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Mini-Microsoft Shakes Things Up 374

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the corporations-never-like-to-look-in-the-mirror dept.
Henry V .009 writes "BusinessWeek calls him Microsoft's Deep Throat. Although Steve Ballmer denies reading the blog, there are plenty at Microsoft who do. Mini-Microsoft says he wants to "slim down Microsoft into a lean, mean, efficient customer pleasing profit making machine." The user comment section of the site is the real gold: thousands of comments from Microsoft employees who tend to have a dim view about the company's recent evolution. And Microsoft may even be responding to all the internal criticism."
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Mini-Microsoft Shakes Things Up

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  • Innuendo (Score:5, Funny)

    by No Salvation (914727) on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @10:33PM (#13610641) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft ... Deep Throat ... customer pleasing
    Is this what it has to "come" to for Microsoft?
  • insane (Score:5, Interesting)

    by seanadams.com (463190) * on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @10:33PM (#13610642) Homepage
    Wow. This guy is nuts. I'm stunned that anyone could have such a love/hate relationship from the inside of a monster corporation to go to these lengths to fix it.

    His employment agreement surely makes him liable for incalculable damages, not to mention inciting other employees to violate their contracts (which is punishable for contracts in general).

    Maybe they won't know who it is until they find this guy still bailing out the hull after the last rat has left the sinking ship. I think they'll find him sooner, especially now that he's talking to the press.
    • Re:insane (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @10:42PM (#13610683)
      I'm stunned that anyone could have such a love/hate relationship from the inside of a monster corporation to go to these lengths to fix it.

      You've probably never worked in an environment where you know something could be great but everyday you see incompetence and pride as the norm. This drives some of us to the breaking point. Either we give up or we fight for greater things.

      The sad thing is this is in every organisation that is sub-par. There are guys and girls who fall by the wayside everyday because fighting a bureaucracy is a form of attrition-style warfare. You have to keep on battering it and battering it and usually the organisation wins and the dissenters go home with their professional careers and private lives in ruin.

      I hope this guy stay anonymous. No good can come from him publicly outing himself, no matter how great his ideas. This is the nature of power.

      • Re:insane (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dado529 (579877)
        he sad thing is this is in every organisation that is sub-par. There are guys and girls who fall by the wayside everyday because fighting a bureaucracy is a form of attrition-style warfare. Can anyone agree more than me, this is why I no longer work for the tech industry. I now work on all these rich guys boat and take thier money.
      • Re:insane (Score:5, Funny)

        by Mateito (746185) on Wednesday September 21, 2005 @12:05AM (#13611039) Homepage
        You've probably never worked in an environment where you know something could be great but everyday you see incompetence and pride as the norm.

        Maybe not, but he obviously spends time on slashdot.

      • Re:insane (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Shoggoth of Maul (674988) on Wednesday September 21, 2005 @12:27AM (#13611119) Journal
        Indeed, his anonymity is a great part of his power. So long as they can't pin him (or her) down, Microsoft may actually have to move its ass.

        As a man, he can be fired, he can be sued for breach of contract. But as a symbol, he can be everlasting.

        *cue viscerally resonant cinematic soundtrack*

        I smell a montage coming on.
      • Re:insane (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rtb61 (674572)
        He just doesn't realise that microsoft has to be the way it is to generate those profit margins. Corporations have do it time and time again. You sell off customer trust to maximise profit and then try to hide the fact with an endless series of marketing lies and of course bail before it all collapses.

        That is the nature of modern corporate business. Naturally management feels none of the pain, infact they are well rewarded for it (they are in a position to make sure that happens). Regular staff of course

    • by jd (1658) <imipak @ y a h o o .com> on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @10:45PM (#13610707) Homepage Journal
      If you see any new concrete bridges going up near the Redmond campus, a discontinued blog and a mysterious cavity showing up when using GPR, we will know how seriously Microsoft takes criticism.
    • Re:insane (Score:5, Interesting)

      by uncoveror (570620) <webmaster AT uncoveror DOT com> on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @10:49PM (#13610726) Homepage
      Yes, he and others like him need to stay anonymous, or they are toast, but it shouldn't be that way. It is high time laws were passed to protect such bloggers' free speech rights no matter what the legal mumbo jumbo they had to sign off on to have a job says. No employment contract should be able to take away free speech.

      The workings of any publicly traded company ought to be public knowledge. We should have the right to know about companies, and not just their PR spin, before investing or when contemplating whether to sell stock. It is not good for the economy to let publicly traded firms operate in secrecy, and snooker investors

      Even if a company is not publicly traded, prospective customers deserve to know what is going on.

      • Re:insane (Score:3, Insightful)

        by untaken_name (660789)
        Yes, he and others like him need to stay anonymous, or they are toast, but it shouldn't be that way. It is high time laws were passed to protect such bloggers' free speech rights no matter what the legal mumbo jumbo they had to sign off on to have a job says. No employment contract should be able to take away free speech.

        The workings of any publicly traded company ought to be public knowledge. We should have the right to know about companies, and not just their PR spin, before investing or when contemplatin
        • Well OK --

          If we're talking about highly-educated upper-middle class programmers, then fine. But contracts have their limits. I think most people (maybe not you) agree that it should be illegal to enter into a contract where you get paid less than minimum wage.

          The employer-employee dynamic is never (well, almost never) one of two equal parties. It's silly to pretend otherwise.
        • Re:insane (Score:4, Informative)

          by uncoveror (570620) <webmaster AT uncoveror DOT com> on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @11:35PM (#13610952) Homepage
          Nice try but WRONG! BZZZZ!

          Network associates, the makers of McAfee Viruscan, put a line in their EULA that essentially said you couldn't publish a review of the software without their permission. [arstechnica.com] It didn't hold up in court because it violated the first amendment. Network Associates are not the government, and could not force anyone to give up their first amendment rights through contract. That provision was unenforceable, and many things in contracts are unenforceable. A lot of the crap in employment agreements is legalese nonsense that it would take a team of lawyers to interpret, and then they wouldn't all agree what it means. No one can give informed consent to something they do not understand. All they really understand is that if you don't sign, you don't have a job so enjoy living under a bridge when you lose your house! That is not far from holding a gun to your head, and saying, "sign this". An agreement under duress is no agreement at all.

          • Re:insane (Score:5, Informative)

            by Graymalkin (13732) * on Wednesday September 21, 2005 @12:41AM (#13611171)
            You need to go back and do some fact checking. The Network Associates case was ruled such because the wording of their EULA was deceptive. Their case suggested that Network World Fusion broke the law by violating a clause of the EULA. Under scrutiny the clause proved to be untenable legally and the judge told NA to get lost. That however has nothing in the slightest to do with non-disclosure agreements.

            Signing an NDA is binding. If you go and post confidential information to your blog or someone else's blog and the NDA you signed specifically prohibits that, your employer not only has grounds to fire you but also sue you. If your signature is on a document that says "I won't talk about x, y, and z" and then a blog posting or e-mail is presented showing you talked about x, y, or z the judge is likely to rule in your employers favor. If your NDA says you will cut off your right ear if you talk about x, y, or z that clause of the NDA will likely be found unenforceable and you'll be able to keep your ear.

            This differs entirely from situations where talking about x, y, or z benefits the public interest. If product X was made out of dolphin skin by child slaves in San Diego there's a public interest in that information. If you were sued by your employer over releasing that information it probably wouldn't be difficult to show that your whistleblowing served the public interest. Whistleblowing is protected when there is a viable public interest in the disclosed information. Clauses in an NDA or any other contract which require you to break the law (manage slave lavorers in San Diego) are unenforceable. Your employment contract can't require you to be a heroin mule for instance.

            What you don't seem to understand is the first amendment only applies to government. It does not extend to private organizations or property. The government can't tell you that you can't post specs on as yet unreleased product Y but a contract can. You don't have a right to any particular job, if an employment contract is required to work there and you're unwilling to sign it you're not going to have that job.
            • Re:insane (Score:3, Informative)

              by StikyPad (445176)
              If product X was made out of dolphin skin by child slaves in San Diego there's a public interest in that information.

              Not to mention product Y, made out of child skin by dolphin slaves. And I won't even get into the details of product Z.

              What you don't seem to understand is the first amendment only applies to government. It does not extend to private organizations or property. The government can't tell you that you can't post specs on as yet unreleased product Y but a contract can.

              Actually, the government ca
          • Nope. (Score:3, Informative)

            by belmolis (702863)

            The First Amendment applies in the first instance to the federal government ("Congress shall make no law...") and by virtue of the 14th Amendment, to the states. It does not apply to private parties. Its only relevance to private parties is that contracts contrary to public policy are not enforceable, and the First Amendment is one piece of evidence bearing on public policy regarding freedom of speech. In fairly extreme cases, you can expect a court to void a contract on public policy freedom of speech gro

          • Re:insane (Score:3, Informative)

            by FurryFeet (562847)
            Network Associates are not the government, and could not force anyone to give up their first amendment rights through contract.

            You got this all wrong. It is the government who can't make you give up your free speech. Anyone else can, as long as you agreed to the contract.

            In other words, if you signed an NDA, YOU gave up your rights. No use complaining about that.

          • Re:insane (Score:3, Informative)

            Network Associates are not the government, and could not force anyone to give up their first amendment rights

            Wow, you're so close but have got it dead wrong.

            Network Associates is not the government, and therefore, the 1st amendment doesn't apply to them! The 1st amendment tells THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT they can't abridge those freedoms. This is because you can't escape the federal government if you want to live in America.

            All they really understand is that if you don't sign, you don't have a job so enjoy livi
        • Re:insane (Score:5, Insightful)

          by aeoo (568706) on Wednesday September 21, 2005 @12:02AM (#13611035) Journal
          People want the government to protect them from having to do hard work like reading legal documents before signing them.

          The fact that reading legal documents is hard work speaks volumes as to the amounts of ill faith inherent in them. If the contract is drawn up in good faith, there is simply no need to make it abstruse (hard to understand). A contract that does not seek to rip a person off in any way should be easy to understand even to someone with just 3 years of school.

          It is sad that we have an entire profession devoted to actually understanding correctly what the fsc*k the legal documents say. I say it's high time to say "f u" to the legal language and make it a requirement that all contracts be brief, to the point and in plain language. Maybe then people will take time to read them and sign them in good faith.

          As it stands, a person gets a 30 page packet and thinks, "Ah, this is some cr*p I have to sign if I want this job.. How bad can it be? They're not going to rip me off. I trust them and I want this job. I will sign it." It's obvious to me where the abuse is happening.
          • I say it's high time to say "f u" to the legal language and make it a requirement that all contracts be brief, to the point and in plain language

            The problem with plain language is that it's vague - that's why contracts are long-winded. I could see requiring a definition of all terms that are used in a way that differs substantially from normal parlance. Outside of weird usage, most contracts are just boring.

          • Re:insane (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Moraelin (679338) on Wednesday September 21, 2005 @06:56AM (#13612175) Journal
            In addition to what was mentioned, namely that natural language is vague, the problem is that anything that's not clear enough _will_ be abused or mis-construed by someone.

            Let me give you an example that borders on absurd theatre: do you know why software is licensed, not sold? You may notice that when you buy a Ford car or book, you just own the car or book, you don't get "a non-tranferrable license to use it". What's different with software?

            Because while common sense would say "I bought 1 copy, I own it, I execute that 1 copy I own, same as with a book", technically it's copied to RAM to be executed. So you'd be breaking copyright law if you copied it (even to RAM) without a license to do so. That's the loophole through which the whole "license" thing was wiggled through. And which in turn opened the door to having whatever restrictions imposed upon you that the copyright owner wishes to impose.

            "Copying" in the sense that you intentionally produce a duplicate of a book or record, was extended to something which is more of a side-effect of how computers work than wilfully duplicating someone else's work. And also taken from a context where you could actually sell or distribute the copy in direct competition with the copyright holder, to something where... let's just say it's just stupid to think that you'd pull your RAM sticks out and give them to someone as a copy of Doom 3. So it misses the whole spirit and intention of copyright law (whether you aggree or disaggree with it.)

            That's the problem with things that aren't clearly defined. If it's possible to get an advantage via a verbal fallacy or mis-construing something, some interested party _will_ do it.

            E.g., let's say we signed a brief contract that just says "Moraelin aggrees to sell his old 22" colour monitor to aeoo for one hundred dollars." Simple, clear and to the point, right?

            Well, at what date? I didn't say anywhere I'd give it to you right now, or for that matter even this year.

            Does it have to work when you receive it, or can I just give you the pieces of one that I dropped while moving? If we put in the contract that it should work, by what definition of "work"? What's your recourse if it doesn't?

            Is that US dollars, Canadian dollars, Australian dollars, or board-game dollars? Where should the money be delivered? (I'll probably want them deposited in my bank, and not, say, requiring me to go withdraw them personally from Elbonia's only bank;)

            And are you sure what kind of monitor you're getting? Now you may be thinking "bah, even if it's an old CRT, a 22 inch never was too bad". I might however point you at the dictionary and the fact that a monitor was also a kind of military ship. So by that contract I could send you a painted toy ship.

            And so on and so forth. And the whole legalese and those 30 page contracts are there just to leave as little room as possible for such creative interpretations.
        • You're both nuts.

          One of you wants free speech even if that violates company secrets etc. and the other wants you to be able to sign your life away as punishment for not thoroughly reading a contract.

          As screwed up as the current laws are, they're more moderate than either of you are suggesting. How about a little common sense in this huh? Oh wait this is /.
        • Re:insane (Score:3, Insightful)

          For many people, loss of a job (the penalty a corporation can inflict) can be as serious and life-altering as being sentenced to jail (the penalty the government can inflict). Free speech rights are meaningless unless you protect them.

          On a related note, if a corporation expects you to obey its rules 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it owes you compensation for one hundred and sixty-eight hours, per week, plus overtime of course. Otherwise, when you punch the clock, you're done. Why should your employer have

      • Freedom of contract is a pretty important concept in our legal system. First, you don't have any free speech rights as far as your employer is concerned. There are statutes that protect whistleblowers, but this is way beyond that. Second, this guy didn't have anything "taken away" from him, he negotiated it away, and if he didn't get something he valued more in return, he shouldn't have agreed.

        If you don't think you have enough information about the company to have faith in the stock, don't buy it.
    • Re:insane (Score:5, Insightful)

      by aeoo (568706) on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @10:58PM (#13610775) Journal
      What's insane is that making a criticism of the company is perceived these days as "a liability for incalculable damages".

      That's insane.

      Why is it that the damages to the company are important anyway? A company is a fictitious entity. Damages to people matter more than damges to companies, and in this case employees are important people, and they are the ones being damaged and not the other way around.
      • Re:insane (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by seanadams.com (463190) *
        What's insane is that making a criticism of the company is perceived these days as "a liability for incalculable damages".

        That's insane.


        First of all F U for mis-quoting me and even using the misquote in the context of something else I didn't say. If I knew specifically all the things in his employment contract that he was violating, I'd have listed them, but merely criticizing his employer was not my point.

        This guy is writing about confidential internal processes and problems, and soliciting others to do s
        • Confidentiality can be used to cloak all sorts of things. I believe individuals should have some privacy, but proceedings in public companies should not be private.

          The confidentiality of some internal process is not as important to me as how each individual person is treated. If people are abused even a little bit, then to me that trumps enourmous amounts of confidentiality expectations.

          Pay attention -- if you treat people well, things naturally remain quiet. But treat people poorly, and then even a cont
      • damaging a company does damage people. employees get laid off. shareholders lose money. the companies vendors lose business which ripples thru again. the company is fictitious but the stakeholders aren't.

    • They will find him.

      Eventually he will step over some line and annoy SteveB. At that point, MS will sue and subpoena logs from blogspot. IP address and personal details will quickly be revealed.

      Kinda makes you wish for true anonymity in blogging that a tool like freenet could provide (if it weren't such a dog slow pile of dung).
    • by toby (759) * on Wednesday September 21, 2005 @12:11AM (#13611070) Homepage Journal
      In one of the articles on the blog, Minimsft says [blogspot.com] quite plainly:
      As for my boss firing me, he's cool as long as I add a disclaimer (done - yes, I had a mini-coming-out party Friday) and while I can write about policy violation if I go and manifest that into reality then I will find myself badge-less in Redmond.

      We don't have to wait for Woodward or Bernstein to die, or anything.

    • With M$'s brigade of lawyers, they'll have the reporter either in jail, or this guy fired before the new year. That was quite the mistake really. It probably would have been better if word of mouth carried this information out. Of course, this would make the legitimacy of the information suspect to controversy and debate, but it wouldn't compromise the anonymity of this person. Nor would it matter. M$ employees seem to think this guy is real, and if enough agree on this person's legitimacy, that's all that
  • by bergeron76 (176351) * on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @10:36PM (#13610660)
    This is clearly an inside tale, but I can't help but wonder if it's some new form of marketing.

    Pretend you're a badguy insider, develop a following, and then you can mitigate rumours/leaked info/etc.

    • by RLiegh (247921) * on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @10:44PM (#13610705) Homepage Journal
      It would be a new twist on the old idea of selective leaks. It certainly would be an effective way to convince the public (and the market?) that microsoft is sensitive to and accomadating of internel disagreements. This might also be just the "rallying cry" that Gates and Ballmer need to cut loose thousands of employees too.
    • Cripes... how paranoid can you get?

      I'd begin to buy your theory if the guy had ever posted anything positive about Microsoft beyond not being actually derisive/negative like anyone else who has a chip on their shoulder and an axe to grind with the company. He posts because he has unflattering things to say.

      Gotta go. The black helicopters come...

      • by asb (1909) on Wednesday September 21, 2005 @02:56AM (#13611631) Homepage

        Cripes... how paranoid can you get?

        You have the common "default believe" attitude which makes astroturfing and guerilla marketing work so well. If you had the "default distrust" attitude this article would have bells ringing all over your head.

        Consider what he is writing, what kind of NDAs he must have signed when being hired and how easy it would be to track him down (anonymity in internet really does not exist).

    • Have you even read some of the entries and comments? You might want to try reading them before commenting.

      These people are probably the loudest critics of Microsoft, and because he and most people who comment have an internal perspective, their strikes are direct and to the point too, not like the drivel that gets reiterated here.

      Marketing? How can exposing things like the company's recent trend in hiring MBA middle managers be good PR? How can saying things like the company's growth going to the single dig
  • Blog is down.. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @10:37PM (#13610662)

    Try the Google cache [216.239.59.104]

    Posted AC to avoid accusations of karma whoring..

  • by Anonymous Coward
    http://rhfootball.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

    (Now that blogs are searchable, we're finding all sorts of things!)
  • by thirdrock (460992) on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @10:40PM (#13610674)
    Most of the guy's complaints could come straight from a Dilbert cartoon. Seems to me like someone hasn't worked for a large bureaucratic organisation before.

    On the other hand, the computer business is not an environment in which bureaucracies survive for very long. At least, not without radical change.

    Perhaps this is the chink in MS armour that it's competitors have been waiting for.
    • Many Microsoft employees have never worked anywhere else. They were plucked out of college and have worked for MS ever since. So it would be reasonable to think that their view of corporate life would be a little bit skewed.

      As for your signature, Windows can't use UNC paths as a path to be 'cd'd to. You can copy from a UNC path, but not 'cd' to it. To navigate a network drive, you need to "net use * (UNC)" it. It will give you a valid drive (like x:) to which you can cd to. Not the most painless appro
      • subst x: \\server\share

        works too.
      • CMD has some oddities though.

        Mine has just developed an allergy to batch files.. you can run any batch *once* then you have to shut down the command line and start a new one.

        Damnedest thing I've ever seen.. this is on a nearly new install too.

        D:\>echo @echo batch test >batch_test.bat

        D:\>batch_test
        batch test

        D:\>batch_test

        D:\>

        Second time it ignores it.

        It's a real git when I'm trying to run my test scripts...
    • "On the other hand, the computer business is not an environment in which bureaucracies survive for very long. At least, not without radical change."

      You've hit the nail on the head here.

      MS brought in the stifling management-types who the "Deep Throat" lambasts in order to preserve market cap (stock price) -- they wanted to bring in some visible measure of stability in order to shore up investor confidence.

      The problem with this approach is that stability does not serve well in an industry that changes
  • by eclectro (227083) on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @10:42PM (#13610687)

    Steve Balmer will wear a frickin' laser on his forehead now. I'd watch out if I was you.
  • by infonography (566403) on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @10:43PM (#13610694) Homepage
    They have fallen into the that old joke of Lily Tomlin, Included for perspective and for those of you who thought (rightly) that SNL was not worth watching. (once they were worth watching)

    The Phone Company

    Ernestine.....Lily Tomlin

    Ernestine: We handle eighty-four billion calls a year. Serving everyone from presidents and kings to the scum of the earth. We realize that every so often you can't get an operator, for no apparent reason your phone goes out of order, or perhaps you get charged for a call you didn't make.

    We don't care.

    Watch this.. [ she hits buttons maniacally ] ..just lost Peoria.

    You see, this phone system consists of a multibillion-dollar matrix of space age technology that is so sophisticated, even we can't handle it. But that's your problem, isn't it? Next time you complain about your phone service, why don't you try using two Dixie cups with a string?

    We don't care. We don't have to. We're the Phone Company.

    --

    At the end of it all they want to make it all work, it's just they are fumbling in the dark. Get too big and your quality goes to hell.
  • by timeToy (643583) on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @10:43PM (#13610697)
    That blog is hosted by Google's Blogger, that's why Balmer do not read it, his host file redirect all Google-related site to the loopback address, his doctor order that, in order to avoid a high blood pressure accident !
  • The plan: (Score:3, Funny)

    by failure-man (870605) <failuremanNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @10:44PM (#13610702)
    1) Get your thorn's blog posted on slashdot.

    2) Have them annihilate one of blogspot's servers.

    3) Hope blogspot cancels his account out of frustration.

    4) ???

    5) Profit!
  • by putko (753330) on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @10:54PM (#13610754) Homepage Journal
    It is inevitable that this guy is screwing up.

    They will find him, and when they go, I expect he will have a meeting with Ballmer. It will not be pretty.

    It won't be like Deep Throat, who, even though suspected, managed to not get found out until recently. Even with him, folks had their suspicions.

    Especially now that this guy attracts attention. All Ballmer has to do is tell his team of mini-Ballmers, "find him!" and it won't be long.
    • They will find him, and when they go, I expect he will have a meeting with Ballmer. It will not be pretty.

      Ballmer will probably shove an Aeron up his ass. Sideways. "I LOVE this COMPANY!"

      You're right. This could get seriously ugly.
    • He better not be blogging from work
      I'd expect them to be sniffing for him to login to his blog
  • I discovered this blog recently thanks to a comment by a poster a short while ago. I worry that as people focus on this and try to figure out the person's identity, they will just disappear, much as "As Seen On TV" did from Slashdot shortly after becoming famous as an Apple insider.
  • ....and start hunting for the person behind the blog (not to mention everyone who comments on it) and start firing people to send a message.

    (If they can't or won't do that, I hope they've got the chairs bolted down!)
  • Shut that guy up! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Joseph_Daniel_Zukige (807773) on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @11:05PM (#13610806) Homepage Journal
    My worst nightmare -- that someone sane starts fixing the problems at MicroSoft. How would there be any room left to compete?

    Joke.

    The only way to really fix Microsoft is to split it into two corporations each for every product line, and open all APIs with no anti-GPL license restrictions. And use the ill-gotten gains Gates, Balmer, et. al. have accumulated to fund start-ups to company with the baby-Softs. And open the evolution of the APIs under the control of a joint committee of the EFF and representatives of the several Linux and BSD distributions.

    It ain't gonna happen.
  • His first Mini-Microsoft article:
    http://minimsft.blogspot.com/2004/07/blast-off-for -mini-microsoft.html [blogspot.com]

    I wonder if he was at PDC?
  • Easy to ID this guy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Cowdog (154277) on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @11:10PM (#13610839) Journal
    It's amazing how otherwise well-informed people didn't pick up years ago on the fact that it is easy to identify a writer based on the statistical properties of their writing. This guy is providing plenty of material for the analysis. Do a cross check against the email for all employees, and game over.

    Also very few people actually print out corporate memos like the Ballmer memo he mentions (yes, strikingly many do, but as a percentage, it's small). So that narrows down the field right there, and I haven't even got beyond the top post on the blog. Sure, he could have printed it at home, but did he? Naaahhhh.

    If he hasn't been fired by now, it's not because they can't find out who he is. They are just waiting for the right moment.
    • It's amazing how otherwise well-informed people didn't pick up years ago on the fact that it is easy to identify a writer based on the statistical properties of their writing. This guy is providing plenty of material for the analysis. Do a cross check against the email for all employees, and game over.

      Gee, there are too many easier ways to get him/her, if it's necessary. You just have to subponea the ISP to trace down the connection to the home address (or work address). If the guy/gal is stupid enough to p
    • Good companies and people welcome criticism with open arms. I guess the understanding that Microsoft is a bunch of sheeite is so well-entrenched, that we don't need to mention it, and just assume that they are. And since they are, we assume they will react by firing, like a lowly sheeite person would react.

      This overlooks the possibility that people can experience moral growth. It's possible that when the same person would have fired his/her critic, now they see otherwise and will not fire them.

      Let's not
    • it is easy to identify a writer based on the statistical properties of their writing

      The email frequency-analysis software has been delayed until 2007, as an optional install to the already-delayed WinFS. In desperation, MS has sent a purchase order to Apple to license Mail.app's junk mail filtering algorithm.

    • by mark-t (151149)
      Or, perhaps he never printed it at all.

      The article _did_ say, after all, that he had deliberately supplied some misinformation here and there (with regards to himself, in particular) to divert suspicion.

  • Is mini-microsoft really shaking things up? Sure, there's a lot of people talking about it, but that doesn't mean it's actually making a difference.
  • Think about this. Is it possible that someone *outside* Microsoft can save Microsoft?

    No way. It has to be someone inside to do it. THAT's what makes this whole business so interesting.

    Microsoft has an incredible potential (after all it has all those programmers, who btw, designed the .NET platform, AND WinXP, and that's no easy task). The thing is to stop hindering the workers and letting them do their work.
  • If vista comes out with all this CGMS-A and AACS compliance, then it will be too late to "please customers". They won't be able to roll it back under pain of DMCA conviction for manufacturing "circumvention devices".
  • They don't get it. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lheal (86013) <lheal1999 AT yahoo DOT com> on Tuesday September 20, 2005 @11:43PM (#13610983) Journal
    The "perfect or perish" mentality just doesn't work. It doesn't work for factory workers, athletes, students, or politicians. When applied, all you get are a whole new crop of PhD's in CYA, each pointing the finger of blame at the next Doctor of Posterior Osculation.

    The MM blogger seems very down on paying attention to "process", which tells me that A) the PHBs at Microsoft are all into process and B) this guy is a frustrated, unpromoted newbie, probably hired after XP was released.

    Firing all the dead wood sounds nice, until you realize that means firing the people who wrote the cash cow.

    The It they don't get is that Open Source Software is the future. They don't want to give up the golden dream, which means hiding their source, which means using a hierarchical development model, which means bureaucracy and inferior products.

    Oh well, caveat regnum.
    • You are right. And the biggest reason "perfect or perish" does not work, is that you will never get anything perfect until you make all the mistakes. When you fire the people that get something wrong you just delete a bunch of useful experience, and ensure that the next group makes the same mistake.
  • "slim down Microsoft into a lean, mean, efficient customer pleasing profit making machine." I didn't know George Foreman works for MS now.
  • The proof! There is no stupid "classic mode" [microsoft.com] in Office XII!
  • 1) save up
    2) introspect your motives well, take a deep breath and then
    3) find the balls to jump ship

    I feel so repressed at my current job that I am starting to get weird stress-related medical problems (diverticulitis? trench mouth? wtf?)

    One tends to get into a position in a company where the things you would like to be doing and the things they can find for you to do are just too far apart.

    I'm just a grand from my savings goal and then it's sayonara, whether I find another employer or not (I'm interviewing
  • by petrus4 (213815) on Wednesday September 21, 2005 @06:30AM (#13612091) Homepage Journal
    "A house divided upon itself cannot stand."

    Given the amount of competitive progress that Linux has been making recently, it's more than understandable that Microsoft are experiencing some dissention in the ranks. Ballmer isn't anywhere near lucid or flexible enough to genuinely fix the company's problems, either; his tactics can be expected to consist of reassuring the press that everything is fine on the one hand, and then playing business as usual on the other.

    Microsoft's most pressing problem is that it desperately needs to get rid of the old guard. Jim Allchin being put out to pasture at the end of 2006 is a step in the right direction; it just needs to be done to a few more people there, Ballmer included.

    If at least the majority of the senior management can be persuaded to take their stock nest eggs and ride off into the proverbial sunset, then there might be some hope for the company. They are stuck in their thinking, and more than anything else, Microsoft needs a fundamental paradigm shift in virtually every area if it is going to survive. People need to realise that a very large portion of Microsoft's success has come from marketing. Technically speaking, their software has never been more than barely adequate, and that has been due to some chronic problems with their design philosophy. That design philosophy will not change while the current senior management are still at the helm.

    If it's going to happen, however, it needs to happen soon. Microsoft's release cycle is getting longer, and I suspect that if nothing has changed by around 2008-9, the company will reach a tipping point after which, long term, nothing will save it.
  • by gelfling (6534) on Wednesday September 21, 2005 @07:58AM (#13612385) Homepage Journal
    It's part of their annual management revolution exercise. They all do it, they hire a bunch of consultants who pretend to interview people with anonymity and those people pretend to answer honestly. Then they collect all their surveys and determine that

    a) everything is fine and management had it right all along

    b) there is little that management is prepared to change let alone pay for

    c) people need to figure out how to motivate themselves better

    d) there was another 5-7% of the workforce that needs to get cut quietly

    e) 3 or 4 key executives will collect larger fiefdoms as a result of this reorg

    f) mean employee tenure will drop another 6 months and management will spin turnover as 'recharging the organization.

Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed. -- Francis Bacon

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