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New Microsoft CEO Vows To Shake Up Corporate Culture

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the learnings-about-synergy dept.

Microsoft 204

jfruh (300774) writes New Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that he and his leadership team are taking "important steps to visibly change our culture" and that "nothing is off the table" on that score. While much of his declaration consists of vague and positive-sounding phrases ("increase the fluidity of information and ideas by taking actions to flatten the organization and develop leaner business processes"), he outlined his main goals for the shift: reduce time it takes to get things done by having fewer people involved in each decision; quantify outcomes for products and use that data to predict future trends; and increasing investment for employee training and development.

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Manager (4, Interesting)

tsa (15680) | about 2 months ago | (#47437363)

Ha, a real manager!

But seriously, hopefully Microsoft will benefit from him and become a bit more popular amongst nerds.

Re:Manager (4, Insightful)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 2 months ago | (#47437417)

yeah, because everything a nerd wants is summed up in the phrase "business process", flat or not.

Re:Manager (4, Funny)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 2 months ago | (#47437927)

He had me at "crease the fluidity". OMG... *swoon*.

Re:Manager (1, Interesting)

mfh (56) | about 2 months ago | (#47437421)

Weasels that know corporate double speak are ruining everything though. You know we don't mourn the T-rex. We talk about the dinosaurs as being really big and dumb.

They were all psychopaths!! Lizard brains.

When the cockroaches are mulling over what our existences might have been like, they will all say that the weasels died out because of our stupidity and overconfidence. They'll say we were monsters, too. Big and dumb. Lizard brains.

Re:Manager (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47437435)

EVERY new bigwig wants to play "there's a new sneriff in town!" and shake things up. They'll change things for no good reason for the sake of change, even if that same change was already tried three or four bigwigs ago. Imagine a cat or a dog pissing on their territory to make sure other cats/dogs know who it belongs to. That's all there is to see here. After that it'll be meet the new boss, same as the old boss because he'll have to deal with all the same pressures.

Satya Nadella is not just anyone! (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47437465)

I didn't know much about Satya Nadella, so I did some reasearch.

This is what Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] tells me about him (I'm assuming it's valid; there are citations after all!):

Early life

Satya Nadella[9][10][11] was born in Hyderabad, in a Telugu family from Anantapur district[12][13] in Andhra Pradesh, India. His father was a civil servant in the Indian Administrative Service,[12][13] Nadella attended the Hyderabad Public School in Begumpet[14] before attaining a bachelor of engineering in Electronics and Telecommunications from the Manipal Institute of Technology in 1987 (then affiliated to Mangalore University), Manipal, Karnataka.[15][16][17][18][19]

Nadella subsequently traveled to the US on a student visa to study for an MS degree in Computer Science at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee,[20] receiving his degree in 1990.[21] Later he received an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.[22][23]

Nadella said he "always wanted to build things."[24] He knew that computer science was what he wanted to pursue.[25] But that emphasis was not available at Manipal University. "And so it [electronic engineering] was a great way for me to go discover what turned out to become a passion," he says.[26]
Career

Nadella worked with Sun Microsystems, as a member of its technology staff, prior to joining Microsoft in 1992.[2][3]
Microsoft

At Microsoft Nadella has led major projects including the company's move to cloud computing and the development of one of the largest cloud infrastructures in the world.[27]

Nadella worked as the senior vice-president of research and development (R&D) for the Online Services Division and vice-president of the Microsoft Business Division. Later, he was made the president of Microsoft's $19 billion Server and Tools Business and led a transformation of the company's business and technology culture from client services to cloud infrastructure and services. He has been credited for helping bring Microsoft's database, Windows Server and developer tools to its Azure cloud.[28] The revenue from Cloud Services grew to $20.3 billion in June 2013 from $16.6 billion when he took over in 2011.[29]

Nadella's 2013 base salary is nearly $700,000, for a total compensation, with stock bonuses, of $7.6 million.[30]

Previous positions held by Nadella include:[31]

        President of the Server & Tools Division (9 February 2011 – February 2014)
        Senior Vice-President of Research and Development for the Online Services Division (March 2007 – February 2011)[32]
        Vice-President of the Business Division
        Corporate Vice-President of Business Solutions and Search & Advertising Platform Group
        Executive Vice-President of Cloud and Enterprise group[15]

On 4 February 2014, Nadella was announced as the new CEO of Microsoft,[7][8] the third chief executive in the company's history.[33][34][35][36]

I've put the important points in bold.

He is no average man! He is a GOD among us mere mortals. All of the best technology experts come from Hyderabad. Hyderabad Public School in Begumpet is one of the most prestigious institutions to attend. And the Manipal Institute of Technology is world renowned for the superb learning experience it imparts on its students. To be honest, I don't even care about his other credentials or work experience. His origins alone show that he is more than me, his is more than you, and he is more than everybody else. He is more.

Re: Satya Nadella is not just anyone! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47437623)

Try getting a decent version of Windows out the door Nadella, THEN you can anonymously pat yourself on the back in the comments.

I guess "nothing is off the table" means that astroturfing on social media sites is fair game too, eh Microsoft PR?

Re: Satya Nadella is not just anyone! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47437991)

Oh, man. The delusional, and obviously incorrect, accusations of "astroturfing" I see here now and then are hilarious.

So you're saying that on a Saturday, we'll find some Microsoft peon or supposedly even Nadella himself browsing a dying, obscure, nearly-irrelevant open source advocacy web site on the rare chance that there'll be some discussion of him? Then he'll proceed to post as an Anonymous Coward, using content from Wikipedia to highlight his academic and career accomplishments?

Earth to you, dipshit, that isn't how the real world works. He doesn't give a damn about Slashdot, or some obscure comment three levels deep. He has much better things to do with his time than promote himself here, where it makes absolutely no difference in the real world. For crying out loud, this is Slashdot. It doesn't matter at all what a small handful of GPL-loving crazies think!

And Microsoft is not going to waste money on hiring somebody whose sole job is to find online discussion about Nadella in obscure discussion forums, then post excerpts of the Wikipedia article about him.

My god, the scariest part is that your accusations are made seriously! It's funny that you're so delusional, but it's also somewhat scary, now that I think about it more. You're so disconnected from reality, instead living in a twisted World of Warcraft-inspired land of dwarfs and wizards and magic that you somehow think that "astroturfing" is happening here. Good lord, man, get a grip on reality!

Re:Satya Nadella is not just anyone! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47437707)

He's not even American. Fire this fucker and bring Bill back.

Re:Satya Nadella is not just anyone! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47437815)

> President of the Server & Tools Division (9 February 2011 – February 2014)

Ahh... he oversaw flattening the GUI.

Genius.

Re:Satya Nadella is not just anyone! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47438087)

>led a transformation of the company's business and technology culture from client services to cloud infrastructure and services.
led a transformation from client services to cloud infrastructure and services.
transformation from client services to cloud infrastructure and services.
transformation from client services
Fuck you clients!

Re:Manager (3, Insightful)

Teckla (630646) | about 2 months ago | (#47437475)

But seriously, hopefully Microsoft will benefit from him and become a bit more popular amongst nerds.

Why do you hope for that? Microsoft pretends to reinvent itself regularly, but one thing remains constant through the decades: Their goal has unswervingly been lock-in from top to bottom, while trying to nickel and dime you the whole way.

For nerds, this means locking you into their programming languages (e.g., VB or C#), or if not that, at least lock you into their APIs (so that you're as good as locked in, even if you're using C or C++). It means abandonment of entire domains that no longer suit them (look up how woefully out-of-date and ignored the C part of their C/C++ compiler is).

It means locking you into their platforms, whether that be the operating system (Windows) or the browser (Internet Explorer).

It means high prices (have you seen the prices on Windows Server and/or Microsoft Azure lately?), which is not-at-all nerd-friendly. It means guaranteed stagnation in those domains where they achieve dominance. It means product churn for the sake of profits. It means ignoring customers and forcing bad implementations on them (*cough*Metro*cough*) and then taking forever to admit it was a mistake and fix it (when is Windows 9 due out? Next year sometime?).

Just because some new-boss-same-as-the-old-boss is singing some unicorns-and-rainbows song doesn't mean the core of Microsoft is going to change. They're still after the same things they've always been after: Lock-in so severe that the pain of escape ensures most people remain slaves, and profits, profits, profits.

Re:Manager (1)

Twinbee (767046) | about 2 months ago | (#47437513)

USB sockets also lock you in to using USB leads.

I don't see standards as a bad thing, if they're done well.

Re:Manager (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47437583)

USB sockets also lock you in to using USB leads.

Absolutely zero comparison to software.

Re:Manager (1)

Twinbee (767046) | about 2 months ago | (#47437781)

Yes there is. It takes a lot of effort to design say, a generalized GUI API that will work on all OSs, and after all that effort, it won't be as optimized as if it was specially written to take advantage of anything in the Windows OS. Not that I like Windows OS particularly (I hope Ubuntu takes off), but I dislike the mess that is non-standardization even more. Bloat is bad also.

Re:Manager (1)

Twinbee (767046) | about 2 months ago | (#47437783)

I meant I hope Haiku OS takes off (not that Ubuntu is bad).

Re:Manager (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 2 months ago | (#47438031)

I meant I hope Haiku OS takes off (not that Ubuntu is bad).

:D

Re:Manager (1)

Twinbee (767046) | about 2 months ago | (#47438053)

Haha, that was probably a little unexpected for you. But I love the snappiness and cleanness of Haiku (just got to persuade them to implement a database/metadata filesystem now! :)

Re:Manager (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47437949)

Bullshit. Microsoft's only goal is to lock you into Windows so they can keep school kids and everyone else (including the government) under their control. There's no justifying this, and it's not in any way similar or on the scale of the USB standard.

Re:Manager (4, Informative)

nabsltd (1313397) | about 2 months ago | (#47437763)

USB sockets also lock you in to using USB leads.

You're missing that point that anybody can make both USB sockets and USB leads with a very minimal royalty payment.

What if only one company made USB sockets (Microsoft) and they charged $100 for it (Windows). Then, once you did pay and had your USB device working, they stopped supporting the current USB standard, which encouraged your device manufacturer to stop supporting it. Then, all new USB devices would only work on the new USB sockets, so if you buy a new camera/scanner/mouse/keyboard/whatever, you can't plug it in to your current USB socket, and need to pay another $100 to get the new socket. If Microsoft didn't see Windows as a profit center, but instead used it as a platform to get you to pay for everything else they do, 90% of the complaints about them would stop.

I didn't mind paying for the first versions of Windows, because they gave me something I didn't have: a windowed UI. Then, Windows NT gave us real multi-tasking and 32-bit code. Windows 2000 and XP were just more polished versions, although XP gave us 64-bit that wasn't supported much. Windows 7 finally gave us 64-bit with real support. Windows 8 is just a different UI. So, the reality is that over that span of nearly 20 years, I feel like I should have paid "full price" for about 3 versions (truly major upgrades), and some token amount (about 20% of the full version price seems right) for the "maintenance" releases.

Instead, if you wanted to play the latest games, you had to upgrade to XP (2000 was just fine for running productivity apps) and 7, and even before the end of support of XP, you had to upgrade to 7 if you didn't use an alternate browser (unless you like getting burned by the most common security exploits). Then, add in that the more recent OS often don't have drivers for older hardware and have a lot more system requirements, and you end up with Linux getting traction because of this endless cycle.

Although Linux is really hurting the inroads that MS made into the server market, it will never touch the desktop until it's just as easy to use. It will never be just as easy to use as long as there are 14 different Linux distributions with 43 different GUI implementations (numbers pulled out of my ass, but you get the picture). Until there is one GUI, no large percentage of companies will heavily invest in converting to a Linux desktop because they won't want to train every new hire in how the system works. And yes, I know that the vast majority of people don't do anything complicated, but things like connecting to a network share, changing the screen resolution, changing the GUI colors, playing a video, scheduling a meeting with co-workers, etc., are all things that real people do and which have to be easy and consistent. In addition, until all the standard software is available (no, Linux doesn't have to have Microsoft Office, but it has to have a package that does everything that Office does, and Open/Libre Office ain't it), there won't be a large shift, either.

I maintain Linux servers for a living, but I still use a Windows desktop (even though my employer does support Windows, Linux, and OSX for personal desktops) because it still is easier to get everything done using that. I have lots of options to get to a Linux system and run programs (both text and GUI), and not everyone in my office uses the same toolset as I do. But, the other direction is painful. Without Windows, you can't easily find out when everybody is available for a meeting, and can't stay logged in to your e-mail (OWA times out, while Outlook does not). I can connect to a Windows share from a Linux system, but I can't adjust the ACLs. With a Windows desktop, I can connect to both Windows and NFS shares and adjust the ACLs.

Re:Manager (2)

Twinbee (767046) | about 2 months ago | (#47437861)

All fair points but...

so if you buy a new camera/scanner/mouse/keyboard/whatever, you can't plug it in to your current USB socket, and need to pay another $100 to get the new socket

Microsoft have done a lot to support backwards compatibility. Most software which works on WinXP will work on Win 8 and vice versa.

I don't think the price MS charges for Windows is amazingly extortionate, but I get your point.

As you semi-pointed out, if MS opened up Windows I fear we'd get the same fragmentation Linux/Unix has. That's the last thing we need. Standards are good, fragmentation is not. (As long as the product is mature/good quality, and competition isn't needed as much).

Re:Manager (0)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 months ago | (#47438007)

OOXML is a great example of a standad, and of how to move a standard through an international standards committee.

(This is irony, for those who may be impaired in its recognition)

Re:Manager (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 2 months ago | (#47438019)

And you can by interchangable USB devices that work on multiple operating systems made by over twenty different companies.

When we can buy windows from twenty different companies and it just works, then the two will be equivalent.

Re:Manager (1)

Twinbee (767046) | about 2 months ago | (#47438049)

Windows is a lot more complicated than a hardware interface specification, so MS deserves a little more to hold the rights to the Windows and its technology. But I get your point.

Re:Manager (1, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | about 2 months ago | (#47437629)

The problem is at their core they fail to recognise there are two organisations, hard business under M$ and creative works under MSN. They have allowed M$ to be a continual drag upon MSN and really failed to capitalise on it's value. Doing silly stuff like lessening the brand with outlook, live and bing over advertising and lessening page view worth and crippling creativity by leaving it stuck under M$ management.

They should split the company and allow MSN to achieve it's worth whilst they milk windows and office for all they can. The cloud has been severely impacted by the shenanigans of the NSA. It looks like he global cloud is at an end, already under threat in Russia and China and likely to fragment further. Appliances are back on the table and likely to dominate as trust has been pretty much permanently destroyed. Even something as simple as a mobile phone is seeing storage capacity increase as people want to store locally and backup at home, trust is being abused at every level of business both by corporations and government agencies.

They need to focus on plug and play appliances, creating a home stack or a business stack. At home that means a big screen display, modem router with storage capacity, phone, pc, notebooks, family notice board (web, mail and internet server all built in). Business tends to be much just greater capacity, greater demands on reliability and more units in the stack. Software taking a back seat to supplying the appliance complete, ready to go and just plugging into the stack. Hard copy is also part of that stack whether 2D or 3D.

They should also not shy away from Android or Linux it just leaves them looking incomplete and less than professional. Lock in opportunities are shrinking especially as major markets will actively block it, not anything to do with M$ but all to do with the US. Many countries let is slide for surprisingly long but now they are actively legislating against it, so now adding in other OS's keeps them in those markets.

Re:Manager (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47437697)

Its not like any other OS's are trying to lock you in. And before you cry "but linux" or "but open source" they are just as interested as locking you into their software as microsoft, they are just tying to lure you in with "free."

Re:Manager (2)

jbolden (176878) | about 2 months ago | (#47437807)

It means high prices (have you seen the prices on Windows Server and/or Microsoft Azure lately?

Yes pretty reasonable compared to Oracle, IBM and similar offerings. Higher than open source alternatives.

It means ignoring customers and forcing bad implementations on them (*cough*Metro*cough*) and then taking forever to admit it was a mistake and fix it (when is Windows 9 due out? Next year sometime?).

IMHO the mistake was not forcing it more by making touch and/or digitizer tablet mandatory for Windows 8. The problem with Windows 8 is that people insist on running on Windows 7 hardware.

Re:Manager (1)

iMadeGhostzilla (1851560) | about 2 months ago | (#47437837)

I'll answer that from my perspective: it just so happened that most of the fun I had and money I made programming was on Windows. That's why I'd like MS to be successful. I had lots of good time programming on Linux, too, so for the same reason I want Linux to continue. Never had a chance to code for OSX or iOS, so I don't care about those either way. And outside of programming, most of the fun hands down I had on Windows.

Not that anyone's asking me, of course, just trying to trace down my positive feelings towards Microsoft.

Re:Manager (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about 2 months ago | (#47437877)

Dunno man, everything you just said kind of applies to Apple too...

Re:Manager (3, Insightful)

swillden (191260) | about 2 months ago | (#47437931)

Their goal has unswervingly been lock-in from top to bottom, while trying to nickel and dime you the whole way.

This is exactly the corporate culture shake-up that's required.

Microsoft has a lot of really smart people, and the financial and other assets needed to put them to work doing great things that can compete and win on their own, actually serving customers rather than trying to lock them in and then exploit them.

MS could be great. But they need a radically different internal dynamic to get there. Will this guy be able to do that? I'm skeptical, but I really hope he can.

Re:Manager (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47438013)

Have you ever even developed on the MS platform? They have entire programs dedicated to *giving* developers access to all of their software for development purposes. How is that not developer friendly? I've never paid a dime to develop on the MS platform, and I've always been able to do it entirely above-board.

Now when you start selling your software, or you start deploying to established production environments, of course they want their money from that. You make money using their platform (which up until now you've done entirely at no cost) and they want a small fraction of that for themselves - how is that something to complain about? That's basic business which is practiced by every sustainable company in existence.

Re:Manager (5, Interesting)

raddan (519638) | about 2 months ago | (#47438041)

(disclaimer: I have interned at Microsoft for the past three summers; I do not speak for them)

I think your criticism against lock-in is fair, and this is clearly one of Microsoft's strategies, and I suspect that it will continue to be to some degree. But on the language front, you are wrong. Not only are Microsoft's newest languages open-source (F# [fsharp.org] , TypeScript [codeplex.com] ), but they are also cross-platform [msdn.com] and collaboratively developed [xamarin.com] with open source groups. And, of course, you can run all .NET languages on the Mac, Linux, FreeBSD, etc. with mono [mono-project.com] .

While it is theoretically possible that all of this is a deadly Microsoft-bait-and-switch just waiting to happen, having worked at Microsoft, I can say that doing so would fly in the face of a lot of hard work by many, many people there. I was as critical about Microsoft as you were (dig into my /. history and you'll see) until I worked there. Not only is it a great place to work, but the company really is committed to changing its culture. Use of open-source tools at Microsoft used to be strictly-prohibited. Now they have a fast-track process for working with them. Open-sourcing of Microsoft software was also a complete non-starter. Now putting Microsoft code up on the web is increasingly routine, and they even have their own open-source hosting ala GitHub [codeplex.com] that has git bindings [codeplex.com] .

Microsoft is a big company (the Redmond campus is mind-bogglingly huge to me) and they have a lot of corporate momentum. Despite this, in my opinion, I've seen my daily interactions with people do a complete 180 in the last couple of years. Microsoft knows that the era of selling boxed copies of proprietary software is coming to an end. So you're simply wrong about Microsoft not being able to change.

Re:Manager (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 2 months ago | (#47437485)

But seriously, hopefully:
Code great support for game developers on the PC over the Windows 8 to 9 upgrades.
Console can coast along as always.
Lock in new consumer revenue streams over generations of emerging product lines.
Have more people involved in decisions before another confidential ex parte motion.
Ensure ongoing quality encryption for consumers globally.

Re: Manager (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47437731)

It should be pretty easy for anyone to tell that this is a sinking ship. Notice what he didn't address:

- Windows Phone. For all intents and purposes a complete failure. I can safely say that I've never seen ANYONE with a Windows Phone. Ever.
- Windows 8. No one likes or wants Metro. The first thing most experienced Windows users do after installing 8 is start looking for a way to get the start menu back. They tried to push a uniform interface across traditional PC's and tablets...and it sucked. Badly. Which brings me to...
- Surface. So many failures simultaneously it's hard to believe. Hundreds of millions of hardware sitting in warehouses, probably for the duration, because again...nobody wants the things (and before some anal retentive starts pointing out sales figures, by "nobody" I mean "not enough people to be financially viable"). Overpriced laptop/tablet hybrids that nobody asked for in the first place.
- The Xbox One. Not much to say here really. When your best title for 2014 is a Halo compilation and your best hope for 2015 is Halo 5... Then there's Kinect. Fuck the more of these I line up the less sense it makes. Goofy motion control gimmicks were a short-lived fad, even Microsoft is backpedaling on it now.

Nadella not only refuses to address any of these colossal failures (or even acknowledge them), he seems to think that the solution is either a change in corporate culture or...more cloud services! Sure, why not buy into another train wreck of an industry, a train wreck courtesy of the NASA no less? Nobody who uses a computer regularly, as well as watching or reading any news online regularly, has any remaining trust for "cloud computing." At best it's a half-measure against DDoS attacks...if that's the direction Microsoft is going in, the hosting business, they'll be going up against cloud services and backup hosting like Google and, say, Akamai respectively. Both of whom already have the infrastructure and are already beating Microsoft at their own game.

Nadella needs to pull his head out of those self absorbed "cloud" delusions and come back to reality.

Re:Manager (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47437789)

I guess reducing the CEO's salary isn't off the table then. How about making it the average salary of Microsoft employees?

How about having MS Office use a standard format that anyone can easily read/write to, and providing read/write translators for any changes they make and for reading/writing to other office formats?

How about behaving well...perhaps adopting a policy of, "Do very little evil."

Good call (4, Interesting)

slashdice (3722985) | about 2 months ago | (#47437365)

as a former MicroSoftie (research, don't be a hater) I can confirm that Ballmer was first and foremost a sales guy. He brought in the revenue but destroyed the culture and the company in the process. He was a corporate raider, he just did it from the inside.

Re:Good call (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47437393)

"Hater" is merely an excuse to dismiss another's opinion. You not only fail to discredit the other, you actually discredit yourself for not having a valid opinion.

Forget "don't be a hater," try "don't be a dick."

Re:Good call (2)

AHuxley (892839) | about 2 months ago | (#47437499)

What culture? The only aim was to ship software at a price to win over a generation of customers and keep them consuming the next versions.
What changed? What was different from the early days? The productivity software runs, the games play, the cash flows.

Re:Good call (1)

digsbo (1292334) | about 2 months ago | (#47437819)

What changed? What was different from the early days?

What changed was selling development stacks that were both first-class tools aimed at real programmers (i.e. not VB compilers as glorified spreadsheet builders), embracing and NOT extending 3rd party and open source components, and open sourcing their own stuff (i.e. Roslyn).

As a former open source guy, I find that I ENJOY using MS tools to build software, and increasingly see them working to make their stuff more and more interoperable and less and less locked in.

When I Poop... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47437367)

I mean for that shit to hit the toilet!

translation (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47437369)

reduce time it takes to get things done by having fewer people involved in each decision = layoffs

quantify outcomes for products and use that data to predict future trends = every ms product will have facebook-like privacy-infringing malware

  increasing investment for employee training and development = get more h1b visas to replace us workers with foreign code monkeys

Re:translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47438059)

reduce time it takes to get things done by having fewer people involved in each decision = layoffs

Layoffs for managers, perhaps. But I've worked in organizations with reporting chains stacked 10 levels or more, and it's dysfunctional. They need to get rid of some of the people that are in the decision signoff chain because they've been at MS for 20 years.

My last post was roundly criticised. (2)

queazocotal (915608) | about 2 months ago | (#47437371)

So, does 'crease' actually exist in this sense?

Re:My last post was roundly criticised. (3, Insightful)

Virtucon (127420) | about 2 months ago | (#47437425)

"we mean to increase the synergistic use of buzzwords to drive shareholder value and customer satisfaction."

Seriously, there's a company I saw one time that had "We strive for our customer's affection." as their mission statement on the building. Nobody really listens to this shit. Net Net, he's going to fire a few talking heads, move some departments around and if you don't like it you can leave.

Re:My last post was roundly criticised. (3, Funny)

c (8461) | about 2 months ago | (#47437497)

I keep the following quote pinned in Google Keep to remind myself of what happens when corporate communications becomes completely divorced from reality:

In other words, better execution and innovation through strategy and goal and discipline and engineering coherence.

From the previous Microsoft CEO [microsoft.com] . Nice to see that Ballmer's ghostwriters are still with the company.

Re:My last post was roundly criticised. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47437609)

Since you're so desperate to be pedantic ... try RTFA, you clown.

And try making posts that aren't boring shit in the future.

Tommy Ramone has died (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47437375)

Sad news today. Tommy Ramone was the last surviving member of the Ramones. He died of cancer. I think they all died of cancer? The world is a more boring place now. We should all mourn and carry on the punk rock tradition.

Re:Tommy Ramone has died (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47437431)

Nobody cares. Punk is nothing but crappy, shittier-than-amateur "music" (it's more noise than anything, really) vomited out by lowlife scum. To hell with melody, harmony, rhythm, and cadence. Just get together several dirty unemployed losers, have one guy bang on drums and have the others make some guitars screetch, have one yell incomprehensibly in some angry dialect of Manchester-sounding English, and you've got yourself a punk band!

So...zero US employees? (5, Funny)

gelfling (6534) | about 2 months ago | (#47437383)

Sounds good. To Malaysia and Beyond!

Re:So...zero US employees? (2)

Virtucon (127420) | about 2 months ago | (#47437429)

Sounds good. To Malaysia and Beyond!

And to the bottom of the ocean, all at the same time.

Right.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47437387)

Does everybody have their bingo cards [lurkertech.com] ready?

Wha? (4, Interesting)

GrahamCox (741991) | about 2 months ago | (#47437389)

crease the fluidity of information and ideas by taking actions to flatten the organization

What does that even mean? How can you 'crease the fluidity' of anything? Sound suspiciously like typical management-speak, and I don't think that's what MS needs at all.

Re:Wha? (1)

queazocotal (915608) | about 2 months ago | (#47437397)

Other sources have it as 'increase'.

Re:Wha? (2, Funny)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 2 months ago | (#47437411)

Other sources have it as 'increase'.

Hey, knock off that fact-checking - people are incensed here!

Re:Wha? (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 2 months ago | (#47437437)

Hey, knock off that fact-checking - people are incensed here!

From the sounds of his announcement he's been burning too much AzureGreen. [incensewarehouse.com] Wait, Washington did legalize pot recently! That explains it!

Re:Wha? (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 2 months ago | (#47437701)

crease the fluidity of information

Other sources have it as 'increase'.

Hey, knock off that fact-checking - people are incensed here!

Hey, knock off that fact-checking - people are censed here!

Actually, I think he said, "grease the fluidity of information", and the speech to text system got it wrong.

. . . or maybe he said, "lease the fluidity of information", and was referring to charging for Cloud Big Data Service.

. . . to that end, "fleece the fluidity of information", would also make sense.

. . . or something concerning security, "police the fluidity of information" . . . ?

Re:Wha? (1)

rmstar (114746) | about 2 months ago | (#47437589)

Other sources have it as 'increase'.

Actually, it is 'increase' already in the linked article. The quote is

"We will increase the fluidity of information and ideas by taking actions to flatten the organization and develop leaner business processes,"

And it actually makes sense.

Re:Wha? (4, Insightful)

Rich0 (548339) | about 2 months ago | (#47437433)

Flatten the organization is simple enough - fire or demote managers so that there are more people reporting to any particular manager.

Really this sounds like the kind of buzz-speak I was hearing at work a few years ago when the same sorts of things were done. The same Accenture consultant probably wrote the slide deck.

Fewer people = fewer people involved in each decision, etc. They always talk about changing the culture, because talking about layoffs doesn't exactly make people excited to go to work.

Re:Wha? (1)

DingerX (847589) | about 2 months ago | (#47437909)

Yeah, "Flatten the structure" means, at some level, have fewer bosses responsible for more employees. "Increasing communication" means having more bosses responsible for fewer employees. Doing both together means firing the people the CEO's entourage doesn't like.

reduce time it takes to get things done by having fewer people involved in each decision; = fire people.

quantify outcomes for products and use that data to predict future trends; =If it doesn't sell in the first quarter, kill it. Predict the market by abandoning lethargic products and jumping on the winner. You know, like how the massive Kinect 1.0 sales led to the dominance of the XBone. On the other side, when PlaysForSure fails, replace it with the Zune Store, when that fails, replace it with the next. Then fire the whole team, except for the useless ones. Put them on the next iteration of Windows Phone.

and increasing investment for employee training and development. =hire more of the consultants who write buzzkill press releases. Note it didn't say "increase our emphasis on employee training and development" or "find new ways to enrich our employees' skills and competencies", but rather "increasing investment for" -- "buy new things with this ostensible goal".

Re:Wha? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 months ago | (#47438051)

I think we can sum up the whole letter with "We're going to keep imitating Google and Apple."

Re:Wha? (1)

jimicus (737525) | about 2 months ago | (#47437649)

Not a microsoftie, but my guess is that "flatten the organisation" refers to the organisational chart - he reckons there's too many layers of management.

He may well be right. Too many layers of management often leads to stagnation because you wind up with every little decision having to be scrutinised to ensure it passes muster at every level of the chain. Personally, if I was a middle manager at Microsoft right now I'd be looking very seriously at polishing up my CV.

Re:Wha? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47437971)

How can you 'crease the fluidity' of anything?

Why do I suspect that it involves someone taking the piss?

Why highly paid CEOs underperform. (5, Interesting)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 2 months ago | (#47437405)

This is precisely why higher the CEO pay results in poorer performance by the company. All that pay, blinds the CEO, makes them think they are invincible, if the market is shoving that many billion dollars their way, they must be doing everything right. It sets up the eco system where flatterers, sycophants and yes men thrive insulating the CEO from real news and real feedback.

To think one man, with some initiative can change the culture of a company the size of Microsoft, with entrenched interests, history of turf warfare and empire building is blowing smoke. That company went through spectacular expansion and growth in the 1990s. All those very capable people, the ones who have the vision and ability and the guts to skate too close to or even past the edges of legal behavior have all cashed out, burnt out or pushed out. As the able ones leave, the fraction of PHBs who are clueless when there is not a de-facto monopoly increases. They are playing the same game that used to be effective when there was a WinTel monopoly on desktops, and desktops had the monopoly on computing.

A truly visionary CEO will realize this, break the company into pieces that will once again compete or perish and resign. But Satya Nadella is no Michail Gorbachev.

Re:Why highly paid CEOs underperform. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47437467)

We are also under the delusion that the CEO's actions really matter. If you took the CEOs with the best track records and brought them in to run the businesses with the worst performance, how often would those companies become more profitable?.....the answer is roughly 60%. That isn't much better than the flip of a coin. [wsj.com]

And I"m to find another stat that said that a CEO contributes about 5% to a company's bottom line.

There have been CEOs - Lou Gerstner's turn around of IBM in the early 90s comes to mind - that may have been worth it.

But all in all, they are over paid for what they do. Yahoo!'s new CEO, for example, is just throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks. Marissa was the great blond hope for Yahoo! but she is turning out to be mediocre - like most CEOs. But, regardless of what happens, she'll get her $60 million - remember that when you bust your ass to meet a deadline and during your review you are told you could have done more and therefore you are rated as only "meeting objectives" and you just get a cost of living raise (1.5% If you didn't bust your ass working 60 hours a week for months, you would have gotten a "below standards" rating, no raise and if lucky you keep your job until they offshore your entire department.).

Yep, we live in a meritocracy all right.

Re:Why highly paid CEOs underperform. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47437569)

"They are playing the same game that used to be effective when there was a WinTel monopoly on desktops, and desktops had the monopoly on computing."

You forgot " when computing had a monopoly on IT and data comm resources, and porn had a monopoly on compulsive, self-indulgent consumption of useless mind candy." We won't cover the sordid topic of gaming here;-)

( Hoboken mom discovers weird diet trick that has doctors furious! 25 pics of Kim Kardashian's ego you have to see to believe! 10 power-saving tips THEY don't want you to know! All this on "reputable" websites along with the so-called news, weather, sports, etc., pretending to be real articles.)

I got a culture change for ya.

Re:Why highly paid CEOs underperform. (1)

assertation (1255714) | about 2 months ago | (#47437635)

PHB ?

Re:Why highly paid CEOs underperform. (2)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 2 months ago | (#47438063)

Pointy Haired Bosses. Dilbert reference.

Re:Why highly paid CEOs underperform. (2)

jimicus (737525) | about 2 months ago | (#47437673)

This is a fairly common problem, and it stems back to one thing.

Finding staff is easy. You or I could place an advert tomorrow and we'd be snowed under this time next week. Problem is, drill through those applications and you'll probably find that 60% of the applicants couldn't even be bothered to make sure the job was vaguely appropriate for their skill set - and most of the remainder have such shocking interviews that you wonder why you bother.

Finding good staff - people who will turn out to be a real asset - that is damnably difficult. And it's a problem that gets worse the higher up the management chain you go.

I suspect that by the time you get to the very top of a huge organisation, you run into a problem: the number of people on the surface of the planet who have the experience, skills and ability needed are so few and far between that you'll be lucky if there's half a dozen potential candidates in the whole country.

Re:Why highly paid CEOs underperform. (1)

NormalVisual (565491) | about 2 months ago | (#47437831)

I suspect that by the time you get to the very top of a huge organisation, you run into a problem: the number of people on the surface of the planet who have the experience, skills and ability needed are so few and far between that you'll be lucky if there's half a dozen potential candidates in the whole country.

This may be true, but looking from the performance of who actually gets hired shows that often (not always, of course) they *don't* appear to have the experience, skills, and ability needed, or are overly self-confident to the point of dismissing data that clearly shows reality is different from their assumptions. A lot of times, a company's success is due to simple common sense and selling what people actually want to buy regardless of who's running the company.

Re:Why highly paid CEOs underperform. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47438085)

or he'll just move the concentration from protecting and leveraging Windows to protecting and leveraging Microsoft Office since it is there only other monopoly position. His plan seems to be to tie everything they can to MS Office and reduce the approval process for new products which tie into MS Office so they get out faster.

yawn

Vague and positive-sounding? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47437409)

Increasing the fluidity of information and ideas by taking actions to flatten the organisation and develop leaner business processes is not vague, and at least if you're someone in Microsoft whose career relies on one of those well-documented organisational unit fiefdoms, it's not positive.

There will be many at MS who see that phrase as anything but vague; it's aimed at them.

PHB (1, Interesting)

Tokolosh (1256448) | about 2 months ago | (#47437415)

Am I the only one thinking this?

In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47437419)

Santa Claus was seen over the North Pole on his annual 4th of July flght to deliver civil rights to children all over the world.

His flight was, unfortunately, grounded by the middle management at the reindeer stable, who had used up all the funding for planning lunches among the elf leadership and had nothing left to actually feed the reindeer with, and his failure to obtain valid visas from countries that did not exist when his flight first launched, as happens every year. But the Powerpoint presentations were *fabulous*, and all the VP's gave themselves big stock bonuses.

Seriously, Microsoft lost its way when the dancing monkey took over ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvsboPUjrGc ). And middle management is never going to let it find its way again: Too many settled paperwork pushers, too many turf wars, too big of an established monopoly customer base to really move on newer technologies. Microsoft Office has overwhelmed itself with useless interface frippery instead of actually publishing an API or handling large documents, The Windows 9 "le't pretend we're a Mac but get everything wrong" stupidity has turned Windows 8 in to the next Windows XP, which no one will be able to move off of, the compiler's a non-POSIX-compliant joke that no one can trust.

Let's face it, they've screwed themselves into a corner and would need a plague of middle management eating necrotic viruses to clear the bureaucracy for new management to change anything.

CEO Madlibs? (3, Funny)

Snufu (1049644) | about 2 months ago | (#47437443)

"crease the fluidity of information and ideas by taking actions to flatten the organization and develop leaner business processes"

Re:CEO Madlibs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47437645)

Many have long wished to flatten the MS organization :-) Although distancing oneself from flattening by Obama-esque "taking action to" suggests his heart really isn't in any particular rush to improvement.

"Creas-ed Fluidity" sounds like a Queensryche number. Silent stupidity, I guess.

"leaner business practices" What was it about lean men and sharks? I think we may be getting to the meat of the matter here. This guy is no mere PHB (Pagri Headed Boss?);-), he is likely a remainder man.

Oh, well, back to hacking clients' property management spreadsheets.

It's a No Brainer Win-Win at the End of the Day (3, Interesting)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 2 months ago | (#47437455)

People who speak like this generally do so in an attempt to disguise a lack of communication skills and new ideas.

It may be the management culture he was raised in, and I had higher hopes for the Indian-born CEO (diversity, new perspective), but he was also reportedly emailing employees the company would reinvent productivity.

So, likely we'll get SSDD... and less entertainment value than Ballmer provided.

Re:It's a No Brainer Win-Win at the End of the Day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47437493)

SSDD....so, like they're going to reinvent Single-Sided Double Density?

Re:It's a No Brainer Win-Win at the End of the Day (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 2 months ago | (#47437567)

Good, someone got that.

I was afraid I'd been a touch ambiguous.

Re:It's a No Brainer Win-Win at the End of the Day (4, Insightful)

Entropius (188861) | about 2 months ago | (#47437633)

I don't want them to "reinvent productivity" -- I want them to stop buying other people's things and making them suck (Skype) and stop working hard to make their own things suck (Windows 8).

Translation (3, Interesting)

Simulant (528590) | about 2 months ago | (#47437473)


LAYOFFS

Re:Translation (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47437505)

LAYOFFS

He'll do what all Indians in a position of power do -- preferentially hire and promote other Indians.

Re:Translation (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 2 months ago | (#47437717)

Unlike white people.

Re:Translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47437915)

White people invented the concept of preferentially hiring indians. Now we've found it's even better to let them to "run" our companies. You really don't know how this race-card thing works?

Apache (5, Funny)

tepples (727027) | about 2 months ago | (#47437719)

Indians. Hmmm... So does this mean Microsoft is giving up IIS and switching to Apache?

How come... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47437537)

automation eliminates my job but never those jobs?

how hierachal is MS now? (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | about 2 months ago | (#47437553)

I've seen numerous talks/podcasts with MS employees and it seemed pretty flat. Many say things like my bosses boss (head of enterprise software) says we should XYZ for our customers. Maybe by the time you get invited to podcasts you are already pretty senior but a lot of them sounded like they were just a member of a team, ASP or C# say. If that is any indication of the hierachy though it probably is only 5-6 levels to the CEO which isn't bad when you have 130k employees basically breaking the company up with each junior manager managing 20 people, their manager managing 20 managers etc all the way up would do that.

Cutbacks...He means cutbacks... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47437561)

"reduce time it takes to get things done by having fewer people involved in each decision"

Get that resume ready folks...

Microsoft has done better than FOSS (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47437563)

In spite of the criticism of Microsoft under Steve Balmer, Microsoft, produced the fine Windows 7 Desktop Environment, which is superior to any Desktop Environment that the FOSS has produced, for the average American. They have better APIs, (no X11, or ALSA), better looking icons, and less bugs.

Re:Microsoft has done better than FOSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47437605)

And more NSA backdoors, which you can't verify and/or fix because it's proprietary software.

Principles and freedom are more important than being Shiny.

Replacing Xbox with FOSS? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 months ago | (#47437737)

Any idea on how to crate an alternative to Microsoft's Xbox business unit with "principles and freedom"? Historically, there haven't been a lot of major studio video games released as free software from day one.

Re: Microsoft has done better than FOSS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47437647)

You are a cocksucker.

Re:Microsoft has done better than FOSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47438083)

X11 is mostly just very old and the problems with sound in Linux is a design flaw in the kernel that's not going to get fixed any time soon.

Fucking MBA Speak (4, Funny)

Pete Venkman (1659965) | about 2 months ago | (#47437593)

MBA's have the amazing ability to fit a lot of words into very little meaning.

Hope He Succeeds (1)

assertation (1255714) | about 2 months ago | (#47437641)

Corporate culture has a way of pushing back.

Look at home lame Yahoo still is technically, even with former Google engineer Marissa Mayer as their CEO.

OTOH, engineers don't specialize in managing people and that is what is needed in changing a corporate culture. That is tough to do even with people who are talented with people, as well as people who aren't pregnant when taking over a company.

translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47437643)

Here come the cubicles, you know, to increase "the fluidity of information."

He wants to bring back the paperclip -- (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47437689)

...and, he's very big on out-sourcing and right-sizing.

Grade so far (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47437713)

Wants to change culture A+

Talks in manager Mumbo Jumbo F

Changing MS's corporate culture will be tough (2)

Streetlight (1102081) | about 2 months ago | (#47437973)

Changing MS's corporate culture will be comparable to driving a fully loaded mega oil tanker through the same S curves as Formula 1 cars traverse. In another word, impossible. By the time any minimal action is started in this area, Nadella will likely be retired or fired.

Company grading system (2)

semios (146723) | about 2 months ago | (#47438025)

He could start by changing the company's grading system from an "individual selection" to a "group selection" system since the individual selection fosters competition and group selection fosters cooperation.

In Plain English... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47438093)

We're going to be more transparent. We're going to make healthcare affordable for everyone. We're going to fix immigration. Oh, and we lost those emails because our hard drive crashed.
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