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Say What? Wading Through the Nonsense In Microsoft's Re-Org Memo

timothy posted about a year ago | from the spend-more-time-with-family dept.

Businesses 165

curtwoodward writes "Steve Ballmer's attempt to reorganize Microsoft into a more focused company will define his legacy as CEO. So you'd think the wordsmiths in Redmond would take a little time ensuring their message was crystal-clear, right? Not exactly. Ballmer's big, gung-ho memo to Microsofties, posted on the company's website, is chock full of nonsense and corporate executive doublespeak — or, as Ballmer might say, `high-value experiences' that will `involve repartitioning the work' and `drive partners across our integrated strategy and its execution.' Huh?" Honest language in corporate communications is a rare quality. I suspect there's a special language-butchering training course that most C-level executives enthusiastically complete.

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They are now generating memos entirely with this (5, Funny)

Ralph Barbagallo (2881145) | about a year ago | (#44270993)

http://www.dack.com/web/bullshit.html [dack.com] Easy, no need to hire copywriters anymore.

Re:They are now generating memos entirely with thi (2)

siddesu (698447) | about a year ago | (#44271139)

Ostap Bender lives!

Re:They are now generating memos entirely with thi (5, Interesting)

cultiv8 (1660093) | about a year ago | (#44271291)

I was in times square yesterday, the news ticker said "Steve Ballmer re-asserts direction of Microsoft". I am beginning to believe you're right.

Re:They are now generating memos entirely with thi (5, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#44271821)

Well what is he gonna say? "Hi, I want Wall street to kiss my behind and love me like they do Apple so I'm gonna burn the company to the ground by being MORE expensive, MORE cellphone like (since iPhone is kicking our behinds) and with more walled gardens and even higher apps! What could possibly go wrong, it works for Apple right?"

I wonder if in 5 years we'll take of "The Ballmer Effect" where a CEO has such a disconnect from reality that he'll torch the company trying to make it something it isn't. if Ballmer reads this let me make this perfectly clear, okay? Hey Steve...if I wanted a tablet I'D BUY A FRICKING TABLET so stop trying to jam a tablet UI onto my PC, okay buddy? And we sure as hell ain't paying apple money for Windows Steve, that plan is as retarded as Walmart raising prices 5000% and thinking that means they can compete with Macy's, its a different demographic dude and you can't slap a coat of paint on a Pinto and sell it for Porsche money, its just not gonna work, its a giant bloated failwhale on the beach of life.

Re:They are now generating memos entirely with thi (1)

Angeret (1134311) | about a year ago | (#44271921)

Whilst there's more chance of me growing a third cock than there is of Steve "Chairmaster" Ballmer reading that, I can only say that I wish I had mod points to give. That was spot on.

The Real Memo (4, Insightful)

deanklear (2529024) | about a year ago | (#44272513)

Dear business community:

Please pay no attention to the news that we are sending pretty much everything you type directly to the NSA in exchange for buckets of cash and favors. Especially you, China! Losing our entire strategy for southeast Asia would probably hurt the stock price. Hah! If those idiots knew!

Also, for those of you who like Windows 8 except for the forced UI change, you're shit out of luck. It's a thing I've said is good, therefore it is good, and the millions of customers desperately fleeing the platform have no effect on how I view that decision. Because I'm a really smart business guy. Look, I'm in a suit and tie!

All the best,
Steve Ballmer

Re:They are now generating memos entirely with thi (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44272577)

Do you really have to use the disgusting slur perpetuating hateful stereotypes against persons with intellectual disability?

Re:They are now generating memos entirely with thi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44271861)

If Ballmer's corporate reorganization strategy is anything like that of Thorsten Heins at BlackBerry (nee Research In Motion), then Microsoft will be irrelevant within a year.

Re:They are now generating memos entirely with thi (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year ago | (#44271357)

no need to hire copywriters

You used that spelling in the correct context[1]. Is you one of them there fancy-ass book-larned college boys?

[1] i.e. not as in trademarks and patents.

Re:They are now generating memos entirely with thi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44271573)

Thanks for the link! I'm going to try the BS Generator out at work next time I need to give a report to my VP and see what happens :)

Re:They are now generating memos entirely with thi (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44271621)

Yay, certain companies should definitely use that generator - the first thing Ive got was "maximize sexy interfaces". Sounds much better than the usual human-generated "penis enlargement" phrase i am getting in spam...

Re:They are now generating memos entirely with thi (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#44271813)

Reminds me of the old Dilbert Mission Statement generator. Loads of fun.

Re:They are now generating memos entirely with thi (4, Informative)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#44271841)

Here's something similar that you can tweak:

http://cmorse.org/missiongen/ [cmorse.org]

Re: They are now generating memos entirely with th (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44272581)

Who gives a shit?

fp (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44270999)

Frsit psot!!!!!!!!!!111!1!1!1!1!1

Just like the bullshit generator (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44271023)

This shit is just like the bullshit out of that : http://cbsg.sourceforge.net/cgi-bin/live

Re:Just like the bullshit generator (1)

timothy (36799) | about a year ago | (#44271453)

So they're using open source software in the executive suite -- hurrah! ;)

Re:Just like the bullshit generator (2)

war4peace (1628283) | about a year ago | (#44272495)

Believe it or not, I have that bookmarked and I throw a phrase from there in meetings every now and then just for kicks. Nobody ever dares say anything. They'd look stupid if they say "I don't understand that" and are afraid to mess up if they make a positive comment.

Take It Back (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44271025)

Ballmer will make you want to take back those nasty things you said about Bill Gates in the late '90s.

Re:Take It Back (5, Funny)

binarylarry (1338699) | about a year ago | (#44271199)

What people don't know is that Ballmer is a secret Linux FOSS champion. In reality, he's actually Richard Stallman's secret half brother and together they're going to bring down the largest proprietary software company in the world.

Re:Take It Back (3, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year ago | (#44271503)

In reality, he's actually Richard Stallman's secret half brother

Maybe if Richard Stallman shaved off all his hair, we'd be able to see the family resemblance . . . ?

Or we could photoshop one of Amanda Bynes' wigs onto Steve Ballmer and see if he looked like Stallman . . . ?

Actually, Steve Ballmer, wearing an Amanda Bynes wig . . . would look frighteningly like Amanda Bynes . . . wearing an Amanda Bynes wig.

Re:Take It Back (5, Funny)

chromas (1085949) | about a year ago | (#44271539)

Actually, all three are played by Fred Savage.

Re:Take It Back (1)

Arashi256 (1804688) | about a year ago | (#44271643)

Oh, for mod points...

Re:Take It Back (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | about a year ago | (#44272057)

Actually, Steve Ballmer, wearing an Amanda Bynes wig . . . would look frighteningly like Amanda Bynes . . . wearing an Amanda Bynes wig.

Recently I saw a picture of Amanda Bynes on the cover of a supermarket checkout gossip rag and my first reaction is she looked like Eddie from the Iron Maiden album covers. [wikimedia.org]

Re:Take It Back (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44271799)

How many dicks have you sucked today? Is it true you pay gay men to shit on your face?

Re:Take It Back (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | about a year ago | (#44271761)

Ballmer will make you want to take back those nasty things you said about Bill Gates in the late '90s.

Quite the opposite. Although I disagree with his business practices at least Gates had an occasional original idea. All Balmer does is ape whatever Apple (and to a lesser extent Google) is doing.

Re:Take It Back (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#44272985)

at least Gates had an occasional original idea

Such as? Serious question.

Re:Take It Back (1)

zbaron (649094) | about a year ago | (#44273069)

DONKEY.BAS, of course!

Prerequisite (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44271043)

I suspect there's a special language-butchering training course that most C-level executives enthusiastically complete.

Yes, the prerequisite is a minimum of two years as an editor for slashdot.

Re:Prerequisite (1)

meerling (1487879) | about a year ago | (#44271777)

And here I thought they just used a corptalk plugin for MS Office to automate the process.
If there's a way to automagically decryt that garbage back into intelligible speech, it could be the new way of confusing the jerks spying on our email. As a side benefit, it'll probably make the government spybots overload a few vital components if they try to read enough of them. :)

Ever wonder? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44271047)

Have you ever watched an interview with Ballmer and after thought to yourself "Did he actually answer any questions?"
Ballmer: "We pass the TCP/IP stack into a business flow analysis helping our customers make better decisions!" /Ballmer smiles.
Interviewer: "Wow, you guys are busy. Way over my head."
Ballmer: "Just look for it this fall on stores. You'll be pleased we fixed the UDP experience problems with VB."

Where is the actual story?

Re:Ever wonder? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#44271211)

Have you ever watched an interview with Ballmer and after thought to yourself "Did he actually answer any questions?"

He should have gone into politics.

(Maybe this is him buffing up his portfolio.)

"Deterrence deterrence deterrence!" (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year ago | (#44271425)

He should have gone into politics.

Lawks a mercy!

While he's not exactly the last person I'd want to be within arms length of the big red button, he's certainly not in the top half of the list.

If Neapolitano can move from DHS to University of (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44271737)

See title

Re:"Deterrence deterrence deterrence!" (1)

meerling (1487879) | about a year ago | (#44271791)

I can think of a lot of people I'd trust with the 'big red button'. Not one of them is a politician, but still, lots of people.

CE (2)

Snufu (1049644) | about a year ago | (#44271069)

D'OH!

Re:CE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44271579)

C-E-(Annoyed grunt)!

The new slogan (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44271083)

"Champions, champions, champions, champions, champions!"

It's doubly normal (3, Insightful)

aglider (2435074) | about a year ago | (#44271095)

For both Microsoft and C-level execs.

Language is designed for communication (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44271941)

It is axiomatic that a person who cannot write in a clearly in a literate manner lacks the ability to think through their ideas clearly and put them into effective words. What magic will they conjure suddenly to be able to direct other managers with clearly defined specific tasks to accomplish concrete objectives? Alas, this is the pattern with many "modern" corporations. This possibly explains why economic growth is not as fast as we would like.

  The word “inchoate” comes to mind. Followed by the words “Libre Office.”

It gets worse (4, Insightful)

plover (150551) | about a year ago | (#44271189)

If you can actually parse the bull, it does have some actual meaning underneath it, and what it says isn't necessarily a good thing.

"We will pull together disparate engineering efforts today into a coherent set of our high-value activities. This will enable us to deliver the most capability—and be most efficient in development and operations—with the greatest coherence to all our key customers.”

This says that smart people won't be able to work on small, high functioning teams like they need to. Instead, itsounds like they're going to break up teams and pool their people. This will have the effect of making everyone equally mediocre, which is not what they need.

“Some of these changes will involve putting things together and others will involve repartitioning the work, but in all instances we will be more coherent for our users and developers.”

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." What value does he deliver if everything is the same? This squashes out room for innovation.

This memo is not only gobbledygook, it's hiding some really bad practices.

Re:It gets worse, or better? (2)

sleepypsycho (1335401) | about a year ago | (#44271345)

I agree with you and with Curt Woodward's final summation, "It makes sense, if you can stay awake." There is some meaning behind the catch phrases. I also agree with you that it about putting the overall company goals above the idiosyncratic.

I disagree that this is necessarily bad or means removing small high functioning teams. The ability for a developer to create an application that functions is different environments, such as desk top, cloud and tablet is significant. What is means for Microsoft is understanding requirements, a high level vision, and how to generate a standard across team. This is the kind of thing a large company can do. They can make their own de facto standard and stick to it. Sometime that means their engineers can't do things the most natural way for a specific environment, but being intuitive for the internal engineer is not the most important element of the product. How it suits the customers, such as an external engineer and end users is what matters.

Sure their needs to be tailoring by the external engineer so that the application would suite a give format. But this is a lot different than having to retool the whole thing because each technology from the same company is fundamentally different.

Re:It gets worse, or better? (3, Interesting)

cusco (717999) | about a year ago | (#44272121)

From my own observation of MS there are no "small high functioning teams" there for very long. Any truly effective small team gets snapped up by an ambitious manager higher up the corporate pecking order, it gets re-directed (generally on a task unrelated to whatever their previous focus was), and then the team is either bloated by unnecessary personnel being added or it fragments.

Re:It gets worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44271553)

“Some of these changes will involve putting things together and others will involve repartitioning the work, but in all instances we will be more coherent for our users and developers.”

They're going to give Notepad a ribbon.

Re:It gets worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44271705)

They're going to give clippy a Corvette.

Re:It gets worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44271627)

Microsoft needs preloads, not innovation. The problem in 2013 is that there are so many computers sold without any Microsoft products on them to overwrite.

Re:It gets worse ... EVP message from the CEO? Zzz (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44271763)

AKA "We need to be more efficient". This is a bean counter message and hardly worthy of getting anyone on Wall Street excited. Microsoft is very competent at tending the fields and squeezing dollars out of their legacy products and intellectual property. Newer products always come across as poorly designed and not exciting enough to attract me as an early adopter. This isn't news. It's just more of the same.

Re:It gets worse (3, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#44271981)

"We will pull together disparate engineering efforts today into a coherent set of our high-value activities. This will enable us to deliver the most capabilityâ"and be most efficient in development and operationsâ"with the greatest coherence to all our key customers.â

This says that smart people won't be able to work on small, high functioning teams like they need to. Instead, itsounds like they're going to break up teams and pool their people.

I think your translation is a bit off. What he is saying is that they are going to try and stop all the duplication of effort that has taken place in the past. MS has several different and independently developed UI toolkits, the advertising platforms for Bing and XBox 360 are separate. Even Windows CE and Windows Phone were not close enough to benefit from each other's development, so for example the version of .NET for CE is even more crippled and doesn't get updates that the Windows Phone version does.

It's apparently taken 20 years to realize this. In some ways its more risky because it means picking a technology and running with it rather than having several and letting the most successful win. He is right though, it's better for customers. We got screwed by .NET for CE being abandoned, for example.

Re:It gets worse (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#44273035)

I think your translation is a bit off. What he is saying is that ...

That there is so much room for debate says much about the clarity of the writing. In practice it means whatever somebody wants it to mean, which means that it means nothing.

Re: It gets worse -- Australia's CSIRO has done th (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44272047)

Geoff Garret brought in the "One CSIRO" strategy and

Re: It gets worse -- Australia's CSIRO has done t (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44272063)

(Oops). ... Did untold damage. Operating overheads went through the roof, and it is now virtually impossible to do small well focused work (at least in many divisions). CSIRO has seen it' 80th birthday, but unless things change I won't be holding my breath for a centenary.

So, if we want a roadmap for Microsoft....

Re: It gets worse -- Australia's CSIRO has done t (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#44273041)

Did untold damage. Operating overheads went through the roof, and it is now virtually impossible to do small well focused work (at least in many divisions). CSIRO has seen it' 80th birthday, but unless things change I won't be holding my breath for a centenary.

It's nice to know that some country other than the US is screwing up one of its premier research institutions. On second thought, no it's not.

Re:It gets worse (1)

beowulfcluster (603942) | about a year ago | (#44272229)

Doesn't "We will strive for a single experience for everything in a personâ(TM)s life that matters. One experience, one company, one set of learnings, one set of apps, and one personal library of entertainment, photos and information everywhere. One store for everything. Microsoft has the clear opportunity to offer consumers a unified experience across all aspects of their life, whether the screen is a small wearable, a phone, a tablet, an 85-inch display or other screens and devices we have not yet even imagined." basically translate to "We wish we were Apple :("?

Re:It gets worse (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#44273005)

we will be more coherent

They're going to work on lasers!

Double-speak (1)

cyberspittle (519754) | about a year ago | (#44271223)

Executives and managers like to use double-speak in order to obfusticate messages. A good example is a company being more global-oriented. That mean "no local" and ultimately your job will be outsourced.

So good (4, Funny)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#44271229)

Re:So good (2)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a year ago | (#44272475)

These were, after all, the people who, for many years, deployed the Critical Notification Update Tool. True story! [wikipedia.org]

Re:So good (2)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a year ago | (#44272485)

Gah. Gah. Gah. Gah. Why, oh why doesn't Slashdot have an edit function? (Yeah, yeah, I know, use the freakin' preview. I did, but didn't see it until after I hit submit.) Critical Update Notification Tool, of course. Great joke, down the toilet.

Sprayed coffee out my nose (1)

phamNewan (689644) | about a year ago | (#44271237)

I deal with that doublespeak so much that ready Curt's summary made me spray coffee. Damn that hurt, but I will be smiling the rest of the day.

I have gotten more than a few dirty looks for playing buzzword bingo.

The Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44271249)

For those who don't want to read the memo:

1. Long opening explaining what the memo is about.
2. A bit about the history of the company.
3. Pep.
4. Rally.
5. Hype.
6. Wait, "core offerings, like ... our EA offer"? Like, EA the video game company? Is this some kind of mutual soul-mates agreement?
7. Improve things by continuing to do the same things until we decide to change things at some later date.
8. MS has an "evangelism and business development team"!?
9. "This mean we will organize the company by function: .... Business Development and Evangelism,..." I guess they do.
10. Implication that basic company departments "Marketing,....Finance, HR, Legal, and COO" weren't already distinct departments.
11. The actual organization notes. They're actually organized into individual departments with a clear declaration of who will be in charge of what.
12. People leaving the company.
13. Glossary of CEO single-word expressions.
14. Conclusion and support for the theory of evolution.

I've seen similar slogans before ... (4, Interesting)

boorack (1345877) | about a year ago | (#44271269)

Every person who lived in soviet block remembers similiar slogans. It was everywhere: in communist factories, on the streets, everywhere. For me current form of corporate capitalism is very similiar to old communist system. These are two sides of the same coin: centralization. Corporate central planning masquerading itself as "free market" (which it isn't) with almost the same side effects, parasites (party comrades in old system, corporate CEOs in new system) and inefficiencies. This will fall sooner or later in the same way old soviet system has fallen.

Re:I've seen similar slogans before ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44271313)

First world governments are forcing this on companies and companies are paying the blackmail to stay alive. Imagine that.

Re:I've seen similar slogans before ... (2)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about a year ago | (#44271361)

First world governments are run BY companies. The politicians are all their cronies, because the companies control the funds and media they use to get elected.

Re:I've seen similar slogans before ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44271937)

You can't buy what isn't for sale and if you're going to treat politicians like they're victims in this I'll just dismiss you as a stupid fucking bitch. Are we clear on this?

Re:I've seen similar slogans before ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44271567)

Agreed.

Furthermore, the march of globalization will invariably lead towards destruction of variety i.e. the real riches of the world. My gut says about 1/3 of the world has been erased since industrial revolution, which is somewhat okay since in return we built tremendously on our knowledge and capacities (another kind of variety). The rate has accelerated, and again, my gut says the second 1/3 will be destroyed by 2050, but this time it will be different - we get nearly nothing in return. Maybe I have a too bleak outlook on our future life. Please, someone add an optimistic tangent or thought to lighten my mood.

Re:I've seen similar slogans before ... (1)

TuringTest (533084) | about a year ago | (#44271855)

If anyone thought that capitalism leads to free market, they have ample evidence now that this is not the case.

Free markets are the result of lightweight regulation - if you eliminate all regulation altogether, the natural result of capitalism is concentration of power (because capitalism is, by definition, concentration of wealth in a few hands).

He's fighting for his job (2)

jayhawk88 (160512) | about a year ago | (#44271289)

Microsoft can't seem to do anything right on the consumer front, and while pushing customers into the cloud may get them a nice reliable monthly subscription from a lot of shops, it's also a dangerous gambit, as it increases the odds that shops will abandon the Windows desktop OS or eventually move their services to another provider.

It's a very dangerous time for Microsoft right now. They'll still be selling a whole fark ton of software/services, but if they don't grow at the rate that Wall Street expects them too, their stock will start taking a beating and then the spiral starts.

I was going to post about his stock but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44271351)

Ballmer isn't a major holder anymore. Bill is still there and some others - but no Steve. [yahoo.com]

And no votes to squash any ouster.

Ooooo, maybe his job is hanging on a thread.

But he's a billionaire. He could always go on and start another company - he wouldn't need his own money. There'd be plenty of folks who'd invest just because he was CEO of MS.

Re:I was going to post about his stock but.... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44272011)

it's on a thread.. that's why he is again getting rid of everyone who could replace him. that's what the reorg is about, they haven't been performing that badly as teams they are now it's just their objectives which have been set to total fuckdisaster.

From Bllmer's Memo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44271297)

We will reshape how we interact with our customers, developers and key innovation partners, delivering a more coherent message and family of product offerings.

A more coherent message to their customers.

OK.

Apparently not a more coherent message to their employees.

And judging by his frequent use of the word "coherent" and its other forms, I would love to say to Mr. Ballmer, "You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means."

Double Speak This (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44271319)

...Buffering Bullshit...

Scott McNealy was well known for this.... (4, Interesting)

tlambert (566799) | about a year ago | (#44271327)

Scott McNealy was well known for this.... at Sun, "put all our wood behind 1 arrow" was one of his favorite phrases.

Microsoft's market cap is 299B; Oracle's is 144B, so at least they aren't destined to be purchased by Oracle yet...

Re:Scott McNealy was well known for this.... (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#44273063)

How about a an LBO [wikipedia.org] ?

Ballmer at Tanagra? (5, Funny)

A10Mechanic (1056868) | about a year ago | (#44271335)

Shaka. When the walls fell.

Re:Ballmer at Tanagra? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44271531)

+1 this should 5 Funny

Re:Ballmer at Tanagra? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44271629)

Good point. Still, it's a bit low to be making fun of his ugly face and lack of eyebrows.

Kadir beneath Mo Moteh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44272421)

Kadir beneath Mo Moteh.
Kiteo, his eyes closed.

Our Stunning Reorganization (4, Insightful)

bobstreo (1320787) | about a year ago | (#44271397)

We will be replacing all of the employees with small shell scripts. The ones we can't, we will be outsourcing your
jobs to Elbonia, until there are no employees remaining that are not upper management.

Then we will declare bankruptcy, pocket all the profits until we re-emerge as a shell company sellining
rights to our name.

Oh and XboxOne.

Corporate Reorg (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year ago | (#44271449)

Hurr Durr Herp Derp

Re:Corporate Reorg (1)

ahem (174666) | about a year ago | (#44271707)

Hurr Durr Herp Derp

Didn't you just mis-spell "Hodor!" ?

Functional & Divisional organization explained (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44271463)

Why Microsoft’s reorganization is a bad idea [stratechery.com] , explains differences of the Functional & Divisional organization as well.

let me translate (1)

whoever57 (658626) | about a year ago | (#44271495)

some executives were getting noticed too much, so I decided to fire a couple and shake up the rest so that there is no-one to challenge my position as CEO.

Re:let me translate (1)

rochrist (844809) | about a year ago | (#44271517)

Steve 'Romulus Augustus' Ballmer?

The memo is actually only one sentence long (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44271541)

We will do this by leveraging our high-value experiences through enabling enterprise value in high-value scenarios to march outward to high-value activities with better execution from product conceptualization and innovation right through to marketing and sales and operational excellence in cloud services in three big dimensions: strategy, capability, collaboration, agility, common goals, divisional strategies. Although we will deliver multiple devices and services to execute and monetize the strategy, our holistic product line with devices and services activating high-value experiences for our customers.

The second sentence in the memo begins a radical departure from anything resembling honest communication:

"Today's announcement will enable us to execute even better on our strategy ..."

I think the writer is using the word execute in this context to mean "to perform the tasks required of a business executive", which is not a generally accepted meaning of that word outside of MBA social circles.

Today, we will paradigm shift our holistic synergy in a rapid-turning cloud world to reap the ever-mounting shared benefits of vertical enterprise-driven customer-empowered user experience information integration data relationship assurance management. With our experience in shared turnaround data process recovery, we will accelerate our strategic direction cross-company to initiate the staff to the utmost in their initiatives to succeed against all goals.

Re:The memo is actually only one sentence long (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44272167)

it's like he was required to write such a memo by someone else(the board? *bulletpoint on memo: "address the troops") and he filled it like schoolwork, like it had to be x words long.

because the actual content is just that they're doing a re-org. an actual one liner would have been less of a joke among employees..

holistic my ass..

Re:The memo is actually only one sentence long (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44272465)

The memo was written by multiple writers. The only stuff in there that might be Steve's are things like: "Kurt is a truly amazing leader and a special person". A few sentences later, we go from believably human to "driving core OS innovation".

The best part of the whole memo is actually this:

Culturally, our core values don't change, but how we express them and act day to day must evolve so we work together to win.

Before:
PowerShell lead: Windows team could you please respond?
Windows shell lead: Sorry we cannot accept code from outside our department
PowerShell lead: Screw you guys we'll release it separately, see you on MSDN

After:
PowerShell lead: Windows team could you please respond?
Windows build wrangler: The Windows lead told me to tell you to fuck off
PowerShell lead: Ok at least we're synergying better together after that reorg

Wholly Crap (1)

istartedi (132515) | about a year ago | (#44271557)

Holy Crap! It's wholly crap. My eyes glazed over from the first paragraph. It was literally painful to do anything other than skim the first sentence of a paragraph.

Janus speaks... (2)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year ago | (#44271597)

Ballmer's big, gung-ho memo to Microsofties, posted on the company's website, is chock full of nonsense and corporate executive doublespeak — or, as Ballmer might say, `high-value experiences' that will `involve repartitioning the work' and `drive partners across our integrated strategy and its execution.' Huh?"

Relax. I'm sure Ballmer didn't write anything. Rather it's the work of market-droids trying to justify their MBAs with buzz words - anything to keep the chairs on the floor and not in the air. I will comment on one quote, however:

“We will pull together disparate engineering efforts today into a coherent set of our high-value activities..."

So when will this start? :-)

I'm not sure... (4, Insightful)

Torodung (31985) | about a year ago | (#44271635)

I'm not sure Balmer realizes he is no longer in B-school. He seems to like to surround himself with like-minded B-school buddies, and runs Microsoft like it's the fraternity Mu Sigma Alpha. This kind of bizarro, "in"-group lingo doesn't actually fly when you're the CEO of a Fortune 500 company in what appears to be a consolidation/contraction phase and a profit-taking decline. This buddy mentality is the last thing "MS House" needs.

Plainspoken English matters in business when there is a crisis at hand. This kind of platitude laden memo belongs in a company that is not hungry and is cruising along with a high-quality, high-growth business strategy. Then you can talk biz-orgs theory all you like, however you may please.

My 2 cents. That penny is depreciated to the inflation standard of the year 2500, I would guess, but I find this kind of gamesmanship worrying.

I want MS to adapt and succeed. It has every reason to. It doesn't seem to be doing so. It seems to be resting on its laurels, and has been for a decade.

Lockstep (1)

thetoastman (747937) | about a year ago | (#44271641)

What I gathered from the memo is two-fold:

1, Drive as much business as they can to the subscription model
2. All products will be tightly integrated and dependent on proprietary interactions

The first gives them the constant revenue stream. The second one destroys modular computing in that if you upgrade one area running Microsoft software, you are almost forced to upgrade all areas. That cost (we used to call it the forklift upgrade in mainframe days) will drive more businesses towards the subscription model.

Once they have a critical mass on the subscription model, they can then dictate technology to customers. Obviously, they plan on doing this from top to bottom (mobile, consoles, hardware, software, cloud). There will once again be open standards and Microsoft standards.

It's all about driving the market rather than being market-driven.

One really weird sentence, among many (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year ago | (#44271765)

"We have powered devices for many years through Windows PCs and Xbox."

What the heck is that actually supposed to mean?

Re:One really weird sentence, among many (1)

norite (552330) | about a year ago | (#44271843)

It means that they haven't got a clue, not a single, solitary one...

Depends on the meaning of "through" (1)

jabberw0k (62554) | about a year ago | (#44272037)

Perhaps "entering, then later leaving" [wiktionary.org] -- as in: "We have powered devices for many years [starting with in the days of the Altair and the TRS-80] through Windows PCs and Xbox [which are now equally obsolete]" ...?

Poetry... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44271801)

What people fail to realize is that these memos are poetry; they're meant to be poetry and are to be poetry and nothing factual at all.
Their meaning is designed to be interpreted by the mood of how the reader feels about their position in the company. This is a taught
skill. Anyone expecting to gleam facts is seriously barking up the wrong tree.

I though everybody knew this?

Re:Poetry... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44272531)

Vogon Poetry?

The best way to improve Micro$oft? (0)

sgt_doom (655561) | about a year ago | (#44272049)

Build either a basketball stadium on their Redmond campus, or a giant Ferris wheel there!

Sony's mistakes (2)

Dan East (318230) | about a year ago | (#44272185)

MS is trying to follow in the mistakes made by Sony. I wouldn't buy Sony DVD players for many years. Why not? Because they wouldn't play VCD or DivX. And why wouldn't they? Because the division of Sony that produces films made sure that wouldn't happen, as VCD and DivX were often used for piracy. Thus the hardware was crippled as a result of the overarching strategy of the company as a whole. They compromised in one area with the theory that somehow the other part of the company would profit more (which is of course incorrect in this case).

The more a diverse company attempts to function as a single entity, the less flexibility the divisions have to compete on a level playing field with companies that aren't so encumbered. It's clear that Sony is finally waking up a little, as they have been quick to point out how the new PS3 allows offline gaming and resaleability of used titles. It's very, very rare for Sony to come across as an advocate for consumers' rights, so that was quite a big change for them.

So in other words, I think this philosophy is going to hurt MS in the long run.

Sounds like (1)

Molochi (555357) | about a year ago | (#44272335)

Sounds like they are planning to create more hardware of their own and focus on supporting that hardware.

So are they planning to sell the Xbox One as a combo PC/Console?

Re:Sounds like (1)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | about a year ago | (#44272751)

The last Microsoft hardware I liked was the Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard.
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