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Microsoft's Not So Happy Family

ScuttleMonkey posted about 8 years ago | from the managers-doing-their-jobs-asking-a-bit-much dept.

586

D.A. Zollinger writes "Reports from Redmond are that Microsoft Employees are not happy with the double delay of Windows and Office being pushed back into 2007. EETimes is reporting that some Microsoft employees are calling for the termination of several top managers Including Brian Valentine, Jim Allchin, and Steve Ballmer for the delay debacle. The report references a blog by Who da'Punk, an anonymous Microsoft employee who asks, where's the accountability for failure? So far the blog entry has generated over 350 comments from Microsoft insiders and outsiders."

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586 comments

Headless chicken (4, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | about 8 years ago | (#14997208)

Not a good day to be a fly on the wall in Ballmers office.

"I'm going to fucking kill Microsoft!"
HURL!
THUD!
SPLAT!

Actually though, chopping the head off the chicken might seem like a good idea at the time until you realise its the arsehole that becomes the new leader.

Re:Headless chicken (4, Funny)

justsomebody (525308) | about 8 years ago | (#14997232)

Not a good day to be a fly on the wall in Ballmers office.

???

Or did you mean, funny day to be a fly on the wall in Ballmers office, but bad day to be a chair?

Re:Headless chicken (4, Funny)

geminidomino (614729) | about 8 years ago | (#14997243)

Or did you mean, funny day to be a fly on the wall in Ballmers office, but bad day to be a chair?

What do you think the fly is going to get hit with?

Re:Headless chicken (4, Funny)

KiloByte (825081) | about 8 years ago | (#14997266)

>Or did you mean, funny day to be a fly on the wall in Ballmers office, but bad day to be a chair?
What do you think the fly is going to get hit with?

You see, I've once killed a mosquito with an overhead swing of an axe. I'm a clumsy oaf, but so far my accuracy with axes against insects is 100% (1/1). Now, considering that the smallest throwable thing in an office is a lot wider than an axe's blade, I believe that Ballmer can make it.
His office is pretty big, so he has at least as many tries as he has chairs.

Re:Headless chicken (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14997304)

From what I understand, his office is only twice as big as any of the other employees. It's just two regular offices with the wall torn out.

Now as for who tore the wall out and what sort of chair was used in that process, I haven't the slightest idea.

Re:Headless chicken (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14997445)

Can this die, please? It was funny a few times, but we get it now. He throws chairs.

FISH SANDWICH (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14997220)

I ATE fish sandwich in iraq. fuck you if you have not.

been there done that bitches.

Shareholders (0, Flamebait)

ickeicke (927264) | about 8 years ago | (#14997221)

Any chance they are just doing this to please shareholders?

Re:Shareholders (4, Insightful)

pedantic bore (740196) | about 8 years ago | (#14997231)

How exactly are the shareholders going to be pleased?

Axing senior management isn't going to get Vista out the door any faster -- probably a lot slower because whoever comes it to pick up the pieces is going to have a hell of a job. It might make Windows 2021 (or whatever they're calling Vista 1.1) ship quicker but in the short run, it'll be chaos. Shareholders, for the most part, don't care about the long run -- they care about now.

Re:Shareholders (1)

m50d (797211) | about 8 years ago | (#14997341)

It'll save money, surely? And it might be seen as motivational.

Re:Shareholders (4, Funny)

BeerCat (685972) | about 8 years ago | (#14997487)

And it might be seen as motivational.

Yeah, right. Motivational as in "all leave is cancelled until morale improves", or "we'll keep firing people until you ship product"

Unless it's all part of the Linux master plan...

Re:Shareholders (5, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | about 8 years ago | (#14997393)

Axing senior management isn't going to get Vista out the door any faster -- probably a lot slower

It depends on why the Vista project is in turmoil, doesn't it?

I can think of several situations that, if they held, would be counterexamples.

(1) The Captain Kirk school managers: Ignore enginering's time estimates because you don't want to believe them and have unwavering faith in your personal charisma's power to alter reality. Also known as the "assume we had a can-opener" manager.

(2)The "turn-around" style of mamagement: When a manager comes in and turns a situation around, he's a strong manager. Therefore a manager that turns his company around frequently must be stronger than one who turns the company around once.

(3) The "kill the messenger" style of management: On the theory that "no news is good news", turn every instance in which bad news has to be brought up into a game of "beard the lion". Subtypes include "If everyone keeps tap dancing hard enough, maybe nobody will notice and things will sort themselves out" theorists.

(4) The "I'm manager because I can everybody's job better than they could" manager. Hardly bears description. On the flip side, if you're honest with yourself, you'll admit that as an engineer, deep in your heart of hearts, this is you. The obviously awesom weapons of the engineering paradigm can slay any dragon. Management? Pfft. You just take the pot of potential objectives on one hand, and the pot of resources and capabilities you have on the other, build a set of alternative frameworks connecting them, crunch the numbers and pick the best.

Re: Bad Engineers (5, Interesting)

rkcallaghan (858110) | about 8 years ago | (#14997519)

(4) The "I'm manager because I can everybody's job better than they could" manager. Hardly bears description. On the flip side, if you're honest with yourself, you'll admit that as an engineer, deep in your heart of hearts, this is you. The obviously awesome weapons of the engineering paradigm can slay any dragon.

Okay, you knew someone was gonna stick up for engineers around here, so here I am. I'm going to pick up on your previous Star Trek analogy too, for maximum geek-factor.

There will of course be engineers like this, just like there are managers that think they are engineers. A good crew however, doesn't work like this.

Geordi LaForge doesn't WANT to be Captain. In fact, aside from some minor rank bumps early in the shows career when he moved from helmsman to Chief Engineer, Geordi showed no signs of wanting to move up at all. He was already EXACTLY where he belonged, in the engine room of the fleet flagship, under a great Captain.

Good engineers don't want to be out fighting Klingons and worrying about Ferengi ripping them off and Romulans stealing their toys. That's what good CAPTAINS are for. Picard gave Geordi engineering problems, and listened to him when Geordi said he design a way to tie the holodeck to the warp core and fix the particle of the week. There were also plenty of times they went to that meeting room, and Geordi sat there with his hands in his lap because it wasn't an engineering problem, and the best he could offer was to carry a tricorder on the away team.

This is like a good engineer wet dream -- all the best toys to play with, with a gung ho first officer and an angry klingon between you and everything else that can get in your way, from Cardassians to Starfleet Brass.

~Rebecca

Re: Bad Engineers (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14997555)

And your name is actually Rebecca? Wow, I'm in love... oh.

Re: Bad Engineers (1)

hey! (33014) | about 8 years ago | (#14997575)

Perferring to be an engineer doesn't preclude suspecting you could manage better than the boss.

It's unfortunate (4, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 8 years ago | (#14997227)

Here's the thing. It's not like setting a schedule is going to magically make something happen. Programs are written by programmers, they aren't willed into existence by Gantt charts, no matter what PMs think.

The only problem here is not that the release was pushed back, it's that someone's Gantt chart wasn't updated with good information. So when the real numbers went in, the "realistic shipdate" suddenly met reality.

Should someone get fired? Yeah. Probably the managers who didn't do their job and keep upper management up to date with correct project status. Anyone else? Yeah. Those managers who took a ship or die attitude and will end up burning their teams out in the next year. And finally those managers who knew reality but continued to live in their fairyland (not the Mac one) where products are developed by sheer management willpower alone.

Lots of blame to go around, but the bottom line is that the product was never going to make its shipdate. The question now is whether the revised date is realistic and how much is Microsoft willing to trim back features in order to meet it if further delays are encountered.

Re:It's unfortunate (4, Interesting)

miffo.swe (547642) | about 8 years ago | (#14997240)

From what i understand they tried to rewrite the dungpile of spaghetticode in .Net technologies but failed to get any descent performance and stability, Late into the process they decided to rip the new code out and start over with the old code again. The mistake was that .Net isnt usable for larger projects.

I would love to get some more facts about this, link away =)

Re:It's unfortunate (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14997427)

.Net technologies but failed to get any descent performance and stability, Look, I descent as much as the next guy, but I really don't see why it would be related to windows...

Re:It's unfortunate (1, Offtopic)

Farmer Tim (530755) | about 8 years ago | (#14997473)

...they tried to rewrite the dungpile of spaghetticode in .Net technologies but failed to get any descent performance and stability
 
.Net always had "descent" performance: it was a huge let-down.

(Sorry, that spelling mistake was too good to pass up)

Re:It's unfortunate (2, Interesting)

denoir (960304) | about 8 years ago | (#14997269)

It is a wider problem: technological development is supposed to progress exponentially. Vista took them five years to make, longer than any other release - and it certainly isn't a monumental release in terms of technology.

Vista should have been either released much sooner or it should have been a revolutionary change as far as operating systems go.

Re:It's unfortunate (1)

pfdietz (33112) | about 8 years ago | (#14997470)

But that's just what's happening -- the complexity (and development time and cost) of the software is progressing exponentially. Microsoft's nightmare must be that the entropy and complexity of Windows has gotten beyond what they can handle. Reading the blogs, it appears they're trying various silver bullets (process, automated testing) that haven't solved the underlying problem.

Re:It's unfortunate (2, Insightful)

BeerCat (685972) | about 8 years ago | (#14997500)

Vista should have been either released much sooner or it should have been a revolutionary change as far as operating systems go.

They wanted both, but got neither. Vista is turning in to MicroSoft's Copeland [highbeam.com] ( meant to be out in about 1994, but finally abandoned in 1996.)

So who's OS will MS end up buying?

Re:It's unfortunate (3, Insightful)

akaariai (921081) | about 8 years ago | (#14997352)

Microsoft failed at the big level. There isn't propably easily identifiable low to middle level managers who failed their job. In these cases the blame goes to the upper level, should I say the greatest common denominator. The same goes in war and in politics. It is not rare that high level leaders (generals and ministers) are forced to resign because somebody elses failure. Usually the failure is not directly their fault. In some cases it is hard to say that they had anything to do with the failure. Still they have the responsibility. There are ofcourse a lot of situations where things go exactly the opposite way. For example the current US president comes to mind. And the Abu Ghrabi scandal. Does somebody really think that there were just a handfull of low rank soldiers who did something wrong? So, if there is some middle level managers fired, it is because they need scape goats, not because they are directly responsible anymore than the rest of the middle level managers.

Re:It's unfortunate (1)

aussie_a (778472) | about 8 years ago | (#14997397)

You make many points, but I had difficulty grasping them. Perhaps if you could form them in some sort of analogy I could understand your points easier.

Re:It's unfortunate (3, Insightful)

Crash Culligan (227354) | about 8 years ago | (#14997441)

Here's the thing. It's not like setting a schedule is going to magically make something happen. Programs are written by programmers, they aren't willed into existence by Gantt charts, no matter what PMs think.

Agreed; there exists in too many workplaces a fundamental disconnect between the people who actually develop the products and the people at the top. That fundamental disconnect is, indeed, middle management whose success depends either 1) on the performance of their underlings or 2) on their ability to spread bullshit. However...

The only problem here is not that the release was pushed back, it's that someone's Gantt chart wasn't updated with good information. So when the real numbers went in, the "realistic shipdate" suddenly met reality.

The only problem? You oversimplify. There are a bunch of ways realistic-sounding time estimates fly off the rails. They fall into a handful of categories. And before someone decides to pick nits: yes, most of these are management's fault, but no, this isn't a complete list:

  1. Management intentionally understated the complexity or scope of the task
    1. Management needed to set goals that made them look good to senior management
    2. Management needed to parrot goals that Marketing already published or die
  2. Management accidentally underestimated the complexity or scope of the task
    1. Developers or Management didn't take into account some of the requirements when making estimates
    2. Developers intentionally understated the complexity or scope of the task to look good to management (hey, it's been known to happen too)
    3. Developers accidentally underestimated the complexity or scope of the task
    4. Developers understood the complexity and scope of the task, but didn't have the skills to deliver.
    5. Feature Creep (This is Microsoft. 'Nuff said.)
  3. Management accurately predicted the complexity of the task, but "something came up"
    1. Talented developers left, taking with them necessary skills which were unique
    2. Management forgot to consider that people might be needed on other tasks
    3. Problems within the development environment
    4. Coffee Shortage
    5. Sick days, pregnancy, and other potentially life-ending events
    6. The Second Coming
The simple reason that I hate Gantt charts as the be-all and end-all of a project schedule is that even on the most carefully controlled project, there are always speed-ups and slow-downs that can throw the most enlightened of schedules into a cocked hat ...and then sit on it. Not to say it shouldn't be attempted, but advertising release dates based on them should be a punishable offense (and in this case, it might well be).

blogging (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14997233)

boohoo.
Blog all you want.
MS is not a democracy. All monopolies need a dectatorial system to survive.

Ballmer Replies! (5, Funny)

zaguar (881743) | about 8 years ago | (#14997236)

In other news, Steve Ballmer vowed to "fucking kill" all anonymous Microsoft employees.

"I've done it before and I'll do it again," he said. "Anonymity has no place at Microsoft."

Just a figure of speech (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | about 8 years ago | (#14997405)

Yes, but he was only saying that as an off-the-cuff comment while getting to know his new Linux desktop. Who can blame him for letting the windows stuff fall by the wayside? ;)

Can you hear that noise in the background? (4, Interesting)

zappepcs (820751) | about 8 years ago | (#14997237)

Yes, that rumbling noise in the background, faint at first, but growing louder with each passing moment... yes, soon enough you can tell that it is a crowd of people... they are chanting... what are they saying.... I TOLD YOU SO, I TOLD YOU SO, I TOLD YOU SO, I TOLD YOU SO, I TOLD YOU SO

Joking aside, this shouldn't even be news (sorta) its as unexpected as a suicide bomber in the middle east somewhere. Lets see, the EU, Mass., other entire countries dumping MS, Korea, and the response from MS has been FUD and 'smoke and mirrors' for several years now. I think its time for MS to put up or shut up. They have promised to fix all the woes of Internet users for several years now... time they did some of that, or simply hide in their cubes eating humble pie, reading the news about their stock with FF.

No, not a case of Linux fanboi, just observation. I'm rather tired of hearing how MS is going to fix this or that, and all they've fixed is prices in the past. On that issue, I'm rather happy with the way Open Source software is handling these issues, rather more up front about it, and trying to cobble together associations and software to battle the problems instead of promising the panacea of software at the mere cost of one arm and one leg per user.

Make no mistake (5, Funny)

OpenSourced (323149) | about 8 years ago | (#14997239)

Who da'Punk is in fact the real enemy. He wants to end the bloat at Microsoft and convert it into a lean and mean machine of productivity. Imagine what options open source would have if people in Microsoft where devoted to create great software for the users, instead of pursuing their own petty concerns in the corporate ladder. If Who da'Punk and others like him had their way, Microsoft would be user-centric, but keeping the users always within the Microsoft universe. He's planning a world of happy slaves of Microsoft. Now we are all slaves, but at least not happy. In the unsatisfaction of slaves the seeds of change lay. If everybody was contented, the chances of breaking the Microsoft monopoly would be nil (on the other side, we'd be happier and have great software, but still slaves).

So help him not. Cheer Balmer instead. He's our real ally in this fight.

Now that's just silly (2, Insightful)

CdBee (742846) | about 8 years ago | (#14997253)

you suggest that people should value the politics of their software higher than the quality of it? So why has all Linux advertising/PR/etc concentrated on the quality of the code produced by the OSS model?

If the OSS movement is right, Who da'punk is an irrelevance. If you're right, OSS is already doomed to failure.

Re:Now that's just silly (4, Insightful)

OpenSourced (323149) | about 8 years ago | (#14997278)

My point is that we are in a situation of monopoly that will always by its own nature restrict the choice of users to the monopoly universe. The only way of breaking that stranglehold is through the cracks in the monopoly. If those cracks are plastered there is no way out. Of course the quality of software is more important than politics, but I believe than the quality of anything in a monopoly culture will never be so good as the quality of that same thing in a culture of free competition. So is a matter of short-ter versus long-term quality, IMHO.

Re:Now that's just silly (4, Insightful)

Bacon Bits (926911) | about 8 years ago | (#14997424)

There's nothing wrong with a monopoly if it really is the best choice as there's no anti-competitive things going on to make it a trust. (Monopolies can be fine; trusts are bad.) What you're suggesting is that if MS produces the best OS ever it will be bad for the consumer. What? That makes no sense unless your political idology is your number one factor in decision making for what software to use. I have no problem buying software if it's worth the cost of paying for it.

If MS makes such a superior OS -- which I doubt, not because it's MS but because it's too dofficult for anyone to do at all -- either FOSS raises it's bar or it dies. That's not because MS is a monopoly. That would be because FOSS would not be able to survive in the free market.

Look at OpenOffice.org. People compare it to MS Office and they say it's slow and bloated. Compared to MS Office. I'd challenge someone to find any application with more needless bloat than MS Office. For years the number one complaint about the entire Office line was that it was always bloatware. Now OOo comes along and bloat isn't a problem? I'm sorry, that's BS and we all know it. OOo is going nowhere until the codebase is cleaned up. The only reasons it's as popular as it is are because it's FOSS and because it's the only thing besides MS Office. As it stands now you decide if you want to pay for MS Office. If you don't, you get OOo. Not because OOo is better than MS Office (which should be why you choose any piece of software, right?) but simply because it's cheaper. This is like choosing GIMP over Photoshop. If you're a professional, you only do it when you lack the money to afford the real deal (which then suggests you're possibly not as professional as you think).

Now look at Linux. People chose Linux because for what they want to do, the OS is actually better than other OSs. Look at Firefox. People chose that over IE because it's better. Hadly anybody used the old Mozilla Suite for exactly the same reasons that OOo rather sucks. The fact that Linux in particular costs so much less is rather irrlevant to the discussion. Now look at things like LAMP vs Windows/IIS/MS SQL/ASP. Again, choice has little to nothing to do with the lisencing costs. It's what solution you know better, and what you want to do with it.

Re:Now that's just silly (1)

OpenSourced (323149) | about 8 years ago | (#14997480)

you're suggesting is that if MS produces the best OS ever it will be bad for the consumer

Yes, in the long term, a very good OS now (by the market monopoly) will stifle innovation tomorrow. Of course it's impossible to capture all the possible nuances of a situation in just a few lines. A really, really good OS, with an Office suite with open data formats and good modularity, might create a better framework for development than a free-for-all situation. The devil is as always in the details. But as a rule of thumb I still think that it's good that Microsoft is blocked by Dilbertian waste of resources.

Re:Now that's just silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14997301)

you suggest that people should value the politics of their software higher than the quality of it?

Microsoft are criminals, and they have never made decent restitution for their crimes. Even if their software were any good, it'd be like having caviar forced down your throat... instead, it's like having crap forced down your throat.

So why has all Linux advertising/PR/etc concentrated on the quality of the code produced by the OSS model?

Because the truth would likely get them sued? Don't ask me, I didn't commission it.

Re:Make no mistake (1, Interesting)

j-pimp (177072) | about 8 years ago | (#14997331)

Who da'Punk is in fact the real enemy. He wants to end the bloat at Microsoft and convert it into a lean and mean machine of productivity. Imagine what options open source would have if people in Microsoft where devoted to create great software for the users, instead of pursuing their own petty concerns in the corporate ladder. If Who da'Punk and others like him had their way, Microsoft would be user-centric, but keeping the users always within the Microsoft universe. He's planning a world of happy slaves of Microsoft. Now we are all slaves, but at least not happy. In the unsatisfaction of slaves the seeds of change lay. If everybody was contented, the chances of breaking the Microsoft monopoly would be nil (on the other side, we'd be happier and have great software, but still slaves). So help him not. Cheer Balmer instead. He's our real ally in this fight.


I call bullshit here. Your point about discontent causing people to rise up is valid. However, we shouldn't hope for bad leadership of our enemies to win the war. We should win the war because our methods are better.

A Napoleon or Hoffer might eventually come along, but they come to pass. Some will see beyond them and continue to their open source ways, just as RMS did many years ago.

Re:Make no mistake (1)

pomo monster (873962) | about 8 years ago | (#14997369)

If they do, somehow, begin to make better products than OSS, then maybe--just maybe--they deserve to win?

Just a thought.

in the meantime... (3, Insightful)

Pliep (880962) | about 8 years ago | (#14997245)

... people will buy Vista anyway because they will see Microsoft ads on TV 4 times a day. Microsoft as a company may be rotten, Vista as a project may have failed, but still.

Re:in the meantime... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14997255)

People buy Vista because the manufacturer of their new computer decided to pre-install it.
Consumers are not actively making an OS choice. They take what is fed to them.

Re:in the meantime... (1)

pimpimpim (811140) | about 8 years ago | (#14997414)

Maybe not so much because the manufacturer decided it, but more because the manufacturer could forget all possiblities to use and sell MS if they wouldn't install it. Alternatively, people will buy it because all security updates to previous versions will be scrapped and because software/hardware developers will be required to have their new stuff vista-supported only. Now if there only would be a way to make the use of the Office versions (this is what Windows is mostly used for anyway) that will run on pre-vista OS-es illegal, the success of vista will be immense!

Microsoft insiders are probably just annoyed... (5, Insightful)

AndrewStephens (815287) | about 8 years ago | (#14997246)

...that their stock options aren't going to be worth as much. The truth is that Microsoft has very good reasons to delay Vista, only some of which they control. Anyone who has installed the beta can see that it has a long way to go before it reaches release quality. Vista is a fairly big update to the Windows code base, and the fact that it is not stable or speedy enough yet for day-to-day use at this late stage must be a factor in their decision to put it back.
Externally, Vista changes the driver model, and the hardware manufacturers seem to be lagging behind. There is no point releasing an OS if no one can use their graphics cards.
Microsoft has a lot riding on Vista, the first desktop OS release since 2001. They will not have decided to slip lightly.

Re:Microsoft insiders are probably just annoyed... (2, Insightful)

geoff lane (93738) | about 8 years ago | (#14997302)

There is something SERIOUSLY wrong with the development process within MS that it has taken this long to discover that there are problems. It's difficult to know what has gone wrong, but it wouldn't be a surprise to discover that management infighting was the cause.

Re:Microsoft insiders are probably just annoyed... (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about 8 years ago | (#14997467)

There is something SERIOUSLY wrong with the development process within MS that it has taken this long to discover that there are problems.

Exactly. You would think that Microsoft would know by now how the software development process works. You would think that Microsoft would know by now how long it takes to develop an upgrade to an operating system.

The rampant incompetence that seems to be so pervasive throughout the Longhorn/Vista project is a symptom of a much deeper problem within Microsoft. It is that deeper problem that the Mini Microsoft blog discusses.

Re:Microsoft insiders are probably just annoyed... (1)

torpor (458) | about 8 years ago | (#14997327)

...that their stock options aren't going to be worth as much.

good, thats what stock options are supposed to do: motivate the employees to work better and make their products better.

the fact that its taken this long for M$ employees to get the realization they've gotta make better products is probably a reflection of the incredi-bloat of the stock. i'm all for a devaluation of M$, personally .. their products blow. its a travesty that such a bug-ridden, bloaty, insecure piece of crap has been propelled into the future so long by the mechanics of the money industry..

abandon microsoft. its the only way to get a better OS from redmond. hit the employees where it hurts: their decadence.

Who cares? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14997247)

The report references a blog by Who da'Punk, an anonymous Microsoft employee...

Wow, the dude on the Mini-Microsoft blog [blogspot.com], which is notoriously anti-Microsoft, posts something anti-Microsoft?

That's about as earth-shattering as Slashdot posting this recent string [slashdot.org] of "Microsoft Sucks, Vista Sucks" articles.

This just in... (3, Funny)

SetupWeasel (54062) | about 8 years ago | (#14997254)

Microsoft is filling some recently vacated positions. The time to send your resume is now.

Re:This just in... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14997463)

Dear Microsoft,

I really want to work for Google and if it helps me get there, I'm willing to risk tainting my CV by working for you. Please find my CV attached.

Only on thing for it (3, Funny)

Elitist_Phoenix (808424) | about 8 years ago | (#14997272)

There is one thing that will get Microsoft's employee's moral back up, a Chair-Throwing-Monkey-Dance! I'm sure they'll be able to find someone who can supply.

Interesting to point out... (0, Troll)

Jason Straight (58248) | about 8 years ago | (#14997274)

That he says that sales will come from people buying PC's with the OS pre-installed, not people buying the vista OS in a box off the shelf. Even MS employees know they can't sell their crap, they have to force it down peoples throats or it won't sell.

Re:Interesting to point out... (4, Insightful)

MarkByers (770551) | about 8 years ago | (#14997298)

There will be plenty of people that are tired XP and its constant security problems by now. They will upgrade the day Vista is out, thinking it will be the solution to all their problems. The advertising for Vista will be *very good*. You can bet on that.

Microsoft will make sure that people using XP will not be able to easily communicate with the new applications on Vista. Companies will be scared of having some computers running XP and newer ones running Vista. Companies loving standardising things.

People will upgrade before too long. If not voluntarily, they will be forced to.

The only thing Microsoft need to do to almost guarantee success is to get the thing released soon before Mac + Linux start getting too popular!

Re:Interesting to point out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14997311)

>> That he says that sales will come from people buying PC's with the OS pre-installed, not people buying the vista OS in a box off the shelf. Even MS employees know they can't sell their crap, they have to force it down peoples throats or it won't sell.

Actually your conclusion has nothing to do with the premise. Aftermarket caraudio systems sell very low, but not because they are crap, but because almost all cars now come with audio system preinstalled. People willing to spend more just to upgrade something they alread have, are few. The same happens here.

People want Windows. (3, Insightful)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | about 8 years ago | (#14997318)

Even MS employees know they can't sell their crap, they have to force it down peoples throats or it won't sell.

Nonsense, people want Windows. If Dell went 100% Linux tomorrow their sales would drop to near zero and people would buy Gateways, Compaqs, etc.

Also, Apple's Mac OS X has been a far better alternative for regular users than Linux for several years now yet nearly everyone sticks with Windows.

I own a Mac, my PC dual boots Windows and Linux, but I realize I am part of a very small minority. Most people don't want Mac OS X or Linux. That is reality, it may change over time but that it the state of things at the moment.

Re:People want Windows. (1)

MORB (793798) | about 8 years ago | (#14997418)

They don't want Windows for its functionalities, familiarity or whatever.
They want the brand.

Not that it cannot change, cf Firefox.

Re:Interesting to point out... (1)

jjares (141954) | about 8 years ago | (#14997484)

My mom won't install flash on her machine by her own, and you want her to go out, buy a Vista Box, and install it? we are not all hackers, and those of us who are, rarely buy Microsoft crap.

Talk about a disgruntled family... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14997281)

A couple of days back, I read a very good article here on slashdot about how a couple of OS companies were taking the users on a ride [slashdot.org] by compelling them to upgrade their hardware to meet the minimum OS requirements.

Now we see that many in Microsoft are also feeling the same way though for an entirely different reason. Is it that microsoft is slowly losing its focus by trying to put their fingers in each and every pie out there rather than concentrating on their strengths ?

In many developers and users mind, Google is considered to be a better company both for its fairplay as well as how it treats its employees...

Since when has .. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14997284)

.. white middle class America given a damn about "accountability for failure"? I thought all Americans were quite content with letting their superior officers fail at will.

Otherwise, how else can you explain BushCo (tm) still in business as usual?

Honestly, its hard to give a damn about the moral/ethical side of this matter. So Microsoft let it slip .. big woot. American's let everything slip.

Re:Since when has .. (-1, Offtopic)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | about 8 years ago | (#14997349)

Otherwise, how else can you explain BushCo (tm) still in business as usual?

Easy, a few more people thought he would do less damage than the other guy. Check back in a couple of decades and we'll see if they were correct. For now we can't tell, although the political extremists of both side would have you think otherwise. During the 1980s Reagan was about as hated and villified as Bush Jr. For the American and European left it was the end of the world, he was the anti-christ. Twenty years later we have a better perspective than when were in the midst of the turmoil and emotion.

Re:Since when has .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14997421)

Do we have more "perspective"? I still think Reagan was the antichrist. Bush is a total and absolute dick too, of course.

Re:Since when has .. (2, Insightful)

ricardo_nz (917753) | about 8 years ago | (#14997425)

I find it hard to believe the guy who wrote this actually works on windows, MS has very solid reasons for the delay and anyone working on it would know this. The guy probably wanted some publicity for his site or just wanted to bad mouth MS. Personally, I welcome the delays - I don't have the chance to waste my money on the software for another few months.

Re:Since when has .. (0, Offtopic)

orzetto (545509) | about 8 years ago | (#14997465)

During the 1980s Reagan was about as hated and villified as Bush Jr. For the American and European left it was the end of the world, he was the anti-christ. Twenty years later we have a better perspective than when were in the midst of the turmoil and emotion.

Reagan helped a number of terrorist organisations, such as the Contras in Nicaragua and the Mujaheddeen in Afghanistan, on the sole premises that they were "anti-communist". Reagan was elected in 1980, if my memory serves me. 21 years later, guess what one of those former mujaheddeens did in New York?

Did it really take a genius to fathom that giving guns to nutty fundamentalists is not a smart move? Islamic fundies killed more Americans than Soviets and communists ever did, mind you.

Re:^not the brightest crayon in the box (0, Offtopic)

Jim_Callahan (831353) | about 8 years ago | (#14997523)

"Islamic fundies killed more Americans than Soviets and communists ever did, mind you."
 
The irrelevance of your comment aside (it could easily be argued that this is _because_ Reagan took steps to hinder the communist dictatorships) I think you're probably just plain wrong, unless the combined casualties of the Korean and Vietnamese civil wars we involved ourselves in were a lot smaller than I thought they were.
 
Or maybe you meant american _civillians_, in which case you'll get hit with the irrelevance thing again, as the soviets and communists weren't targeting our civillians at all.

Re:Since when has .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14997534)

We Europeans didn't and don't hate anybody. We may dislike some people, but we don't hate anybody.
Also, we don't consider anybody either the Christ nor the anti-Christ.

For most of us Europeans, believing is a personal matter and Bush is just another mortal who made some bad choices. For that we don't hate Bush or Americans. Bush was arguably the American's own choice and we have to live with it. We just try to avoid being dragged into some of the Americans matters which are bad or inappropriate for us Europeans, like the Iraq war, software patents, predatory business practices, draconian DRM laws etc. What you do in your own country is entirely your own matter.

Where Future? (4, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 8 years ago | (#14997289)

So where is computing's future going to come from? All these years we've been giving MS monopoly rent for OS software in the belief that we were paying for an exciting future, and now the company that's been taking our money is going to give us another "ticking time-bomb of unstable code".

After five years and more than a hundred billion dollars revenue from computer users, Microsoft will revamp Vista at the 11th hour to turn it into a little more than a skin on XP, which was little more than a skin on 2K.

Almost all recent innovations in computing have come from organisations with orders of magnitude less revenue than MS. We are simply not getting value for money. This monopoly must be broken so competition and progress can resume. Formats, APIs, and communication protocols MUST be documented and opened to allow competitors a level playing field.

Anything else will just perpetuate the current stagnant, inbred computing environment.

Re:Where Future? (2, Insightful)

miffo.swe (547642) | about 8 years ago | (#14997404)

Nice to see that more people than i think todays computers are pretty dull, boring and lame excuses of a calculator. I have an Amiga 500 that still performs better in some areas than a brand spanking new PC with Windows on it. Thats just sad.

Where are the interesting technologies? Computing has been standing pretty much still over the last 15 years. The only really interesting thing that has happened was the internet. The rest is just hardware speeds and such.

Software just plain sucks today. Microsoft destroyed the software market because they know the second software is freed from the OS their game is over. If software was platform independant it wouldnt matter if your OS was from the late 60 or the latest brand spanking new hardware platform and OS.

That would make development take off again.

Re:Where Future? (1)

Bert64 (520050) | about 8 years ago | (#14997499)

The internet has existed for a lot more than 15 years, it's just become more popular in that time.

Re:Where Future? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14997505)

You could always program in, you know, Java? Or Python? Or Ruby? Oh no, you can't, because then you can't carry on your holier then thou diatribe...

Re:Where Future? (1)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | about 8 years ago | (#14997468)

What?

All these years we've been giving MS monopoly rent for OS software in the belief that we were paying for an exciting future,

I was just paying them for an operating system. Maybe it's not a great idea for you to be buying products that don't exist yet. At least without getting some kind of contract.

Re:Where Future? (4, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 8 years ago | (#14997556)

I was just paying them for an operating system.

No, you weren't. If you'd bought an operating system, you'd be able to keep it and put it into other computers. You'd be able to customise it to work the way you want to. You'd be able to update the bits that don't work the way you want, when you want. You'd be able look under the hood and learn how it works. It would be YOURS to do with as you saw fit.

What you have is an instance, a snapshot of somebody else's development cycle. It's locked to the hardware, so it'll die when the electronics does, and you'll have to pay for it all over again. They'll grudgingly fix the most dangerous flaws when THEY feel like it, not when you're being hurt by them. It's not your operating system, it's theirs. And don't you ever forget it.

The entire computer industry has been stifled for years. We need competition, and we need it badly.

Re:Where Future? (1)

Tim C (15259) | about 8 years ago | (#14997562)

All these years we've been giving MS monopoly rent for OS software

I don't know about you, but I made a one-off payment for XP Pro about 3 years ago and haven't had to pay a penny more since. If you've entered into some sort of a rental agreement then while I sympathise, you only really have yourself to blame.

Monopoly (5, Interesting)

MassEnergySpaceTime (957330) | about 8 years ago | (#14997295)

If Microsoft didn't have a monopoly in the OS market, these management problems probably would have crippled the company and product by now.

On the other hand, if they didn't have a monopoly, perhaps everyone would be focused on competing and improving their OS, and these problems would not come up.

CPU != hard disk (0, Redundant)

dancallaghan (890674) | about 8 years ago | (#14997310)

From the linked blog entry: "Vista's deployment is going to come from people buying CPUs with the OS pre-installed". If MSFT's employees can't tell the difference between a CPU and a hard disk, it's no wonder Vista is so overdue!

Re:CPU != hard disk (1)

kvant (939634) | about 8 years ago | (#14997326)

You know, he probably meant pre-assembled systems. No way a fricking hdd is going to come with an vista pre-installed.

Re:CPU != hard disk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14997356)

Installing (part of) Windows on the CPU is probably required for the Trusted Computer thingy.

Re:CPU != hard disk (1)

xerxesdaphat (767728) | about 8 years ago | (#14997382)

Whilst living in Australia for a while, I noticed something peculiar (and my father picked up on it unfortunately and will not be swayed back no matter what I say): Some people, especially older people with little computer-savvy, but even quite knowledgeable computer people, will call a desktop computer a CPU. The actually call the box with the motherboard, cpu et al a CPU. I suppose it's not too silly... central processing unit, and it's the bit where everything happens... but still. Most odd.

-Tommi =^_^=

Re:CPU != hard disk (2, Insightful)

Tim Browse (9263) | about 8 years ago | (#14997433)

Another irritating tendency (particularly among long-time Mac users*) is to call the main box the 'hard drive'.

* See if you can work out why :-)

Re:CPU != hard disk (1)

kiddygrinder (605598) | about 8 years ago | (#14997452)

It takes a while but you can build up a mental resistance to this, for instance whenever i hear someone call their desktop background a "screensaver", my brain just narrates a (who gives a shit anyways) to the end of their sentence

Re:CPU != hard disk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14997489)

Maybe he was talking about a ComPUtah? ;-)

Prince of Productivity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14997361)

I thought the announcer at the Xbox 360 event called him the "Sultan of security, the prince of productivity". Are you saying that was all for show?! I'm offended.

evolutionary systems (3, Insightful)

psbrogna (611644) | about 8 years ago | (#14997374)

So 20+ years of "making money" is not a way to strategically guide the evolution of a large software project. It's a feedback loop that appears to lead to an evolutionary dead end.

Another 5-10 years or so and we'll be able to compare & contrast with OSS- ie. letting developers and user community determine where a product goes...

Don't get me wrong, I give MS lots of credit. I don't think PC's would be where they are today without them. It's gratifying to me though that the "good of the whole" can win over a 10yr lead and billions of dollars in "R&D" & marketing.

Re:evolutionary systems (1)

I'm Don Giovanni (598558) | about 8 years ago | (#14997449)

Another 5-10 years or so and we'll be able to compare & contrast with OSS- ie. letting developers and user community determine where a product goes...

Why wait another 5-10 years to do your comparison? Linux started in the early 90s or so (I forget the exact date), so it's been over 10 years for OSS to prove itself.
Compare the progress of Windows vs Linux during Linux's lifetime. Which has been more impressive?
Compare the progress of Mac OS vs Linux during Linux's lifetime. Which has been more impressive?
I'd say the close-source OSes have had much more advancement during Linux's lifetime than Linux has.

Anonymous / Responsibility? (1, Interesting)

blowdart (31458) | about 8 years ago | (#14997379)

There's something rather strange about people clammering for responsibility, but who remain anonymous not taking responsibility for their own opinions ....

The End MS? Or over-reacting? (1)

DarthChris (960471) | about 8 years ago | (#14997401)

I remember a few years back, when I was in my mid-teens, I was lamenting about how crap MS are/were. My parents said "It'll have it's time". If some of the comments in the linked blog are anything to go by, this time may have come - but are programmers the best people to judge a companies' future? Since many of these comments were anonymous, we have no way to gauge their reliability, and it's entirely possible someone has a proverbial axe to grind.

Re:The End MS? Or over-reacting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14997570)

Maybe the Halloween memos were also an invention.

Change in founding philosophy (2, Insightful)

Starker_Kull (896770) | about 8 years ago | (#14997438)

From the article:

  "But even as some on the Mini-Microsoft blog wished for Maria Antoinette-style retribution, other employees defended the decision, if not the people who made it.

"Yes, it's painful. Yes, it's embarrassing," wrote Robert Scoble, a company technical evangelist, on his Scobelizer blog. "But I'd rather have a slipped date than a cruddy product.""

It would have been nice if they had this philosophy a couple of decades ago, rather than trying to transition to a "first in quality rather than first in marketplace" maxim now after all the messes they have institutionalized and all the good, innovative companies that followed the above maxim they have dispatched.

How much process is too much? (4, Interesting)

Lumpish Scholar (17107) | about 8 years ago | (#14997456)

One of the comments [blogspot.com] is particularly interesting:
Want to see Vista ship?

Get rid of 90% of the Process that goes between writing the code and getting it checked in.... get rid of the process that has people working at 3AM on Sunday morning NOT to fix bugs, NOT to write features, NOT to make the product more stable, but only to move marbles from one coffee can to another coffee can....

Because that's where all the time is going, and that's why people working on Vista are closing their doors and literally weeping in frustration at their desks.

There's a continuum between "cowboy coders" and process paralysis. Sounds as if Microsoft has moved too far towards one of the extremes.

Re:How much process is too much? (3, Interesting)

Tarwn (458323) | about 8 years ago | (#14997476)

Either that or the person responsible for that comment is one of the cowboy coders, for whom any non-coding time is seen as a waste (ie, testing, retesting, documentation, etc).

Hello?! Accountability? This is WINDOWS! (4, Insightful)

Danathar (267989) | about 8 years ago | (#14997458)

Let's be honest here...as long as windows maintains it's current market share it does not matter.

If you work in a windows shop, and run into your CIO or IT head cheese ask this simple question "What would have to happen for you to SERIOUSLY consider dumping windows for some other desktop OS platform"

Chances are they will just give you a blank stare. That alone should tell you that ANY delay in the next version of windows will have ZERO effect on Microsoft's market.

MiniMSFT is a punk coward (1, Insightful)

I'm Don Giovanni (598558) | about 8 years ago | (#14997461)

MiniMSFT has been publicly trashing his own company for years now, yet doesn't have the guts to do one of the following:
A. QUIT
B. Reveal who he is, what his job is, etc. We know that he doesn't work for Windows or Office, since when he trashes those groups' efforts he does it in a way to exclude himself from the criticism. So just who the hell is he? Are his insights worth a damn?
C. Try to change the company from the inside rather than anonymously trashing it from the outside. Doing the former would require that he attach his name to his complaints (not publicly, but internally), but he clearly lacks the guts to do it.

The guy is an ass, pure and simple.
Oh, and it's well known that many of the posts to his blog aren't MS employees but are anti-MS haters posing as such.

"accountability" for the top mgrs? (1)

toomanyhandles (809578) | about 8 years ago | (#14997478)

There is no accountability needed on the part of the top mgrs.

If things fail it clearly isn't their fault. That's why their pay is so high, their jobs are SO risky....

If they can keep from committing one of 5 or 6 major crimes, they have zero problems. Trouble is, many of the guys at the top get there by being so greedy and egocentric that they keep on going and commit those crimes.

Well, why not? (5, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | about 8 years ago | (#14997492)

Look, kicking Ballmer and a few other people just below him upstairs, sideways or out couldn't cause any more turmoil in these critically wounded projects. And the projects that are working fine would no doubt continue fine.

The big problem is that this would be tantamount to an admission of weakness. It would cause a short term dip in the stock price, and more seriously create the impression of a chink in the armor.

Unless... They appointed somebody in Ballmer's place who would immediately wipe away the memory of all that. And boy, do I have a candidate for them. Wait for it... It's...

Jean-Louis Gasee.

Why?

(1) He's soave. He'd be a palate cleansing draught of Perrier to Ballmer's greasy bag of deep fried pork rinds and Gates's Technicolor Pop Rocks persona.

(2) He has the respect of engineers. He's cool. The proof? One word: BeOS. It would help recruiting of talent. The Linux snobs wouldn't have anybody in the MS corner office who was a convenient joke.

(3) He's European. French (duh). I mean, put yourself in the EU's shoes. An American monopoly is throwing it's weight around, and you've seen the frightening videos of its leader's nearly indescribable antics rallying the troops. How could this not evoke the nightmare of torchlit nighttime rallies and different supreme leader's rants?

Of course, his actual track record as a businessman is, uh, mixed. He had trouble getting product out as the head of the Mac development. He missed his opportunity to sell an 80 million dollar company to Apple for 200 million, and ended up selling it to Palm for 11 million . But he could credibly show up for work in jeans, a turtleneck and gold ear stud -- who could put a price on that? Sandwiching him between the board on one hand and carefully senior managers on the other, this could be a major win.

22 months ago in my Slashdot journal (2, Insightful)

ynotds (318243) | about 8 years ago | (#14997497)

As much as I would be happier to just ignore it, there is something about the increasing Longhorn hysteria that is reminiscent of the depths Apple slid into in the mid-90s.

There were a succession of enticing technology demos promoted as seeds of totally new architectures, more than a couple of which almost survived deployment then in the process of their ultimate abandonment burnt many fans.

But the ask was always too big, just the same as it has always been with every other monolithic attempt at software over engineering.

The one thing we can count on from Microsoft is that they will eventually bring out something which they will tell us is Longhorn. They are too political to contemplate honest abandonment. But all they will ever deliver will be cherry picked features grafted onto their already long suffering underlying architcture.
(continues) [slashdot.org]

The thing that makes this even wierder is that the betas of XP made it actually look like they might have been getting somewhere, but this time around even the betas are apparently off putting.

I'm relying here on reports from otherwise bright people who actually try to use the stuff, as the weekend provided almost the only excuse I've had to curse M$ software to its face in years. Normally I can just stick with the line which has done almost everything I've asked of it since 1984, but now I guess I might have to revert to evangelising with that client before I'm forced to walk away.

Shorter development cycles the answer? (3, Insightful)

Kaptain_Korolev (848551) | about 8 years ago | (#14997552)

From my own experience the following usually happens.

The development cycle usually consists of sitting in meetings while the architects and project managers hmmm and hah over what features to scope and de-scope for this particular release. This usually achieves nothing, at the very last minute they'll tell us to design something which has a set of features that don't interact well and require others that have been de-scoped. We now have exactly one week to code and module test the thing.

After many late nights the code is finished and the next few weeks are frought with Integration nightmares that the managers failed to take account of in their initial high level design. This isn't usually as bad as it should be as those of us doing the actual coding can often identify issues at the implementation stage and fix them there. When we tell the managers about this it usually offends them.

Integration complete, there is now about 5% of the work left to do in tidying up loose ends and streamlining code. The powers that be deem this to be un-necessary and my name appears on the Gantt chart of another project. Because I didn't get a chance to complete this final 5% of the work I will probably face a Bugzilla email deluge in the next month.

The answer, short development cycles, Extreme programming, unified process etc.>

Design, code, test and integrate in 3 -4 week cycles. Design decisions can't be drawn out and must be made quickly, coding and testing is done in manageable amounts and integration no longer presents a nightmare. Code is good the first time around for the small number of features implemented in that cycle, and far less buggy.

Unfortunately people are too stuck in their ways to change.

Terminate? (5, Funny)

dascandy (869781) | about 8 years ago | (#14997554)

some Microsoft employees are calling for the termination of several top managers

Doesn't that qualify as a death threat?

It's very hard to update a mature codebase (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#14997580)

Posting anonymously - we're seeing many of these issues at my employer, and I'd rather keep any tracability out of this, as many people are working very hard to find a way through

There have been huge numbers of rather fatuous comments of the "GANTT chart meets reality" type. My feeling is that these must have been written by people who simply have no understanding of the issues involved in updating a huge existing codebase so that it works to a commercial level of quality and retains backward compatibility with most of what is out there.

It's almost unheard of to find a large mature codebase which is particularly clean. What would have started out as a clean architecture gets pulled out of shape with bug fixes, new features, support for new architectures and so on over time. In particular, many fixes are done in a 'quick and dirty' fashion because there's a need to correct a critical security flaw now, so a quick fix is preferred to a considered refactoring of the relevant code.

Now, the GANTT chart bit isn't so bad: PM asks the developers, who (usually, anyway!) know their codebases well, to say how long it will take to develop a particular feature, and what the dependencies will be. Most people actually get this part somewhere about right. They write their code, unit test it and put it into an integration build. Everything seems fine.

Where things start to go wrong is where you introduce the next level of testing: beta testing out with customers. The messy codebase starts to bite you hard, with obscure bugs which turn out to be due to the presence of some fix which is essential to another area. Fixing the fix turns out to have ramifications elsewhere, and the whole thing can slide out of control quickly.

My guess is that this is where Microsoft is with Vista: they have 99.9% of everything working very well,but there's 0.1% which is a mess, but which is essential to having the stability needed to launch. Problem is that getting the 0.1% right is actually a huge effort, with unknown impacts across the whole codebase.

You can't even really blame the managers for letting the codebase get into such a mess. The issue is an accumulation of short-term fixes, none of which is, in and of itself, a problem, but when you have thousands of these hacks, maintenance becmes a nightmare. trouble is that the managers and developers who allowed this to happen were merely responding to direction from on high (e.g. "fixing security issues is now our highest priority - I want to see our response time down as low as possible"), which makes considered refactoring impossible.

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