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Microsoft's Treatment of Google Defectors

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the well-thats-just-not-cool dept.

Microsoft 572

Miguel de Icaza (Note, this Miguel is not the Ximian developer, just someone whose small life is fulfilled by trolling under someone else's name) writes "Here is a story revealing just how threatened Microsoft is by Google. While senior partners can expect the full chair experience, some lowly staffers who are putting in their notice are being escorted off campus immediately. Why? Because they've put in their notice to join Google. In Microsoft's eyes, Google is Enemy No. 1. Anyone leaving Redmond for the search leader is a threat. Not because they'll scurry around collecting company secrets — as if Google's interested in Microsoft's '90s-era technologies. Departing employees, however, might tell other 'Softies how much better Google is. If an employee is leaving for Amazon.com or another second-tier employer which doesn't make Microsoft so paranoid, they'll probably serve out the traditional two weeks of unproductive wrapping up. So if you're planning on leaving Microsoft for Google, pack up your belongings and say goodbye to friends ahead of time. There'll be no cake and two weeks of paid slacking for you."

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not that uncommon (5, Interesting)

yagu (721525) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313359)

If you're leaving these days it's not uncommon to get escorted to the door... and it's not uncommon to be a perp walk, which sucks. It undermines the fabric of trust in the workforce generally and damages individual psyche specifically. Microsoft isn't unique in this regard, though the article does seem to indicate it is Google-specific.

If it is Google-specific it underscores Microsoft's pettiness, and maybe a little stupidity. They should enforce a consistent policy. Unless an employee has shown himself to be a bad seed, treat him (or her) with respect.

I experienced the perp walk (layoff) after 21 years with qwest. It has garnered nothing but ill will since. The net balance of this kind of treatment is surely negative. You can handle this kind of policy with dignity. Most don't.

While I doubt too many Google employees are leaving for the crumbling Monarchy that is Microsoft, I wouldn't be surprised if Google has similar policies and procedures.

what's the big deal? (2, Insightful)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313411)

At our business (office machine dealer), ANYONE that resigns, even though they give a two week notice, is asked to leave at the end of the business day. Their email account is yanked, all passwords changed. It's SOP for just about any business. With the ease of taking business customer information with you, I don't blame MS, or any company for doing this. I don't think it is sour grapes, but a good business practice.

Re:what's the big deal? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21313455)

Its not SOP. I've been through many companies, not a single one treated me or other employees this way. If someone wants to damage the company, why would they give you a chance to throw you out? They'll just do it before they put in their notice. Respect your employees and they'll treat you in kind.

Re:what's the big deal? (5, Informative)

Tom (822) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313493)

No, it isn't.

Everyone who intends to take anything with them is probably smart enough to make copies before telling you they're leaving. Likewise, any damage they might do can already be set up.

The only situation where being escorted off is when the company fires someone, or when he resigns surprisingly (including to himself) in a fit of anger. In any other situation, anything you're trying to protect yourself from has either already happened, or won't happen even if you just let him go peacefully.

Re:what's the big deal? (5, Informative)

lukas84 (912874) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313507)

Here in Switzerland, 2 months notice MINIMUM is required by law. Most companies write up 3 months for most regular jobs, and 6+ months for senior/executive positions.

And most of the time, you'll spend this time wrapping up your work. It's HIGHLY unusual to be suspended immediately - usually only if you stole company goods or something like that.

When i've switched jobs, i always spent the time productively, completing documentation, instructing my follow-up, etc. pp.

American working culture always looks very strange to me :)

Re:what's the big deal? (5, Funny)

The Second Horseman (121958) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313687)

It's not so much a working culture. It's more like watching one of those nature documentaries where the slower and weaker animals are getting run down and eaten, or wander into quicksand and drown. If you're lucky. In some areas, it's positively Dickensian.

Re:what's the big deal? (4, Informative)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313801)

Just FYI, here in the US, the law basically states that the company can fire you for any (legal) reason at any time, and therefore employees also have the right to quit at any time for any reason. The 2 week thing is a general courtesy understood throughout the workforce, but not required by law.

Re:what's the big deal? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21313537)

At our business (office machine dealer), ANYONE that resigns, even though they give a two week notice, is asked to leave at the end of the business day.

Being asked to leave at the end of the business day and being escorted off the premises immediately (only omitting the infamous kick in the butt) are two different things: One shows at least a certain amount of respect, the other doesn't.

Their email account is yanked, all passwords changed. It's SOP for just about any business. With the ease of taking business customer information with you, I don't blame MS, or any company for doing this. I don't think it is sour grapes, but a good business practice.

This I've never really understood, what prevents a malicious employee to steal the customer info before turning in the notice? But in any case, even if you think this policy is necessary, one can at least be civil about it (yank computer access immediately but let the employee gather his stuff and leave voluntarily on his own instead of being "escorted" out by security goons).

Re:what's the big deal? (5, Insightful)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313577)

But the story is that MS is not doing this for security, they're doing it to prevent 'defectors' taking others with them. I really can't even begin to get inside the thought process of whoever had this idea - who seriously thinks "Hmm, good employees are leaving because they think another company is a more pleasant place to work, we'd better make sure the secret doesn't get out" rather than "Hmm, good employees are leaving because they think another company is a more pleasant place to work, we'd better see if we can find out what we're doing wrong and perhaps work on fixing it".

Re:what's the big deal? (3, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313583)

I've been in both types of business. I find that the higher the level of trust that they've had to have in you, the less likely you are to get booted immediately. If you're in charge of data integrity and security on a financial system, a position of high trust, you're not going to get railroaded like you would if you're an applications developer.

The job I'm in now, I should get "perp-walked" when I put in my notice (I have way too much systems access), but I doubt I will be, because they'll be desperate for me to train someone, and catch up my documentation. It's a trust position, though a number of people over me probably don't trust me...If I were them I wouldn't trust anyone, due to the amount of backstabbing they've been dealing in.

They're not always rational...It'll be interesting to see.

Re:what's the big deal? (2, Insightful)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313591)

With the ease of taking business customer information with you, I don't blame MS, or any company for doing this. I don't think it is sour grapes, but a good business practice.

No, it's not. When I was about to quit my last job, I spent two weeks copying files (my personal files) and removing my personal things from the office. (As well as working late every night wrapping up my current projects.) Then I gave my notice and said goodbye. (Until the court case when I claimed my three months of overdue salary, but that's another story.) Anyway, if I had wanted to "steal" any company information, I would have done it long before I gave notice. So while you obviously will treat staff who give notice differently, treating them as if they have been unmasked as KGB moles is just dramatic posturing, and generates ill will. Not just in the departing staff, but everyone. What happens in three months time when the new staff have a problem they would like to consult with you about? You tell them to fuck off.

Re:what's the big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21313743)

Around here the standard notice is 3 *months*. While I believe it's perfectly legal to toss an employee out immediately, as long as they get 3 months pay, I have yet to experience it happening. Though it's pretty normal for the employee asking to be allowed to start the new job as early as possible and that usually being granted as long as he can be phased out of current responsibilities quickly enough.

I guess we may be naive fools, but I have yet to hear anything about this causing any problems for the average employee or employer. And it makes for a pretty sane transitional period. If you're fired you have 3 months to find something new. If you quit, your employer has 3 months to find/train a replacement.

Also, since it is a fair chunk of time, people stay active until the end. You can get things planned and executed in three months. Two weeks is pretty narrow a window to plan new activities for.

Re:not that uncommon (1)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313477)

If you're leaving these days it's not uncommon to get escorted to the door... and it's not uncommon to be a perp walk
Thanks for the warning. Now that I know, I'll wear a big smile and an "I'm going somewhere better" t-shirt for the occasion. After all, why let them get you down if you're doing things the proper way.

Re:not that uncommon (0)

JonTurner (178845) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313633)

Time to iron the "I'm with Stupid --->" shirt or make something custom: "I accepted a great offer from GOOGLE and all I got was this lousy Perp Walk."

Why give notice, then?Resign effective immediately (4, Insightful)

JonTurner (178845) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313567)

Giving notice is a courtesy to the company and it must be earned.

>>If you're leaving these days it's not uncommon to get escorted to the door...

Then, if this is standard practice at your company, do not provide notice. Just quit, walk out, and never look back.
Clean out your office over the preceeding week, then simply say to your manager on the last hour of your last day "I quit, effective immediately. I'm not coming back tomorrow, and I did not give notice because of the poor way this company responds to those who resign (e.g. "perp walk"). Goodbye and good luck." Or just send them an email over the weekend. It might sound harsh but if they truly respond this poorly to resignations, you have nothing to lose anyway.

The funny part is, I'll bet the clueless executives have had at least one profanely expensive "retreat" this year where they listened to expensive consultants's opinions on boosting employee morale and/or commitment.

Ghosting (2, Interesting)

UncleWilly (1128141) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313657)

There is a name for this, it's called Ghosting. I've just learned this term recently as we have had so many performing this maneuver, especially for contractors. I think the first time I ghosted was in 1998.

Re:Why give notice, then?Resign effective immediat (2, Insightful)

cetialphav (246516) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313813)

Then, if this is standard practice at your company, do not provide notice. Just quit, walk out, and never look back.
That's dumb. If I was at a company where the standard practice was to walk someone out the door as soon as they gave notice, I would give them 6 months notice. After all, maybe they would walk me out immediately and pay me for the next 6 months. If they didn't walk me out, I would always have the option of changing my mind and giving a shorter notice.

In my last company, the standard practice was to immediately walk you out if you were going to a direct competitor. If you were not doing that, then you served out your final days like normal. I don't necessarily agree with that, but I think it is understandable.

Re:not that uncommon (1)

analog_line (465182) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313585)

It undermines the fabric of trust in the workforce generally

This presumes that there is any actual trust in the workforce generally. When I was doing computer security consulting work we preached to anyone that would listen that the biggest danger to your security comes from employees, not outside aggressors. This is because IT IS TRUE. No, it isn't nice, but it's not a nice world. If someone has informed you that they are leaving the company, the first thing that should happen is that your manager should push a red button that instantly removes all access you have to computers and badge-access doors (or get that process started), and the second thing is calling security to escort them out. Your ill will is a negative to the company, but you causing damage before you left could aily be an even greater negative, with real financial implications. It doesn't make sense to take the chance that "I don't like this place anymore" isn't somewhere on the list of reasons why you're leaving the company.

Re:not that uncommon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21313645)

so what stops me from doing my damage before I put in a notice? putting in a notice is a courtesy to the company, not an indication that you are any more or less trustworthy than you were before.

Re:not that uncommon (1)

analog_line (465182) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313785)

Nothing, but once they're informed of yur intention to leave, they should act limit any further damage you might cause. My guess would be that at most companies, your former manager is going to be tasked with finding out exactly what you've been doing when not under his eye in case something happened that you can be sued for. Especially at a place like Microsoft.

Re:not that uncommon (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21313829)

So what is the purpose of giving a notice anymore then? Why should I give one if I am going to be treated like cattle? Maybe I will just leave the company hanging on an unfinished project with no one else to finish.

Agreed, but still a violation of trust (4, Insightful)

Exp315 (851386) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313605)

I agree, it is very common. I think most HR consultants advise companies in competitive industries to escort fired or quitting employees to the door immediately, giving them no chance to do any damage. The thing is, I still think it's wrong. It's a unilateral violation of the trust contract between employees and the employer. Employees are trusted with the most sensitive information and assets of the company while they are working there, and it would be easy to abuse that trust. Any employee who is planning to leave, or who getting the vibe that they could be laid off, could be stocking up on sensitive info or doing other damage if they wanted. What stops them? Nothing but mutual trust and the value of personal reputation. When the employer violates that trust contract by treating the employee badly and showing that they have no trust, that is being communicated not only to the mistreated employee, but to everyone else who still works there. Only future badness can result. As an emmployer, I'd rather demonstrate trust in my employees and take the chance of an occasional hit from a bad one.

Re:not that uncommon (1)

allthingscode (642676) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313715)

The company I work for has a policy that if you get hired by a competitor, they will escort you out immediately. If it's a non-competitor company, you can serve out your two weeks. Theoretically, this is about intellectual property, though I'm still trying to find some of that.

Re:not that uncommon (2, Insightful)

LVSlushdat (854194) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313725)

> If you're leaving these days it's not uncommon to get escorted to the door... and it's not
> uncommon to be a perp walk, which sucks. It undermines the fabric of trust in the workforce
> generally and damages individual psyche specifically.

What IS this "fabric of trust in the workforce" of which you speak?? I think thats been gone for MANY years..

Microsoft is simply bland.. (5, Insightful)

Ckwop (707653) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313367)

I have never worked for Microsoft and to be honest, I'd probably never want to. I think the key problem for Microsoft is that nothing they do is exciting anymore.

I think Vista has really damaged Microsoft. Not in terms of revenue, since a sale of Windows XP is still a sale for Microsoft. No, the damage is in morale. Vista was an absolute disaster for morale. They worked for a couple of years only to ditch it and start again from the Windows 2003 Server source-code. Nothing they put in to Vista was in anyway something you can get developers energised about. Every feature had nightmarish committees which destroyed any hope of motivation. They even developed anti-features like SecurePath that nobody cares about.

I read somewhere that Microsoft developers write something like 1,000 lines of code a year. Last-year, I contributed around forty times that to our source control at work. When you're paid so much to do so little - that has to destroy morale too. Most developers I know like to work.

Vista is a symptom of a much deeper problem. Microsoft doesn't know how to be sexy. it doesn't now how to to be secure and it doesn't know how to please it's users. Worst of all, it doesn't know how to make it's huge base of developers happy!

All of this makes Google a very attractive place. If all your talent walks right of your door, it isn't too long until there is no way whatsoever to fix any of the problems I've just mentioned.

Put more succinctly, Microsoft sucks and Google rocks.

Simon.

Re:Microsoft is simply bland.. (1)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313527)

What? MS Developers write 1000 lines a year? What lazy bastards! I'm pretty sure i do that in a lazy month.

Re:Microsoft is simply bland.. (4, Interesting)

Iphtashu Fitz (263795) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313547)

I read somewhere that Microsoft developers write something like 1,000 lines of code a year

I forget if it was here on /. or somewhere else but I recall reading a story of a person hired at MS whose job was to revamp the shutdown/suspend/sleep features of Vista, mainly involving the menu options available to the user. After 6 months or so he left in disgust because of all the bureaucracy involved. He attended dozens of meetings, had something like 6 different groups providing input on requirements, menu design, etc. (but nobody actually responsible for resolving issues/conflicts) In his time there he ended up only writing a few hundred lines of code, and attended just about as many meetings.

I would love to find that article again. It was very interesting reading.

Re:Microsoft is simply bland.. (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313587)

I read somewhere that Microsoft developers write something like 1,000 lines of code a year. Last-year, I contributed around forty times that to our source control at work. When you're paid so much to do so little - that has to destroy morale too. Most developers I know like to work.

Strange, I know most people that are exactly the opposite. They want to do as little as possible and get paid 10x more than they currently are and I watch them sit at their desks spending more time surfing blogs, iTunes and news sites than completing the few projects that they claim keep them so busy throughout their days. The sad thing is that those that want to work, like you who's touting their self-worth, get paid shit wages and recognized very little for the simple fact that you make a much better worker and you're content where you are. Management rarely recognizes work the way it should and that's the sad fact in the real world.

What destroys morale is fruitless labor where you work, work, work and in the end you have nothing to show for it. I suppose like scrapping Vista and rewriting it from a completely different source and then watching the popularity of the OS flounder around like a fish in the bottom of the barrel because that's exactly what the result came to be.

Re:Microsoft is simply bland.. (1)

skoaldipper (752281) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313763)

I think the key problem for Microsoft is that nothing they do is exciting anymore.
Or that their vision is too broad and overreaching. Google too will soon suffer if not careful.

Since when did every business need to be everybody elses business? Narrow that focus on just a few products, and do them very well.

Xbox, Microsoft TV, Zune, MSN services, etc. What about just Operating Systems? You run the risk of diluting your quality while expanding your influence, and neglecting your base. Having several products outside your scope is fine, but there must be a CIO somewhere out there that knows how to just say "stop and retool".

Re:Microsoft is simply bland.. (2, Insightful)

StormReaver (59959) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313789)

"I have never worked for Microsoft and to be honest, I'd probably never want to."

When I was nearing university graduation in 1999, and my school was preparing the the annual job fair, I got a call from the Microsoft contingent offering to set up a programmer interview at the fair. I told the caller that Microsoft's business practices were so unacceptable that I would never be able to ethically work for them.

I graduated, got a shitty temp-to-hire corporate programming job for six months, quit, went unemployed for a year, then found the local government programming job I still hold today. I'm sure I make substantially less than if I had taken the Microsoft job (or any number of other out of state, corporate job offers I'd gotten), but I'm much happier where I'm at now than I would have been at Microsoft. I don't have to sacrifice my sense of ethics and morality at my job.

As an added bonus, I was responsible for getting rid of a number of Windows "servers" and replacing them with real servers running Linux. I also managed to change the entire job culture from "Windows-only" over to "Windows on the desktop, mostly Linux on the server". That's not bad at all considering how thoroughly Windows-entrenched the place was when I first got here. I even got formerly Linux-hostile employees to love Linux and hate Windows, and that was merely by showing them Linux's strengths and weaknesses (the strengths far outweigh the weaknesses).

Attitudes are slowly changing for the better, and Microsoft is being further forced onto the defensive as time goes by.

1000 lines/year/developer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21313845)

I thought the poster exaggerate very much. Come on, I code that much just playing around and I am just a hobbyist. That is until I googled "1,000 lines of code a year" Windows and this shows up:
The ultimate and final monolithic operating system? [oreillynet.com] which points to an ex-Softie's blog [msdn.com] .

That puts the number at 1000 lines/yr*1 yr/wk*5 days/wk = 3.85 lines per working day per developer. All I can say is, Holy Cow! No wonder...

Paid slacking (5, Insightful)

modelint (684704) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313377)

Actually, getting escorted out the door gets you two weeks of paid slacking at home! I would consider it an insult if I weren't important enough to be shown the door in a paranoid fury.

Re:Paid slacking (2, Funny)

psychicsword (1036852) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313407)

I would tell everyone that I am going to Google just to get the 2 week pay for doing nothing, even if I wasn't going to be working for Google.

Hmmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21313383)

"There'll be no cake and two weeks of paid slacking for you."

The cake is a lie
The cake is a lie
The cake is a lie
The cake is a lie

I miss the companion cube

NOT Miguel de Icaza (5, Informative)

balster neb (645686) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313419)

Just to clarify, the submitter is not the real Miguel de Icaza. The real one uses the Slashdot ID miguel [slashdot.org] .

Re:NOT Miguel de Icaza (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21313525)

Oh, we knew that already. Notice that the article's anti-Microsoft...

Re:NOT Miguel de Icaza (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21313529)

Who cares?

Who is this guy anyway? (1)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313637)

From the POSTER'S Page [slashdot.org]

I play a pivotal role in a grand conspiracy to cripple the free software movement from within, by covertly embedding an unnecessary, yet seductively useful, patented technology at the very heart of the linux operating system's second most popular desktop environment.

Umm, who the fuck is this guy and is he for real?!

Re:Who is this guy anyway? (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313855)

I think he's being sarcastic and acting like he's Miguel de Icaza.
I assume he's talking about mono.

Re:NOT Miguel de Icaza (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313653)

Oh... I had made that mistake in other threads. He does a pretty good impersonation of what I thought Miguel was like, although he does seem to have a little too much time on his hands. I guess I have no opinion on the real Miguel now.

Re:NOT Miguel de Icaza (1)

jumperboy (1054800) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313907)

Posted by CmdrTaco on Sunday November 11, @10:09AM from the well-thats-just-not-cool dept.

I'd have to agree: It's just-not-cool to submit a story with a misleading attribution like this. Think what you may about Miguel de Icaza, it's not appropriate use his byline with no hint of satirical intent (at least alter the name a little to show it's fake). That the story was posted by the founder of SlashDot, CmdrTaco, saddens me. I see now that it has an added tag of migueldeicaza as a result. This would have been unjustified if the story hadn't been submitted this way.

Lets be realistic... (1)

Mike1024 (184871) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313421)

There'll be no cake and two weeks of paid slacking for you.


Two weeks of paid slacking? Gee, sounds like Microsoft is really missing out there.

If someone has turned in their resignation why would you want to keep them around for two more weeks anyway? Their work should already be documented and "two weeks of paid slacking" doesn't sound like valuable work to me.

"Put in their notice" (4, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313423)

While that is the right thing to do, why on earth would you tell your current employer where you are going next?

Re:"Put in their notice" (2, Insightful)

mgrassi99 (514152) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313451)

I don't know about you, but I have friends at my former place of employment, and even if I didn't tell them where I was going, they would find out through the grapevine. Besides, there's always that chance that a colleague may be interested in following, and were afraid to speak up without prompting. Its good to network people...

Re:"Put in their notice" (2, Interesting)

murderlegendre (776042) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313473)

While that is the right thing to do, why on earth would you tell your current employer where you are going next?

That information is embedded in your "You guys can suck it, I'm going to ______.." speech.

Larfs aside, you raise an interesting question.. how exactly does MS know where an employee is heading, when they're on the way out the door? Do MS employees have some contractual responsibility along these lines?

Re:"Put in their notice" (1)

jorghis (1000092) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313581)

Maybe the boss asked? I mean doesnt that seem like the logical response?

"I am going to work somewhere else."

"oh, where?"

I mean, how do you not ask "where" right after someone says that to you?

Re:"Put in their notice" (1)

eraserewind (446891) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313621)

You could say: "across town"

Re:"Put in their notice" (2, Insightful)

jorghis (1000092) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313673)

Any decent manager would surely ask for a specific company. I imagine most people would be inclined to give an honest answer. I think refusing to answer completely would be a surefire way to make said manager very suspicious that its a direct competitor and make damn sure you were out that same day. Its not like it would be some casual conversation where you could dodge questions, any responsible manager would want to know your motivations as to why you wanted to leave.

Re:"Put in their notice" (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313723)

And there is no legal reason you have to answer as its really none of their business.

Re:"Put in their notice" (2, Insightful)

jorghis (1000092) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313751)

True that, however why would you want to be confrontational about it? If it is a company which doesnt directly compete wouldnt you do your best to maintain good relations with your old employer? I know I would, quitting is not something an employer likes but you should never burn bridges unnecessarily.

Re:"Put in their notice" (0)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313903)

Depends on the situation.

In the case where you are going to competition ( like the story was about ) i might be less inclined to tell them. ( or make up a story ). Never know what they might do, might try to derail the new job even and really screw you.

One time many years ago i did move to competition, but i told them it was a totally different company/industry. ( its a employers market around here )

Easy (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313667)

" I would rather not divulge who my future employer is".

The last job i left to move on/upwards i was *not* asked out of courtesy, i was wished well.

Re:"Put in their notice" (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313697)

While that is the right thing to do, why on earth would you tell your current employer where you are going next?

In this case, either A) a two-week paid vacation, or B) two weeks of double paychecks. Also the opportunity to twist the knife a bit as you jump ship to their biggest competitor (as of now).

I hadn't checked for a while, but GOOG's market cap is now 2/3s of MSFTs. No wonder they're getting cranky.

This is an excellent example of... (2, Interesting)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313443)

Giving only one side of the issue. It could be that Microsoft has some institutional anti-Google hate, but it sounds a little bit black top hat and twirling mustache to me. I have to ask why they are leaving MS for Google in the first place. It seems to me that it's very likely they were already unhappy with their job there, so they may very well have been seen as disruptive and escorted out because of it. I know this is getting off the MS is the most evil corporation ever bandwagon, but I just don't see a huge multinational corporation having institutionalized hatred of a competitor so strongly that they can't bear to have people talk about switching teams. How does it benefit Microsoft?

Re:This is an excellent example of... (4, Insightful)

plopez (54068) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313535)

How does it benefit Microsoft?
What makes you think it was a rational decision? Not all business decisions are rational. Far too often they are driven by a desire to control, frighten the employees and/or stroke the egos of managers.

Re:This is an excellent example of... (1)

eraserewind (446891) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313663)

I think it is normal enough, and assuming it was done reasonably shouldn't be taken personally.
You can't have your direct competitor's employee walking around your R&D (or any other) department while they work out their notice with you. Not that people in general are going to steal anything, or even use company confidential knowledge, but if they did it would be questioned why you let it happen.

Any company would do this (2, Informative)

jorghis (1000092) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313467)

Why is this a problem? Its just MS playing it safe, if I told my employer that I was leaving for our biggest competitor I think I wouldnt be allowed to sit around for the next two weeks out of concern that I could be gathering information. While 80% probably wouldnt there would surely be some who would. I can think of a half a dozen times off the top of my head when non-MS engineers I knew were "shown the door" when they informed their employer they were leaving for a competitor.

And since when is Amazon a second tier company? I've been there and know people that work there, it seems like a great place and from what I hear the compensation is very competitive with MS, Google, and whatever other company you think is a trendy "first tier company".

Re:Any company would do this (1)

jorghis (1000092) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313497)

Just as a clarification, when I say "80% wouldnt" I am refering to the employees not the employer. I mean "80% wouldnt gather information that could prove valuable for their new corporate masters".

Re:Any company would do this (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313555)

And since when is Amazon a second tier company?
Since they're only known for one software patent (One Click), Microsoft claims it has at least 264 patents more than Linux.
So!

Totally useless attempt at damage control (3, Insightful)

Iphtashu Fitz (263795) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313499)

Sorry, but even if I were to be escorted off the premises after giving notice it wouldn't prevent me from talking to coworkers. I've kept in touch with coworkers from a number of previous jobs. In todays high-tech marketplace it's very common. I get from, and send to former coworkers e-mails about new job opportunities. I have IM and e-mail accounts for a number of people going back 4 jobs or more. Then there are sites like LinkedIn, Plaxo, etc. that let you keep track of former employees.

If I worked at MS, gave notice that I was going to Google, and was immediately escorted out, I'd be much more inclined to e-mail my former co-workers and let them know what happened. I'd also willingly give them details about working at Google if they asked.

Re:Totally useless attempt at damage control (3, Insightful)

LVSlushdat (854194) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313639)

Silly Question: Assuming you worked at MS, and got a great offer from Google, why in the world would you tell MS HR/Mgmt *where* you were going? I've changed jobs a bit in the last few years, and I've never told my losing company where I was going.. There's no legal or moral requirement to do so, since its between you and the new company... at least thats how I see it...

It is a common practice in many industries (1)

ccordero (22284) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313513)

That happens in the airline industry all the time. BS article, like nobody knows about google perks.

jumping on the bandwagon here (4, Interesting)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313531)

I've been twiddling with computers for a long time now. For me, Microsoft has always been like Churchill's definition of democracy -- it's the worst operation system (for the general public) except for all the others that have been tried. Yeah, macheads could argue that the OS* flavors are great but so many people would never even bother taking a look due to the premium price paid for the hardware. And Linux on the desktop? That was as far off as fusion power plants. Nothing Microsoft did was particularly elegant but you just sucked it up and dealt with it. What other choice did you have?

Well, it seems like Microsoft has really gotten itself in a bind. I think it's certainly possible for them to reverse course and right things for the company but I don't think it's plausible. Not that they're going to evaporate tomorrow, just that they've peaked and are entering a shallow and prolonged decline. Why is this? Because the very kind of corporate culture change that would allow Microsoft to get lean and agile is an affront to the power structure. I love Orwell's quote on this sort of thing: "The point is that we are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield." In this case, substitute "marketplace" for "battlefield."

The poster above nailed it when they said that Microsoft's products aren't exciting and thus the company itself is not an exciting place to work for. Why is it that Microsoft has to buy innovative companies instead of spinning off ideas from internal skunkworks? Because the corporate culture smothers innovation in the cradle.

So now we're seeing a mixture of interesting trends. Ubuntu has really made desktop Linux practical for the average Joe, I'd say 90% of the way there. That last 10% is up to the 3rd parties, bundling drivers so that a non-tech can go to the store, buy a widget, take it home and have it work right out of the box. We've got ridiculously low-priced laptops, both the OLPC and that new one from Asus. We've also got more encroachment from smart phones, PDA's, etc. These are all devices that are taking over activities that used to be wedded to PC's, big, bulky desktop machines running Windows. We've got open source office applications that can run native under Windows or Linux. They will only improve in time. Google is spitting out innovations left and right.

While making future predictions in the computer arena is a fairly silly thing to do, I'll go out on a limb and say that Microsoft is in serious trouble here. In order to overcome these dangers, the Microsoft kakosarchy will have to go away. Otherwise I think we're looking at a long, slow withering.

Re:jumping on the bandwagon here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21313719)

Why is it that Microsoft has to buy innovative companies instead of spinning off ideas from internal skunkworks? Because the corporate culture smothers innovation in the cradle.

You do realize Google does the same thing?

Re:jumping on the bandwagon here (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313767)

Why is it that Microsoft has to buy innovative companies instead of spinning off ideas from internal skunkworks? Because the corporate culture smothers innovation in the cradle.
You do realize Google does the same thing?
A valid observation, but I would say there are two important differences between the way Google and Microsoft handle it. 1. Google does not exclusively get innovation from acquisitions, a lot of ideas also spring from in-house sources. 2. The acquired properties seem to do well within the Google fold, continuing to develop and grow. Whenever I hear Microsoft bought something, I get the same feeling as when EA buys another game studio "Well, there's something that's about to turn into shit soup."

I think Google has the chance of becoming dull and stupid once it hits middle-age. It could become every bit as evil as Microsoft. But right now it's a young turk storming the gates and has a vitality Microsoft cannot match.

But *is* Google really that good? (4, Interesting)

Peter Cooper (660482) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313543)

I don't want to cite references, so just take this as anecdotal, but judging from comments from people who've left Google, and some other Silicon Valley commentators, I've recently been getting the impression that working at Google isn't really that great (at least, no better than MS). Supposedly there are too many people for too few profitable projects (remember where 95%+ of Google's revenue comes from) and thousands of people are, allegedly, working on projects that are going nowhere. I've also heard that since the IPO, a two-tier kind of environment has built up between the rich, old employees and the new ones.

Re:But *is* Google really that good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21313747)

Yes. Actually 3 tiers, pre-IPO, post-IPO full time, contractor. It really sucks to be under the control of incompetents from a higher tier who have not yet moved on to bigger and better things, and want no boat rocking in their little empire. Managers are frequently from your own tier, but are pretty powerless against other managers from higher tiers. Promotions committees, design review committees, and probably many other committees are staffed almost exclusively with low-level, high-tier baggage in Mountain View.

Re:But *is* Google really that good? (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313863)

I interviewed with Google last year and was somewhat disappointed. We've all heard great things (free sushi, free coke, 20% of your time on unrelated side projects, etc), but from what I saw during the interview and looking at the state of non-core google projects, I decided I'd rather be elsewhere.

What the fuck? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21313593)

First of all, the summary is a verbatim copy of the "article" (minus one sentence at the beginning and one sentence at the end). Secondly, the "article" cites no sources at all (not even so much as "this guy I know"). Finally, any idiot can see that this is just the next installment Slashdot's Two Minutes Hate of Microsoft. I'm not saying that this doesn't happen (in fact, I wouldn't doubt it), but this "article" has absolutely no substance at all.

I guess what I'm saying is that is the blueprint of a perfect Slashdot story (sadly, this is not sarcasm). I know weekends are usually slow, but this is just pathetic. What's even more amazing is that it wasn't posted by Zonk or kdawson.

toxic shock (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21313607)

This bodes very, very ill for Google. If these losers are coming direct, without a detox period at another company, then the only thing that is going to happen to Google is that they will absorb the toxic work culture that has been part of M$ for so very long. Dumb move.

Headline/title is misleading! (3, Insightful)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313609)

Microsoft's Treatment of Google Defectors

From this heading alone, I'd conclude that defection is the other way round. That is to say, the defection is from Google to Microsoft.The story suggests otherwise.

But again, I could be wrong.

this might seem obvious but... (2, Insightful)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313613)

why not just avoid telling the company you are leaving where you are going to? ..or just use the same trite line companies use whenever they fire a CEO: "leaving to persue other opportunities" or "taking a sabbatical" or whatever.

Re:this might seem obvious but... (1)

EtoilePB (1087031) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313727)

That's my thought, too. It's a courtesy, not a requirement, that you tell your current employer where you're heading. At my current job, I'm on great terms with my boss and my HR manager and they know that I'm planning to leave in the spring. I'm actually moving to another state, so they'll be kept in the loop about where I end up going. (And our company doesn't so much do "cake" as "open bar parties," so I'm on board with that. ;) )

But at my last job? They were horrible people and I didn't owe them a thing. An employee can give notice at any time for any reason and doesn't have to justify it if s/he doesn't want to.

Dumb (2, Insightful)

niceone (992278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313683)

I can understand why a company might escort you off the premises after they lay you off - to avoid you stealing stuff and generally trying to get back at them. But when you resign you've already stolen everything you intend to (unless you're particularly disorganised), so what's the point?

Whores (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21313685)

You're all a bunch of whores.

I love how you all sit around trashing Microsoft. Thanks to you douchebags who thought Microsoft was some "evil" monopolistic corpoartion back in the 90's, you hopped on the anti-trust bandwagon forcing them to shell out billions of dollars in wasted money to governments and whiny corporations that couldn't compete with them.

Well, you got what you wanted.

Now, Microsoft sucks and you're kicking them while they are down, in the same breath sucking on Google's cock so hard, believing their "do no evil" crap while they get rid of any last piece of privacy American's ever had.

typical wage slavery (1)

br00tus (528477) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313731)

I have worked at or have friends who have worked at Fortune 500 companies where when layoffs come, a security guard appears and people are told they have five minutes to pack their things and exit the building. This is often after years of working at the company, including unpaid 24/7 oncall and late night, weekend and early morning work. Sometimes the guards are even armed. Not every company is the same, but some of them really make clear what their view of you is - you are a wage slave, to be used up through long hours and even after years of being there, thrown away because some executive a few steps up on the management chain decided the rate of profit was threatened. And we are supposed to be professionals, or at least skilled workers - look at all the easily avoidable mine collapses that have been happening around the US in the past few years. In 1991, 25 people died in a North Carolina slaughterhouse because management kept the fire doors locked, most of the bodies were found near the locked exits. While IT workers generally get better treatment than this, most IT workers I know work much more than 40 hours a week, one result of this is they have little or no social life. In a way they are an ideal creation of this type of society - poorly socialized, skilled, working many unpaid hours, and for the most part disposable after a certain age.

What a biased summary (1, Insightful)

Radres (776901) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313749)

"as if Google's interested in Microsoft's '90s-era technologies"

It's crap like this that makes me embarrassed to be a Slashdot reader. Way to go, CmdrTaco.

I HAVE IT!!! (5, Funny)

denzacar (181829) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313773)

Why don't you just lie?

Like... you know... when they ask you... you tell them that you are going to work for McDonald's, or that you are dieing from AIDS or something.

My favourite would be a rare form of Ebola virus. Make sure to cough from time to time.

Media Business (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21313799)

This happens in the Media Business all of the time. I had a co-worker leave for a competitor and it was "out of the place now" in the blink of an eye. They get to take the two weeks paid. The concern is about stealing intellectual property and possibly using it on "the other side" for competitive means.

There is also no cake for those people, although when leaving for a new place that doesn't seem as important as the benefits of going to the competition (more money, perhaps an office and higher title) while getting two weeks of free $$$.

The cake is a lie, usually for the Media Business it's Pizza that they are missing out on :)

Related article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21313805)

There's an interesting article on Security Focus covering this subject:

[...]
One could simply build a special device with a short range Bluetooth receiver that performs a scan for discoverable Bluetooth devices every minute, and then reports all discovered devices to the monitoring system. If more then one receiver is installed at various distances, the network of such devices (nodes) could record the device's position and additionally, the movement of a Bluetooth device -- all this without the device owner's knowledge. The non-discoverable device could be also reported if we know the MAC address and make a request to it every 1 minute and report any response.

Such system could have a number of interesting uses. For instance, if we carry a Bluetooth enabled handset (in discoverable mode) with us while shopping at the local supermarket, the supermarket owner could easily track our movements as we walk through the supermarket, record how long we spend in certain areas, and eventually create a map of our movements within the supermarket. Based on gathered data, it would be possible to analyze our shopping behavior as market research, and as result change positions of certain products or advertisements, or worse, sell the marketing data to research companies. RFID might seem to be more efficient in such a system, however this would require the supermarket to issue RFID tags to their customers, which most people would not accept. By using the Bluetooth technology on the phone they are already carrying, companies can avoid issuing special tracking cards or badged to customers yet still be able to track their movements.

BT positioning based on zones and is not necessary limited to an indoor environment or a small area. It can also be used for the surveillance of citizens within a city. The perfect example of such a system exists as the Loca project. It is an artistic project run in Helsinki which explores various aspects of Bluetooth surveillance and mobile media, and also raises public awareness of pervasive surveillance.
[...]

http://www.securityfocus.com/infocus/1836 [securityfocus.com]

who is "Miguel de Icaza"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21313815)

Is this the real Miguel who works for Novell and sometimes posts here, or is this an imp? If it's the latter, why is he allowed to submit articles under the confusing pseudonym?

Besides, this "article" is at best worth a brief mention near the bottom of a tech gossip rollup. I'm not at all surprised that Microsoft wants people leaving for Google out immediately. I've seen this happen at companies I've worked at, where someone gives notice in favor of the company's or team's main competitor.

Microsoft hates to have to compete (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313823)

They wish there was no serious competition like back in the 90s. But luckily for consumers there are alternatives now, they're still racking their brains on how they came to have competition at all.

The fact that they call their competitors enemies says a lot (that is if they refer to them like that).

Thank goodness I dont work in America if they .. (1)

JackMeyhoff (1070484) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313883)

.. treat people this way. They cannot do this in Europe thankfully and usually the notice period is more than 2 weeks (and our vacation time is over a month :) )

It seems Microsoft is in recession (1)

Cannelloni (969195) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313891)

Based not on rumors or hearsay, but on their products and services, which generally are lackluster and messy, apart from the Xbox 360 maybe, Microsoft is in a downward spiral right now. I'm quite happy about that, not because it hurts Microsoft, but that leaves room for better, more modern, more secure and less bloated products. I'm happy for Google, Apple and the Linux and open source communities!

But they do really think they'll come back. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21313905)

Apparently Msft does believe people will move from Google to Msft, because they are recruiting prettily heavy from those in the Google Seattle Office. Two googlers tell their stories [mywhidbey.com] of the funny blunders the msft headhunters on this blog - I kind of doubt either of these recruiters still have jobs...

Sshhh (3, Interesting)

Ranger (1783) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313913)

Why would you tell your soon to be former employer that you are going to go work for one of their competitors? Just say you are going to go work for a startup that you hope gets bought out by Microsoft.

I've seen employees escorted out and had to escort one out at a previous job. It's a humiliating experience even under the most benign of circumstances.

"Two weeks of slacking" still happen (1)

mi (197448) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313935)

... no cake and two weeks of paid slacking for you."

Not sure about the cake, but the two weeks period is mandated by law. Even if they escort you out the door immediately, they still have to pay you for to more weeks — although you may have to perform your slacking at home (or even at your new workplace).

It works the other way too — you can not quit instantly — if the employer chooses to make you show up for two more weeks, they can.

Two Week Notice? (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313945)

Putting in your two week notice is lame to begin with. Do you think the company would give you two weeks notice before they fired you? Hell no. It's a made-up plea of courtesy.
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