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The Microsoft High-Profile Exodus Continues 331

snydeq writes "Bing principal Scott Prevost is the latest of several high-profile exits from Microsoft in the wake of Bob Muglia's departure, causing some to question the long-term outlook for Redmond, InfoWorld reports. While the departures have spanned the company's business divisions, the concern centers square on the Microsoft core: 'Microsoft's numbers are looking good in the short term, but the future of core products remains unclear, and so far, Redmond's cloud and mobile strategies don't seem to be paying off.'"
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The Microsoft High-Profile Exodus Continues

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  • by hduff ( 570443 ) <<hoytduff> <at> <>> on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @06:38PM (#35073794) Homepage Journal

    Given how Microsoft has faltered in the marketplace, has failed to innovate and continues to misunderstand its customers, perhaps the old guys need to go.

    • Yeah, either the younger Google execs are going to take over, or they're going to need to find some exec talent among the younger MS staff... BillG is just a figurehead spending his wealth rather than earning more. Looks like the end of an era.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        BillG? What does Gates have to do with this? Microsoft has been Ballmer's show for a while now.

      • Maybe it's time for big (err...meager) Bill to make a comeback. Let's face it, Ballmer isn't and never will be an innovator nor a visionary. He's like what would happen to Jobs if Jobs lost his ability to understand the simpleton market and create products that can only stand up to media attention and not nerd potential. You know, Jobs is a salesman. Ballmer however is good at churning profit from stuff that already exist, and might be the reason Microsoft is always playing catch up. What is the most innova

        • What is the most innovative product Microsoft has created since Gates left?

          Surely kinect has to fit in there somewhere.

          • by bussdriver ( 620565 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @11:12PM (#35076154)

            1) it was developed and researched outside microsoft - they bought the tech and payed to have it mass produced; the concepts involved are even older.

            2) The motion capture craze was created by Nintendo years ago and before that they attempted the idea with the failed power glove because the tech wasn't good enough back then to pull it off. (Although I saw a university VR lab put that glove to use as a 6degree motion controller)

            3) Kinect is not that innovative, its an improvement to an existing idea of Nintendo's. Arguably, its not even an improvement because for many Wii games you only need the acceleration motions to play just fine and after the 1st hours of swinging around like an idiot I discovered I could do just as well sitting down using much smaller motions. I'm not just talking about the simple applications where the motion is really simple. Its more flexible to different styles of input. The kinect is a literal minded approach to somebody who doesn't quite "get it" which is typical Microsoft thinking. Take the motion thing and throw money at it and buy everything that lets you technically do the thing as well or better at an initially HUGE expense. They miss the concept of your natural inclination to move the controller about while STILL holding a controller and go 150% for capturing my body's motion. Its great for dance and stuff but its targeting an even SMALLER niche than nintendo's technically limited approach. If Nintendo did kinect, it would be done better because they are the true creative thinkers.

    • by Required Snark ( 1702878 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @07:06PM (#35074112)
      is Balmer.
      • by davester666 ( 731373 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @07:21PM (#35074268) Journal

        > The person who needs to leave ...
        > is Balmer.

        Why? Does Microsoft bring some inherent value to the software development field?

        IMHO, they have done more to hamper the entire field than everybody else, primarily by using illegal methods to kill a number of really innovative operating systems back in the 80's and 90's.

        And they still try to freeze new markets by spreading FUD while copying existing products instead of actually making something new.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Microsoft brought computing to the masses. They had some shoddy products over the years, but they also had an equal number of great products. Overall, I like Microsoft. What ever "harm" they have supposedly done hasn't affected me or most people at all.
          • by Bert64 ( 520050 )

            The masses were already using computers, Commodore were big, as were Atari. They basically played a bait and switch with people who wanted the openness offered by the x86 clone market.

            • They basically played a bait and switch with people who wanted the openness offered by the x86 clone market.

              Bait and switch? how so?

          • Even if I accepted your premise that they "brought computing to the masses" (which needless to say I don't), they don't get to charge rent on it ad infinitum. They've been out-innovated, out-engineered, and just flat out-hustled by the competition for the last decade. They can ride the wave for a little while longer yet, but make no mistake, their fifteen minutes are up.

        • by $RANDOMLUSER ( 804576 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @07:53PM (#35074524)
          Everything old is new again. Some big companies get founded (or expanded way beyond their original size/scope) by famous entrepreneurs (Gates, the Watsons, Westinghouse, Ford(s), etc, etc.) and then are followed by nameless/faceless people who could never live up to the savvy or inspiration of the founders. Your post applies word-for-word to IBM in the late 70s; they'd lost all the big names and the big new innovations, the magic had just worn off, leaving only a whole lot of ugly underneath showing through. Microsoft will weather this. They'll go on to become just another large software company with uninspiring products, like any other - think Computer Associates. You don't criticize General Motors for not making Ferraris, why criticize Microsoft for not making OS X? Also, it's really kind of funny that Slashdot still uses the Bill Gates Borg icon for Microsoft, it hasn't been remotely true for years.

          Apple (almost) went through this (voluntarily) once already with John Scully, it's about to happen again when Steve Jobs dies "suddenly". I expect a lot of "Apple loses their mojo" stories following that.

          And before anyone says I'm some kind of Microsoft asrtoturfer, let me say that I'm a Gentoo-using Microsoft hater of long, long standing. I'm just saying that none of this should be surprising.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Yvanhoe ( 564877 )
          Microsoft has made software development loose something like 20 years of progress. Their main innovations are virus and anti-competitive strategies. Too much of the developers' brain power of these last years has been used to adapt software to new versions of bug-ridden software from Redmond. Maybe is it good that this madness comes to an end and that we can innovate a bit in software insteand of doing reverse-engineering of poorly documented technologies.
        • Balmer was BillG's right hand man, he is part of the old guard - except unlike BillG he has no vision whatsoever.

          By replacing the old guard, I suppose some of us hope we will get a "new" different MS - hopefully innovative and non-evil.

          MS has a tremdous amount of resources and probably some very smart people working for them, it would be nice to see them put it to good use.

          • by tedgyz ( 515156 ) *


            MS has a tremdous amount of resources and probably some very smart people working for them, it would be nice to see them put it to good use.

            Absolutely true. The question is, can they rise above the hoards of mediocre employees to make a difference? I watched DEC succumb to this fate, long before Compaq and HP ate them up.

      • ... Developers, developers, developers, developers.

    • by Dr. Spork ( 142693 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @07:23PM (#35074288)
      What's the most innovative product of 2010? The Kinect. It's not even a contest.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Kenshin ( 43036 )

        Kinect is the most innovative product?

        By Kinect, you mean the more advanced version of the EyeToy [], right?

        • by daemonc ( 145175 )

          No, I think the good Dr. is referring to a device which uses an infrared projector to cover the room in an array of invisible dots which are then picked up by an infrared camera to rapidly create a 3 dimensional map of objects in the space, not an over-priced webcam.

      • Riiiight, nothing new or interesting in the iPad. No innovation in the Chevy Volt or the Nissan Leaf either.

        I'll grant you, Microsoft can make and market a better toy. But they can't invent one. "Microsoft Innovation" is an oxymoron.

        If you recall, the Kinect was invented at Carnegie Mellon three years ago by a grad student who _later_ went to work at Microsoft: []

        Oops, Johnny Chung Lee left Microsoft already. He just went to Google:
        http://procrast []

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        and who is kinect developed by? oh thats right PrimeSense.

      • Not being a console gamer, I have actually heard of the kinect, and I guess it is pretty innovative. But, if you judge the number of sales, this [] tells you kinect is not a revolution: weekly sales of the Xbox 360 are still below the Wii and the DS3.

        On the software side, Kinect Adventures is selling quite well, but it's only slightly above Wii Sports which has been out for 218 weeks. Moreover, if you plot the total sales of Kinect Adventures [], you see that sales have collapsed. Part of this is due to the
      • by jon3k ( 691256 )
        iPad. Sorry. It will usher in an entire new era of computing. I don't like that it's an Apple device any more than anyone else, but it's opened the floodgates. In 10 years we'll look back on the Kinect as a really awesome toy and the iPad as the first true beginning of the mass adoption of a new form factor for computing. Now let's just hope Android can steal the lead with Honeycomb.
    • Given how Microsoft has faltered in the marketplace, has failed to innovate and continues to misunderstand its customers, perhaps the old guys need to go.

      Microsoft Reports Record $0.77 Earnings Per Share in Second Quarter []

      Among the factors driving Microsoft's record revenues and earnings per share was the 55% growth in revenue for the Entertainment & Devices Division, as the success of the Kinect sensor boosted sales of Xbox 360 consoles, Xbox Live subscriptions and Xbox games.
      Microsoft Business Division revenue grew 24% year-over-year. Office 2010 is the fastest-selling consumer version of Office in history, with license sales over 50% ahead of Office 2

      • URL Fix: Microsoft Reports Record $0.77 Earnings Per Share in Second Quarter []

        Here is another look at Microsoft's second quarter.

        Microsoft may be a big, sprawling company, but it's hardly acting like a deer in the headlights facing a speeding Steve Jobs at the wheel. Given the decades-old and often bitter rivalry between Apple and Microsoft, that narrative is tempting. But a deeper look into Microsoft's report reveals a company that's surprisingly nimble for its size.

        First of all, the idea that Microsoft can't create a phenomenon like the iPad anymore simply isn't true. The iPad sold 2 million units in its first 60 days. The Kinect sold four times as many, tapping mainstream interest much sooner.

        What's especially interesting is that the Kinect sold so well despite the lack of buzz in the tech media. Comparing Google search and news trends for the word "Kinect" with that of "iPad," and you'll find that the iPad attracted much more of the public conversation. And yet the Kinect's 8 million sales in November and December surpassed the 7.3 million iPads that Apple sold in the entire fourth quarter.

        Factoring out the effect of the Windows launch, Microsoft estimated growth around 3%, "in line with PC market growth." Again, 3% growth isn't terrific, but it's nowhere near as bad as the headline figure suggests.

        Even if Microsoft's Windows revenue does start to slide in coming years, the company can weather the blow. Sure, Windows revenue makes up a quarter of Microsoft's total sales. But its business-software division -- including Office, as well as SharePoint and Exchange -- contributes 30% of its revenue, and that division expanded its profit by 35% last quarter.

        Other divisions are seeing similarly strong profit growth. Microsoft's server and tools division, which makes up another 22% of revenue, saw its profit rise by 21%. And the entertainment group, which makes Xbox and Kinect and accounts for 19% of revenue, posted profit growth of a whopping 86%.

        The threat of tablets to Microsoft is real and shouldn't be trivialized. But neither should Microsoft's ability to keep sales and profits growing in other areas of its broad-based businesses.

        No, the iPad Is Not Killing Microsoft's Business []

    • Absolutely. GOOD RIDDANCE.

      They should fail. The market demands they fail. They've only survived as long as they have because of their artificial Windows monopoly on OSes and software.

      Why are they still trying with the Zune? I heard the latest model sold somewhere like 2,000 copies total. Wow. Meanwhile the ipod and iphone are EVERYWHERE. My grandma has one.

      Also, they keep pushing IE. And who the hell still uses IE? Its a complete joke. Free products (firefox, chrome, opera, etc. etc.) are far super
  • by HeraldMage ( 50053 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @06:40PM (#35073820) Homepage

    Actually, the future of Redmond is secure. They're strategically letting all these folks go, so that they can all go work for, and eventually destroy, Apple from the inside out. It's like the Cylon infiltration of the human race on Caprica in BSG...

    Or Google, or both.

  • Bing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tubal-Cain ( 1289912 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @06:41PM (#35073834) Journal

    Bing principal Scott Prevost...

    Considering Slashdot's other Bing story today, I can't say I'm sad to see him go.

  • by kenrblan ( 1388237 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @06:42PM (#35073852)
    This could be a simple case that the departing employees simply have no faith in the direction Ballmer is leading Microsoft. When the ship is headed toward an iceberg and the captain is being stubborn or unaware, the best course of action is often evacuation.
    • by Sponge Bath ( 413667 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @06:58PM (#35074044)
      Or it could be a case of the old guard being very wealthy and tired of the rat race. Past a certain point of wealth you should be concentrating on fulfilling some exotic desire and not being a product manager filling out paperwork.
      • by Dr. Spork ( 142693 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @07:25PM (#35074314)
        This is a good point. Also, it's possible that too-rich, too-old, undermotivated managers are at the heart of Microsoft's apparent stagnation. It won't hurt them to bring in some younger, hungrier talent.
        • by rsborg ( 111459 )

          Also, it's possible that too-rich, too-old, undermotivated managers are at the heart of Microsoft's apparent stagnation.

          This sounds very logical... it would be in-line with the corporate reasoning behind the "streamlining" of the amazing health benefits they used to have (well in addition to the fact that health insurance is outrageously expensive and getting more and more so).

    • by sunwukong ( 412560 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @07:46PM (#35074456)

      When the ship is headed toward an iceberg and the captain is being stubborn or unaware, the best course of action is often evacuation.

      Otherwise, it's just like throwing chairs on the Titanic?

      Sorry, couldn't resist.

    • Either that or one of them left for normal business reasons (somebody tried/succeeded in screwing him over) and the oerson working under him pulled a "if he is walking, so am I". It happens all the time in a business. It happens to M$ and everybody flips out.
  • Simple explanation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @06:45PM (#35073896)
    If you are fully vested in your lucrative stock options and the share price can't go anyplace but down in the future, you'd be crazy not to cash out.
    • Microsoft now gives RSUs since as you point out the stock gain is not great anymore. They made the change in 2003. RSUs are basically outright grants of stock that are available for you to sell after some vesting period.

  • Ex-Microsoftie (Score:5, Interesting)

    by halo_2_rocks ( 805685 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @06:48PM (#35073934)
    I worked for Bob for a few years and had alot of admiration for the guy. I left about 2 years ago during the mass layoff and it was the best career move I ever made. Microsoft has become (and was becoming when I left) a horrible place to work. Please, if you are considering a professional career in software development, DO NOT work there. Almost anywhere else is better. I currently work for a small software company as a CTO with about $100million in sales last year and the work environment difference is night and day. The reason Microsoft is faltering is because it has moved from a fun, innovative place to work to a serious personal and professional nightmare. You have to go through a political circus to justify you job there (your two reviews per year) where you have little input in the final determination about your job (the politics of Microsoft). I shudder to think about the years I wasted jumping through those hoops instead of working on product and helping customers. Again, avoid working at Microsoft at all costs.
    • by Amouth ( 879122 )

      a small software company as a CTO with about $100million in sales last year

      sorry but 100m a year isn't considered "a small ... company" by anyone. smaller than MS yes.. but not small.

      • I've worked in a large range of companies.

        I'd say anything under 100 people is "small", or small enough that you gain most of the same benefits in terms of increased responsibility and some lack of excessive management that you get from a "large" company.

        A company that size, could be doing 100m in sales (didn't say if that was gross or net after all).

        Even if it's mid-size though you can often be better off than with a truly large and ossified company. Certainly I think that would be true early on in your c

      • Re:Ex-Microsoftie (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Stregano ( 1285764 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @08:02PM (#35074620)
        I went from one of the biggest players in the telemarketting/call center field as a programmer (they easily had a few hundred programmers) to a company that has less than 10 employees total. You want to talk night and day, my friend. This tiny company is amazing to work at. I have only worked here for 6 months, but it is still hard to adjust. I am still paranoid of that "evil eye" looking over everything I do, but it is not there. We are free to code how we want as long as the end product is up to spec. It is a great place and gives me the ability to branch out and learn new things instead of being confined to specific standards that need to be done for the 100+ employees. I actually make my own personal standards now. I think they are pretty good (then again, I wrote them so programmer's ego means I always think they are good). My personal suggestion for anybody out there, if you are in it for money, stop the comp sci degree, get a business degree, and work in IT for a big company. If you truly love this type of work, the smaller the company is, the better (well, as long as they have a decent track record behind them, of course).
    • You know the economy is healing when conversations turn from "Grab any job available" to "Never work at THAT place".

    • Re:Ex-Microsoftie (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ArundelCastle ( 1581543 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @08:09PM (#35074666)

      Maybe I'm stuck in the 80s, but it seems like you just described IBM.
      Quick, what's the Microsoft Company Song?

    • Your experience echos every developer I know at Microsoft who isn't working on one of their dev products. People talk about EA burning out their game devs, but Microsoft seems to do the same thing.

      Lack of communication between and within teams despite an abundance of useless meetings, customer-focused red tape, developer infighting, and poor management all make progress slow to a halt.

    • by Yaa 101 ( 664725 )

      That is the trouble with most big companies, if you are into politics these places are a great way to spend your days, for all other people it's a nightmare.
      Most awful things are the hypocritical political correctness and the backstabbing that takes place by these so called political correct hypocrites.
      It's an environment where psychopaths thrive.

  • by hilldog ( 656513 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @06:54PM (#35073986)
    I still don't get why Microsoft feels they need to be a player in every category? Why Bling, smart phones, mp3 players, games, cloud computing, tablets and all the rest? Why not be a focused company with the leading office suite? Or an innovate O/S? Yeah yeah I know the investors must be kept at bay like howling wolves at the corporate door but how many missteps can a company make before they and we realize they are just followers and no longer leaders?
    • by dave562 ( 969951 )

      I agree completely. It seems like Microsoft has some sort of complex where they feel like they need to be involved in everything that has anything to do with personal computers or consumer electronics. It would be great to see them jettison all of the dead weight, clean up the company with some serious re-structuring, and then focus their enterprise on providing a solid OS and application stack to developers and businesses.

    • by oracleguy01 ( 1381327 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @07:08PM (#35074132)

      I think part of Microsoft's problem is that in the Office and OS markets in particular, their biggest competitor is themselves. They've made their products good enough where people don't bother upgrading when the new version comes out.

      They could intentionally break backwards compatibility with former products to try and get people to upgrade but that doesn't really work for them. Case and point: they ended up releasing the backwards compatibility add-on so Office 2003 could read and write the 2007/2010 file formats.

      I doubt they will really give up trying to break into new markets, they have their huge install base of core products to fall back on. It isn't like they are hurting for cash.

      • by elashish14 ( 1302231 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (4clacforp)> on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @09:05PM (#35075134)

        Of course they won't give up. You have to diversify as a business. Suppose cloud computing had an overnight revolution and all of a sudden you don't need a specific operating system anymore? Suppose Windows was found to be infringing on some stupid patent that all of a sudden would require massive code rewrite and/or licensing settlements? Suppose some other example that just made Windows and Office no longer relevant.

        You _have_ to diversify if you're a business. You never know when things will crash, or if some dark horse suddenly takes the scene by storm and makes you irrelevant. You can't just sit on your chips. You have to use them to make more. Otherwise, you run the risk of perishing. Fast.

    • by dakohli ( 1442929 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @07:22PM (#35074278)
      It's because if a Company isn't growing, then it's not healthy. (according to the big time stock analysts)

      The more fields your business dominates, the safer it is. So, something can't come along and kill your business completely. The only thing missing here seems to be a viable long term plan. MS does its best when it can leverage one product with another. Right now the jury is out on Windows Phone 7, however the desktop is safe, as well as Office, and while they seem to have missed the ball on slate type computers, they seem to have solidified their hold on laptops and netbooks.

      Their fear might be, if they were to focus on one thing (desktop) then something innovative could come along and wipe them out quickly. Now, they are spread out among several markets and one innovation cannot come along and give them serious trouble.

      My two cents: It will happen eventually, but they are delaying it magnificently.

    • It's largely due to their model I'd say. Their core business is Desktop/ Server OS and Office. Their strategy is to keep you locked into their core products rather than make you want to stay with their core products. It seems their approach to this is to try and make sure everything else you do leads back to a logical decision to do it on Windows.

      ie. If you use IE as your browser you are essentially locked into Windows. If you use WinMo 7 on your phone then it is easier to manage on Windows. If you ha

    • by Bert64 ( 520050 )

      Because they have to diversify, sooner or later the OS and office suite markets will become commoditised.

      They are trying to enter new markets now while they have a significant source of income and can afford to take serious losses for a few years before they establish themselves (see xbox). If they have no replacement revenue stream when their core ones dry up, they would be pretty screwed.

    • by ejtttje ( 673126 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @07:56PM (#35074556) Homepage
      It's an outgrowth of their core strategy of embrace, extend, extinguish. If there is a category using non-Microsoft products, it is a potential breeding ground for competitive technologies to take hold and spread into other markets where it could displace Microsoft. I interpret their faltering steps whenever they try to do something new as a result of being focused on simply blocking competitors as opposed to actually having any innovative insights of their own. (i.e. they decide to move into a market based on strategic value, not because they have any idea what they're going to contribute to that market.)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @06:57PM (#35074026)

    Other than maybe Xbox which isn't a major cash cow when have they released a hit product? The vast majority of their revenues still come from Office and Windows and related products. Take away those core products and there's virtually no company. It's not just innovation they seem to have trouble coming up with new products that a majority of people like. If they did have to start from scratch even with all their cash reserves they'd end up a minor player.

  • Sorry, never heard of him. Can someone name 10 'high profile' Googlers, Facebookers, Tweeters (maybe not that one), IBMers, Applers? Maybe five... two?

    No, because maybe it doesn't matter. Was he some epic tech innovator, or just a business management type dude? My money's on the latter, and that means nowt.
    • Product Manager, i.e. herder of developers. Came from Powerset, who Microsoft bought to pump up MSN Search into BinG!!

  • The mobile strategy is pretty lame, after all - setting themselves up as a low-rent copy of Apple.

    Combine this with no tablet presence at all, and you have MSFT positioning itself as trying to hold onto the shrinking desktop market.
  • WinMo 7 has been out for 3 months. In that time it has not gained complete dominance (or close) of the mobile market. Paint me surprised?

    How long was it until Android started gaining any real traction? A lot lot longer if I remember correctly.

    Et fin.

    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

      Hell it has not sold many phones at all. WInMo 7 is stillborn. They will lose money on this and keep it up until WinMo9 when they finally manage to force a product onto the market.

  • by deadline ( 14171 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @07:15PM (#35074202) Homepage

    Many people first used Windows not by choice, but by mandate -- there was no other option and the Microsoft monopoly made sure it stayed that way. (unless you bought a Mac) My guess is many people have found the MS experience frustrating and a general PITA, but there was never any other choice. They had to live with the shoddy time wasting experience Microsoft called computing.

    Now given the option of having their "desktop experience" on their "phone" or "pad" I am sure many people are interested in real alternatives. My prediction is no matter how hard Microsoft tries to play the "we are the future of computing because we invented everything" song and dance, most users will chose iOS and Android for exactly that reason. Hi-tech karma at its best.

    • by rsborg ( 111459 )

      If Microsoft doesn't cannibalize windows, someone else (probably Google) will do it for them... Apple is already taking a large chunk of the high end.

  • ... be sure to power down the NT box running hotmail.

  • by Foredecker ( 161844 ) * on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @07:46PM (#35074460) Homepage Journal

    I have no idea why this made the news. The artcile says he is "a" principle development manger, not "the" principle development manger.

    "Principle" is a job title:

    • Software Devleopers (lowest rank)
    • Software Devloper -II
    • Senior Software Developers
    • Principle Software Developers
    • Partner Software Developers
    • Distinguished Engineer
    • Fellow

    Mangers go like this

    • "Lead" - manger of individual contributes
    • "Manger" manger of mangers
    • "Director" manger of manager of managers
    • VP

    For several years, I was "a" princpiple development manger in Windows. Im now a principle lead becuase there was a specific team I wanted to be a part of. If I leaft, it would be news.


    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Good lord, it's "principal"!

  • Steve Ballmer should have been fired immediately after his infamous DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS monkey dance. Seriously. This is the guy you want running the biggest software company in the world? However, all the articles I've read always say two disturbing things:

    (1) Microsoft's Board of Directors thinks Steve Balmer is just wonderful because during the 10 years he has been CEO Microsoft's revenue has tripled and profits have doubled.

    (B) Even if they wanted to get rid of Balmer, there's nobody who can repl

  • I would say these changes are healthy for Microsoft. Come to think about it, if someone really believes M$ is in a bad position then it's time the "culprits" got going. Or maybe the Redmond folks are just looking foward to replenishing their higher ranks with younger people who don't carry the scars of the times past. Either way, predicting the demise of Microsoft (again!) has really become boring. Trial and error is the name of the game and they can afford it.
  • by Dcnjoe60 ( 682885 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @08:23PM (#35074812)

    Back when "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM", they had an exodus of top talent, too -- just before things went south for the company. Luckily, they were in the process of repositioning them self as a service company instead of a hardware company.

    Both companies followed the same "fat-cat" syndrome. Small lean company innovates and captures a large part of the market. As company grows, focus shifts to maintaining status quo. Company becomes too large and lazy (fat cat) to respond quickly to changing environment. Somebody else becomes the new lean tiger. Pattern repeats for new comer. Fat cat isn't just for technology companies. It happens in all industries. It's just that change occurs so quickly in technology companies that instead of taking decades to be toppled, it happens in years. Both IBM and Microsoft lasted longer at the top of their game than most technology companies, but the same forces are still at work.

    Back when they were trying to bust up Microsoft for being a monopoly (again, same thing happened to IBM), was when they needed to change. Microsoft had the opportunity to get rid of all competition with Office by improving the product. Instead, they chose to change file formats to try and make the competitors incompatible. That is a very short sighted solution, as it also makes your own installed product base incompatible. Next, they re-did the interface, but still didn't really improve upon the functionality. Next they played around with pricing structures and actually started to remove features, accept for the top end product. Again, not a long term growth strategy. A similar scenario played out with the browser and the OS itself.

    Meanwhile, others in the tech industry have been chipping away at Microsoft. Nobody is saying that OpenOffice/LibreOffice will topple Microsoft Office. It doesn't have to. Just like Mozilla, Safari and now Chrome, it only has to take a percentage of small percentage of market share to make a big impact on Microsoft's bottom line.

    It's like the prevent defense in football (American Football, that is). It may keep the opposing team from making the big play, but gives up a tremendous amount of yardage in the process. Then, one small mistake and the opposing team scores.

    Microsoft, like many before it, has become too large and inflexible to adjust to quick change in the modern market and relies on protecting itself with a prevent defense. The problem with that is that in football, you only need to keep the other team from scoring until the clock runs out. In business, there is no clock to signal the end of the game.

  • It's like rats deserting a sinking pirate ship.
  • Finally.
  • As in they could coast for years without bringing in a dime?

    I wouldn't count them out any time soon.

Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them. -- Bill Vaughn