus from his office. Interestingly, every project he's been associated with since about 1997 has been a failure and ultimately canceled after years of work... Again, nobody notices, or nobody cares. A vice-presidency surely awaits him.

KevinB said...

"This is just a guess, but the better way might be the one that nets you ~90% client market share. "

Is that way the one where you link up with a big established company that completely dominates its market and thinks that these PC's are just little pests to be tolerated, so it farms out the OS development to you? And then you sit back and watch while all the brainwashed IT managers dutifully sign requisitions for 1,000's of these boxes, enabling you to drive all your competition out of business?

Face it - MS got to where it is because of IBM's market power. That huge advantage has been able to sustain you through all the trials with Windows, Office, etc. (which I admit are now very good products). And, as "Customer" pointed out, most professional IT shops have made huge investments in WinTel systems, and they're not going to dump them just because Apple's machines look better.

I own both PCs and a Mac, and in truth, I use which ever one is closer when I want to do something. I don't think there's anything magic about Apple except for one thing: they do try to inject a little more humanity in their machines. I mean, there is no functional benefit at all from having the on/off switch pulsate gently on an iMac, but when I wake up at night and see the glow change, it's as if the machine is breathing, waiting for me to come over. It's cool. And it's not like they advertise this; it's not even mentioned in the documentation. You just wake up one night, maybe months after you bought it, notice it, and feel a small moment of delight. That's what good design does: delights you in unexpected ways. Bad design frustrates you in unexpected ways, as some of the previous comments have noted.

And I don't want to give the impression MS never delights me. I was upgraded to Office 2003 a few months ago, and I really love the little window that opens when I get a new email. It allows me to ignore the mundane, and jump on the important stuff, and it does so without opening a big grey dialog box in the middle of whatever app I was working on. If MS can start doing more of that stuff with their UI, I think you'll find a growing cult-like devotion to MS.

Lazlo said...

The fact is compared to MS, Apple is a non-starter. OS aside name one Apple app that 1 in 100 people on the street use or even know about.

Pretty much every musician or musician-wannabe on earth knows about GarageBand. And iTunes already got a nod a few posts back -- I suspect more people know about iTunes than know about, say, Visio or Access or PowerPoint.

4% of market share? Give me a freaking break.

Not sure what the market share is supposed to prove. Hyundai, VW, BMW, Mercedes, Kia, Mazda, Volvo, Saab, Suzuki, Jaguar, Porsche, Land Rover and Subaru each have less than 4% of the US auto market -- I guess they're all "non-starters" too. Good thing they can all be safely ignored.

(Lest I be pegged as some kind of Mac fanatic for daring to speak up on the topic, let me mention that my last Apple computer was a //e, the last one I used for more than five minutes at a stretch was a Mac II, and as far as I can remember I've never even jiggled the mouse on a system running OS X.)

The Nog said...

Design UI first then technology? All the years at MS didn't teach you that there are several ways of approaching software engineering? Ever seen a cyclical product cycle chart? Ever seen UI mock ups?

Apparently, the WinFS group hasn't (ba dum splash). But seriously, having an idea of how the user is supposed to use the technology seems like a good first step before you embark on creating the technology. I'd certainly want to know how my interface is going to expose my technology before writing a relational database filesystem service.

No wonder you were RIF'd. Oh I remember, last time your beef was that the folder icons were open & facing downwards.

I have no idea what you're talking about. I've never worked at Microsoft, and I wasn't the one complaining about Vista's folder icons.

Anonymous said...

WinFS was one of the "walking dead" or zombie projects. It was a solution in search of a problem. That would be fine for a small research/incubation project but not for taking close to 300 people taken off from doing work on SQL Server and related technologies. It killed good projects like MBF that actually were trying to do something useful.

The project's management was more dilbertine (or pointy haired) than mini-msft's description. From Technical Fellow on down, there was complete chaos. A mix of empire building, nonchalnt cluelssness to benevolent neglect of reality.

So now some 100 odd folks on WinFS get reorged into some other failed project.

Anonymous said...

All I have to say is 2.5, 2.5, freakin' 2.5. Now you know how it feels.

The management at Microsoft has no justification to rank anyone has they are so pathetic because they cannot see that their business model is being challenged and that there is no justifiable reason to upgrade to Vista. I'm keeping a much closer watch on ReactOS.

The problem with Microsoft is their outright bunker mentality. It is not a software company but a Windows OS company and it done -- stick a fork in it. The leveraging of the O/S has turned it into bloatware.

2.5, 2.5, 2.5, 2.5, 2.5

Anonymous said...

On stack ranking for stock ...

How are other groups dealing with individuals who are top performers and exceed expectations, but get pegged in Strong. Seems like those folks will be tempted to change groups as it is pretty much telegraphing that their upward mobility will be tempered.

Anonymous said...

"If you maybe have forgotten, the WinFS is not a first attempt to do a new rich file system. As I can remember in early 90th, the rich file system was advertized as a part of NT5, which was promised to ship about year after NT4. And Object-Oriented-FS was cut when shiping W2K several years later (W2K is the OS with internal name NT5). And again, the same story after 7 years repeats with the same sad result. Something is wrong in the file-system department, isn't it? Is this a reason of MZ's quiet retirement?"

As matter of fact, WinFS was developed in the SQL group, not file-system department. MZ probably never liked the idea. Now file-system department reorgs into SQL group. Guess what happened? MZ retires.

Anonymous said...

Check the address book...

Quentin is now a GM. He's been promoted. Mini, any predictions on the World Series?

How can someone who has led a long string of failing projects continue to get promoted? Isn't Quentin someone who should be held accountable instead? How about a posting on this, Mini?

Anonymous said...

i am an SDET in the sql server org. I am curious regarding growth curve/speed in the sql server org compared to other groups in MS. I hear the promote way faster in other groups.

Quite frankly i am very frustrated. I keep hearing 'you are doing great', 'short term you are doing great' etc. But come review time where are the promotions!?

Any thoughts, comments would really help here

Simon G said...

Hi Mini
HAve you seen the Fortune article about the new rules of business. One of them is:
New rule: Hire passionate people.
Old rule: Rank your players; go with the A's.
http://money.cnn.com/2006/07/10/magazines/fortune/rule5.fortune/index.htm

LivedThisBefore said...

Regarding:

"Rumor mill says Windows will be letting go hundreds of folks past Vista, and they are trying to ensure the deadbeats that are let go don't just find slots in other teams."

What make you think that the deadbeats are the ones that will be released? The final phase of every development project is "search for the guilty, punishment of the innocent" and I fully expect we will continue to propagate this long-standing, idiotic tradition.

Anonymous said...

I am so sick of working with absolutely incompetant co-workers that should have been let go long ago. MSFT doesn't need a hiring freeze it needs a firing fest. Starting with Windows and Office.