Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Microsoft FY09Q1 Results

FY09Q1: wow, I wonder what's going to be on everyone's mind during this quarter's webcast with the analysts?

  • "How has the global economic crisis affected Microsoft?"
  • "What product groups are the most affected? The least?"
  • "How has your forward looking assessment changed for FY09?"
  • "What kind of efficiency measures are you putting into place?"
  • "According to reliable sources (ahem) the Microsoft hiring freeze through major parts of the corporation is real. How does this hamper Microsoft's ability to hire the best talent and to retain the best talent?"
  • "Are you going to buy Yahoo! since it's so much cheaper?" (Please keep Mr. Ballmer away from any recording device during this question.)

etc. etc. Any big questions you're looking to be answered?

Pre-announcement portion: my suggested post-analysis sites for quarterly results:


Interesting angle Microsoft has come with during the global economic crisis: when money is tight, drop those custom solutions and go with Microsoft to save money and be more cost effective. Nice. Post-analysis postings of note (to me):

Mr. Joe Wilcox:

Mr. Todd Bishop:

Mr. Joe Tartakoff:

Mr. Brier Dudley:

It will be interesting to see the $500,000,000USD savings in action. There was some probing by the analysts on that but just a broad answer in response.


132 comments:

bayoubengal said...

no comments yet on the recent MS advertising blitz?

Anonymous said...

what's happening look at MSFT after hours. someone knows something we don't.

Anonymous said...

I heard services is going to be red. Lot of benchtime for the colleagues.

Anonymous said...

you don't need financial analysts to figure out Microsoft has been severely affected by the financial crisis. Look at stock dropping three to four points then bouncing back then dropping again. At the same time the MSFT market cap has swung from 202B to about 190B, currently about 195.5B.

That is all pretty much outside financial influences not anything internal.

http://minimsft.blogspot.com/2008/10/microsoft-fy09q1-results.html

Anonymous said...

Market is still expecting 8-9% revenue growth for the year. That just isn't going to happen. And even $2.11 consensus for EPS looks optimistic. UBS is closer at $2.04, but I wouldn't be surprised to see the company provide a lowered range that encompasses $1.90's. If MS isn't a teenager tomorrow, it will be shortly following a brief relief rally.

Anonymous said...

Skip the Yahoo question. What about this RIM rumor that pops up every now and then?

Anonymous said...

Well, no comments? Come on haters, what have you got to say now?

The results today were stellar considering the state of the economy. It won't be easy by any means going forward, but the big guys (MSFT, APPL, INTC, IBM, GOOG, ORCL) will emerge fine from this mess in a couple years time.

Anonymous said...

Sarah Friar - Goldman Sachs

"Why shouldn't Microsoft be thinking about margin expansion, just given your size, the fact we're going into a downturn, it really gives companies an ability to go back in and cut not just kind of semi discretionary, but really kind of cut back and think what a new operating model could look like with a slower top-line growth for a couple of years."

That Sarah, always thinking like a CEO or shareholder. Now if only Ballmer would.

Anonymous said...

Asuuming 30% of $500M cost cut is through head count reduction then that's equivalent of about 3000 employees (using avg salary for quater). At current attrition rate with hiring freeze this means there won't be any layoffs/RIFs or whatever. Sorry mini.

Anonymous said...

Am ex-msft and now trying to return back. if there is hiring freeze (esp. for external candidates), how come microsoft.com/careers has all these jobs listed?

Anonymous said...

Microsoft doesn't matter anymore

http://machinist.salon.com/blog/2008/10/03/microsoft_search/

"Yes, Microsoft has made a truckload of money on smart business decisions in the past. But these days, it seems like its just pissing its future away by releasing products that no one is actually interested in. If this is the brilliant strategy that Steve Ballmer is planning on using to take on Apple and Google as Gates fades into the sunset, he might want to reconsider."

Anonymous said...

Asuuming 30% of $500M cost cut is through head count reduction then that's equivalent of about 3000 employees (using avg salary for quater). At current attrition rate with hiring freeze this means there won't be any layoffs/RIFs or whatever. Sorry mini.

Where did you get that average salary figure? I hadn't known I was that far below the mean, but if the mean is 166,000, I'm off by almost 60 grand.

Anonymous said...

"The results today were stellar considering the state of the economy."

Client growth of 1.9%? About the same increase in operating income? Another half billion loss in Online? $178 million profit in Entertainment on $1,814,000 of revenue? Is the diversification goal to augment one of the world's most profitable businesses with some of the least? Because that's succeeding, but it doesn't sound like a winning long term strategy.

The report was better than the market feared, not stellar. And almost every major analyst reduced their price target today. E.g. Goldman ($34->$30):

"Two paradigm shifts in desktop computing are converging on Microsoft's cash-cow
businesses – Windows and Office. Timing holds the key to valuation –A "rapid technology shift" unlocks Microsoft's stranglehold on the desktop, allowing competitors with browserbased, software-as-a-service offerings to gain a foothold... In tandem, the shift in the center of gravity of PC demand to emerging markets exacerbates (average selling price) declines, attach rate declines, and brings further exposure to piracy. A perfect storm so to speak."

Anonymous said...

MSFT can't announce layoffs now, or the whole northwest would freak out. Boeing and MSFT not laying people off are the only reasons the northwest doesn't think the recession is as bad here as everywhere else.

MSFT would be insane to contemplate layoffs now, no matter how much RIFing the bottom 10% would make Mini happy.

Anonymous said...

>Am ex-msft and now trying to return back. if there is hiring freeze (esp. for external candidates), how come microsoft.com/careers has all these jobs listed?

Because of the freeze, they could not hire to fill the position responsible for deleting those listings.

Anonymous said...

Where are the haters?

Simple! We've moved on...

Why go down with the ship when we can be building tanks and batmobiles instead? ;)

Anonymous said...

The freeze is interesting enough to write a HBR case. We wanted to get rid of the bottom 10, but our leadership decided that was not good because we would lose the headcount. So in the meantime 3 of the top 20 in the team got bored of that type of non-sense and one principal, one GM and one Director, all excellent individuals left the company. Net is that our small team lost indeed 5% thanks to this policy, but the wrong 5%!

Anonymous said...

http://www.lloyds.com/dj/DowJonesArticle.aspx?id=409412

finally online services are showing some strength

Anonymous said...

Where did you get that average salary figure? I hadn't known I was that far below the mean, but if the mean is 166,000, I'm off by almost 60 grand.

Not the OP, but I'm guessing that thenumber was calculated based off of the cost to Microsoft for the average employee. You'd be amazed what it costs for insurance, 401K matching, etc.

Anonymous said...


>Am ex-msft and now trying to return back. if there is hiring freeze (esp. for external candidates), how come microsoft.com/careers has all these jobs listed?


Those listings still there to gather resumes until things unfreeze again.

That being said, there's no cut in vendor budgets in most group. That's the best way to get yourself back into MS. Away from startups :-)

Anonymous said...

"MSFT can't announce layoffs now, or the whole northwest would freak out. Boeing and MSFT not laying people off are the only reasons the northwest doesn't think the recession is as bad here as everywhere else."

Why would Microsoft care what random people in the Northwest think about the state of the economy?

Care to elaborate on why this would be so?

Anonymous said...

Apple is kicking Microsoft's tail, and Ballmer continues to assert Apple is a small player.

Best day in the last 10 years was the day I gave Microsoft notice.

Anonymous said...

Interesting angle Microsoft has come with during the global economic crisis: when money is tight, drop those custom solutions and go with Microsoft to save money and be more cost effective. Nice.

Don't get your hopes up about this, Mini. We are still wasting a crapload of money on ISVs of all types, and the word is that we will continue to do so, no matter how lean things get.

Anonymous said...

Hiring freeze and headcount reduction (esp contractors) may be a positive step but it does very little to address the ever-swelling ranks of partners who cost a LOT more.
Their extra compensation is not even the tip of the iceberg. Their full time political maneuvers are what sap the teams' energy and drive. Worse still their bizarre "design by committee" compromises ruin the products and services. The compromises are meant to protect turfs. The only competitive challenge this group considers is that from another group within MS.
Frankly even randomly culling a third of partners will boost productivity immensely. Selectively getting rid of a third would result in a much better performance for the company.

But alas, firing them would mean accepting that those who promoted them (VPs and Sr VPs) made mistakes. We all know they never make mistakes - only the lowly grunts do and get underperform for that.

Anonymous said...

The freeze does not seem to apply for senior hires. If you want to hire a 66+, SVPs are happy to oblige. That is termed "strategic hiring". Not so for 66-. That just makes an already top-heavy org even more top-heavy.

When will the top execs see who does innovation in and outside MS (mostly scrappy developers who probably won't even get L62 if hired) and realize the folly of "partner means great results" axiom.

Anonymous said...

Not all hiring is frozen. If you want a job, you'll just have to look around. I'd say the net number of employees will go down though. Maybe not as much as some of you seem to want, but some. (Happy?)

And FWIW, reducing vendor/CSG budget would do a lot more to effect the bottom line in the right way than willy-nilly cutting people.

Oh, and doesn't MS have money in the bank? Could we not protect our own people with that? Crazy, I know. I don't see why the people actually making the software should have to suffer cutbacks while the executive gets paid, and MS has money in the bank. But that's me.

Anonymous said...

It's time for another "Fire the Leadership" post. Read this:

Microsoft Exec Not Impressed With iPhone Sales

Last quarter, Apple made more than $1 billion net profit off iPhone (non-GAAP). In the last eight years, MS hasn't made a $1 billion *net* profit off gaming, tv, music and search combined. Bach is responsible for three of those. In gaming, he lost to Nintendo. In music, Zune hasn't gained even 1% of share from iPod. And in mobile, MS is now number four and sliding (iPhone number two). With Mobile 7 delayed to next year, it will have taken Bach two years just to field an initial response to iPhone.

Talk about not impressive. Is this worth ten million plus per year?

Keeperplanet said...

>"Apple is kicking Microsoft's tail, and Ballmer continues to assert Apple is a small player."

That seems a bit nonsensical to me. It makes sense that Microsoft should have competitors on the scale of 20% to 50% market share if for no other reason than to eliminate charges of monopoly and to force innovation and quality at Microsoft and to weed out the dead wood. If I had 90% market share I would be terrified because there would be no motivation to increase product innovation, quality and reliability.

Remember, any time Microsoft wants to increase market share all you guys have to do is move your price point down the scale a bit, because all you are selling is a cost of development amortization cost plus the cost of the delivery vehicle (disk or online or whatever), so there is all kinds of room to reduce prices if needed. That strategy is hugely profitable by orders of magnitude more than Apples price point strategy.

Apple has to consider the computer costs in their strategic formula and therefore is restricted on how much prices can be reduced. Strong evidence of this was the recent expected $600-$800 Macbook they released that had to be sold for $1299 because of hardware costs. (the $999 model uses tooling already amortized from previous models for hardware enclosures).

The second point on this is that Microsoft seems to be sort of getting the picture of what is happening, regarding the MARKET pressures out there. These would come from Apple OS+hardware formula; Open Source Office (Sun, IBM) and OS (Linux flavors) and the threat of the network computer. Google and Linux driven Netbooks (that eventually will probably not need an OS in the sense we are used to) all contribute to reasonable assumptions of what your competition will look like in the next ten years.

The great gift given to Microsoft in the sea of all these technologies is that no company has yet mastered the formula that will take Microsoft down. The concept of an operating system that can be put on any piece of hardware within spec and that is maintained to a high degree of professional quality demanded by enterprise and consumers is a hugely successful formula and will remain so well into the next decade, giving Microsoft plenty of time to adapt and make competitive offerings.

All of these competitors are busy trying to understand their own failed vision and have not yet mastered their own business models: Apple is high end locked and requires use of their hardware, Linux and open source offerings are generally weak on effective ease of use, install, update. At least not on a level competitive with MS offerings, and Google is so distracted by all its businesses that there seems to be no effective economic pressure yet to adopt their non ad based products online. The real solution for Google, a Network OS (that eliminates the need for an installed multi-gigabyte operating system) is still a ways off, waiting for 100% broadband penetration worldwide and for the vision to take root, even within the ranks.

Anonymous said...

""MSFT can't announce layoffs now, or the whole northwest would freak out. Boeing and MSFT not laying people off are the only reasons the northwest doesn't think the recession is as bad here as everywhere else."

Why would Microsoft care what random people in the Northwest think about the state of the economy?

Care to elaborate on why this would be so?"

Er, last I checked, their corporate headquaters is in the Northwest... and their deals to be building and buying buildings like crazy is based on good relations with the local communities... and also last I knew, MSFT doesn't need the negative press of contributing to a dire economy.

For all that it seems sometimes like MSFT is all about India and China, they do have to care just a smidge about Washington State.

Anonymous said...

As an outsider, I have a different perspective - If you are serious about cutting the workforce, then please please don't limit it to the lower ranks. If you look carefully, you will find your low performers from the CEO rank to the partner rank to your fresh hires. You may find that the company has more managers (GM+VP+Director+Partner)'s than the ground staff who actually innovate and work!

Anonymous said...

keeperplanet said:

Apple has to consider the computer costs in their strategic formula and therefore is restricted on how much prices can be reduced. Strong evidence of this was the recent expected $600-$800 Macbook they released that had to be sold for $1299 because of hardware costs. (the $999 model uses tooling already amortized from previous models for hardware enclosures).

No serious analyst believed Apple would be releasing an $800 laptop.

http://daringfireball.net/2008/10/todays_claim_chowder

http://daringfireball.net/2008/10/listen_to_tim_cook

The great gift given to Microsoft in the sea of all these technologies is that no company has yet mastered the formula that will take Microsoft down. The concept of an operating system that can be put on any piece of hardware within spec and that is maintained to a high degree of professional quality demanded by enterprise and consumers is a hugely successful formula and will remain so well into the next decade, giving Microsoft plenty of time to adapt and make competitive offerings.

I certainly hope you're not thinking of Vista.

Anonymous said...

Er, last I checked, their corporate headquaters is in the Northwest... and their deals to be building and buying buildings like crazy is based on good relations with the local communities... and also last I knew, MSFT doesn't need the negative press of contributing to a dire economy.

Um...the economy is dire. Why should it be Microsoft's responsibility to put a bubble around the Puget Sound. And they've built up enough there in WA state. Real estate prices are just business. If they were to lay off, it might actually drive down some real estate prices not just in housing, but also in commercial markets thereby even making it easier for them to procure later on. Long and short of it is that Microsoft doesn't have the job of maintaining some Seattle area illusions about the economy. That doesn't actually help anyone from employees to the economy to anyone. And most of all, shareholders don't invest in Microsoft to fund the WA economy, they invest in share growth, which right now would be VERY positively effected by some massive and hard cost cutting.

For those of us in other areas of the country and in smaller companies that are still hiring, I'd welcome an outflux of good 'softies.

Anonymous said...

"That brings us to the question of R&D spending. Microsoft outspends Apple by every measure. In raw dollars, Microsoft outspent Apple $7.121 billion to $782 million in 2007 -- a ratio of more that 9 to 1. As a percentage of revenue, Microsoft outspends Apple by about 4 to 1, 13.5 percent to 3.41 percent.

Contrary to what Apple implies in its ads, Microsoft literally spends billions on the development of products like Vista and Office.

Sad, isn’t it?

Apple spends far, far less money on R&D, but look at what it has delivered over the past few years: Mac OS X Leopard, Intel-based Macs, the iPod Touch and iPhone, the innovative MacBook manufacturing technology unveiled just two weeks ago.

More to the point, Apple regularly delivers products and services, such as the iTunes Store and the iPhone, that shake up entire industries. When was the last time Microsoft did that?"

http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/business/appleaday/blog/

Keeperplanet said...

>"No serious analyst believed Apple would be releasing an $800 laptop."

Who cares what the analysts think. It is the market that wants an under $600 full sized laptop. The point is all Microsoft has to do is reduce prices to maintain dominance, providing the product is a good product of high quality.

Apple cannot ever hope to own the computer market with a hardware+software offering and only one spigot to deliver. Even if Apple figures out how to deliver $500 notebooks, it still will be just one hardware manufacturer with a very limited distribution chain and a deliberate high end market target to insure high pricing.

>"I certainly hope you're not thinking of Vista."

You misunderstood my point, which is to say that it does not matter what anybody thinks of Vista or XP or other Microsoft products, because they already have tremendous penetration of the market and are already the dominant OS. Even among the Apple users, much of the market share gain is on the promise of being able to install Vista.

No, Apple's PC strategy is primarily consumer driven and hardware dominant riding on the back of Microsoft's enterprise strategy. And that is a great way to make money, but it is a vastly different business model than Microsoft's which is to enable other manufacturers through their OS.

I use XP still and won't upgrade to Vista or even 7 if it turns out to be Vista relabeled. But I am not a typical pc user either.

squarebing said...

Keeperplanet, you have been drinking the management kool aid for too long, unless you are talking about OS business only (since you group apple as an OS/hardware company, which is like, hmmm, 10 years ago, before the ipod/iphone era).

The fact is that MSFT strategy has always been embrace and extend. It has been easy to extend, especially given the strong OS/Office consumer base. But not anymore. Whichever way msft is trying to extend, it is facing strong competitors.

I doubt anyone, including the stock analyst, will think msft will drop from the king throne of the OS/office market any time soon. But how big can an OS/office market be. The stock price reflects the difficulty to extend. And msft does not have a track record doing so without OS/Office's help

Anonymous said...

"http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=1677/"

“There’s no way three years ago that I could have ever imagined that the entire phone ecosystem would be so shocked by two forces at the same time, one being Apple coming in and (the other being) a change in the operators’ openness to an app ecosystem that wasn’t managed by them. That was just a game changing thing. Microsoft could not get the operator ecosystem to that level after years of trying.”

If ever there was a reason to fire an entire group of people, that would be one. The mobility team has spent years and tens of millions of dollars, and we still don't get it.

Anonymous said...

Oh come on!

The Zune was never going to be a success.

Everyone has to have known this--why else would Microsoft have shot the project in the foot the way they did when they decided to abandon Plays For Sure on their own device?

It wasn't just an example of Orwellian irony, it was an absolute slap in the face to anyone vendor or customer who had ever bought a DRM file from them.

Anonymous said...

"Bill Veghte hesitated when Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer asked him to oversee sales and marketing for Windows. He even went as far as questioning the CEO's commitment to the program.

Veghte, a senior vice president of the Redmond, Washington- based company, wanted assurance that Ballmer had learned from the shortcomings of Windows Vista, the operating system panned by consumers and corporations since it was introduced in 2007. The 18-year Microsoft veteran got what he came for: authority to make changes in the next version, Windows 7, and a record-breaking marketing push to promote the brand.

``We've got to be clear what Windows stands for,'' Veghte, in an interview, recalls telling Ballmer. ``This can't be business as usual.''

That the CEO had to reassure a deputy who spent 15 years working on Windows signals the challenge both men face to persuade investors the $17 billion Windows business can recover after Vista. As Apple Inc.'s Mac lures consumers, repairing flaws in Vista and Microsoft's reputation are critical to reviving the stock after a 35 percent slump this year."

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aCwEYNK1HRgw&refer=home

Good grief.

Anonymous said...

"Fire the Leadership"

Absolutely. Look at Ozzie's statement today:

“There’s no way three years ago that I could have ever imagined that the entire phone ecosystem would be so shocked by two forces at the same time, one being Apple coming in and (the other being) a change in the operators’ openness to an app ecosystem that wasn’t managed by them. That was just a game changing thing. Microsoft could not get the operator ecosystem to that level after years of trying.”

Apple obviously saw it and is now reaping the benefits. Google saw it too. But MS didn't even have it on the SWOT analysis as a potential. Similar things have played out across search, OS, browser, consoles, etc. Even the Azure announcement today comes two years after EC2, and Ozzie went out of his way to credit Amazon for the inspiration.

Anonymous said...

"Our goal is to make the combination of PCs, mobile devices, and the Web something that is significantly than more the sum of its parts."

Does anyone proofread Ballmer's letters before they go out to a few hundred thousand customers?

Anonymous said...

I just got an internal mail about the WSJ article on Microsoft's shady practices in Africa - http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122332198757908625.html

The internal mail was so slimy -- talked about only being reactive, how we should have been more aware of how a pilot program was going, etc. Ridiculous. We can ship complex software and services, and our founder is healing people by the millions, yet we are stomping all over Africa like it's some kind of capitalist battlefield? This is wrong.

Anonymous said...

keeperplanet said:

It is the market that wants an under $600 full sized laptop. The point is all Microsoft has to do is reduce prices to maintain dominance, providing the product is a good product of high quality.

Ahhh... but therein lies the rub, yes? Can't have one's cake and eat it too.

Apple cannot ever hope to own the computer market with a hardware+software offering and only one spigot to deliver.

I can't find a link to back this up at present, but I recall Jobs specifically mentioning at some point in the not too distant past that Apple had no desire to "own" the computer market. They are perfectly happy coexisting with the bumbling behemoth Microsoft. It gives them the perfect foil.

Anonymous said...

>"but I recall Jobs specifically mentioning at some point in the not too distant past that Apple had no desire to "own" the computer market."

Here here! Three cheers for Jobs' social(ist)ly responsible business strategy! What a great humanitarian he is! surely 100% of the population will now buy an overpriced Mac to support the cause! :)

Anonymous said...

"Our goal is to make the combination of PCs, mobile devices, and the Web something that is significantly than more the sum of its parts."

Does anyone proofread Ballmer's letters before they go out to a few hundred thousand customers?


Why? Do you think there's something grammatically incorrect in the sentence you quoted?

There isn't.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 9:20AM Said:
Here here! Three cheers for Jobs' social(ist)ly responsible business strategy! What a great humanitarian he is! surely 100% of the population will now buy an overpriced Mac to support the cause! :)

Calendar Year 2208 Q3 Revenue
MSFT $15,060,000,000
AAPL $7,900,000,000

Number of Employees
MSFT 91,000
AAPL 21,600

Revenue per Employee
MSFT $165,495
AAPL $365,741

Conclusion
If Apple's "social(ist)ly responsible business strategy" gives capitalist-friendly results like that, I'm all for other companies adopting it!

Anonymous said...

What the heck happened today?

Nasdaq +41.31 +2.49%

MSFT 22.63 -0.37 -1.61%

Anonymous said...

in the same vein as reporting our annual performance results, how about we report what we know about headcount status across the company?

Group: Foobar
VP/Exec: Robbie Foobar
Current headcount (FTE): 5000
Pre-freeze open positions: 500
Post-freeze open positions: -100

(negative number means reduction)

Anonymous said...

A while has passed since the PDC announcements and demos, and yet there's no discussion of it on here. The comments are remaining negative even when there's some amazingly good stuff happening...come on people!

I'm still a little confused about Azure but the Win7+O14 demos were great.

I suppose we won't know what impact the online versions of office will have on profit, and how likely they will be to dominate the online web productivity app space, until the distribution and pricing is announced. That's some wonderful value being delivered to the customers, so I hope that'll carry through to the shareholders as well.

And Win7...it's exciting. I can play with it already so that makes online office more intriguing, but products like this are why MSFT keeps growing profit by double digits. Go us! Good job to both the Win7 and office online people.

Anonymous said...

If ever there was a reason to fire an entire group of people, that would be one. The mobility team has spent years and tens of millions of dollars, and we still don't get it.

That is why mobility top management is getting replaced one-by-one. There is fear among rest of the clueless folks who constitute top management that they will get axed too.

jcr said...

Microsoft literally spends billions on the development of products like Vista and Office.

Clearly, you're not getting what you're paying for.

It's kind of like public schooling in the United States. Turns out that merely spending more doesn't fix the systemic problems.

Microsoft's #1 problem has always been sheer management incompetence. Congratulations on catching IBM's fumble, but the sad fact is that your management has been pissing your advantage away for at least two solid decades.

-jcr

jcr said...

If you look carefully, you will find your low performers from the CEO rank to the partner rank to your fresh hires

The lowest peformer of them all is the CEO. Regrettably, he has rather more power than the shareholders, unless they were to achieve near unanimity in calling for his dismissal.

-jcr

jcr said...

The Zune was never going to be a success.

Everyone has to have known this--why else would Microsoft have shot the project in the foot the way they did when they decided to abandon Plays For Sure on their own device?


Why are you assuming that PFS would have been some kind of advantage for the Zune? It had already failed by the time the Zune hit the streets. Customers all knew that "Plays for Sure" meant "doesn't work with my iPod", and they were avoiding any product that carried the PFS label.

-jcr

Anonymous said...

I was in PDC 2008, here's my take talking to other attendees:

1. Win7 is really hot.
2. Office 14 online stuffs is great
3. Azure got mixed review but great for prototyping.
4. Silverlight going mainstream - more developers are excited with it.
5. .NET4 is hot
6. Oslo is too early.
7. Ribbons? too many choices
8. WPF is ok because it is mature now
9. SQL Server - a lot of overflow session.
10. Parallel Computing = promising
11. App-V = can't wait to try it.
12. Direct2D, DirectWrite = hot.

Overall awesome pdc from MS

Anonymous said...

"Our goal is to make the combination of PCs, mobile devices, and the Web something that is significantly than more the sum of its parts."

Does anyone proofread Ballmer's letters before they go out to a few hundred thousand customers?

...
Why? Do you think there's something grammatically incorrect in the sentence you quoted?

There isn't.


Look again. In the last line, "than more" should be "more than," no?

What do I win?

Anonymous said...

Revenue per Employee
MSFT $165,495
AAPL $365,741

That's disquieting. My position is approximately mid-level IC, and the above number (the Microsoft one) is not that far above my total comp. Add in benefits, office space, utilities, and it's definitely more than that.

That average revenue per employee doesn't feel like a good number for a tech company. 15 years ago, if an employee of the consulting firm that employed me had brought in less than 200K, there would have been a "talk".

Anonymous said...

"A while has passed since the PDC announcements and demos, and yet there's no discussion of it on here. The comments are remaining negative even when there's some amazingly good stuff happening...come on people!"

Check the stock price during and post PDC. The market's verdict on the announcements is in.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting...
Get Rid of the Performance Review!
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122426318874844933.html

Anonymous said...

A while has passed since the PDC announcements and demos, and yet there's no discussion of it on here. The comments are remaining negative even when there's some amazingly good stuff happening...come on people!

This is because the comments at Mini have jumped the shark - people are no longer interested in talking about what's cool but rather the same old gripes about bad managers, poor compensation, etc.

Is there someone here (besides me, that is) who actually still likes what we produce?

doflynn said...

Why? Do you think there's something grammatically incorrect in the sentence you quoted?

Actually, there is. "Than" and "more" are transposed in the sentence.

Anonymous said...

"Number of Employees
MSFT 91,000
AAPL 21,600"
--------------------------

Metrics per employee don't make sense as long as a company has enough. When you get to the bottem line one fines that the Net Income per employee is about $50k per employee for the quarter. The real metric per employee that have meaning is when there isn't enough revenue to pay the employees.

I'm also not sure about the headcount numbers. Microsoft has been hiring and a few years ago was around 70k employees. Wow 20k new employees in 3 years! Wow! The Apple count of 21,600 is the same number I saw 3 or 4 years ago. Seems like it is probably incorrect. Also I don't think the Apple headcount includes the army of underpaid Apple store employees.

Still stepping back, what employer is doing more for world? I think it is the employer giving the most well paid jobs. Go Microsoft!

Anonymous said...

"I'm still a little confused about Azure ..."

Azure is something new but it clear that Microsoft has put a lot of work into it. The concept seems to be one can roll a cloud based application and just rent the cloud resources from Microsoft. Microsoft has just moved itself into the cloud in a big way!

The interesting thing is Win7 is more powerful but smaller because some of the bloat has been moved into the cloud. (Windows Live) I'm not sure how Microsoft make money with Windows Live, but I think a smaller more powerful OS should sure make money.

Keeperplanet said...

>"Keeperplanet, you have been drinking the management kool aid for too long, unless . . ."

That was a very nice complement. Thank you. But, industrial design is a one or two level profession: Industrial Designer, maybe senior industrial designer, and VP Design maybe for a very few. Don't confuse management with strategic product vision.

I have always been and always will be an industrial designer, but time and experience teach a strategic vision that gets better with age. It can tell you what will or will not work, who has talent, who is full of it, or who will slit your throat to insure a deceptive gain.

In reality with many of my designs still used and still manufactured even from my first years as a designer, I am winding up for a second thirty years, (which he says with a straight face TIC humility and an absolutely serious intent).

PS: had a first look at 7 in the screen caps from the Press. It looks more what I was hoping for in XP, and I think Microsoft is on the right track.

If it holds true to a smaller better, faster, less intrusive footprint, more privacy, lower pricing, Microsoft will be the dominant OS for many many years to come, even if Apple were to allow stand alone sales of their OS.

Anonymous said...

That is why mobility top management is getting replaced one-by-one. There is fear among rest of the clueless folks who constitute top management that they will get axed too.

May I suggest taking a close look at NickD and his directs and evaluating what qualifications they have (other than being friends with the right people) for being in the position they hold.

Anonymous said...

"Revenue per Employee
MSFT $165,495
AAPL $365,741

That's disquieting. My position is approximately mid-level IC, and the above number (the Microsoft one) is not that far above my total comp."

Go look in the mirror and slap youself and say what a dummy! Those are quartly revenue numbers.

The number of employees for Apple is proably out of date. The 91k number for Microsoft is also a quarter old, so it may also differet. All in all not a very useful measure.

Anonymous said...

People, don't get all panicky about per employee REVENUE numbers. Apple is a h/w company (primarily) and it is totally expected for their revenues to be higher per employee than a pure software company. Let me give you an example - every iPhone, iPod or MacBook the company sells counts towards its revenue. To make it worse, consider that they get these machines made by 3rd parties in China. Not only do they "enjoy" the higher revenue but don't have to screw up their denominator by counting the additional employees involved in production. If we could count all of Dell, Toshiba, Sony, HP etc's PC revenue as our own, I am sure our numbers would be a lot higher too.

Anonymous said...

This is because the comments at Mini have jumped the shark - people are no longer interested in talking about what's cool but rather the same old gripes about bad managers, poor compensation, etc.

It has?

I thought Mini's original purpose for the blog was to discuss the ever-growing size of Microsoft and to debate how the company would benefit from some sort of downsizing.

If this is intended to be a rah-rah blog where criticism isn't permitted, Mini, please make it known.

(Doesn't it concern you that there are so many negative comments from employees? A man in denial would claim 'sour grapes!' and insist that it's the loud rantings of a few bad apples and the 'silent majority' were overjoyed. A pragmatic man would recognize that yes, a site like this would likely not attract as many people who're content as are discontent, but be unable to dismiss the negative comments as they're so prevalent.

If you're unhappy reading criticism, don't read it. You won't benefit from it, though. Your choice. )

Anonymous said...

"Go look in the mirror and slap youself and say what a dummy! Those are quartly revenue numbers.

The number of employees for Apple is proably out of date. The 91k number for Microsoft is also a quarter old, so it may also differet. All in all not a very useful measure."

I think even the latest numbers would prove that more employees don't scale profitability 1:1. This is Mini's whole point. MSFT doesn't need 91k employees to compete effectively. It needs half of that. The smart half. Most of which are gone already unfortunately.

Anonymous said...

If this is intended to be a rah-rah blog where criticism isn't permitted, Mini, please make it known.

OP here. I agree with you about the original purpose of the blog, and apologize if my comment sounded rah-rah in nature, but from my perspective there seems to be a lot of people complaining but not much recognition of the good work (products, ideas, etc.) that we're putting out (even if it is with too many people).

I agree Vista honestly wasn't that great, but from what I've played with Windows 7 is definitely going to be better. Frankly I hope that people out here (who work at MS, at least) are going to give it a try.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting...
Get Rid of the Performance Review!
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122426318874844933.html


Submit it to think week... if they really think during those weeks.

Anonymous said...

Revenue per Employee
MSFT $165,495
AAPL $365,741


That's revenue, how about NET INCOME?

MSFT $4,373,000,000 / 91,000 employees = $48,054
AAPL $1,077,000,000 / 21,600 employees = $49,861

So, a very small difference, <4%, between the PROFIT per employee numbers of each company, which is a much better figure to concentrate on. This is largely due to the very high premium Apple charges for their, albeit very high quality, products.

Anonymous said...

>> if they really think during those weeks

The only "thinker" has left the building. That said, this is a great article that explains the problem with perf reviews in a way that even Ballmer can understand.

Anonymous said...

From the WSJ article: "The boss's assignment is to guide, coach, tutor, provide oversight and generally do whatever is required to assist a subordinate to perform successfully. ... I'm sick and tired of hearing about subordinates who fail and get fired, while bosses, whose job it was to ensure subordinate effectiveness, get promoted and receive raises in pay."

Amen.

Anonymous said...

I only had one such boss, about 5 years ago for a year. He didn't get very far career-wise, but I fondly remember those times as the best, most productive time in my career. The guy was simply a pleasure to work with, completely shielded his team from BS from above, provided direction, removed obstacles and kept track of the work items and schedules for us. He also wrote down everything his reports did every week so come review time he could totally destroy the stack because he was prepared to argue his case and stand up for his folks.

Alas, it doesn't seem like this is the kind of guy Microsoft wants you to be if you're a manager.

Anonymous said...

Can someone explain to me this weirdness?

I report to a SDE Lead -> Dev Mgr -> GM -> GM -> GM -> VP

Guess which org am I in? Why the F do I need 3 GMs in my chain?

Anonymous said...

Why the F do I need 3 GMs in my chain?

Probably to prevent another massive Vistu f-up. Pressing the pitch fork into the bundles of Hey, you! is a lonstanding military tradition, associated with F.U.B.A.R. management. Carry on soldier,

Anonymous said...

Guess which org am I in? Why the F do I need 3 GMs in my chain

Well because there are empires and then there are empires :) Seriously I am as clueless as the next guy

Anonymous said...

May I suggest taking a close look at NickD and his directs and evaluating what qualifications they have

You think thats bad? He has direct family working in his own org.

Anonymous said...

love this player track..saw it on a commercial and had to dig it up and pass along.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hn-enjcgV1o

Anonymous said...

Has MS opened up itself for hiring again? I see tonnes of jobs posted in theladders.com.
Anyone, please reply. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hn-enjcgV1o
Baby come back...yes, couldnt be a better timing for this song, which is what probably Mr Yang is singing right now...
"Baby come back, any kind of fool could see
There was something in everything about you
Baby come back, you can blame it all on me
I was wrong, and I just can't live without you"

I only hope SB doesnt like the seventies...

Anonymous said...

Yang talking again about a hook up is the final nail in the MS stock coffin.

Anonymous said...

Ballmer dismisses Google Android

IIRC he dismissed iPhone too. The "financially unsound" argument is interesting as well, given that MS has lost several billion on search, five billion or so on Xbox, and also routinely gives away stuff for free as a competitive tactic (IE, DreamSpark, Azure services, etc.).

Anonymous said...

Tomorrow or next week, goodbye $20's. :-(

Anonymous said...

Ballmer Is Wrong About Android

http://gigaom.com/2008/11/06/ballmer-is-wrong-about-android/

Anonymous said...

... and also routinely gives away stuff for free as a competitive tactic (IE, DreamSpark, Azure services, etc.).

>yes how dare a company give away a web service! or an IDE! or any soon-to-be commodity software like a browser(at the time)!

Anonymous said...

Yang talking again about a hook up is the final nail in the MS stock coffin.

At $12 a share, its a steal. I was one of those who thought a Microsoft buy of Yahoo at $44 billion was insane. At the current price, the brand alone is worth $12 a share.

Yang has proved he knows nothing about the concept of buy low sell high.

On the other hand, I think Yahoo would be a better fit for Apple to get into the online business with some teeth.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else notice the increases in life insurance rates that were described in the letters from Microsoft as "increasing slightly" ? I'm not sure how a more than 19% increase in the cost can be described as "increasing slightly" but I guess the Benefits team doesn't think we can do the math.

Anonymous said...

"yes how dare a company give away a web service! or an IDE! or any soon-to-be commodity software like a browser(at the time)!"

There's nothing wrong with giving stuff away. The issue is why Ballmer is pretending he can't understand why Google is doing it with Android.

Anonymous said...

"Ballmer is in a different universe

I'm not sure what to make of his comments. First that comment about Android being far behind, and then defending IE in the face shifting consumer preferences.

I'll admit I prefer Windows, but *everyone* knows that the UI in windows mobile is an antiquated joke, that IE mobile is an abomination, and that on the desktop Microsoft is just as clueless.

MS wants to deploy cloud services yet creates a client (IE8) where speed wasn't a primary consideration? Huh? Did the IE8 team miss a corporate strategy meeting? Did someone forget to give them a memo?

MS can make great software, but Ballmer seems completely out of touch with his software's own shortcomings, and without acknowledging them, I'm not sure how they can move forward."

http://talkback.zdnet.com/5208-10532-0.html?forumID=1&threadID=54011&messageID=1021791&start=0

Anonymous said...

Thank God Ballme had the sense to say we're not interested in acquiring Yahoo!. That one comment is better than any lame stock buy-back that we have. And I do hope we let Yahoo! die a slow and natural death. Once they are comatose, we can buy any assets we want at pennies on the dollar. No rush though...things are going to get a lot worse before they get better.

Man, if I worked at Yahoo!, I'd love meet Jerry Yang and give him a piece of my mind.

Anonymous said...

"That is why mobility top management is getting replaced one-by-one. There is fear among rest of the clueless folks who constitute top management that they will get axed too."

I'd say don't stop at the senior management as far as the test org goes. How many leads in the test org are truly capable and technical? How many of them can review a test plan, clearly identify basic issues like coverage holes, mis-prioritized test cases and plan beyond just functional and basic perf testing? Most of them would not be able to assess if they're testing the product right, even if their lives depended on it. One of the biggest fallouts of this is that, even today,stellar pass % get reported while the dog fooding story indicates something else. Lack of decent technical skills is the biggest problem with this org and let's hope this gets addressed first.

Anonymous said...

For folks outside of Redmond who used stay-fit dollars to pay for Y or other health club memberships... with the change for FY10 you are basically screwed if you have a family membership and don't have $1200 bucks laying around. All in the name of offering "flexibility" (flexibility: code for cutting overhead).

Sure, I could find something for $800 a year. but the deal is now much less sweeter. And you Redmond folks - I know many there who have no clue what a wonderful health club perk you have...

Thanks Lisa B, like you ever stepped.... err waddled... into a gym.

Anonymous said...


Did anyone else notice the increases in life insurance rates that were described in the letters from Microsoft as "increasing slightly" ? I'm not sure how a more than 19% increase in the cost can be described as "increasing slightly" but I guess the Benefits team doesn't think we can do the math.


Just be happy you have a job in this economy and stop complaining, fool!

The benefits are still top notch.

Anonymous said...

Windows 7 vs OS X Snow Leopard:

http://www.theonion.com/content/infograph/os_x_snow_leopard_vs_windows

Anonymous said...

At $12 a share, its a steal. I was one of those who thought a Microsoft buy of Yahoo at $44 billion was insane. At the current price, the brand alone is worth $12 a share.

Are you YHOO employee? You must be kidding that $12 is a steal. You ain't see nothing yet. The ads numbers will get much worst in next 2-3 quarters. I mean real bad.

You can safely assume their income will 1/2 a year from now (assuming economy still like this - and it will). So YHOO $6.50 might be a good price.

To you YHOO employees. MS is hiring "strategically". So come on, send resumes to us.

Anonymous said...

"I report to a SDE Lead -> Dev Mgr -> GM -> GM -> GM -> VP"

Are you by chance referring to non Redmond centers :) ?

Anonymous said...

Lack of decent technical skills is the biggest problem with this org and let's hope this gets addressed first.

Is that why Mobile is one of the few divisions allowed to hire right now?

IE, are they trying to take advantage of the fact that skilled people in STB, for example, have nowhere to go within their org, and hoping that maybe those people will give something like Mobile or Live a chance?

It's difficult to make sense of the hiring restrictions. STB, profitable, successful division, losing heads by attrition. Mobile, Live, various overhead functions, all hiring.

I understand that the company feels a need to prop up the problem children. But depriving STB of the resources it needs to execute isn't going to help it maintain dominance. STB could make do just fine with a few fewer managers, but that's not who's leaving in our area.

Anonymous said...

Just be happy you have a job in this economy and stop complaining, fool!

Do you work at McDonalds by any chance?

The economy may be bad, but it's not so bad that I feel lucky to have a job. If you're among the best at what you do then the sentiment you've articulated doesn't really apply.

Perhaps you're among the mediocre herd who really does need to be grateful just to be getting a paycheck... if that's the case, why are you even here?

Anonymous said...

Apple had a lot more than the 21,600 employees people have been claiming!

In a Securities and Exchange filing Wednesday, company said it employed 32,000 full-time workers and 3,100 temporary employees and contractors as of Sept. 27. In fiscal 2007, Apple claimed 21,600 full-time employees and 2,100 temporary and contract workers. The increase was reported early Wednesday by technology blog TechFlash.com.

Calendar Year 2208 Q3 Revenue
MSFT $15,060,000,000
AAPL $7,900,000,000

Number of Employees
MSFT 91,000
AAPL 35,000

Revenue per Employee
MSFT $165,495
AAPL $225,714

That's revenue, how about NET INCOME?

MSFT $4,373,000,000 / 91,000 employees = $48,054
AAPL $1,077,000,000 / 35,000 employees = $30,771

So per quarter, Apple has more revenue per employee, but Microsoft kicks butt when it comes to profit.

Anonymous said...

"That is why mobility top management is getting replaced one-by-one."

Hard to feel pity when the team got routed by Apple and then Google, has no response until 20_friggin_10, and can't even fix the lousy browsing experience in the meantime. But Mobility is just the current embarrassment. MS has failed at virtually every new non-core venture this decade. At some point it starts to reflect on the commander in chief and not just his lieutenants.

Anonymous said...

I see a lot of test engineering positions open up and absolutely NO software engineering positions. Further more, some of the SDETs are being reposted from 3-4 months back. Any comments?
How come Mobile division hasn't opened up yet? PMX???

Anonymous said...

MS has 90k full time and get this XXk contractors. (Not too sure if the XX is public knowledge though)

Anonymous said...

>"To you YHOO employees. MS is hiring "strategically". So come on, send resumes to us."

OP here. Huh? Not a Yahooligan, just an outsider who followed the whole Yahoo thing.

Strategically!!?? WTF are you talking about? Is that part of your strategy to drive Yahoo stock down to $5 a share? You don't get it. Balmer said he's not interested and even if he was, driving the price down to nothing does only achieves one of the original goals of the takeover attempt: kill off the competition if you haven't got the intellectual capacity to keep the talent.

Anonymous said...

Folks, all your comparisons are wrong. Consider this. More than a half of Apple's "employees" are retail personnel. And even with that they manage to pull off some decent numbers as far as profit is concerned.

Anonymous said...


The economy may be bad, but it's not so bad that I feel lucky to have a job. If you're among the best at what you do then the sentiment you've articulated doesn't really apply.

Perhaps you're among the mediocre herd who really does need to be grateful just to be getting a paycheck... if that's the case, why are you even here?


And who are you? The guy who left MS and now makes 150,000 in base salary, plus options at soontogobust.com?

Do you even realize how bad this economy is? Have you seen the recent lay-off announcements that have hit every corner of the job market? It's only going to get worse.

We work for a great company, with great benefits, and with any luck we'll weather this storm better than most. Millions of people are losing their jobs and their homes, and you're complaining because you now have to pay a few $$ more per month for life-insurance.

Get a perspective and a get a grip. When I hear these kinds of bogus complaints, it really irritates me.

Anonymous said...

STB could make do just fine with a few fewer managers, but that's not who's leaving in our area.

--

and those managers who are really at risk for spans and levels are clearing lower level ICs to keep NTE

Anonymous said...

""I report to a SDE Lead -> Dev Mgr -> GM -> GM -> GM -> VP"

Are you by chance referring to non Redmond centers :) ?


There are also plenty of Redmond orgs with structures just like this.

Stacking GMs is all the fashion these days. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Stacking GMs is all the fashion these days.

Maybe it is because of the numerous instances where somebody's buddy was going to get Kim'd if they didn't get a promotion. In other words, a direct consequence of the "move 'em up or move 'em out" plan.

Anonymous said...

Hi all, I've read through several of Mini's entries and it seems that there are many reasons to NOT work at MSFT.

I will finish my masters degree soon and will start at L60. Are there any reasons one should work at MSFT?

Anonymous said...

Microsoft's mobile strategy has gone missing

Anonymous said...

anonymous wrote:
and those managers who are really at risk for spans and levels are clearing lower level ICs to keep NTE

What's NTE? And what do you mean, "at risk for spans and levels"?

Thanks in advance.

Anonymous said...

Does somebody know till when we will have this hiring freeze problems. I am stucked in my current org.....

Anonymous said...

>> Are there any reasons one should work at MSFT?

Put simply, you can't find a better job if you're just out of college (except if you start your own successful business while you're there, Faceberg style, which I'd encourage you to look into).

Come here, work for a few years and see if it's for you. At the worst, if you reputation is good, you will have a safety net to fall back on, at the best you could end up under a somewhat decent manager in a "hot" team and make the kind of career advancement most people only dream about. The likelihood of the latter is somewhat low, but you never know.

The reasons are - decent pay, great benefits, company in general cares more about its employees than the majority of other companies, there's insane variety of projects that you can work on (but don't expect that you'll just be accepted with open arms if you lack experience), if you're socially apt, you can learn to play the game real well at which point doing the actual work becomes optimal. And perhaps the biggest reason of them all - this is a huge company making a decent amount of profit. It's not going to keel over and die, recession notwithstanding.

Anonymous said...

Hi all, I've read through several of Mini's entries and it seems that there are many reasons to NOT work at MSFT.

I will finish my masters degree soon and will start at L60. Are there any reasons one should work at MSFT?


Well, Joaquin—do you mind if I call you Joaquin?—let me answer first with a story, ‘cause I been drinkin’ and feel all existential and shit tonight.

Story goes that two couples moved to a new town on the same day and passed by an old codger sitting on the front porch of the general store an hour apart.

First couple asked him, “We just moved here. What are folks like in this town?”

Old guy replied, “Well, what were they like where you came from?”

“Oh,” they said, “Everyone was really nice and friendly and helpful, sort of like a big family.”

“Well,” the old codger said—Hell, let’s call him Bert—“Well,” Bert said, “you’ll find them pretty much the same here.”

Second couple comes by later and asks the same question. “What are folks like in this town?”

Bert replies, “Well, what were they like where you came from?”

Second couple rolls eyes. “Oh, fer feck’s sake, they were the most ignorant, boring, lame-assed dipshits you’ve ever met.”

“Well,” Bert said, “you’ll find them pretty much the same here.”

I guess the moral of the story could be something to the effect of, “It’s what you make of it.”

But I’ll try to put it another way.

The days of the average ‘softie having a chance of becoming a Microsoft Millionaire™ are long feckin’ gone. Problem is, there are lots of folks still at the company who got here just in time to see the taillights of those lucky SOBs and SOB-ettes heading off into the Microsoft Millionaire™ sunset. Some of the bitter blah-blah-blah you read about here are sour grapes from some of the folks who missed that ship (myself included), and dammit, they want their lucky millions too.

This is just one slice of the company, though, and Mini’s site seems to have become the official bitching post for all that Angst. But it’s definitely not the whole pie.

I don’t have time to get into all the other slices because I need to go get another beer and take a piss, so I’ll just say that there are lots of reasons why it’s a good place to be…but your experience is going to be colored largely by your own expectations, what you want to get out of it, and how much you want to make your MS journey something of your own accomplishments and learning—even if you don’t always getting rewarded by the system for your accomplishments. In fact, once in awhile you might even get screwed in spite of them. But what matters is how quickly you can get back in the saddle.

Kinda like life in general, I guess.

OK, enough of that crap. Good luck, Joaquin.

Anonymous said...

>>Hi all, I've read through several of Mini's entries and it seems that there are many reasons to NOT work at MSFT.

I will finish my masters degree soon and will start at L60. Are there any reasons one should work at MSFT?<<

From reading this blog it's plainly obvious that you should go and work at Apple or Google instead :)

Anonymous said...

I will finish my masters degree soon and will start at L60. Are there any reasons one should work at MSFT?

Level 60 is entry level for a skilled engineer without a big amount of work experience, but if you can find a good group and a good manager then Microsoft has a lot to offer. Unlike many other companies, especially startups, there will be a clear roadmap for growth and promotions, with a regular annual rhythm of productive career discussions. You will work with really smart people who are among the best at writing software in the world. And you'll be able to work on products that have millions of users. Don't expect getting in to be easy, because the good groups still have a high bar for hires.

Anonymous said...

I will finish my masters degree soon and will start at L60. Are there any reasons one should work at MSFT?

You're hearing the negative experiences, including from people like me. Those people who're thrilled with their positions daily don't seek out blogs like this, so you don't see their posts.

Microsoft is a massive corporation, and each division is larger than most companies I've worked for in my career. While there are constants through Microsoft, each division is different.

Each organization inside a division is different.

Those differences track down to a level of even 'each feature team'.

Your experience will depend on many things. My personal opinion is that 50% of your experience is based on who you report to, and 30% on who they report to. Those two individuals control much in terms of culture, direction, morale, rewards, etc. that if you could duplicate a talented person and place the original in one org and the duplicate in another, one may have a fantastic experience and be very very happy while the other may believe that they've inadvertantly stepped into Hades. Remember, though: That's true for every big company.

Bottom line: Microsoft pays a fair salary. It's a big company, and is filled with politics like every big company. Microsoft health benefits are outstanding, the best of any employer I've had (and I've worked for some very recognizable employers). It tends to offer good job security, especially for the talented and skilled. One key: You will not get rich at Microsoft. Those days are long-since gone. Do not come with any such expectations.

Anonymous said...

Hello teens...it's been a long time!!! Time to buy back in yet?

Anonymous said...

>> From reading this blog it's plainly
>> obvious that you should go and work at Apple
>> or Google instead

By all means, if you can. Both companies are smaller (i.e. have less political BS to deal with), both have a vision of some sort, and both treat their employees pretty darn well.

That said, Microsoft is a great place to work, political BS notwithstanding.

Anonymous said...

Does somebody know till when we will have this hiring freeze problems. I am stucked in my current org.....

Look at http://career.

Anonymous said...

You will not get rich at Microsoft. Those days are long-since gone. Do not come with any such expectations.

you won't get rich but with stock award from $20, it is possible for you to get some comfortable $$$.. say < 100k (over a few years) but still.

Anonymous said...

-I will finish my masters degree soon and will start at L60. Are there any reasons one should work at MSFT?-

Funny - I've got about 20 years on you likely, have worked at several multi-thousand person Fortune level company's, and in general cynical as hell after quite some time at MS - but your question caught me off guard.

My cynicism it turns out is largely removed from what a new graduate hire would experience. I'm in a political arena a few clicks up from your prospective landing point and have grown callous to what you're dealing with. My viewpoint has been earned from seeing so many avoidable missteps not avoided due to the lack of executive accountability. Avoidable misteps happen in every big company mind you - MS is so wildly profitable though that even with mid to high 10's of billions wasted over the last 6-8 years we've managed to a avoid the accountablity part where mere mortal companies would have cleaned house or gone dodo.

So with scaled eyes here is my answer to you:

It's an outstanding place to work for new grads. Perhaps there is none better. Crazily diverse projects, products and disciplines seldom considered at small or less rich places exist here that you would seldom experience elsewhere.

Benefits are mostly all good - but assume those are secondary to you.

The politics are huge, but a newby who has some social graces can get along just fine and will be ignored by the expert practitioners of those dark arts. You as a 60 will fly under the radar.

There are just enough long term employees around who have all the cash they need and still enjoy their work for you to learn some perspective about your discipline in a mentorship/politic free manner that will last you a career. Working with people who have been through 3-5 MAJOR computer revolutions gets you a window into a thought process you can't buy. You won't get that at a start up with simple unbridled passion leading you down paths.

Formal training opportunities are huge. Clubs, social and affinity groups are numerous. Logistics is made easy by the Co. Seattle is a great place to be for anyone who has sporting pursuits - ironic considering our Pro team records.

If you land in the right place you can get an education beyond your specialty that will be hugely valuable if you leave - sure you may be an engineer, but if you're close enough to your support orgs you could learn a HUGE amount around how to think about Tax, Finance, Legal (many facets), supply chain, marketing (can't believe I just wrote THAT), sales, and on and on and on.

Frankly I think the hard question to answer is after 5 or so years of employment and 2+ more levels when the dysfunction becomes more apparent. THEN what do you do?

That in my mind is what draws the multitudes to this blog........

Anonymous said...

"From reading this blog it's plainly obvious that you should go and work at Apple or Google instead"

By all means, if you can. Both companies are smaller (i.e. have less political BS to deal with), both have a vision of some sort, and both treat their employees pretty darn well.


If you think Google has *less* political BS to deal with, then it's obvious you've never worked there.

Google's politics feel much more like those you encounter in academia -- which makes sense, given the culture. If you've ever encountered academic politics you know that they make garden variety corporate politics look like child's play. :P

Anonymous said...

I don't like to name names myself here, but I do have to jump in on the comments about the mobild GM(partner level TM) referenced above.
I left thisparticular GM's org several years ago as a strong performer. I went to a strong org and did well, but went nearly 4 years without a promotion (something that never happened in my career at MS). At first, I thought I was getting screwed, but as I interacted with Principal's and Partners from around the company, I realized something. I realized that I was overleveled. I finally did get another promo, and think I'm where I belong and on the right track. But when I go look at that entire mobile org (all disciplines), and compare what I know about those folks with what I know about other orgs (big money-making orgs), I see that the entire org is currently definitely one - likely two levels overleveled.
I hope that the GM and other top level folks don't take down the entire org with them, but it may not hurt to break it all up to start over, and let those who can find other jobs. In this state of hiring freezes, that would separate the men from the boys for sure.

Anonymous said...

Did anybody else hear the news about Sun Microsystems laying off 6.000 employees? I couldn’t help notice the parallels between that company and MSFT.
Scott McNealy, Sun’s former CEO, used to obsess about Microsoft. He used to be known for throwing jabs at MSFT in every speech or interview he gave. He got Sun involved in projects and acquisitions that weren’t making sense for the company and that were big money losers just because he believed that by doing so he could hurt Microsoft. Meanwhile, the real threat to Sun’s business (Linux on commodity x86 hardware) was left mainly unaddressed.
Does this remind you of anything? Ballmer will be Microsoft’s McNealy. His obsession with Google will eventually cost some of you your jobs. Microsoft had as much business getting into online advertising as Sun had getting into office suites. Eventually when the few cash cows can’t support the emperor’s numerous follies anymore, expenses will have to be cut. And what’s Microsoft’s biggest expense?... Exactly!

Anonymous said...

I see that the entire org is currently definitely one - likely two levels overleveled.

You could say that.

Or, you could look at it a bit differently.

Consider MS as its own ecosystem, or as a community. In a community, you have the stable companies which may lack for exciting state of the artness, and may pay only about average, but which produce something people buy lots of. And you have the hot VC-funded ones that know they can't offer what some other companies can in stability or reputation or even product reach, so they use their VC cash to attract talent a different way -- dollars. It's not overlevelling, it's paying what it takes to attract people to the org and to keep them there.

Windows, Office = the stable old companies.

Live, Mobile, Xbox, MSN = the VC-funded ones.

And WHO is hiring right now? I'm seeing quite a lot of the latter and relatively less of the former.

Anonymous said...

If you think Google has *less* political BS to deal with, then it's obvious you've never worked there.

Have you worked there? I know several ex-MSFT now Google employees who seem to think Google is 100x better.

Anonymous said...

"Hello teens...it's been a long time!!! Time to buy back in yet?"

No. It should fall to mid $17's, maybe even $15. And why bother? It was a poor performer before this crash and is showing no relative strength during it. What new leadership and strategies are being implemented during this downturn to change that pattern on the other side?

Anonymous said...

"You won't get rich working at Microsoft"

Hmmmm ... Well you probably won't get rich quickly, but there is a pretty good path if you can survive here.

Microsoft stock is really cheap and who knows, it may stay cheap for a long time. That is the ticket. You buy all the shares you can in in your 401k and all you can in the ESPP. Set it up so that the dividends are reinvested in stock. Micrsoft has been raising it dividends about about 12% a year. At some point that will push up the share price so over time you get fewer shares. Lets say you start at 1000 shares a year and the price goes up by about 10% a year.

FY 2009) 1000 shares dividend is ~$260 or another 10 shares.

FY 2010) Add 900 shares, 1910 shares, assume div is $.15/quarter, ==> 1010 * $.60 + 450 * $.30 or $741. Call it 30 new shares.

FY 2011) Add 810 shares, 1910 + 30 + 810 ==> 2750 shares. Div ~$.17/quarter, or $1598 ==> 55 new shares

FY 2012) Add 720 shares 2750 + 55 + 750 ==> 3555 shares , div. ~ $.20/quarter then dive about ~ $2800, call it 70 new shares

FY 2013) Add 650 shares, 4250 share, ~div $.22/quarter ==> $3700 ...

As you can see in only 5 years it starts really building. If you continue for about 15 years you will be able to retire. 25 years will probably make you rich. That is why people love stocks with increasing dividends.

Anonymous said...

"If you think Google has *less* political BS to deal with, then it's obvious you've never worked there."

Have you worked there? I know several ex-MSFT now Google employees who seem to think Google is 100x better.


Umm... yes, I work there. What, pray tell, do your friends do?

Anonymous said...

People who should be cut are bad managers, quite a lot of them, who don't do any meaningful job to help company's bottomline. Microsoft is very politically twisted place(like most place in this world), whether you are labled top or bottom 10% most likely depends on how you play politics, rather than how one does his work.
If we implement a cross-board cut, it will let the wrong person to go and keep another batch of wrong person.

Mikebol said...

What a great time for MSFT to be agressive in aquiring technology.

What a great time for MSFT to lower prices and rebuild their customer base that's been slowly erroding to OS alternatives.

What a great time for MSFT to tighten their belt, return to lean and nimble mentalities and watch the competition wither.