Thursday, October 20, 2011

Microsoft FY12Q1 Results

Here it is, FY12Q1 already: Microsoft Reports Record First-Quarter Results $17.37 billion of revenue driven by solid business and consumer demand.. Wow, is that the longest, braggy release title we've ever had? Read it and you'll also discover that Bing has an organic line. In the Q&A session, Microsoft Management Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript - Seeking Alpha, there was a lot of Qs about Skype and - news to me - we discover that $51 billion of our cash assets are kept offshore, to avoid taxes. Viva la 1%! (I kid).

(I'm out on the road so this will be short.)

My usual suspects:

And a bonus view of OSD:

-- Comments

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Friday! Friday! Friday! Microsoft Company Meeting 2011!

(Note: updated below with follow-up comments.)

It's my most favorite time of the year: Friday the 23rd is the annual Microsoft Company Meeting!

That's right: I pull up my sleeves and thrust out my arms out wide and say, "Shove in the Kool-Aid IVs to the left and to the right and keep it flowing!" Man I love it. It is one of my favorite holidays of the year.

Reminder: when it comes to comments, share your internal-only content enthusiasm over on OfficeTalk (especially via the otalk WP7 app) vs. trying to put it here.

A Story of Steve, Steve, and Steven

This year is one of those inflection points: Apple has been soaring with its excellent device results, blowing Microsoft away and cannibalizing our Windows powered device market. The Microsoft stock is horribly flat and there are calls all-around for Ballmer to be replaced. Now, several things are in play: Mr. Jobs has stepped down due to his health reasons, WP Mango is reaching release with Nokia devices to begin their flow, and Windows 8 has demonstrated a reboot to the Windows experience and development platform. With Windows 8, Microsoft has emerged with the talking points that the company is being re-imagined.

All I can say is that SteveB should give SteveSi the CEO Bacon Achievement award: exceptional results that saved the CEO's bacon. Oh, SteveB had to be so happy to have Windows 8 revealed at BUILD right before the Financial Analysts Meeting. "How ya like me n-O-w?!?!" Actually, big chops to SteveSi who not only has done the impossible organizational wrangling between Win7 and Win8 (and wherever it is leading with Win8+) but also did such a smooth job with BUILD that some bloggers dared to pass the Steve Jobs torch to SteveSi. Wow. Didn't see that coming.

(psst. Board. CEO ma-ter-ial. Uh-huh. There you go. Not that I'd probably work in a SteveSi CEO Microsoft, but ya could do a lot worse!)

One thing I'd love to see SteveSi do: give the same level of support to writing Windows8 apps as Microsoft afforded its employees for Windows Phone. I'm not expecting him to, but if he did, I'd relish having my Spock-meets-Spartan view of him rebooted.

The Big Check-in - How Are Things Going

I expect that Mr. Turner will do the big picture for us. I like this comment regarding one point of view of how things are going for Microsoft:

There are certainly some issues at MSFT but some of the people that post in this blog are just over the top in their pessimism and whining. As I see it right now, the good, bad, and ugly of MSFT are: The good:

  • XBOX Kinect blew it away this past Holiday, over 35M customers now pay for the priviledge of XBox Live
  • The enterprise business is strong, committed revenue is higher than it's ever been (MSFT has a global enterprise business that is really unmatched by anyone
  • Office365 and Dynamics both are rapidly growing businesses with a ton of upside
  • MSFT now has 11 distinct businesses that do over $1B in revenue - I can think of maybe one or two other businesses on the planet (GE, etc) that can say the same
  • Largely because of this diverse portfolio of businesses, MSFT was able to grow revenue, operating income, and net income in spite of *declining* PC sales (MSFT is not a one-trick pony any longer, if it ever was)
  • Even with weakness in the PC market the past couple of quarters, it's hard to argue with the success of Windows 7 with over 400M licenses sold
  • MSFT's Cloud offerings collectively are second to none
  • Bing has a long ways to go but has actually made some progress in the US search market against Google, which was once thought impossible
  • As an employee, unless you are a bottom 20% performer, the new comp plan is a win. If you don't think so, then you don't really understand the change
  • Say what you will about Ballmer, there are some senior execs at MSFT that are truly outstanding. Mattrick, Satya, KT, Qi Lu, PK, Lisa B - you won't find anyone better than these folks anywhere
  • The Nokia partnership will be instrumental in getting a WP7 device in a lot of people's hands

The bad:

  • As mentioned, PC sales actually declined in Q4
  • MSFT still hasn't figured out a way to win in India or China and doesn't seem to have a cohesive strategy for emerging markets
  • WP7 is a good product but as others have alluded to, MSFT is way late to the party in terms of highly functional / attractive UI / rich app eco-system smartphones. The Nokia deal only allows MSFT some hope at playing catch-up at this point
  • Employees will soon have to pay a contribution (and deductibles) for health care (thank you very much ObamaCare and the Cadillac Tax for bringing that to us)
  • Although there are talented people still there, a lot of talented folks have left MSFT senior leadership in the past 18 months or so - Liddell, Elop, Muglia, Bach, etc, etc. Although Elop was instrumental in getting the Nokia deal up and going

The ugly:

  • AAPL sold 20M iPhones and over 9M iPads in a quarter. In. A. Quarter. Let that sink in a moment
  • While MSFT has plenty of other viable businesses, none is as profitable nor as core strategically as Windows. Windows was once an impenetrable fortress, but in the past year, AAPL has penetrated it with a single product launch. MSFT is destined to play catch-up in slates, and it sounds like nothing serious is coming out until Windows 8 in another 12 to 15 months (maybe)
  • MSFT is still very strong in the enterprise but to the consumer, MSFT seems completely dead. MSFT has no consumer mindshare any longer
  • Yes, there are some interesting possibilities with Skype and Lync and XBox (etc), but it is still not at all clear that shareholders will reap anything close to $8.5B of value
  • GOOG still dominates search in the US and will for the foreseeable future. And their dominance is even greater internationally
  • OSD as an org continues to bleed money and will continue to do so for at least another couple of years

There it is, from a high-performing L63 employee in a broad-based business role, trying to lay things out in a truly fair and balanced manner. Take it or leave it.

I'm glad to see The Cloud in the somebody's Win column. When it comes to the Company Meeting, I personally am dreading anything that can be in the least bit tangled up with... sigh... THE CLOUD. Two things lost my respect to this force-fed-bubble-gum-on-my-shoe initiative: first, that using our cloud services is Alpha-Geek hostile: sorry, but there should have been upfront a free tinkering environment to go and write a whole bunch of real fun, heavy computational code. Second, that we started to slap THE CLOUD on crazy crap like home PC image editing.


So, I don't know, smuggle in a bunch of tequila and limes and whenever THE CLOUD comes up take another hit. That will at least make it palatable... in a numb, doesn't-seem-to-hurt-quite-like-it-did sort of way.

The New Review System and Hiring

Yeah, I think there's zero chance the Senior Leadership Team will go into much depth here. "Cheer if you like the new review system! ... Okay, there's 40% of you. How about the rest? Give me a 'Whoo?'" Want to wade in it? Pour yourself a three fingers of bourbon (and keep the bottle handy) and go through all the comments in the Mini-Microsoft Microsoft Annual Review 2011 post. 1,200 comments at this point. Whew.

Strict stack ranking on a fixed curve is a tool brought in for a purpose that didn't exist in the previous review system. Having LisaB take a break from her sabbatical (and, btw, what happens to most people after their sabbatical?) to tell us it's being done because employees felt that the old review system was too complex is a load of greasy smoke up the keister.

I look at this system and, stepping back, it makes sense if you're preparing to do some major organizational slimming over, say, a three year period. For instance, if SteveB where going to leave, I imagine before he goes he would cut back huge parts of Microsoft versus leaving that task to the new CEO, who might make radically bad cut-back decisions (from the former CEO's point of view). Better to give over to the new leader a starving company ready to grow versus a fat pig you've got to go all Neutron-Jack on. Three more years. Three more years to drive down until today's lower 3s are FY2014's 5s.

Depending on who is being forced out or leaving, too, the new system might help with the Young up Microsoft initiative I hear whispers of.


Didn't like your review? Ah, come on. You know when Ballmer runs around the field you're going to scream and shout (though, given the last Ballmer memo's authorship, maybe we'll see Frank Shaw run around first to warm things up). You're going to stand up. You're going to put aside all the depressing thoughts of those golden handcuffs never unfolding into a sparkling world of wonderment and retirement. You've got a job, a colorful CEO, perhaps a nice raise, and a company holiday to find out what's going on and to have some free grub with your work buds. Compared to 99% of the rest of the world right now, it's worth swigging the Kool-Aid for at least one day and cheering.

There's always the rest of the year for everything else.

Updated: impressions and follow-up

Overall: a very competent Microsoft Company Meeting. Polite applause. "Pip pip."

Other than the occasional video (heh heh, Inception) and the first one or two Train Dances, it was a low-on-humor meeting, for me. Everyone wondered if we were having a host this year. Hey, it was LisaB. Competent (and probably didn't piss people off like last year).

This year was demo-rama. I think the demos were good, it's just I had seen so much of everything being presented that there weren't too many surprises for me. I loved the fact that SteveSi ran one of his demos and then pointed out that everything he had just done was on an ARM slate. I regret how much money we're pouring into OSD (who pointed out that they are quite frugal - uh-huh) but I agree with a lot of what they are doing: they are not trying to out-Google-Google. They're Bing'ing Google upside the head. Go, Cosmos, go!

As for Mr. Ballmer: it was a surprise that he didn't come running and screaming out but rather had a surrogate fly around like a chimp on crack dusted with meth. Mr. Ballmer seemed more subdued this year. Love for Ballmer? People still stood up and cheered and clapped for him. Now then: someone please tell him, regarding his analogy of himself and Elop and Windows Phone sticking together, how Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid ended. Yeah, they were together alright, but the result was a little bit different than jumping off a cliff into a river.

As for people leaving (as some of the tech bloggers have picked up): yeah, people were streaming out. In small numbers. No where near as bad as BillG's last company meeting where Ballmer started screaming at people to sit down. And, well, yes, I was one of those folks who wandered to the upper portion of the seats while Mr. Ballmer passed on his coachie wisdom from Friday Night Lights (BTW, I prefer coach John Wooden). I suppose if Microsoft had been serving beer and snacks after the meeting I would have managed to stay in my seat.

So for me: technically well executed. Pip pip. I feel good about what Microsoft has wrought and how many of the things we're doing are exactly the kind of big, cross-group bets folks used to complain how we never do. The Imagine Cup winners were great to see. Pip pip. As for the meeting... I'd like a little culture, too. Maybe less inspirational videos. And more crazy. Not burping game crazy or Craig Mundie dazed-crazy, but show we have some pizzazz... with less explosive volume. And I'm fine with a box lunch if it means I don't have to stand in an infernal line to get a luke-warm burger melded to its bun.

-- Comments

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Microsoft Annual Review 2011

It has become a tradition for folks to share their review numbers to help get a sense of what's happening and how your numbers stack up. This year we have a new challenge of working through an entirely new review system and (for engineering) a pay-raise for the levels most at risk of departing for greener pastures. I know folks on the edge of leaving who have been willing to hang on to see what happens.

What's a good format? How about something like the following, obfuscated as you wish:

  • L# (promo'd?)
  • Bucket (1+, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
  • Merit % (/Promo %) / Engineering?
  • Bonus $K
  • Stock $K
  • Optional comments about Division / Group, discipline, impression of review

If you like the review system, I'd really like to understand why (something better than, "whee, I got a 1+," please) and I'd encourage commenters to not slam the positive perspectives. I'm not too pleased with the new system at all because I feel very good engineers in my org are getting lower results because of a very strict curve. I'm probably breaking the rules in that if an excellent person got a 3 I'm having my folks be truthful in writing review feedback that, yes, they did an excellent job, just when it comes to the 3 realize that more people did even more excellent work and what it is they need to do to step it up (or, you know, start connecting recruiters with all of those competing 1s and 2s). Same thing for 4s who are doing a good job and not really having any performance problem. HR would prefer me to write the text of the review according to the verbiage of the ranking system, but screw that. I did that years ago when people got a trended 3.0 and I'm still scrubbing those dark spots of demoralizing compliance off my soul.

How do you feel, whether you're a manager writing reviews this year and comparing results to last year, or an IC trying to make sense of your compensation and recognition?

-- Comments

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Microsoft FY11Q4 Results

(ring-ring, Mini, ring-ring)

How is this quarter shaping up? First of all, let's review some competitors:

  • IBM: Bang! Third base!
  • Google: Boom! Out of the park, home-run!
  • Apple: Ka-Blam! Out of the city. Game over!

We've already been given a small preview thanks to the Partner conference: good Windows 7 numbers and Windows Phone, as loved as it might be (especially compared to Android) just ain't selling much. And no one is holding out any hopes that current customers will see their Mango update until New Years.

The iPad continues to suck in consumer love and money... money that we'd prefer they send our way but there's nothing comparable for them to buy. Windows 8 ARM tablets? Sometime next year, but what we showed at All Things D is our take of squeezing an elephant into a VW bug. Here's some deep respect and chops to the folks doing all this work, but it's a subtraction game followed by many frustrating conversations about why it's okay not to have certain obvious things work... obviously. And I have to say it's fascinating watching Sinofsky wrangle the Windows organization in this long game of reshaping itself and the consequences it has for the rest of the company.

My one analyst question for today: when the hell is Bing going to stop losing money?!? It appears that the internal hiring spree has finally cooled down so that's good - the piling of warm bodies has stopped (well, only to be replaced by throwing warm bodies on The Cloud because, ah-huck, we're all in). Seriously though, now's the time to start shaking the Bing tree and let the goodness of the search eco-system keep on going and shed the remaining busy work. Come on, if Xbox did it, so can you!

Calibration cacophony: I owe a post about our new review system but I'm not going to put money down about when that's going to happen. In the meantime, I'd love to sit down with each and everyone of you that supposedly told LisaB that the previous review system, with its Exceeded and Achieved and its 20% this and 70% that, was just too durn hard to comprehend. Let's chat. This discuss (*whack* against the side of your head) your results for this year. I'd like to discuss (*whack*) what a peer relative result within a strict percentage based system means. As part of this discussion (*whack* *whack* *whack*) you'll learn that your results are less that what you're used to and the message and your rewards are strictly viewed through your percentile bucket, no matter if you're at the top of your bucket or the bottom. I do seem to have some feedback from your peers to discuss (*whack*) although the majority of it seems to spring from a glowingly content-free "I'll rub your back if you'll rub mine" point of view.

Be careful what you ask for, because the person listening might turn it into one big step backwards. Oh, and for some of you, here's a salary bump.

-- Comments

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Skype? Steve Ballmer Discovers a Way to Obliterate Eight and a Half Billion Microsoft Shareholder Dollars!

That's $8,500,000,000USD for the Skype brand.

Microsoft to Acquire Skype Combined companies will benefit consumers, businesses and increase market opportunity.

Also, because, you know, the aQuantive acquisition didn't destroy enough shareholder money.

We're bringing Skype to the Windows Phone. Just like how it's on the iPhone and Android and appears it will continue to be.

Okay, so we're bringing Skype to the Xbox. Because, you know, we don't already have video chat on the Xbox. Oh, wait... crap. Why do we need this? Other than the brand and the user base, and that's not worth 8.5 billion dollars.

Some early stories:

What I'd like to hear is each Microsoft board member share their reasoning why this is an excellent idea and worth 8.5 billion dollars. And I'd keep a really, really close eye on their nose.


-- Comments

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Microsoft FY11Q3 Results

What's on your mind as the Microsoft FY11Q3 results get released? Some things I'm thinking of:

Win7 Business being eaten alive by iPads? Oh, those hungry hungry cannibals eating away the post-PCs for your PC dependent iPad slates. Probably no good news in the Win7 OS business could please people seeing Apple having to buy everyone working at Apple pants with ten pockets so that they can continue stuffing money into them.

Office 14 / SharePoint: continued strength? Leveled? Dip?

Kinect: what are the post-holiday sells like?

Xbox Live security: not that we want to be cocky, but if Xbox Live was broken into like Sony's Playstation Network Microsoft would have a big-black eye. Probably two. How confident is Microsoft in the network's security?

WP7 numbers: how has the trend been in activated phones? How is the Nokia deal shaping up? How will Microsoft not be the weepy little toy of the phone carriers crying over a release chart when the Mango update goes out?

Share price: talk about one dead share. It's a dead fish. That a bunch of hippy dock-workers played hacky-sack with and left to rot out in the sun. So dead that we're shifting budgets around to not award stock but give out crisp, sweet-smelling Benjamins instead to the employees we value most. Microsoft millionaire days? A long, long distant memory. I think of that book Microsoft In The Mirror where a number of interviewees were reluctant to share with outside folks that they work at Microsoft because folks would light up, assuming they were rich beyond words. Today's response? "You work at Microsoft? Well bless your heart."

Keeping employees: seems as though we'll need to justify the extra bucks and effort the company is putting into spreading cash to the section of employees most likely to be recruited (aka poached) or give up on Microsoft. I'm sure that the investors could care less about our performance review system, but it's sad we stuck with a 20th-centry industrial review system for a 21st century Gen.Next workforce. Like many opportunities: buh-lown.

The two pressure points I certainly continue to feel:

WP7: the NoDo update was just a Class-A Cluster-Fuck. And I don't use language like that very often. And the fact that the pre-update bricked phones was inexcusable. The WinMo team has to realize that everything they have to do must be perfect and ahead of schedule (wrt running in customer's hands). Any sort of focus other than that is a recipe for disaster. Mr. Ballmer is a fan of Coach John Wooden. WWJWD? Pound excellence into the team such that releasing an update was the easiest thing they had to do. If you're the kind of person looking for a challenge to fix Microsoft and prop-up its future, look for opportunities to join that team. Less Pink, more you.

iPad: it's pretty. It's slick. It comes from a company where design is realized. It doesn't do as much as a PC, but it does enough. And by now everyone has been able to put together the pieces (e.g., Windows 8 demonstrated running on ARM) to figure out when Microsoft might release something that has similar form factor. But will it have the elegance and cohesiveness of the iPad 2, let alone the iPad 3? Will it be too late?

Should Microsoft release an iPad competitor, it will be THE defining moment for Microsoft's future: back in the game or game over.

-- Comments

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Microsoft's New Review and Compensation System - Now With More Cash!

"I am not a number, I am a free man!"

Well, at least we don't have a Six to give out.

Goodbye E/A/U + 20/70/10[I/II] and hello 1 to 5.

Kim, we just don't have a Limited to give to you anymore.

So we have a new review model. And a rework of our compensation. With cash, cash, cash. Forget that Microsoft stock because it's dead in the water and today's Microsoft employee is all about the paycheck. And if you actually work on creating products at Microsoft, you're getting an extra R&D bump.

And with the new 1 to 5 review score we have a new curve, too. 20% of you get a 1 (whoo-hoo!), 20% of you get a 2, 40% of you get a 3, 13% get a 4, and 7% get a 5. And probably fired.

Your review score is now a composite of: your results (where results, not effort, matters), what you did to get your results, and what your proven capability is. With an ideal that teamwork and feedback is now part of the review system, though it's not clear if feedback is mandatory via peer based reviews.

It's too bad that the internal InsideMS blog has been eradicated and wiped out of existence. It could have lived on a little bit longer so that the review system could be discussed there.

So what are your reactions?

Is the InfoPath-based review form dead? Please? Can we go back to a simple little Word form out of respect to our new simplified review score?

The next thing I think of, as a manager, is how is calibration now run. We used to do two stack ranks for the two review scores. Now we either do one or we do three (results, what was done for the results, and proven capability). Three seems crazy.

Next is whether this will indeed help retain employees. We've been losing a lot of good people and the Puget Sound area is ramping up in hiring. Google has always been draining people away. Facebook is now grabbing some great developers and Amazon is hiring like crazy.

So now you have some mystery amount of cash in your future to look forward to. And a simpler review score. But is that what you really want? Is that what you told LisaB during her Listening Tour? Given that Microsoft stock is in the toilet, does the future influx of cash coming in September make you feel better about working at Microsoft and will this make up for having reduced benefits (e.g., a new medical plan with more of that new cash out of your pocket)?

Will you be honestly told during the whole year how well you're doing so that you have frank feedback that helps you be fulfilled with your job? A problem with Stack Ranking is that leadership (once burnt by the review model) holds back praise due to the peer relative Stack Rank pushing a person down and then creating a "surprise" gap between the past praise feedback given and the review result earned. That's not fixed.

Anyway: let's celebrate saying goodbye to the 10% / Limited rating. Since the 10%-ers were not actually fired you ended up keeping people on staff who were designated as now plateaued and limited in there career at Microsoft. They had reached the end of of the ladder. These now demoralized individuals with no hope for future rewards or promotions should have at least been given a Peter Principle plaque or something.

Old school: with respect to the new Scarlet A, I assume that a 4 is the old 3.0 and that a 5 is a 2.5 and that having either a 4 or a 5 now limits other group's interest in your career, which kind of means that we've gone from making 10% of the employees unattractive to making 20% of the employees unattractive. We'll see if that's the case as this plays out of over time.

So, chair-rearranging or just what you were looking for?

-- Comments

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Microsoft FY11Q2 Results

A quick check from the last Quarterly Results leading up to today's Microsoft Quarterly Results:

  • What's great: Kinect. We sold millions of Kinects and it's full of cool! And we have a 93% customer satisfaction rate with Windows Phone 7. Looking around, I think that's also assuming that 93% of Windows Phone 7 handsets sold are the Samsung Focus.
  • What's good: our reputation is working through the bothersome-hated-defeated-spurned-ignored-renewed-respected cycle compared to Google.
  • What's okay: Windows Phone 7: we sold some to non-employees and two-million licenses are in the channel. I have no idea what that means with-respect-to actually sold hardware. But it's no KIN, so... success! Yeah.
  • What's really, really bad: the iPad is gnawing away our laptop market. And a new version is coming out soon.

Hungry Hungry Cannibals: reading Ms. Friar's last beat-the-hell out of Microsoft Goldman-Sachs report just about made me permanently hungry for human flesh given the repeated fixation on cannibalization. I swear, I'd look up from my print-out occasionally and longingly eye my more fit co-workers.

It's the iPad baby, and - booga booga - it's going to destroy Microsoft. Well, at least destroy Windows.

First all: sure, Microsoft leadership deserves all the head-bashing it gets for both mobile and small form-factor markets. We had the jump on these markets with inelegant, uninspired devices that never had a chance of taking off with consumers and no one was bold enough to reboot the product line without successful leadership from Apple showing us the way.

Next: our iPad-compete strategy is unspoken. For good reason. Just about any application developer at Microsoft can tell you that it's a secret wrapped in red. Most Microsoft-observers have put the pieces together and figured out our strategy could be and realize who could be on point to deliver something exceptionally cool to compete with Apple. This will certainly could be our bet-the-company chance to validate the tortoise-vs-the-hare fable.

How have our past tortoises fared? I can think of three recent late to market responses: Zune HD (iPod - remember those?), Kinect (Wii), and Windows Phone 7 (iPhone / Android). All great devices. In order for our possible iPad compete story to be a success, it has to pull a Kinect and be beyond the competition vs. a me-too or, well, me-kinda-sorta.

CEO Changes: Mr. Ballmer's respect meter in the ephemeral tech-business... news (?) world is still low. Kinect has helped, but questions linger regarding what he's doing with his leadership team given Muglia's upcoming departure. I had always remarked to folks that Bob's a survivor. His time just finally ran out. It will be intriguing to see what leadership steps in or up and what happens to Bob's current team. And who might be next. Bets? Unless HR is about to unleash something huge that's been in the making my first bet is on LisaB. Also, Craig, I'd love to know what successes you've brought to the company as of late.

In the midst of Google and Apple going through leadership changes, you've got to ask: who is on the bench to replace Mr. Ballmer? What is the Board's plan? I have to reject Ms. Foley's point of view that there is no-one that can replace Ballmer. That's a too big to fail leadership jail sentence. Perhaps the decision is that his departure immediately results in a broken up Microsoft and the presidents he is putting in place now would be quite capable of running those sister corporations. Given the convergence and consolidation that is happening internally on a number of fronts for future development, such sister corporations would be much more dependent on each other, so it's not as whacky - or dog-eat-dog cannibalistic - as it might have seemed in the past. Given that the consent decree is considered over, Microsoft self-breaking itself up will certainly help prevent penalties when the inevitable violation occurs.

From another angle: if the Sinofskyfication of the company continues (IEB now with its massive re-org complete, post-Muglia Server & Tools next?) then Mr. Sinofsky ascending over a whole Microsoft will be a moot decision.

Interesting coverage after the results:

In general, no surprise to people that Windows/Live was down and that Entertainment was up on the Kinect. Online (aka Bing aka Partner-Level-Palooza) lost over half-a-billion dollars. And gained a bit of market share.

Pulling out my crystal ball that's covered with dust along with all the other Mini implements used to write this blog (oooo, an unopened bottle of Col Solare! Score!): Microsoft product groups should feel good about WP7 and the influence Metro is having around the company. Like I said, there's a big convergence ahead of us, and it will be good to start aligning a simpler development story, both for Microsoft and its partners. The biggest obvious concern is the development path for the mobile platform compared to the development path for Windows, but even there you can squint and see on the horizon the possibility for that to be successful, too.

IE9 is great technology that yes, has a way to go to score some high compliance number across a bunch of random folk's assessment sites. Still: wow. WP7 is a modern joy to use and is slowly building an app catalog. Kinect. And a whole bunch of developers hunched over and hammering bits to create the next big "Wow." Yeah, "Wow" might be inscribed on the back of a tortoise, but sometimes... the tortoise wins in the end.

The only thing that concerns me right now is (and you're going to love this): hiring. We've got great successes that excite people about working at Microsoft, but really, how many more people are we hiring to work on Kinect? My friends and I have never been so courted by other companies. Not since 2000. And I've got to say, the culture that Ballmer and LisaB have created is really weary. It's enlightened for the mid-1980s. But if crazy stock price jumps are no longer enthusing your employees, you've got to reboot the culture.

-- Comments