Monday, November 12, 2012

A Microsoft Without Sinofsky?

Well, I can't believe it: Microsoft Announces Leadership Changes to Drive Next Wave of Products.
People walking the hallways tonight at work certainly can't believe it. I can't believe it - working at a Microsoft without Sinofsky?
Inconceivable.
But, if you're going to leave on a high-note, it doesn't get much better. Mr. Sinofsky got a standing ovation from the Windows team during the Company Meeting for all that he's done to take them on a multi-year journey to create Windows 7 and then hit the big multi-division reset button for Windows 8. He truly demonstrated technical leadership at its best.
And I don't believe his departure rules him out at all for Microsoft CEO. In fact, I think if he stays in tech and becomes CEO of another company it makes him an even more obvious choice to come back to Microsoft as its leader.
Meanwhile, Ms. Larson-Green: best of luck following this act.


-- Comments

310 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   201 – 310 of 310
Anonymous said...

"Speaking of racism ... why is it OK to call Ballmer "Monkey Boy", but when someone refers to Obama as some type of monkey it's racist? Is it because Obama is black? Isn't treating someone differently because of race, by definition, racism?"

I suspect this is a reference from the movie 'Buckaroo Banzai' and while it was certainly speciesist in the movie, it wasn't racist as you think of racism.

Anonymous said...

Mini, what about a post on the company meeting this year? curious to know your thoughts

Anonymous said...

Mini, what about a post on the company meeting this year? curious to know your thoughts

Anonymous said...

Some have speculated in the press that Sinofsky and SteveB got 60% of their target bonus. That is incorrect.

Checking the 2012 Letter to Shareholders issued in advance of the AGM late November, I note that SteveB's bonus was 91% of target ($620k), and SteveSi received 90% of target coming in at $7.65mill, of which 20% was in cash. SteveB gets no stock, while 25% SteveSi's 2012 stock award, or about $1.5mill, vested 9/1.

By comparison, KT is making $100k a year more than Sinofsky at $765k, and received a total bonus of $12mill.

So think what you will of SteveSi's personality, power grabs or demeanor, MSFT pays a pencil-sharpening bureaucrat more than the guy who saved their sorry Vista-ass.

http://www.microsoft.com/investor/Downloads/Investor%20Services/Information%20for%20Investors/2012_Proxy_Statement.docx

Anonymous said...

Do you have a twitter account? If not, would you consider creating one?

Anonymous said...

"Mini, what about a post on the company meeting this year? curious to know your thoughts"

Why? Mini has been posting the exact same thing about the company meeting every year since this blog went live. Here, I'll paraphrawse for you:

I'll admit it -- this is the one time of year when I attach the IV Kool-aid drip and stand up and cheer for Microsoft. I LOVE the company meeting! Let's talk about hightlights and lowlights:

blah blah blah here's what was kind of good

blah blah blah here's what was kind of bad

blah blah blah here's the elephant in the room, would have been nice to hear more about x


Satisfied? I mean, when was the last time Mini posted something really interesting? 3 years ago? Nobody actually comes here for what Mini writes, they only come here for comment wank.

You included.

Anonymous said...

Ex-MSFT here, started my own company, excellent article here and does not even begin to touch Azure, which is a abject failure. 6 Months trying to get it to work, and just issues (actually still waiting for tier 2 support to help us after admitting that it was a bug in Azure- after a week of escalating and no answers), gave up moved to Rackspace, had it up and running in two days with INCREDIBLE support. http://semiaccurate.com/2012/11/14/microsoft-has-failed/

Anonymous said...

MSIT India Sucks. Period

Anonymous said...

> http://semiaccurate.com/2012/11/14/microsoft-has-failed/


+1, excellent article. Here is another one:

http://www.zdnet.com/android-really-is-the-new-windows-7000007450/

Anonymous said...

You'd think by reading the tech press that Sinofsky was goose-stepped out the door. I think there's a bunch of bitter whiners trying to piss on his legacy as payback.

He's still walking the halls, mainly chatting with Julie as far as I can tell. I think they've been engaged in setting this transfer up for a while and he's calmly and professionally working with her to set the team and company on a good path.

He might be cold and ruthless, but he's also a class act professional.

Anonymous said...

"He's still walking the halls, mainly chatting with Julie as far as I can tell. I think they've been engaged in setting this transfer up for a while and he's calmly and professionally working with her to set the team and company on a good path."

Nice try -- that's not what an effective immediately transition means at all.

As for his political savvy on the departure -- class act has nothing to do with it. His multi-million dollar package and future ability to become a CEO somewhere is driving the illusion of civility.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Woz is vying for the job now that Sinofsky is out of the picture?

http://techcrunch.com/2012/11/14/keen-on-steve-wozniak-why-woz-worries-microsoft-is-now-more-innovative-than-apple-tctv/

Crazier things have happened. Although I grant the likelihood of this one is about as likely as discovering Atlantis in your backyard after having won the lottery the same day.

Anonymous said...

Does the subject of the Mike Angiulo "music video" have anything to do with the new Windows leadership?

Anonymous said...

yikes...newbie here just joined MS last year. i have almost closed on my new house in Redmond. but now i am not so sure about staying. if Windows8 fails, could MS be headed towards a fiscal cliff?

Anonymous said...

WRT article at http://semiaccurate.com/2012/11/14/microsoft-has-failed/

I do not think this is a good article at all. I personally hate Win 8 on desktops or laptops. Not having used it on tablet cannot say one way or the other. I do know that it will ship on 300+ million OEM PCs in 2013. Whether disaffected users exercise downgrade rights, or uninstall 8 and reinstall 7 does not matter to Microsoft - they make $50-65 per box in client revenue.

The author shows complete ignorance of MS business model, dismissing OEM distribution channel, and the fact that businesses are locked in for years with enterprise agreements. Microsoft will not disappear overnight whatever the actual early usage of Win 8 turns out to be.

The author argues that Google Apps will displace Office. That flies in the face of the facts. Office sales are increasing. Why? Because people dislike change and like the Office apps. Google apps are a poor substitute.

I do agree with the author that the Surface RT looks like a complete disaster - launch problems, no Outlook, no domain support, poor quality control, crippled Office version, no apps.

The real problems for Microsoft begin 2-3 years down the road. If PC sales continue to contract, Phone 8 gets no traction, consumers and businesses alike accelerate their embrace of alternative devices, desktop Linux distros become usable by the average person, Google not only improves Apps but actually offers enterprise-grade support, and the Surface craters, Microsoft will be left with shrinking enterprise sales and suffer the same fate as Novell - a gradual slide from dominance to irrelevance. Embracing the cloud might slow this process but margins are much slimmer, stock will continue to drop. My prognosis: 5-10 years max and MS is finished.

Anonymous said...


"phone 8 gets no traction, "

Dude, checkout AT&T stores in redmond. Lumia 920 are sold out. Nokia will outsell iPhone 5 very soon.

Anonymous said...

"
Dude, checkout AT&T stores in redmond. Lumia 920 are sold out. Nokia will outsell iPhone 5 very soon."


LOL!

You do realize that Redmond is where Microsoft is, right? And that's where Microsoft employees go to get their phones?

Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Anonymous said...

I worked for SteveSi and Julie Larson in the 90s. From what I remember Julie was PM on Visual C++ and Dev Studio, which was/is a great product. Also good work on Frontpage and Office, not revolutionary, but also definitely not deserving of all the mindless hate and cheap shots I see on these posts. To paraphrase Chris Peters, "they build you up and then they tear you down". Good luck, Microsoft!

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous Friday, November 16, 2012 8:45:00 AM

"Phone 8 gets no traction"

OP here ... guess you missed the word "IF" at the beginning of the sentence.

Unfortunately Ballmer specifically and Redmond generally look increasingly like Mitt Romney and the Republicans: defiantly standing on a burning platform, delusional, out-of-touch and bleeding supporters. In fact, I bet Microsoft shipped more jobs overseas than Bain Capital ;-)

Anonymous said...

> Nokia will outsell iPhone 5 very soon.

Had a good laugh, thank you!

Back to the reality - Nokia is doomed, next year either a buyout from Microsoft, or likely bankruptcy.

Anonymous said...

Dude, checkout AT&T stores in redmond. Lumia 920 are sold out. Nokia will outsell iPhone 5 very soon.

Well, dude, maybe you should take a look at AT&T Wireless, or Frys both of which have availability. Hurry down and buy one that way you will double WP8 sales for the day.

Anonymous said...

Mini is trying to avoid talking about the disaster that is Windows 8.

Go here for a better take on Redmond
http://www.techbroil.com/

Anonymous said...

Ok. All those Lumia 920 haters, check this out http://seekingalpha.com/article/1014081-nokia-so-how-are-lumia-920-sales-going?source=yahoo

Luia 920 is doing good in Europe as well.

Anonymous said...

That seekingalpha.com article has no hard numbers whatsoever, just vague talk about selling out. That can easily be engineered by lowering supply. Also, there was probably some pent-up demand from people who were thinking about switching to WP and decided to wait for WP8. That would give you a one time boost.
Also, no mention of the rate of returns, which was notoriously high for Windows 7 phones.
We've been through this before. Remember the "x million Windows 7 phones sold"? Turns out they were not sold to customers, just in the distribution channels.
I am making a prediction right now. In November 2013, Windows Phone 8's market share will still be under 5%. Feel free to come back in a year and laugh at me if I was wrong.

Anonymous said...

Amazon has AT&T 920 in stock and it does not show on top seller list there

Anonymous said...

"I worked for SteveSi and Julie Larson in the 90s. From what I remember Julie was PM on Visual C++ and Dev Studio, which was/is a great product. Also good work on Frontpage and Office, not revolutionary, but also definitely not deserving of all the mindless hate and cheap shots I see on these posts."

Nobody is taking cheap shots about Julie's work on FrontPage or while she was in DevDiv. The hate over the Office ribbon is well-deserved, as 1) she got all the credit for it although others designed it, and 2) I've never met anyone in the real world who has had anything good to say about the Office ribbon, although there are stats throughout Microsoft about how awesome it is. By far, however, Julie is getting the most heat from the fact that she's simply not President material. Have you interacted with her in person? She's a Lead Program Manager at best. She wasn't promoted because she was a visionary leader, that's for sure.

Anonymous said...

Nobody is taking cheap shots? Ok then. Yes I worked w/ Julie a bit and she was fine as group PM. This was 15 years ago, I haven't been at MS since then. Everyone was a genius at MS in the 90's, it seems.

Re. the office ribbon, that's like debating the paint job on the titanic - Office is irrelevant for many casual users these days, and power users (financial analysts etc.) care more about mail merge, pivot tables and macros..

Anonymous said...

(Allow me to dial back my comments on Office. It is a beautiful suite of programs and a solid business - but no longer a high growth business.)

Anonymous said...

A Random update.

Been at MSFT as SDET for 7 years. Avg 70% score.
Now wanna move outside (to a smaller company), but no takers.
"Test" is a taboo.
".NET" is not a hot in startup requirements.

Working at MSFT as Test proved to be a bad career move.

Anonymous said...

No comments on reviews for this year so far. Anyone got screwed due to stack ranking?

Anonymous said...

Amazon has AT&T 920 in stock and it does not show on top seller list there

The black is #9 and white is #14 at Amazon.

Anonymous said...

Sinofsky is a genius to leave before Windows 8 is uncovered for the disaster that it is. Not only does he escape blame but it also sets him up for re entry as the savior in a couple of years.

Anonymous said...

I suspect this is a reference from the movie 'Buckaroo Banzai' and while it was certainly speciesist[?] in the movie, it wasn't racist as you think of racism."

Actually it's a reference to the old video of Ballmer jumping around on stage like an idiot "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvsboPUjrGc" although Buckaroo Banzai was a highly underrated movie!

Anonymous said...

To the SDET who can’t find work outside of Microsoft (Anonymous who posted on Friday, November 16, 2012 6:37:00 PM):

I think you’re doing something wrong. I used to be an SDET at MS, for longer than you have been. Five years ago I left the company and had no problems finding a new job. I switched jobs again last year. It wasn’t too difficult this time either. There is actually a lot of demand for good SDETs. The keyword here is “good”.

For starters, you have to be a decent coder. I remember that a long time ago Microsoft did away with the STE / SDET distinction. I suspect that led to a lot of non-coders getting the SDET title. Actually a friend of mine who’s still with MS keeps complaining that he sees a lot of level 62+ testers who couldn’t code if you put a gun to their head and told them you will shoot in 5 minutes unless they produce a working bubble sort implementation. Maybe that shit flies at MS these days but it doesn’t anywhere else. Most of the work I’ve done since leaving MS has involved a lot of coding. I’ve written multiple test frameworks, monitoring systems, and so on. At Microsoft you can rely on dedicated teams to produce tools for you (WTT and whatnot). Elsewhere, you’re usually on your own. When I left MS I was in a team that had a ratio of 3 testers for 4 developers and was actually trying very hard to reach 1 tester per dev. Once I left it was more like 1 tester for 6 to 10 developers. If you can’t work independently, take initiatives without being told, and if you can’t write the tools you need yourself, you’re no good.

Now, let me address the .Net problem. You are correct when you say that .Net is not the platform of choice with startups these days. But I do see a lot of demand for SDETs with Java skills and most companies will give you a chance even if you’re a C# guy. The syntax is pretty much the same. The basic libraries have a lot in common as well and there’s nothing a well-rounded computer scientist can’t pick up. Having been part of many interview loops, and having been a hiring manager as well,
I have never focused on a particular skill. A good candidate is somebody with problem solving skills and decent command of what they claim to be their primary programming language. If you can solve my interview questions using C#, you have the brain power to learn Java. But if you really feel like you’re stuck with Windows and .Net then do something about it. It’s not 1993 anymore. You can download a working UNIX clone with all the compilers you could ever want for free. Put it all on a virtual machine so you can wipe it all out and start again from scratch at the click of a mouse.


Now one last thing I want to address is the Microsoft “stigma”. In the past two years or so I have started hearing about Microsoft experience as a negative in hiring meetings. This is just anecdotal evidence, so maybe not indicative of a larger trend, but I’ve seen it. To be fair, this usually comes up with managers and not with individual contributors. But other companies have wisened up to the fact that Microsoft culture is not what they want to emulate. And some of them have had pretty bad experiences with managers hired out of Microsoft (personally in the past 5 years I’ve seen 3 of them being shown the door, and two others leave and go back to Redmond after it had become clear they weren’t going to cut it at their new job). But as an SDET, I don’t think this really affects you. Unlike a manager’s soft skills, an SDET’s abilities can for the most part be objectively evaluated. If you ace the interviews, it doesn’t matter where you came from.

Good luck to you and keep us posted.

Anonymous said...

http://www.emailthis.clickability.com/et/emailThis?clickMap=viewThis&etMailToID=1395628330

"Been at MSFT as SDET for 7 years. Avg 70% score.
Now wanna move outside (to a smaller company), but no takers.
"Test" is a taboo.
".NET" is not a hot in startup requirements.

Working at MSFT as Test proved to be a bad career move."


Not only TEST, also PM, just look at those old-time Windows PM's, if they are worth anything, they would have retired or moved outside of Microsoft. Those Principle PM's in Windows are faking it everyday, just collecting fat pay checks and knowing deep down that they are worth nothing outside of Microsoft---it does not stop some of them from ruining other people's career or Windows.

Anonymous said...

=========
LUMIA
============
On 4 May 2012, a group of Nokia investors filled a class action against the company as a result of disappointing sales of Nokia phones running on the Windows Phone platform.[135] On 22 August 2012, it was reported that a group of Finnish Nokia investors were considering gathering signatures for the removal of Elop as CEO.

[http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57427826-94/nokia-execs-hit-with-class-action-suit-over-disappointing-lumia-sales/]

Anonymous said...

As a new grad who just joined full time, reading some of the comments really scares me. I'm sure I have a lot to turn about corporate life, but reading comments above about leads who screw over their ICs and how some divisions and roles such as OSD PMs are looked down upon makes me worry.

If the interview process was of any indication, arent candidates usually assigned to a business group and team? I hear this year they don't even give candidates a choice between PM SDE or SDET, but rather assign them "based on skills and business needs"..

Any junior FTEs willing to chime in?

Anonymous said...

"If the interview process was of any indication, arent candidates usually assigned to a business group and team? I hear this year they don't even give candidates a choice between PM SDE or SDET, but rather assign them "based on skills and business needs".."

We've never really given candidates a choice between those roles. SDE candidates who aren't quite good enough but who are close are usually offered SDET jobs if available, and candidates who aren't quite technical enough but who have strong communications and organizational skills are offered PM roles.

That's how it's supposed to work, at least, and how it worked in the old days. These days it's really anyone's guess.

Anonymous said...

The poster that wrote "knowing deep down that they are worth nothing outside of Microsoft" - get a grip! I have loads of friends who have moved on from Test, Dev, PM, Marketing, whatever, to other jobs outside Redmond. You need to keep up with your connections outside the company. I don't doubt that some people are psychologically stuck or with higher stakes (kids to feed, mortgage to pay). Take a weekend trip to the bay area why don't you, or another tech hub.

New grad: I work for a large company and just hired away an Microsoft dev who had been there one year. People move around throughout their careers, try to find a place that's right for you.

Microsofties, be excellent to each other, maybe that will help




Anonymous said...

It is a simple order for engineering roles. 1. SDE 2. PM 3. SDE/T. One only stays in Test for two reasons beyond a couple of years. One reason is that you are not technical enough to be a dev or savvy enough to be a PM. Second reason is that you got promoted to management and are addicted to the power and typically dev and pm teams require more seniority to be a manager.

Anonymous said...

. One only stays in Test for two reasons beyond a couple of years. One reason is that you are not technical enough to be a dev or savvy enough to be a PM. Second reason is that you got promoted to management and are addicted to the power



I have been an SDET for 15 years, both at Microsoft and elsewhere. It was never my plan to stay in test but I did, not because I'm incapable of doing anything else but because I like it.


I have a lot of flexibility when it comes to the tools and languages that I use. It's not C++ or C# all the time. If a job calls for PERL, I'm free to do that.


I also love tearing other people's shit down. There's nothing like taking a dev's pride and joy, some piece of code he took days crafting, and after a few hours giving it back to him all bruised and bloody.


And finally, once I had become a good enough SDET that I could actually consider becoming a dev, I realized the demand for people with my particular skillset was actually very high. I could become just another dev, or I could be that rare experienced SDET that recruiters keep looking for. I'm well into 6 figures territory and make more than most devs I know.

True, there are a lot of bad SDETs out there, but that makes me even more valuable. Honestly, if you're an SDET who can code and test both reasonably well, I can't even fathom why you'd want to become a PM or a dev.

Anonymous said...

"Been at MSFT as SDET for 7 years. Avg 70% score.
Now wanna move outside (to a smaller company), but no takers.
"Test" is a taboo.
".NET" is not a hot in startup requirements.

Working at MSFT as Test proved to be a bad career move."

I've been 5+ years at MS as a SDET 2, avg 70% score doing .NET. I Left for a smaller company and almost doubled my salary. The plural of anecdote is not data.

Anonymous said...

Commodore Ballmer rides his landing craft from his flagship to the shore. Today he is Cortez the Conquistador and he will be first of his clan to set foot on this new world of mobile. He wades through the surf to the tide line, his Windows armor and Server helm glittering in the sun. His greatsword Bing (named for the sound it makes when it strikes) swings at his side. Just beyond the tideline he pauses. In the forest beyond the shore lurk the mindless savages of this land, destined to be vanquished, to yield their treasure. Behind him his mighty fleet is filled with mighty Windows Warriors: partners and MVPs all, eager to evangelize this strange new land. They have journeyed long and far across a barren sea and are desperate now to seize their destiny.

He plants his boot upon the soil, and then his quadcolor standard in it. "I claim these lands in the name of God and Good King Bill. Evermore this shall be known as the realm of Metropolis..., no, Metroplex..., no, Moder Nui! As Emissary of Redmondia I shall govern here in the name of King Bill. My first edict is that all subjects of Moder Nui shall have the same uniform, in the same cut and size - regardless of height, girth, age, gender or purpose! And it shall be made in one of 25 colors, with squares each of one of the same 25 colors, to make it easier for the cloth makers and tailors." His aura, especially bright today expands almost beyond his reach. He turns to give the command: "Set fire to the boats! We shall vanquish this land or perish!"

But as we step beyond his aura or personal RDF we see his standard tattered, his greatsword short and blunt. His armor glitters no more and is rusted through in spots. The great navy he imagines swollen from when he set out ten years before is but a few rotting craft, listing in the water. What few remain are peopled by a weak and desperate bunch, famished by their long journey to the point of considering (some say in hushed tones, practicing) cannibalism.

In the forest we find not mindless savages but artists, professionals, engineers. And the reason for this is soon clear. This beach is not on the shores of the new mobile world at all. It is Idylwood Beach on the shores of Lake Sammamish in Redmond. This ten year fruitless voyage has been an exercise in circling this one lake. The lost bulk of Ballmer's fleet escaped overland to Lake Washington, and then out to a wider world to reap its riches.

As he turns to his last minions he senses something different about them. He should because he is fat from eating their rations - and they are painfully lean and very, very hungry. They are setting fires as he commanded, but they are the last fires he will ever see.

Anonymous said...

It's time to upgrade the blog site, need threaded discussions and voting buttons. This blog is becoming more stale than Windows. Left Microsoft this summer from US field sales org, love most of the people, the company is very different when I started 14+ years ago. Miss the ability to innovate in the field, vet new ideas, invest in opportunities and partner solutions. All of that continues to fade away since we switched our focus from making great products and started focusing too much on the stockholder.

Anonymous said...

>> One reason that the ratio of PMs to Devs in Bing (and MSN) are higher than the rest of Microsoft is that these divisions ingest and normalize a lot of external feeds from data providers.

> Dude, you are brainwashed. Step outside, breathe some oxygen, try to leave the eastside for a bit. Right now your post is screaming "I am only employable in a PM org in Redmond."

>> And, in case you doubt this, the feeds that were used in Windows Sidebar and Office 10 both were provided by OSD.

>> Congrats, two bullshit features that nobody cares about! You know, I don't think Windows and Office would have sold many copies without that sidebar...

Just making a point. I haven't worked at MS for nearly two years. What amazing feature did you engineer, Clippy?

Asshat.

Anna said...

Microsoft needs to be a software company, and not a Windows Company. It needs to create great software for more devices than those that just run Windows.

What is wrong that a software company that can't create complete software suites for the enterprise that are best-of-breed for Mac OS, iOS, Sun, Android, X, Y, Z? Why do they let competitors build the cross platform enterprise applications?

Anonymous said...

"I also love tearing other people's shit down. There's nothing like taking a dev's pride and joy, some piece of code he took days crafting, and after a few hours giving it back to him all bruised and bloody.

...

True, there are a lot of bad SDETs out there, but that makes me even more valuable. Honestly, if you're an SDET who can code and test both reasonably well, I can't even fathom why you'd want to become a PM or a dev."


Because most people find it more rewarding to build something of their own rather than spend their time trying to break things that other people made. Not all, but most.

As for you: if what you wrote above doesn't clearly signal that you're bitter about where you ended up despite the stories you've created for yourself, I'm not sure what would...

Anonymous said...

Sinofsky is a genius to leave before Windows 8 is uncovered for the disaster that it is

Probably: Windows 8 Sales Well Below Projections, Plenty of Blame to Go Around

Anonymous said...

Because most people find it more rewarding to build something of their own rather than spend their time trying to break things that other people made. Not all, but most.


True. And that's again why good SDETs are hard to find.


you're bitter about where you ended up

I don't know where you got this from, but it can't possibly be from my post. This could be a classic case of projection.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a happy go lucky kind of guy. There is plenty of bitterness in me, but none of it is about my career.


despite the stories you've created for yourself,

I know this is the internet and on the internet you can pretend to be anything, but I didn't lie. I spent 10 years at MSFT as an SDET until 5 years ago. I wasn't a superstar but I did OK. And I had no problem finding another job when I decided to leave. I ended up making a lot more money than I was in Redmond. Same thing when I switched jobs again last year. My income has more than doubled from the time when I left Microsoft.

My question to you is, why do you feel the need to put down SDETs? Is it to make yourself feel better about your mediocre dev skills? "Oh well, at least I'm not an SDET". Unlike you I don't want to make accusations based on nothing more than a few blog comments, but you don't sound like somebody's who got it together. Still in Redmond and stuck there?

Anonymous said...

"But, if you're going to leave on a high-note, it doesn't get much better. Mr. Sinofsky got a standing ovation from the Windows team during the Company Meeting for all that he's done to take them on a multi-year journey to create Windows 7 and then hit the big multi-division reset button for Windows 8. He truly demonstrated technical leadership at its best.

And I don't believe his departure rules him out at all for Microsoft CEO. In fact, I think if he stays in tech and becomes CEO of another company it makes him an even more obvious choice to come back to Microsoft as its leader."


This comment certainly reflects the new Mini who seems to be unusually happy about all things Microsoft.

Really? Windows 8 a high note? Subtracting the haters and the fan boys, Windows 8 is a questionable release that is hardly universally lauded. It has serious, difficult to solve design flaws between the touch UI and the desktop and even before it went live quite a few of us internally were sketpical that it was going to succeed. It's under-performing in the market. The product offerings are confusing the hell out of consumers.

Otherwise fairly neutral sources have begun comparing it to Vista.

And Mini, SteveSi coming back as CEO? As hated as he is in the exec ranks, and as incapable as he's been of working well with other teams? Have you started smoking crack recreationally?

This post was just weird.

Anonymous said...

"you're bitter about where you ended up"

I don't know where you got this from, but it can't possibly be from my post. This could be a classic case of projection.

You don't know where I got that from? Seriously? Allow me to quote you, once again, to help me refresh your bad memory:


I also love tearing other people's shit down. There's nothing like taking a dev's pride and joy, some piece of code he took days crafting, and after a few hours giving it back to him all bruised and bloody.

You enjoy nothing more than taking someone else's work -- something they take pride in and that brings them joy -- and taking them down a peg by showing them that it's actually a pile of shit.

And you don't know why I'd think you were bitter. Really. Maybe it's because instead of saying you enjoyed nothing more than helping developers make the products better by working as part of a team you instead focus on how you want to humiliate those who work to create the code.

Please, let's continue this conversation, it's fascinating.

Anonymous said...

You enjoy nothing more than taking someone else's work -- something they take pride in and that brings them joy -- and taking them down a peg by showing them that it's actually a pile of shit.


I enjoy shipping high quality software. Would you rather I shut my pie hole when some mediocre dev brings me a hole-ridden piece of crappy code?

I don't know what your job is, but I'm a software engineer, not a social worker or a therapist. My job is not to spare people's feelings, it is to find out what they did wrong and have them fix it.


No wonder Microsoft products suck the way they do these days if they hire goody-two-shoes boy scout types like you.

Anonymous said...

Julie's promotion is no doubt Sinofsky's recommendation.

Sinofsky represented AFX (purveyors of MFC) at Julie's presentation to the C team when she was still at Aldus. He's been the biggest Julie fanboy ever since, starting with her first week at MS when he introduced her to billg at the new employee shindig at the Gates home.

When Sinofsky took the job in Office, one of his first moves was to internally recruit her. Their wagons have been hitched together to this day.

Julie's a fine PM, pleasant to look at, but I can't imagine her surviving without her sponsor of almost 20 years.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft is full of mediocre managers and mediocre employees. Mediocre people can only bring mediocre referrals. Sorry guys. Microsoft can't compete with Apple and Google.

Anonymous said...

BTW, am I the only one that noticed the huge cross Tami Reller was wearing during her win8 demo? As a secular employee, I'm a bit worried about this. I'd like to keep seeing a more neutral and professional tone from top level mgmt and public figures of the company. (Although I think it'd probably be much less noticeable to me if she had done a good job for the demo, but her act was that of a clueless salesperson demoing something they just laid their hands on)

Anonymous said...

"Julie's a fine PM, pleasant to look at, but I can't imagine her surviving without her sponsor of almost 20 years."

I really think this assessment is spot-on. It's not like Julie is a raging idiot, she just isn't executive leadership material. Her rapid rise is due not to her accomplishments -- which are fairly modest -- but pretty much exclusively to Sinfosky's advocacy.

Anonymous said...

Got 4 last year. I did everything that I could do to get more visibility, higher responsibilities etc. My manager said in 1:1 that she would try 2/3 for me. But when it came to comparing with peers, she said I was given 4 again since my last ranking was bad. Lisa Brummel, your policies suck. I am looking for jobs outside Ms now.

Anonymous said...

All those who criticize Sinofsky for avoiding dependencies on the work of the other Microsoft executives should be condemned to 6 months in the Microsoft IT prison. You are required to use a Windows Phone, and place all your documents in SkyDrivePro. You can only use Office 365 via Internet Explorer, and all your searches can be only done using Bing. After 6 months, let’s again ask you what you think of taking dependencies on the work of the PMs (Politicians at Microsoft), instead of trusting your own developers.

Anonymous said...

SDET
Promoted to L61
Rank 3, hence raise was negligible

Anonymous said...

"All those who criticize Sinofsky for avoiding dependencies on the work of the other Microsoft executives should be condemned to 6 months in the Microsoft IT prison."

"Being a good partner" does not mean "dependencies" -- this is a distinction Microsoft has never understood, and a big reason we always fail.

It can be as simple as not being secretive with your peers about what you're working on, which was one asshat move among many Sinofsky was notorious for indulging in. It also means not killing great products -- Courier, anyone? -- because you find them a threat to your own empire.


Anonymous said...

It is true that this company get very little done. People here are more like talking than doing and people enjoy doing this because it is easier. I am prepare for resume to leave MS and noticed the job I have done in MS is much less than my previous company. I regret I join Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

To the SDET who likes to take apart devs' code and then return it to them all "bloodied and bruised":

Man, the chip on that shoulder must be genourmous! What are you so angry about? OK, we get it, you weren't quite good enough to cut it as an SDE, and you are at the bottom of the SDLC totem pole. Is that where the bitterness comes from?

You know, and I know, and everyone reading this blog knows that you'd trade places with an SDE in a heartbeat if you could, so drop the holier than thou attitude. I've worked with many SDETs over my 11 years as a Dev at MSFT, and the best ones are those who know where they stand in the hierarchy, and focus 100% on doing the best job they can, which is to find good bugs, automation, and developing good test cases and processes.

Those who tried to compete with Devs have always gotten their asses handed to them and are never looked upon favorably, so get a grip on reality cut the crap.

Anonymous said...

Ballmer has successfully pulled attention away from himself and has everyone bad mouthing sinofsky.

Master politician.

Anonymous said...

I've been hearing rumors that Surface RT is a sacrificial lamb so Microsoft can evaluate consumer response before rolling-out the full product.

Very interesting if there's any truth there.

Anonymous said...

Wow. 261 comments at this time, of which about three contain any useful insight. The rest are from trolls, haters, disgruntled ex-employees, people pretending to be employees, and a couple seemingly genuine employees who should probably quit and find happiness elsewhere. No wonder Mini got tired of posting.

Anonymous said...

I think Microsoft's agility is very bad and it is cumbersome in management levels and worldwide reporting. For example, it has many HQs reporting to other HQs, and on and on. It looks like military or government organization. Ranking system is also not based on actual quality. I will compare it to IBM and Oracle. It is OK. But it needs to restructure the whole company to defend against Apple and Google. Please MSFT define your strategy and go after. Stay focused.

Anonymous said...

I have noticed that Microsoft Services is competing with Partners and CTECs. I think this was different in the past. As a partner, I did not enjoy this. Why does Microsoft Services take my partner and CTEC share.

Anonymous said...

MS is my first job and I have been PM here for last 6 years. I am planning to move back to India and open to opportunities in other companies too. Any idea on what job opportunities I can seek for?
Will other companies consider me for developer, lead positions? Being PM, I didn't have a lot of coding experience.

Anonymous said...

"SDET
Promoted to L61
Rank 3, hence raise was negligible"

Mini, are you going to start a thread for this year's numbers?

Anonymous said...

I've worked here for many years now and have always gotten the topmost rating every year. Even I would say that the review system is awful. Tack on the new processes in our division and the horrible leadership who would throw you under the bus in a second, I'm so fed up right now. I'm tired of putting in the long hours. I'm sick of being fake nice to people I don't even respect.

Screw the stock awards I have left. I'm dusting off the resume.

Anonymous said...

Overheard yesterday at a crowded msft kiosk in a san francisco mall: I am a proud owner of a surface, and am here to buy another one.

Anonymous said...

"As a new grad who just joined full time, reading some of the comments really scares me. I'm sure I have a lot to turn about corporate life, but reading comments above about leads who screw over their ICs and how some divisions and roles such as OSD PMs are looked down upon makes me worry."

Stay for a year and move out of Microsoft. It's simply not worth staying in such toxic environment. Sooner or later, you'll get screwed by your mediocre lead.

Anonymous said...

"I also love tearing other people's shit down. There's nothing like taking a dev's pride and joy, some piece of code he took days crafting, and after a few hours giving it back to him all bruised and bloody. "

Sadist ;)

And finally, once I had become a good enough SDET that I could actually consider becoming a dev, I realized the demand for people with my particular skillset was actually very high
I know you're not competent enough to seek a position of a dev outside of Microsoft. Once you get used to "testing and breaking" other's code, you're stuck in that mentality. Have you ever proposed what change needs to be done or what design changes need to be done in the dev's code ? If you are doing that..Congratulations you can now be sure you're good to be a dev.

Anonymous said...

I really wish more of these comments were actually intelligible. people what are you trying to say? full sentences and context are your friends.

Anonymous said...

Win8 usability disaster ...

http://www.useit.com/alertbox/windows-8.html

Anonymous said...

Sinofsky is looking more like a genius to distance himself from the disaster that is Windows 8. Metro (TM) didn't work for Windows Phone and it was stupid for JulieLar to bet the farm on that for Windows.

- http://www.zdnet.com/windows-8-modern-is-the-customer-right-7000007553/
- http://www.zdnet.com/what-not-to-buy-on-black-friday-windows-8-pcs-and-laptops-7000007557/
- http://www.channelnews.com.au/Software/Industry/T2K2N7C9
- http://www.businessinsider.com/windows-users-plan-to-switch-to-apple-2012-11

Anonymous said...

A Random update.
"
Been at MSFT as SDET for 7 years. Avg 70% score.
Now wanna move outside (to a smaller company), but no takers.
"Test" is a taboo.
".NET" is not a hot in startup requirements.

Working at MSFT as Test proved to be a bad career move."

Dude just get a book on python and read it and learn selenium you will be fine.

Anonymous said...

I am the SDET who posted at "Friday, November 16, 2012 6:37:00 PM"

Thanks to the poster at "Friday, November 16, 2012 9:53:00 PM"
I really appreciate your thoughts.

To the poster at "Friday, November 16, 2012 11:59:00 PM
I Left for a smaller company and almost doubled my salary. "
Congrats for the move.
Can you please provide some pointers and guidance on who you approached your job search, this would help other SDETs as well. Thanks in advance.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft needs one (just one) Technical Visionary and Leader. It really matter less (within reason) what that vision is, just that it is made to happen quickly and consistently. That person clearly is not Balmer - he is just a table thumping sales manager who now leaves sales to the abysmal KT.

It might have been SteveS but he's gone. Short of BillG coming back who else might fit the bill of technical genius and ruthless executer?

Anonymous said...

Mostly Microsoft employees act sneaky to get promotion internally, instead of facing reality and confrontation. Where are the Microsoft values? On the walls but not in the hearts.

Anonymous said...

Lot's of complaining, finger pointing and assumptions. Ever thought of taking personal responsibility and inspiring change around you - within your workgroup? If you're interested in effecting change, learn how to do it and do it. Or learn it by doing it.

Another comment - very little talk about the new stack? ranking at the top. Sinofsky got what seems like a 4/5. Next year incentives based upon company performance - FINALLY someone gets it. Can't wait to see if this culture is pushed down.

Anonymous said...

What are you talking about, I love my Surface RT. Paid for with my own money (not waiting for the gift), and it was worth it!

Anonymous said...

More plausible explanation is that he got screwed by the curve during the annual reviews. The latest SEC filing says he only got 60% of his bonus target...

Anonymous said...

Lots people at Microsoft are either working for paychecks or waiting for their green cards, very few care about the success of the company...

Anonymous said...

"allow me to take you to school"

+1,000. Good job and arguably best post on the thread :-)

Anonymous said...

I keep hearing how Microsoft is not an innovative culture. And yet there are other attributes that never surface on these posts. Simply stated, Microsoft is a fiercely unkind place to work. Most MSFT leadership (and perhaps Mini him/herself) will likely scoff at words like "kind, thoughtful, and nurturing" when describing its ideal culture. These very humane attributes are so far beyond their grasp that they are seen as laughable, or at the very least, irrelevant.

Let the sarcasm begin.

Anonymous said...

Every employee in Windows client division (Sinofsky's org) was given $8888 check for shipping Windows 8 (apart from the regular annual bonus). Even though other parts of Microsoft like Windows Server had great contributions overall, guys in Windows Server got $0. Tons of employees in Windows Sever got pissed off and their morale was impacted negatively. Eventually, random, discriminatory policies like this will come back to bite even the best of execs. Thats what happenned to Sinofsky.

Anonymous said...

As the Win8 story unfolds and the unfortunate but inevitable numbers start to leak.... its time for a classic Mini post. A prescription for positive change and a way out of this mess.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mini,

I have a question for you. Why not close the blog and take it down completely? You've fought a good fight, and you did get management to make some changes, but let's be honest: the blog is now irrelevant and your heart isn't in it.

There's not really any value in the comments either (back when this was a collaboration and people posted their review numbers etc, it was useful, but now it's a complaint fest that is just demoralizing).

I'd like to thank you for forcing management to think of employees as more than just fungible entities. Microsoft has changed, it's neither what Ballmer wants it to be nor what the employees remember it to be. All have some blame to carry.

To all the folks who are unhappy with the company or their org: find somewhere else that makes you happier. You'd be surprised at the variety of work settings and mentalities that can be found on campus. Explore, take hiring managers out for coffee, find your fit. If you can't, leave. If that's also not a possibility because of your visa situation, come to grips with what you want to be and be objective / methodical about how to get there as fast as possible. In other words, stop the self-serving, toxic apathy.

Some of us actually want things to get better.

Anonymous said...

Mundie is out, thank goodness. The SLT culling continues.

Anonymous said...

Mini we miss you. come publish more often.

Anonymous said...

This is completely unrelated but I don't know where else to ask this question.

Does anyone have an opinion on the likely consequences of asking for a demotion?

I've been at msft 5 years as a l64. I enjoy most of my job and think I'm good at it, but my reviews have been mid-to-poor. I think I'd enjoy my job much more if I were placed in a lower band where there was less stress. I'd rather take a pay cut than worry every day if I'm going to lose my job.

Thoughts?

Anonymous said...

You all need to consider that the Microsoft proposition is a better one than Apple specifically because it bridges the gap from the old computing paradigm to the new one. iDevices and Macs STILL cannot execute the value proposition that something like over 86% of all world wide computing needs that Windows PCs do.

Humans use computers at work far more than any other computer and the Microsoft Value proposition is to bridge that environment with the home, the living room, mobile, etc. Yes MS has been asleep at the wheel and missed the emergent media consumption mobile wave, and it has been a painful journey to get to off of XP and WindowsMobile, that is behind them now.

MS needs to quite chasing rabbits like Google and Apple and focus on delivering their products. And deliver them to the expectations of their customers. MS Money was better than quicken but was abandoned because the false assumption the web would offer it for free. It did not, still today I cannot use Mint.com for what MS Money could do.

The best selling franchise software in history MS Flight Simulation. Why dump a cash cow??? There was a large community that would have blindly always bought the new version no matter how trivial the advance.

MS home server is still needed even with the advent of the cloud. A home personal cloud would be preferred by MANY MANY to the "Big Brother" CIA snooping 'secure' unless 'they' don't like you CLOUD. Again you run away from a user community leaving them flat to chase the rabbits.

Finally Windows Phone and Windows 7 then again 8 are great PC and Mobile OS's but in the time you were asleep you chased away all the developers. That was the strength of MS from the beginning. Remember the ads with Charlie Chaplin and all that software. It is still true today.

For Christ sake, why cannot WP integrate seamlessly with the Exchange backend servers that so many companies are using such that they can finally ditch BB and give up the complicated GOOD iDevice integration. It should just securely integrate.

X-box is the best game console period. And don't get me started with Windows Media Center.

All of these items together are great ideas and just need to be executed properly.

STOP chasing rabbits and evolve all your product lines to finally meet their customers expectations and integrate together.

Add it all together and if MS would get them working together WHS, WP, Desktop, work and home, X-Box, tablet, Media Center (or whatever). Its all already there, just a couple patches or versions and all the little glitches and issues resolved and the MS value proposition is much much stronger that their competition.

I know that there is an ACTIVE community that will always try and take the leader down and MS has been proactively under attack by IT activists for the better part of a decade or two. However your loyal customer base expects you to hold your ground and make good products and not abandon sold products and sales to chase whatever someone else is making money at. Focus on your the integrated digital human experience and do it well. STAND your ground and execute well.

I am just a customer that has done amazing things with MS products for about 25 years now. BIG things like create brand new markets, build spacecraft that have amazed the world. Things like GPS satellites, etc. The applications I have used TODAY are still not available on Macs or iOS, Android, etc.

MS should be proud, but for heavens sake please stick with your products and quit re-inventing the wheel and just improve your amazingly potential-to-be-integrated product lines.

Anonymous said...

Mini, former softie (L64 Prod. Mgr. SQL Server, b18) ... please make a stub post called "Windows 8/RT Feedback" ... you don't need to write anything, just let people post comments. I'm very interested to read what will be posted. thanks.

Anonymous said...

You still there mini

Anonymous said...

L65 - Bucket 1, 3 years in a row, Hipo, fired last month. Go figure. Found better job ($, benefits, perspective) within 5 days. MSFT is dead.

Anonymous said...

So it looks like Sinofsky was fired, Windows 8 while pretty has benn panned by IDC so badly it's being accused of accelerating the demise of the PC. As a former employee and current shareholder these are some dark days man....

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the halls of Microsoft are still filled with the echoes of thunderous applause for Sinofsky's "triumph" with Windows 8...

For the record, most of the people I work with in other divisions thought it was a half-baked product from the start. We were curious about why none of you could see the writing on the wall.

Partners. Useless, the entire lot of you.

Anonymous said...

Having left Microsoft voluntarily about two years ago in pursuit of a team oriented, constructive environment and re-reading mini for the first time has given me some renewed perspective. That is that Microsoft is a hostile and abusive environment based on pitching employees against each other. I am rank 3! I am 70%! I am 20% what are you? Who the F cares damn good should be good enough! How does your team rank that is more important! When I look at the attacking of each other on this forum it really highlights what I experienced working there for over ten years. It’s too bad… I met a lot of really great people, but a lot of real a$$h0les too. Since I left, my career has accelerated significantly in roll and responsibility. To those who are looking to leave… GO!! The place is bad for your self-confidence and your technical growth. Experience something new and different. If the grass is not greener you can always go back! Sinofsky is gone now if they can only get rid of Ballmer and Brummel I would entertain Microsoft of a potential place to work!

Anonymous said...

Hey Mini, has MSFT identified you and fired you ?

Anonymous said...

Is the blog dead? Eight months without a post...

Anonymous said...

Is this Blog active anymore? Did Corp finally shut this PR/HR nightmare down? I hope not.

Anonymous said...

have you left Microsoft? There are no posts from you for the past 9 months.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you should make a going away post. It's been 8 months since the last update. Did you get discovered? Get fired? Get bored of the blog?

Guessing something happened since your tone changed between posts.

Anonymous said...

When is the mandatory blog post about the annual employee reviews coming?

Anonymous said...

Where are you? Hope all is well.

Anonymous said...

Mini, where are you? Did you retire? I miss you...

Anonymous said...

Come back mini. With reviews ramping up this is the perfect time for a new post.

Anonymous said...

Why has mini gone silent?

Anonymous said...

Are you serious? Seriously, are you Sinofsky, Mini MSFT? Because you are the only one who can honestly pay compliments to that nutjob. The amount of damage he caused to this organization will take years to repair. No, thanks.

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