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Mass exodus of executives continues at Microsoft

post #1 of 94
Thread Starter 
While Google's senior management reshuffles, Microsoft appears to be folding its entire hand of face card executives and core eingineers.

Juniper Networks announced today that it had recruited Brad Brooks, an eight year Microsoft veteran who had managed the marketing of Windows Vista and Windows 7.

In a late 2008 interview with Newsweek Brooks insisted, "nobody here looks at Vista as a fiasco," and went on to say that 89 percent of users asked Vista said they were satisfied or very satisfied. Microsoft didn't fire Brooks or ask him to leave however; he took the Juniper job on his on volition.

Brooks' departure marks the third high profile figure to leave the company this week, joining Johnny Chung Lee, credited with the development of the company's fast selling Kinect motion sensing add on for Xbox 360, who left for Google, and Matt Miszewski, Microsoft's general manager of worldwide government, who exited for Salesforce.com.

A week ago, Microsoft's chief executive Steve Ballmer announced plans to replace Bob Muglia, the company's head of its Servers & Tools Business division. Microsoft also lost Chris Liddell, its chief financial officer, at the end of 2010.

Leaving Microsoft

Since the beginning of its winter quarter, Microsoft has also lost or dismissed at least four other top executives, including Xbox and Zune leader J Allard, Entertainment & Devices Division head Robbie Bach, Business Division head Stephen Elop (who left his Office job to become Nokia's chief executive), as well as chief software architect Ray Ozzie (who had joined Microsoft in 2005 to take over the vision role of Bill Gates, and who was supposed to be holding the companys divisions together in a coordinating role).

In 2008, Microsoft's Platforms & Services Division president Kevin Johnson abruptly left for Juniper Networks, disrupting its Bing strategy and prompting the company to reconfigure the division into separate Windows and Online Services groups as it attempted to purchase Yahoo.

That same year the company also announced the resignation of Jeff Raikes, who had left Apple to joint Microsoft in the early 80s. Raikes was one of the company's longest running executives, and oversaw the development of Office. After his departure, Microsoft split the Business Division Raikes managed into Server & Tools, managed by Muglia, and a new Office-centric Business Division run by Elop, both of whom have also now left the company.



Thousands laid off, billion dollar questions

These departures only count high level executives; in 2009, Microsoft's broad layoffs included the director of business development for its Emerging Business Team, Don Dodge, who has since started working for Google.

"Thousands of employees have been laid off or fired [from Microsoft] over the past two years," Dodge wrote in his blog.

Referencing the exodus of high level managers, Dodge wrote, "but these guys are the highest level execs at Microsoft, all of whom reported to CEO Steve Ballmer. Is it possible that the presidents of all these divisions messed up so badly in the past 9 months that they were asked to leave? Given the reported financial results this seems inconceivable. There is something else going on here.

"Losing a seasoned exec like Bob Muglia is a big, but recoverable loss." Dodge noted. "Losing Muglia, Robbie Bach, Steve Elop, Ray Ozzie, Chris Liddell, Kevin Johnson, Jeff Raikes, and other senior execs is devastating. The effects aren't visible yet. It takes years to unfold. Each individual business division will get a new leader, and revenues will continue to chug along.

"But, who will be the visionary for the future? And, who will be ready to step in as CEO when Ballmer leaves? Those are billion dollar questions."
post #2 of 94
These guys are not the problem. They seem to have no vision nor leadership.
post #3 of 94
Who cares? If I didn't have Windows forced at work (and all my colleagues are pretty pissed about it not working 4 out of 5 times) I would not see a single Microsoft product the whole year around ... and I do not miss it at all.
Marquiz d' Gabber von Gabberaarde

... and Windows Vista...
... fails on the Moon...
... 6x slower!
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Marquiz d' Gabber von Gabberaarde

... and Windows Vista...
... fails on the Moon...
... 6x slower!
Reply
post #4 of 94
The only vision that anybody has ever had at Microsoft was that computers would be the future. Big deal. So did I. I just wasn't in a position to do anything about it. Except buy one.

They never even came up with an operating system. DOS was purchased. Everything else was copied. So now when new things are needed, operating systems for new devices for instance, they fall flat.
post #5 of 94
It's only a matter of time until the board figures it out and encourages Ballmer to pull his Golden Parachute handle while they rush to restart the engines. If not we may watch as this bird slowly starts losing trust maybe a buy out or split is in the big MS future.

Pondering what would Steve, Larry or Mark do?

After all these three giants need new campuses don't they???
post #6 of 94
Head of Worldwide Government? Head of Servers & Tools?

Who comes up with this stuff!?

Priceless!
post #7 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stobler_D View Post

It's only a matter of time until the board figures it out and encourages Ballmer to pull his Golden Parachute handle while they rush to restart the engines. If not we may watch as this bird slowly starts losing trust maybe a buy out or split is in the big MS future.

Board?

I think that intervention by Bill and Warren is the only hope.

Their fortunes' ability to do good for the world is probably in peril.
post #8 of 94
Quote:
"But, who will be the visionary for the future? And, who will be ready to step in as CEO when Ballmer leaves? Those are billion dollar questions."

Sinofsky
post #9 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricardo Dawkins View Post

Sinofsky

True!
post #10 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by extremeskater View Post

Everyone is leaving but the guy they need to leave.

The best thing for Ballmer's fortune would be to fire Ballmer.
post #11 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by extremeskater View Post

Everyone is leaving but the guy they need to leave.

I'm curious to know what's in those photos that Ballmer obviously has as blackmail over Gates.
post #12 of 94
Daniel, it's Juniper, not "Jupiter".
post #13 of 94
Juniper Networks admitted this hiring?
Enjoying the new Mac Pro ... it's smokin'
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Enjoying the new Mac Pro ... it's smokin'
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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post #14 of 94
So how's is the MS Macintosh Development Team doing?
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Enjoying the new Mac Pro ... it's smokin'
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini.
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post #15 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post

I'm curious to know what's in those photos that Ballmer obviously has as blackmail over Gates.

Oh I can guess at a few things Billy boy wouldn't want the proof of getting out.
Enjoying the new Mac Pro ... it's smokin'
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini.
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Enjoying the new Mac Pro ... it's smokin'
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini.
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post #16 of 94
HP ousts a big chunk of their board of directors, Microsoft taking on water like it's the Titanic, Steve splitting from Apple...

It's gettin' messy out there.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #17 of 94
Jupiter Networks announced today that it had recruited Brad Brooks, an eight year Microsoft veteran who had managed the marketing of Windows Vista and Windows 7.

huge mistake on jupiter's part.
post #18 of 94
So, when it's just Balmer, his twin stuffed tiger pet animals, a bottle of cheap Chianti and two candles in his hotel suite in Espoo, Finland after just closing his negotiations to be taken over by Nokia, his iPhone will ring and it will be Gates.

Gates will have only one question... Steve, HOW DID YOU GET SO STUPID SO FAST??? ......click....
post #19 of 94
Elop just looks like a little weasel bastard.
post #20 of 94
Rats from a sinking ship
post #21 of 94
ah, i love the smell of burning MS in the morning ... of course this is good ol' Microsoft bashing. and metaphor mashing. always fun!

actually, a whole new generation of leadership may be exactly what MS needs to get out of its doldrums. but a fish rots from the head ...
post #22 of 94
This sounds to me like the wholesale sweeping change in leadership MS DESPERATELY needs. What is worrying from their perspective (not sure who 'they' are as everyone seems to be leaving!) is that the departures seem like rats jumping ship more than bold personnel changes and that the one man who for years now the entire tech-savvy world has been able to see needs to go is still in place.

MS is living off body fat and it's burning it off fast. They need a bold, visionary leader at the top fast because Windows 7 will be the last Windows that sells in such volume at such a price. If the world wants a Windows 8, it will need it on fewer devices and will demand a lower price for it.

At the end of the day, I think MS is a monolith from the past, a company that will just not be needed in its current guise for very much longer. Companies are making their own software again and Google has already established itself in the mobile sector the way MS did in the PC sector in the 80s. What does the world need from MS any more? Windows 7 does everything PC makers will need an operating system to do for the foreseeable future and as the world goes mobile, MS is way behind. WP7 looks nice but even if it is a huge success, it won't sustain a company of MS' size.

Bottom line is MS needs to downsize and prepare for a very different future.

...unless they get their own Steve Jobs and show us that they aren't just corporate men in suits out of touch with the 2011 tech sector.
post #23 of 94
Breaking News! Eric Schmidt is going to be the new CEO of Microsoft!

... oh, wait... no he's not.

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #24 of 94
All the wrong people are leaving.

The guy who really needs to be booted out is still there.
post #25 of 94
Here's an irony. Back in the antitrust trial days of the '90s, the first proposed remedy was breaking Microsoft up into two companies. Of course Microsoft fiercely resisted, and the remedy was thrown out. So today it looks like it could have been the best thing for them. Probably the parts would be stronger than today's whole.
Please don't be insane.
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Please don't be insane.
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post #26 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Here's an irony. Back in the antitrust trial days of the '90s, the first proposed remedy was breaking Microsoft up into two companies. Of course Microsoft fiercely resisted, and the remedy was thrown out. So today it looks like it could have been the best thing for them. Probably the parts would be stronger than today's whole.

The problem is that they basically did split into different companies. After Gates indicated his intention to leave no one was left in control.

Ballmer was given the title but he was either too scared or too clueless to do anything. So the company started falling apart. Divisions not only didn't talk to each other they competed against each other like separate companies and strong execs built their own little fiefdoms.

From top to bottom Microsoft was a bloated, uncoordinated political shit storm. It's no wonder they missed a couple of important tech trends and lacked the product integration and ecosystem of a company like Apple.

The last 6 to 12 months is basically a sign of Ballmer growing a pair and deciding to actually lead. This isn't rats fleeing a sinking ship, it's Ballmer pulling a disheveled mess back into a tech company with a single vision and a single set of goals.

Sure the guy isn't a visionary, but that isn't such a big problem. If he is getting the correct information fed to him (it looks like he is) then as long as he makes sure that ship's nose is pointed in the right direction and that everyone is on board then he is doing his job.

However, even if it does look like Microsoft may once again be on track, they are still about 2 years behind Apple in a couple of really key areas... so it might end up being too little too late.
post #27 of 94
That's just it. Had the courts done the deed, the parts probably would've been more manageable. Perhaps they would have stuck to what they do best, and not have attempted so many misbegotten, money-losing projects. Microsoft has been kidding themselves for years now that everything flows from Windows. Well at one time, maybe it did. But not any longer, and this change in the tech landscape has left them flummoxed. They are still trying to leverage Windows. Had part of the company been forced out of the Windows orbit, they might have had a fresh start.
Please don't be insane.
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Please don't be insane.
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post #28 of 94
"Mass exodus." Is there any other kind?

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #29 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Perhaps they would have stuck to what they do best, and not have attempted so many misbegotten, money-losing projects.

That's probably true, but it's hard to pick and choose. Xbox was a financial black hole, but it has led to the Xbox 360, Kinect and a rejuvenated (and potentially successful this time) living room strategy.

The entire online services division continues to be a financial black hole as well, however it has paved the way for a bunch of supporting online services, for the cloud to be baked into Windows 8 and things like Office365 which will be a revenue stream for Microsoft when the days of the traditional PC stronghold are over.

So a Microsoft focused just on traditional Windows/Office probably would have made more money, right up until the point where they didn't because the market moved past them. At least with all of the bomb projects a few catch on and offer growth potential when the traditional Server/Windows/Office cash cow dries up.
post #30 of 94
MS will recover. The operations at MS are picking up.
S.B.'s neursurgeon just just handed him a iPad!
post #31 of 94
"nobody here looks at Vista as a fiasco"

Boy if that doesn't paint a bullseye on the fundamental problem I don't know what does.
post #32 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

..., Steve splitting from Apple...

A medical LOA isn't exactly "split".
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post #33 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonamac View Post

This sounds to me like the wholesale sweeping change in leadership MS DESPERATELY needs. What is worrying from their perspective (not sure who 'they' are as everyone seems to be leaving!) is that the departures seem like rats jumping ship more than bold personnel changes and that the one man who for years now the entire tech-savvy world has been able to see needs to go is still in place.

MS is living off body fat and it's burning it off fast.

Bottom line is MS needs to downsize and prepare for a very different future.

...unless they get their own Steve Jobs and show us that they aren't just corporate men in suits out of touch with the 2011 tech sector.

Problem is, they are a lot out of touch, corporate men in suits. MSFT resembles IBM of the late 1980s, hanging onto a decades-old business plan, only with a more bureaucratic organization, led by a less talented executive suite, in an economic environment far less likely to tolerate failure.

MS's "body fat" is its enormous installed base, particularly the enterprise sector. It can live off that for a long time, but its days of a technology growth company ended about a decade ago (it would have been earlier if not for the Y2K boondoggle). Among consumers, the Windows brand isn't recognized as being particularly lustworthy. I've taken a lot of criticism for saying so, but in my opinion the Windows moniker itself is an albatross they ought to ditch. MSFT's turnaround, if there is to be one, will begin the day it quietly abandons the name.

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in the role of advisor and then iCEO, he gutted entire divisions. He completely abandoned several product lines and placed just about all the company's resources into developing one product - the iMac. Any employees simply along for the ride were summarily fired. That's pretty much the playbook for any turnaround CEO (Carly Fiorina to name one of hundreds of examples), of course it takes much more than that. In addition to lots of other low-hanging fruit, those decisions completely remade the company and made it resemble more of its original self than the scattered, aimless direction in which it was headed.

Even at its depths though, AAPL still had a billion dollars in the bank, no debt, and enough talent to do great things. Avoiding bankruptcy is just the start, after that you need a plan for continued growth. That almost always means severing ties with the past (desktops and "classic" OS) and developing a new strategy for the future. In Apple's case it was OS X, powerful laptops, and has now expanded to mobile devices, iOS, iAds, the Mac App Store... they have a lot of irons in the fire, and lots of revenue to keep the fire burning.

It may be a hundred times bigger than that now but Apple still has a "startup" culture that inspires individuals to succeed. I have no first-hand knowledge of Microsoft's culture, but from what I've been able to learn it seems to be the exact opposite - a bureaucratic behemoth in which individual success is thwarted and ineptitude is promoted. A company can coast that way for a long time, especially if it has reliable revenue streams such as MSFT's licensing fees - but eventually it crumbles from within. A company that rewards and nourishes a culture of individual success and achievement will thrive. That sort of culture can't be bought, sold, or implemented by management edict. Apple has it. MSFT doesn't.

Quote:
What does the world need from MS any more? ... At the end of the day, I think MS is a monolith from the past, a company that will just not be needed in its current guise for very much longer.

In its "current guise" MSFT is already redundant.
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post #34 of 94
The first paragraph of the article ends with "and core eingineers". My spelling checker in Excel 5.0 suggested "No suggestions". ????
Just what is a core eingineer at microsoft?
post #35 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by EyeNsteinNo View Post

Just what is a core eingineer at microsoft?

...Australian?
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post #36 of 94
Ballmer should definitely not be fired. He's doing a fantastic job running the company (into the ground)!
post #37 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by mac_dog View Post

Jupiter Networks announced today that it had recruited Brad Brooks, an eight year Microsoft veteran who had managed the marketing of Windows Vista and Windows 7.

huge mistake on jupiter's part.

I didn't know the largest planet in the solar system was hiring. Sign me up!
post #38 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

"Mass exodus." Is there any other kind?

Micro exoduses have been found to occur in the Paleosynthesis Era.
post #39 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by john galt View Post

Even at its depths though, AAPL still had a billion dollars in the bank, no debt, and enough talent to do great things.

I thought it got a bit more precarious. Didn't Jobs say Apple was 90 days from bankruptcy when he took over?
post #40 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

I didn't know the largest planet in the solar system was hiring. Sign me up!

You might not like the atmosphere. I hear it's noxious and cold. Everyone is full of gas and the storms last for centuries. You'll have a hard time carrying even your own weight. Besides, you're never on solid ground so you can never be certain where you stand.

But if you're familiar with MSFT, you'll be right at home.
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