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Steve Ballmer Reorganizing Microsoft

timothy posted about a year ago | from the seat-of-power-chairs-of-strength dept.

Businesses 387

Nerval's Lobster writes "Microsoft's big reorganization has begun. Rumors had persisted for weeks that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was planning a massive, once-in-a-lifetime reorganization of the company he's been running for quite some time. Now the plan is out in the open, and things are going to change in huge ways. Microsoft will coalesce around 'a single strategy as one company,' CEO Steve Ballmer wrote in a really lengthy memo posted on Microsoft's Website, 'not a collection of division strategies.' The company's product portfolio — from Windows and Xbox to enterprise applications — will be regarded and operated upon in a holistic manner. Ballmer wants this 'one company' approach to extend how Microsoft handles its advertising, marketing and consumer-service operations. Ballmer also wants to knock down the walls that have slowly grown between Microsoft's various divisions, at least as far as engineering's concerned. The new 'engineering culture' will apparently facilitate collaboration 'across the company,' with an emphasis on cross-group contributions (and maintaining secrecy, of course, for the giant projects). Read on for much more on how Microsoft is reorganizing all its internal groups, as well as a rundown of who's in and who's out on the executive level."

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Fixed that for you (5, Insightful)

tom229 (1640685) | about a year ago | (#44250639)

Microsoft's big reorganization has begun. Rumors had persisted for weeks that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was planning a massive, once-in-a-lifetime reorganization of the company he's been ruining for quite some time.

Re:Fixed that for you (5, Funny)

chuckinator (2409512) | about a year ago | (#44250947)

Stories like this bring the phrase "rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic" to mind.

Re:Fixed that for you (5, Insightful)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year ago | (#44251155)

I wouldn't be so sure—Microsoft's terrible internal organization and infighting have been discussed at length in the past [] , and it's quite reasonable to say that this is the exact problem that makes their products what we despise. One tiny example: PowerShell was supposed to be an update for the Command Prompt, but because the group that wrote PowerShell wasn't the group in charge of the core system, it had to be shipped as a separate product. The fiefdom regime essentially makes it difficult or impossible to contribute to projects that aren't your own, creating huge barriers to contributing bugs; everything is its own little cathedral. Here's [] a more detailed rant on the technical consequences from an anonymous MS employee.

DOJ, pay attention (3, Insightful)

Thud457 (234763) | about a year ago | (#44251283)

Windows isn't done until Lotus won't run.

Expect to see more undocumented syscalls for Office Apps, IE, SQL Server, SMB, etc, etc.

Re:Fixed that for you (5, Funny)

91degrees (207121) | about a year ago | (#44251163)

There's a joke here about throwing deckchairs at the Titanic, somewhere. I just can't quite make it work.

Re:Fixed that for you (5, Funny)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year ago | (#44251275)

Except that when it comes to rearranging chairs, nobody is more efficient than Ballmer.

Re:Fixed that for you (4, Funny)

Almahtar (991773) | about a year ago | (#44251327)

We all know Ballmer is quite the whiz with chairs.

Re:Fixed that for you (3, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#44251503)

Well if the rumors that have been "surfacing" (pun intended) lately are true I owe a big "Sorry about that dude" to Sinofsky as rumor has it he wanted Windows 8 to really be 7.1 and he wanted Metro to be the new mobile and he got cockblocked by Ballmer who probably wears an "I heart Apple" shirt to work.

At the end of the day its business 101, give folks what they want to buy or they'll take their business elsewhere. Instead what we have is TBB (Typical Ballmer behavior) where he goes "Ohh you don't like our walled gardens and cellphone UIs? well fuck you will make it twice as nasty!". See win 8.1 having a "start button" that takes you back to the fucking Metro UI the user wants to get the hell away from in the first place for an example. I just hope when win 8.1 shits itself and bombs that the board will fire his fat ass and the other rumor,that ballmer can NEVER be fired thanks to gates backing his Little buddy" aren't true, or else by 2020 when Win 7 reaches EOL it'll see MSFT reach EOL with it and like 'em or hate 'em they are pretty much the only game in town unless you want a dumb terminal (Google) or an overpriced iToy that you can't upgrade or fix shit on.

Re:Fixed that for you (3, Interesting)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | about a year ago | (#44251005)

Didn't they reorganize as a engineering centric company around 2000 as well?

If only they had a real leader, they might be able to pull off this unified company concept...

Re:Fixed that for you (5, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#44251113)

Microsoft's big reorganization has begun. Rumors had persisted for weeks that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was planning a massive, once-in-a-lifetime reorganization of the company he's been ruining for quite some time.

To be fair, the company once had a rather singular approach the the market, but through expansion and growth it ended up looking like bloated octopus.

Expect some housecleaning to be a part of this re-org as redundancy is cut out, empires reigned in.

Re:Fixed that for you (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44251393)

empires reigned in


I see this mistake everywhere now. The word is spelled reined when used in this context. "Reigned" was something a king did. "Reined" refers to something that was curtailed or brought under control - i.e., "I reined in my horse," meaning, I slowed down my horse by pulling on the reins, which is where the expression came from.

Empires are not kings. Empires do not (or did not) rule something. Therefore, it has to be "reined."

Re:Fixed that for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44251183)

So thats more adverts with everything then ?

now there will be no bright spots (2)

swschrad (312009) | about a year ago | (#44251421)

it will all suck. total reorg with the same CEO who fostered the cluster? -- yah, sure, ya betcha then. Sven. so put some gas on the wood chipper and let's get it ready.

Executive summary. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44250647)

He's an idiot.

Ballmer to start wears black turthnecks? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44250655)


chair jokes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44250659)

"Ballmer also wants to knock down the walls"

Nah, too easy.

Re:chair jokes (4, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year ago | (#44250767)

"Ballmer also wants to knock down the walls"

Nah, too easy.

I was going to say "Steve Ballmer Reorganizing Microsoft ... he's starting with the chairs"

Re:chair jokes (4, Funny)

Adriax (746043) | about a year ago | (#44250971)

Brings forth the mental image of Ballmer looking critically while interns strain to hold up a couch, saying "Two inches to the left. Hrm, ok, now two inches to the right. Now another two inches to the left..." for an hour before having them set the couch back down exactly where it was.

Re:chair jokes (1)

dcollins (135727) | about a year ago | (#44251455)

Or becoming enraged and telling them to flip it out the window. (His back's not as good as it used to be.)

Re:chair jokes (2)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about a year ago | (#44250987)

Some Feng Shui will help Microsoft's energy flow.

Re:chair jokes (5, Funny)

redneckmother (1664119) | about a year ago | (#44250791)

"Ballmer also wants to knock down the walls"

Nah, too easy.

Well, I don't know 'bout that. After all, if there are no walls, why do they need Windows?

Re:chair jokes (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44250913)

Maybe MS is doing the same thing as BlackBerry?
BlackBerry's "engineering culture shift" has folks moving into "open concept collaboration spaces."
These consist of 6x6 desks arranged in a quad facing inwards, so you're always staring at 3 other people. The workspace dividers are 6" high, no shelves, no personal space. Chairs are back-to-back, so if you and Joe lean back at the same time you'll concuss each other.
Employees are being instructed to not voice their opinions on the move or they'll face discipline. I have heard everyone is very excited and energized by the new collaborative environment that's being shoved down their throats.

Re:chair jokes (5, Funny)

scottbomb (1290580) | about a year ago | (#44251023)

They've been quite busy destroying Windows so they will no longer be needed. Tearing down walls is just the next logical step.

Re:chair jokes (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44251359)

Are you saying that they will re-introduce _NSAKEY [] ?

Re:chair jokes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44251395)

ah THAT is how the new touch based interface is actually useful!

Re:chair jokes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44250855)

And where he wants to put windows in?

No Walls, no Windows...

What an idiot...

Not exactly the smartest... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44250687)

...thing to do. The last time a bunch of people were clumped together under a single umbrella, the ship hit an iceberg.

On the other hand, the stock price seemed to do well on the details of the reorg...I'm sure it would have gone another point higher if Ballmer had left. Sadly, the shareholders will have to do without that extra buck-o-share. :\

We know what that means? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44250725)

More tablet interfaces on the PC, more attempts to lock on the tablet as TV, more stupidity around attempting to turn a Gaming Console into a Media Center that replaces the tablet, the PC and everything else.

Or does he surprise us? Nope. He won't. We have seen what the plan with Windows 8 and instead of understanding that move was stupid they are going to attempt to force it in with all the power they can muster.

Sooo.. when is Mr. Ballmer leaving? (3, Insightful)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about a year ago | (#44250729)

Microsoft's Board of Directors need to fix the root cause of Microsoft's problems.

Unless and until Mr. Ballmer is shown the door, he will just continue re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, and Microsoft will continue its slow voyage to the bottom...

Re:Sooo.. when is Mr. Ballmer leaving? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44250799)

you mean c:\ cause

Re:Sooo.. when is Mr. Ballmer leaving? (1)

Trailer Trash (60756) | about a year ago | (#44251207)

If only I had mod points.

Re:Sooo.. when is Mr. Ballmer leaving? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44250895)

Ballmer will continue to make sure the chairs only seat yes men and others that are wise enough to incorporate Ballmer's "vision" into their proposals. At MS anything else is management suicide.

Ballmer will leave at some distant date after he damages MS beyond repair. Of course, his vision may be the right one, His implementation sucks, however,

Re:Sooo.. when is Mr. Ballmer leaving? (5, Interesting)

spd_rcr (537511) | about a year ago | (#44250933)

Hard to get rid of a guy who's fired or run-off all his potential replacements.

The big omission I noticed in the article was any mention of changes to the annual review process. Their current curved review approach does no encourage cooperation between employees, much less between divisions. The one-team approach needs to be supported from the bottom up, not just dictated from the top down.

Re:Sooo.. when is Mr. Ballmer leaving? (4, Funny)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | about a year ago | (#44251085)

I think they should outsource the CEO job. I hear Carly Fiorina is looking for a new challenge. :)

Re:Sooo.. when is Mr. Ballmer leaving? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44251245)

he will just continue re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic
But I don't know any person better than him at re-arranging the chairs.

Re:Sooo.. when is Mr. Ballmer leaving? (1)

just_a_monkey (1004343) | about a year ago | (#44251441)

I wouldn't worry. Surely Microsoft is Too Big To Fail.

Re:Sooo.. when is Mr. Ballmer leaving? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44251457)

The problem is, who will innovate for a meager paycheck, when they can do exceedingly much better starting on their own?
Microsoft is a dinosaur. They can keep buying up their superior competition, but they just can't innovate anymore.

To its advantage, Microsoft is a central hub, and making it more holistic makes alot of sense, if they just get their role as integrator right.
In that segment, Microsoft does not really have alot of competition. Never really has.
Apple could offer some, but never actually started a culture of innovation, just hero-worship, which ends badly when the hero passes away.

They can start ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44250733)

They can start by firing Ballmer. That's the only reorganization they need.

Ignoring customers is not a winning strategy. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44250743)

Unless you are Apple.

Sounds like a plan (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44250753)

Fantastic, because what I really need from Microsoft is more synergy between my office applications and the Xbox.

Re:Sounds like a plan (5, Funny)

zlives (2009072) | about a year ago | (#44250861)

you mean you are not happy with the xbox interface on your datacenter server

Re:Sounds like a plan (5, Funny)

ragefan (267937) | about a year ago | (#44250977)

you mean you are not happy with the xbox interface on your datacenter server

I know won't be happy until I can log in to my servers by flipping off my laptop's webcam and screaming: "BOOM! Headshot!!11!!!!"

Re:Sounds like a plan (4, Insightful)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about a year ago | (#44251059)

Well, Windows 8 is such a train wreck because they wanted to exploit the "synergy" between your PC, tablet and phone - even if/though your tablet runs iOS and your phone runs Android. This "re-org" is just more of the same kind of thinking.

Re:Sounds like a plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44251179)

I know you meant to be funny, but a while ago I saw on neogaf that MS has indeed registered domains seemingly related to xbox usage for small offices...

Re:Sounds like a plan (1)

kawabago (551139) | about a year ago | (#44251281)

The purpose is to streamline Microsoft so it can fail at only one thing at a time.

Re:Sounds like a plan (3, Interesting)

avandesande (143899) | about a year ago | (#44251379)

Having the SSRS/SQL Server team have their package work in VS 2010 would have been a start....

Fire your self ballmer (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44250761)

.. that would be a good start. He is the one running the company into the ground with fiascos like the metro-shit interface and then adding start button again, restrictive drm, the windows phone failure, RT tablet failure. Don't blame organization or engineering for that!

Its like crashing your car a few times and then blaming the manufacturer.

Well, this'll be amusing (3, Funny)

bunhed (208100) | about a year ago | (#44250775)

I distinctly hear the sound of swirling water

In the immortal words of Scooby Doo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44250787)

"Ruh Roh"

What else did you expect? (3, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#44250809)

Ballmer wants this 'one company' approach to extend how Microsoft handles its advertising, marketing and consumer-service operations.

Ballmer showing what parts of the company he thinks are important is what this looks like to me.

I rag on MS a ton, sometimes unfairly, but even they don't deserve to be stuck with Ballmer.

Reorg Strategy (5, Interesting)

zlives (2009072) | about a year ago | (#44250827)

based on Marketing department... WINNNNing

Buh-bye, Microsoft! (0, Troll)

Phoenix666 (184391) | about a year ago | (#44250873)

I spent an hour transitioning my brother-in-law from Windows 8 to Ubuntu on Sunday. His non-functioning, brand-new desktop went to lightening fast like that. Suddenly he could play all the games Windows 8 couldn't. He could use Steam, and interact with the OS and not have it hang for a minute with every click. I have never encountered such a grateful human in a like situation in 15 years.

Microsoft has stumbled very, very badly, and it is the moment for those of us who champion FOSS to pounce. If you know FOSS, do what you can now to liberate all those in your life who still beat on the ramparts of the Walled Garden. It might be the most significant thing you can do to advance the cause of freedom in your life.

Re:Buh-bye, Microsoft! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44251101)

I think Linux and Ubuntu are at the point where they can be used by the average user without any difficulties whatsoever for everyday tasks. The Linux kernel continues to make huge advances in hardware support, to the point where I don't even worry about new hardware I buy being supported. I just assume it will, and 99% of the time it just works. The other 1% of the time I'm able to provide some hack that I get off google to get it to work. That's about where Windows was when it got widespread adoption in the mid 90s. I remember having to hack inf files or mess with irq settings to get hardware to work back then (even PCI hardware). Linux in its current state is lightyears beyond that, and is on par with Windows 7 in terms of usability. In my book it suprasses Windows 8, and I'd wager that anyone who gave it a serious look would come to the same conclusion.

I echo the sentiment that now is the time for FOSS to take the lead, and those of us who have been immersed in it for many years need to help others into this wonderful world.

Re:Buh-bye, Microsoft! (5, Informative)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about a year ago | (#44251239)

I found a quicker fix for my dad's poorly performing new laptop. I removed the Norton virus. I did something similar with McAfee for a friend when it decided that the best way to protect her from the dangers of the internet was to disable her networking stack.

Re:Buh-bye, Microsoft! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44251317)

I did something similar with McAfee for a friend when it decided that the best way to protect her from the dangers of the internet was to disable her networking stack.

Well... you've gotta admit, it has a point there...

Door Wide Open (5, Funny)

Herkum01 (592704) | about a year ago | (#44250875)

If this Dilbert cartoon [] does not hit the nail on the head, I don't know what does.

Re:Door Wide Open (5, Funny)

Curupira (1899458) | about a year ago | (#44250991)

Perhaps this one [] .

Metro mother/Ribbon champion now in charge of Xbox (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44250901)

Julie Larson-Green, also in charge of Surface and games [] .

Mother of Metro [] .

Champion of Ribbon [] .

I for one am glad (5, Funny)

zlives (2009072) | about a year ago | (#44250903)

what SQL server needs is more tiles

Re:I for one am glad (5, Funny)

Cid Highwind (9258) | about a year ago | (#44251439)

...and more marketing synergies with other exciting products and services in the Microsoft ecosystem!

New dialect coming in SQL Server 2014: "BING USER_ID FROM USERS..."

Going down (2)

lesincompetent (2836253) | about a year ago | (#44250905)

The following image came to my mind: a huge zeppelin, quickly losing height, desperately but uselessly releasing ballast: you know - and they know - it is doomed to crash and you keep staring at it waiting for it to finally meet its doom. People inside are panicking, restlessly shuffling around, trying their best to save their asses in the upcoming crash.

Re:Going down (1)

1s44c (552956) | about a year ago | (#44251389)

If there are any chairs in that zeppelin Ballmer is the right man for the job.

Good (5, Insightful)

hsmith (818216) | about a year ago | (#44250935)

Most of the posts are hate, but good for Microsoft. It is a step in the right direction. Anyone who works/worked there will tell you the organization is very segregated. Business units fight one another and things aren't done in a cohesive manner.

But, Apple is very segregated as well and they seem to do alright. Perhaps it is just the culture at Microsoft that is the issue.

Perhaps they will finally end their silly employee review process as well - as people I know at MS absolutely hate it.

Re:Good (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about a year ago | (#44251057)

MS has resembled a kingdom of fiefdoms more than anything else. Certainly their cutthroat review process did not help in these matters. Apple is very segregated but everyone always knew that Jobs was in charge when it came to product decisions. With Jobs gone, maybe Ive has taken his place as final arbiter of products.

Re:Good (2)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year ago | (#44251231)

Most of the posts are hate

Microsoft wanted a monopoly of the desktop OS, and they got it.

Well, with that monopoly, they also get a monopoly of hate. They just need to accept that. And I don't think that they really mind, as long as all those PCs are shipping with Windows already installed.

Now . . . if folks switched from Microsoft PCs to Android devices . . . that might hurt their feelings a bit . . .

Re:Good (2)

1s44c (552956) | about a year ago | (#44251363)

I've seen the same kind of problems in other huge companies. You end up with 3 or 4 departments doing the same work as yours but it's impossible to find or contact them to start some cooperation with each other. If you ask anyone high up enough to have any kind of overview of what department does what it turns out they don't know anything more than the high level overview you can get from the intranet.

Ballmer is doing good by trying to fix Microsoft in this way but it won't work because he is a chair throwing monkey and MS is now too stale to beat Apple at anything.

Developer collaboration (5, Insightful)

Jeff Keenan (2965465) | about a year ago | (#44250941)

If they want the "engineering culture" to "facilitate collaboration across the company", they can start by getting rid of the Stack Rank review process. Why would I want to collaborate with someone who I'm competing for a top spot on the review chart with?

Devices and services? (4, Insightful)

SoupGuru (723634) | about a year ago | (#44250959)

I know it's popular to predict doom and gloom for Microsoft but I really don't understand what Balmer is thinking.

If they are transitioning to a devices and services company that kind of means they are transitioning away from the things that have made them successful.

I'm actually kind of giddy at the thought of some real competition in the corporate arena, seeing as how Microsoft continues to drop the ball.

Go buy a boat and retire. (5, Insightful)

Picass0 (147474) | about a year ago | (#44250969)

Knocking down the silos in an organization is generally a good thing. That said I doubt Ballmer knows what to do next. The smartest thing he could do is choose a successor.

Ballmer doesn't have vision. He doesn't understand the mobile market. Windows 8 was a disaster and MS continues to lose ground to Apple. The introduction of XBoxOne couldn't have been worse - great hardware crippled by licensing BS. Surface is overpriced and underselling next to Ipad and Android tablets.

I'm only suprised he hasn't been forced out.

Re:Go buy a boat and retire. (2)

Bieeanda (961632) | about a year ago | (#44251119)

He hasn't been forced out because they know he's learned to wield two chairs, Florentine style.

Re:Go buy a boat and retire. (1)

Picass0 (147474) | about a year ago | (#44251303)

I left out how most enterprises are STILL USING XP because Vista, 7 and 8 are all considered consumer grade operating systems by IT people.

Re:Go buy a boat and retire. (2)

maroberts (15852) | about a year ago | (#44251407)

I left out how most enterprises are STILL USING XP because Vista, 7 and 8 are all considered consumer grade operating systems by IT people.

In fairness, 7 is quite a good product. Maybe its like Star Trek in reverse; only odd numbered releases are any good.

The names (5, Informative)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#44250981)

Operating Systems Engineering Group. Terry Myerson will lead this group, and it will span all our OS work for console, to mobile device, to PC, to back-end systems. The core cloud services for the operating system will be in this group.

Devices and Studios Engineering Group. Julie Larson-Green will lead this group and will have all hardware development and supply chain from the smallest to the largest devices we build. Julie will also take responsibility for our studios experiences including all games, music, video and other entertainment.

Applications and Services Engineering Group. Qi Lu will lead broad applications and services core technologies in productivity, communication, search and other information categories.

Cloud and Enterprise Engineering Group. Satya Nadella will lead development of our back-end technologies like datacenter, database and our specific technologies for enterprise IT scenarios and development tools. He will lead datacenter development, construction and operation.

Dynamics. Kirill Tatarinov will continue to run Dynamics as is, but his product leaders will dotted line report to Qi Lu, his marketing leader will dotted line report to Tami Reller and his sales leader will dotted line report to the COO group.

Advanced Strategy and Research Group. Eric Rudder will lead Research, Trustworthy Computing, teams focused on the intersection of technology and policy, and will drive our cross-company looks at key new technology trends.

Marketing Group. Tami Reller will lead all marketing with the field relationship as is today. Mark Penn will take a broad view of marketing strategy and will lead with Tami the newly centralized advertising and media functions.

COO. Kevin Turner will continue leading our worldwide sales, field marketing, services, support, and stores as well as IT, licensing and commercial operations.

Business Development and Evangelism Group. Tony Bates will focus on key partnerships especially our innovation partners (OEMs, silicon vendors, key developers, Yahoo, Nokia, etc.) and our broad work on evangelism and developer outreach. DPE, Corporate Strategy and the business development efforts formerly in the BGs will become part of this new group. OEM will remain in SMSG with Kevin Turner with a dotted line to Tony who will work closely with Nick Parker on key OEM relationships.

Finance Group. Amy Hood will centralize all product group finance organizations. SMSG finance, which is geographically diffuse, will report to Kevin Turner with a dotted line to Amy.

Legal and Corporate Affairs Group. Brad Smith will continue as General Counsel with responsibility for the company's legal and corporate affairs and will map his team to the new organization.

HR Group. Lisa Brummel will lead Human Resources and map her team to the new organization.

start with kicking out Ballmer (3, Insightful)

KernelMuncher (989766) | about a year ago | (#44250993)

Any reputable consulting company would start with the suggestion that Ballmer fire himself.

Microsoft has been technically stagnant for most of the thirteen years since Ballmer took over (which is reflected in the company's flat stock price since 2002). The string of product failures under Ballmer is cringe worthy: Vista, Kin, Zune, Windows 8, Windows phone, Surface, never-ending security problems, etc. Almost every major computing trend during that time (portable music, phones, tablets, social media, etc) under Ballmer has been mishandled. About the only thing the company has done right is the Xbox and I don't think that makes them any money. It's only the legacy of the corporate purchases of the Windows OS and Office that keep the Microsoft going. And that trend was started long before Ballmer ever took office.

Re:start with kicking out Ballmer (5, Insightful)

RichMan (8097) | about a year ago | (#44251135)

If they were not MS with a huge pile of cash Xbox would have been a failure. The initial hardware failure rate on shipped product was staggering. A lesser company would have been destroyed by that.

Xbox should have been a hard lesson that MS management did not know anything about shipping physical units instead of software. Instead they learned "hardware reliabilty is important". They did not learn the marketing and usability stuff that Apple has hands down.

Microsoft is so big it can bull through mistakes which lead to the Windows 8 "issue". Which is about 3 or more problems all in one.

Re:start with kicking out Ballmer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44251297)

Playstation 2 had a much higher hardware failure rate than the Xbox 360 (assuming that's what you're referring to). PS2 ended up going through 14 hardware revisions over its lifetime.

Re:start with kicking out Ballmer (1)

1s44c (552956) | about a year ago | (#44251167)

The problems with windows are so deeply set in that there is literally nothing he could have done to really fix the non-stop security problems. Windows already had all the market so there really wasn't anywhere to grow. Gates left when MS really had nowhere to go but down.

Bullmer may look like a retarded monkey but he didn't do too bad collecting money for bug-ridden and insecure software that by all rights should have been condemned to the scrapheap of history before Gates even left.

Re:start with kicking out Ballmer (2)

nine-times (778537) | about a year ago | (#44251353)

I wouldn't say that the Xbox was "done right". It still had massive technical problems, forcing recalls. Since announcing the Xbox One, they've reversed many of the decisions that they had made, since those decisions had angered their target audience. Even with those things fixed, I still won't be buying one, even though I'm just the kind of person who buys expensive consoles.

Re:start with kicking out Ballmer (2)

JustNiz (692889) | about a year ago | (#44251401)

>> About the only thing the company has done right is the Xbox

Um nope. The fiasco with the DRM issue and the new Xbox launch was VERY cringeworthy.

Antitrust? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44250999)

So Ballmer wants to knock down the walls between rthe divisions. But weren't exactly those walls always Microsoft's best defence against antitrust accusations that the applications division was using knowledge about Windows which is not available to the competition?

Re:Antitrust? (1)

WillgasM (1646719) | about a year ago | (#44251203)

You're not that likely to get sued for creating a competitive advantage when the company is failing anyway.

So.. (1)

Jawcracker Fuzz (1773468) | about a year ago | (#44251027)

They are going to start using Bitkeeper or what?

* yawns * (1)

tatman (1076111) | about a year ago | (#44251041)

Not at the slashdot post but what Ballmer said and executive did. Customers (other than programmers) don't care of the code bases are the same for windows phone, surface and xbox. They don't care if the hardware side has synergies either. They care about cost and functionality.

This was not about customers as much as trying to alleviate pressure from money managers, fund managers and big investment houses.

More like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44251055)

...rearranging the deck chairs. Don't make fun of his methods! Some people slide or carry them around whilst Steve likes to throw them.

Has to be said (1)

1s44c (552956) | about a year ago | (#44251063)

Ein world, Ein company, Ein Steve Ballmer.

what happened to the term programs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44251153)

Did anyone else gag when office was referred to as an "App"?

Continuity across platforms (3, Insightful)

milbournosphere (1273186) | about a year ago | (#44251157)

Microsoft will consolidate all its major operating systems, including Windows, Windows Phone and the software that powers the Xbox, under Terry Myerson, who handled engineering for only Windows Phone before.

I wonder if this will lead to any significant rethink of things on the desktop side. Windows 8 has a bit of an identity crisis going on; perhaps Win9 or whatever they decide to call it will solve that problem now that all of the OS design groups are under one tidy grouping.

Better headline: (1)

TBedsaul (95979) | about a year ago | (#44251171)

"Iceberg Reorganizing Titanic"

How will he do it? (3, Insightful)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year ago | (#44251177)

Word Star had more users than the population of Bangladesh, Word Perfect was loved by the secretaries and Lotus 1-2-3 was worshiped by the accountants. Still Microsoft won them all, by hook or crook. Even if it is mostly by crook, it won. It needed employees with intense competitive focus to achieve that. All the people in the early days who had the fire in the belly to make their company succeed have all either burnt out, cashed out, shut out.

People who are left behind all came of age when Microsoft had almost mythical powers. It could squelch competition by FUD, All it took was an announcement of vaporware and the funding for start-ups who could compete would just evaporate. These guys simply are not capable of competing on a level playing field. And the playing field is tilted against Microsoft now. The earlier era minions of Gates have earned the enmity of vast sections of the computer professionals. And so many of their partners fear them and do not trust them.

Unless it is something radical like splitting the company into an OS division, a consumer products division, corporate server products division and all competing at full throttle it is not going to work.

Refusing change in a wold that changed. (3, Insightful)

goruka (1721094) | about a year ago | (#44251201)

Nowadays, most of the software industry works together in open technologies that are widely used, like Linux, BSD, Apache, Webkit, Firefox, LLVM, PHP, OpenGL, Freetype, Android, etc. This is one of the reasons about why we've seen so many amazing products come out in such a short time the past decade.

Microsoft still believes they can do everything by themselves and they are starting to really fall behind. They were never a very efficient company, as their products reached maturity by iterating several years over several versions. Now, instead of accepting that the world has decided to embrace open technologies as foundation to most products, they are desperate to find ways to stay competitive with their current business model, and aggressively go after those who use open technologies to get patent money.

Why is it so difficult for Ballmer and Gates to admit that they can't compete anymore, no matter how many times they restructure their company? It's one company vs the world at this point.

Good - if only one thing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44251211)

As some who needs to deal with this periodically - does this mean Outlook might use IE's rendering engine for HTML email, instead of Word's?

What a brainfck that is.

O.O (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44251247)

One of the most intelligent things I've ever heard attributed to the man. Guess even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then. I'm sure a chair will fly, and we can return to normalcy soon.

So, how does Exchange fit in? (1)

swb (14022) | about a year ago | (#44251299)

From the reorg'd groups:

"Applications and Services Engineering Group: Led by Qi Lu, and tasked with handling broad applications and services core technologies in productivity, communication, search and other information categories.

Cloud and Enterprise Engineering Group: As the name suggests, this group will concentrate on datacenter, database, and other enterprise technologies."


I could see it fitting in to both sides. Clearly with Office365 they are making a big push for Exchange-as-a-service and short-sighted VARs like mine are happily turning over meaningful service revenue on Exchange for the pennies per month spiff we get for Office365 just to be cloud-mumble-mumble-mumble.

It seems to me, though, that there's a fair amount of overlap and obvious opportunities to create conflict here as the line blurs between hosted/service/cloud systems (like email) and traditionally deployed systems (like email).

'One Company" (1)

Snufu (1049644) | about a year ago | (#44251335)

Ballmer's grand vision is for every employee to 'squirt' in unison.

On the other hand... (2)

Somebody Is Using My (985418) | about a year ago | (#44251337)

Taking a different approach from most of these comments, I think a reorganization is exactly what Microsoft needs. It has long been known that the individual departments of Microsoft rarely communicate well between themselves and often seem actively hostile towards one another. I remember reading an article (when Office 97 came out, so this shows how far back this problem goes) about how the OS team was upset that Office utilized a goodly number of non-standard tricks rather than using the standard APIs. Thus, moving forward the OS team had to add in shims into their OS to ensure that its Office suite would continue to function in later versions of Windows. Or years later, how PlaysForSure didn't, on the Zune. Each division had its own methods and goals and rarely would they consider the needs of the other divisions. So a re-organization that helps solve some of these issues is probably long overdue.
(incidentally, a telling graphic of this problem is the following cartoon [] )

On the gripping hand, I have to wonder if Balmer is really the best person to enact these changes; he hasn't inspired confidence with his recent (or any?) decisions. Similarly, I suspect that this "one company approach" is less to solve internal problems and more to officially shift the whole company from product-based development (e.g., write a program and sell it to the customers) to a service-based company (e.g., continual subscription-based access to its portfolio of services). , which is a direction Microsoft has been edging towards for over a decade.

Bingo overflow... (2)

gstrickler (920733) | about a year ago | (#44251437)

My Buzzword Bingo card was completed in the first 3 paragraphs of Ballmer's memo. By the end, I only had a few unmarked spaces on each card.

Strategy based on Fail (3, Insightful)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about a year ago | (#44251459)

FTFA: "launching Windows 8 and Surface, moving to continuous product cycles, bringing a consistent user interface to PCs, tablets, phones and Xbox "

I've never heard so much Fail mentioned in one sentence before. If those are supposed to be the largest representative of Microsoft's successes in the past decade, they are really, really, really screwed.

So which part of this is supposed to help? (2)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#44251477)

I'm looking at this and figuring out what part of it really changes anything. Lumping together gaming and hardware is silly, for example. I remember a hiring freeze at MS Gaming Studios across the entirety of their projects, regardless of whether specific groups were turning a profit. An easy metric to examine when your teams are scattered across the nation (world?), but they didn't bother.

Now MS Gaming Studios is lumped in with the group responsible for Zune and Surface? and presumably Windows Phone? One more reason to go PS4 if you really need a next-gen console.

He opened the second envelope. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44251517)

One more to go....

A fellow had just been hired as the new CEO of a large high tech corporation. The CEO who was stepping down met with him privately and presented him with three numbered envelopes. "Open these if you run up against a problem you don't think you can solve," he said.

Well, things went along pretty smoothly, but six months later, sales took a downturn and he was really catching a lot of heat. About at his wit's end, he remembered the envelopes. He went to his drawer and took out the first envelope. The message read, "Blame your predecessor."

The new CEO called a press conference and tactfully laid the blame at the feet of the previous CEO. Satisfied with his comments, the press -- and Wall Street - responded positively, sales began to pick up and the problem was soon behind him.

About a year later, the company was again experiencing a slight dip in sales, combined with serious product problems. Having learned from his previous experience, the CEO quickly opened the second envelope. The message read, "Reorganize." This he did, and the company quickly rebounded.

After several consecutive profitable quarters, the company once again fell on difficult times. The CEO went to his office, closed the door and opened the third envelope.

The message said, "Prepare three envelopes."

listen to your customers (1)

beefoot (2250164) | about a year ago | (#44251521)

Rule #1: Listen to your goddamn customers. We don't want the stupid metro interface or 24/7 DMCA crap. Get rid of them. Rule #2: Go to #1
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