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New Microsoft CEO Vows To Shake Up Corporate Culture 204

jfruh (300774) writes New Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that he and his leadership team are taking "important steps to visibly change our culture" and that "nothing is off the table" on that score. While much of his declaration consists of vague and positive-sounding phrases ("increase the fluidity of information and ideas by taking actions to flatten the organization and develop leaner business processes"), he outlined his main goals for the shift: reduce time it takes to get things done by having fewer people involved in each decision; quantify outcomes for products and use that data to predict future trends; and increasing investment for employee training and development.
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New Microsoft CEO Vows To Shake Up Corporate Culture

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  • Manager (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tsa ( 15680 ) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @08:34AM (#47437363) Homepage

    Ha, a real manager!

    But seriously, hopefully Microsoft will benefit from him and become a bit more popular amongst nerds.

  • Good call (Score:3, Interesting)

    by slashdice ( 3722985 ) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @08:35AM (#47437365)
    as a former MicroSoftie (research, don't be a hater) I can confirm that Ballmer was first and foremost a sales guy. He brought in the revenue but destroyed the culture and the company in the process. He was a corporate raider, he just did it from the inside.
  • Wha? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GrahamCox ( 741991 ) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @08:41AM (#47437389) Homepage

    crease the fluidity of information and ideas by taking actions to flatten the organization

    What does that even mean? How can you 'crease the fluidity' of anything? Sound suspiciously like typical management-speak, and I don't think that's what MS needs at all.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @08:43AM (#47437405) Journal
    This is precisely why higher the CEO pay results in poorer performance by the company. All that pay, blinds the CEO, makes them think they are invincible, if the market is shoving that many billion dollars their way, they must be doing everything right. It sets up the eco system where flatterers, sycophants and yes men thrive insulating the CEO from real news and real feedback.

    To think one man, with some initiative can change the culture of a company the size of Microsoft, with entrenched interests, history of turf warfare and empire building is blowing smoke. That company went through spectacular expansion and growth in the 1990s. All those very capable people, the ones who have the vision and ability and the guts to skate too close to or even past the edges of legal behavior have all cashed out, burnt out or pushed out. As the able ones leave, the fraction of PHBs who are clueless when there is not a de-facto monopoly increases. They are playing the same game that used to be effective when there was a WinTel monopoly on desktops, and desktops had the monopoly on computing.

    A truly visionary CEO will realize this, break the company into pieces that will once again compete or perish and resign. But Satya Nadella is no Michail Gorbachev.

  • PHB (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Tokolosh ( 1256448 ) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @08:46AM (#47437415)

    Am I the only one thinking this?

  • Re:Manager (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mfh ( 56 ) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @08:47AM (#47437421) Homepage Journal

    Weasels that know corporate double speak are ruining everything though. You know we don't mourn the T-rex. We talk about the dinosaurs as being really big and dumb.

    They were all psychopaths!! Lizard brains.

    When the cockroaches are mulling over what our existences might have been like, they will all say that the weasels died out because of our stupidity and overconfidence. They'll say we were monsters, too. Big and dumb. Lizard brains.

  • Re:Manager (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 12, 2014 @08:51AM (#47437435)
    EVERY new bigwig wants to play "there's a new sneriff in town!" and shake things up. They'll change things for no good reason for the sake of change, even if that same change was already tried three or four bigwigs ago. Imagine a cat or a dog pissing on their territory to make sure other cats/dogs know who it belongs to. That's all there is to see here. After that it'll be meet the new boss, same as the old boss because he'll have to deal with all the same pressures.
  • by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @08:57AM (#47437455) Journal
    People who speak like this generally do so in an attempt to disguise a lack of communication skills and new ideas.

    It may be the management culture he was raised in, and I had higher hopes for the Indian-born CEO (diversity, new perspective), but he was also reportedly emailing employees the company would reinvent productivity.

    So, likely we'll get SSDD... and less entertainment value than Ballmer provided.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 12, 2014 @09:01AM (#47437465)

    I didn't know much about Satya Nadella, so I did some reasearch.

    This is what Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] tells me about him (I'm assuming it's valid; there are citations after all!):

    Early life

    Satya Nadella[9][10][11] was born in Hyderabad, in a Telugu family from Anantapur district[12][13] in Andhra Pradesh, India. His father was a civil servant in the Indian Administrative Service,[12][13] Nadella attended the Hyderabad Public School in Begumpet[14] before attaining a bachelor of engineering in Electronics and Telecommunications from the Manipal Institute of Technology in 1987 (then affiliated to Mangalore University), Manipal, Karnataka.[15][16][17][18][19]

    Nadella subsequently traveled to the US on a student visa to study for an MS degree in Computer Science at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee,[20] receiving his degree in 1990.[21] Later he received an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.[22][23]

    Nadella said he "always wanted to build things."[24] He knew that computer science was what he wanted to pursue.[25] But that emphasis was not available at Manipal University. "And so it [electronic engineering] was a great way for me to go discover what turned out to become a passion," he says.[26]

    Nadella worked with Sun Microsystems, as a member of its technology staff, prior to joining Microsoft in 1992.[2][3]

    At Microsoft Nadella has led major projects including the company's move to cloud computing and the development of one of the largest cloud infrastructures in the world.[27]

    Nadella worked as the senior vice-president of research and development (R&D) for the Online Services Division and vice-president of the Microsoft Business Division. Later, he was made the president of Microsoft's $19 billion Server and Tools Business and led a transformation of the company's business and technology culture from client services to cloud infrastructure and services. He has been credited for helping bring Microsoft's database, Windows Server and developer tools to its Azure cloud.[28] The revenue from Cloud Services grew to $20.3 billion in June 2013 from $16.6 billion when he took over in 2011.[29]

    Nadella's 2013 base salary is nearly $700,000, for a total compensation, with stock bonuses, of $7.6 million.[30]

    Previous positions held by Nadella include:[31]

            President of the Server & Tools Division (9 February 2011 – February 2014)
            Senior Vice-President of Research and Development for the Online Services Division (March 2007 – February 2011)[32]
            Vice-President of the Business Division
            Corporate Vice-President of Business Solutions and Search & Advertising Platform Group
            Executive Vice-President of Cloud and Enterprise group[15]

    On 4 February 2014, Nadella was announced as the new CEO of Microsoft,[7][8] the third chief executive in the company's history.[33][34][35][36]

    I've put the important points in bold.

    He is no average man! He is a GOD among us mere mortals. All of the best technology experts come from Hyderabad. Hyderabad Public School in Begumpet is one of the most prestigious institutions to attend. And the Manipal Institute of Technology is world renowned for the superb learning experience it imparts on its students. To be honest, I don't even care about his other credentials or work experience. His origins alone show that he is more than me, his is more than you, and he is more than everybody else. He is more.

  • Translation (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Simulant ( 528590 ) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @09:04AM (#47437473) Journal

  • Re: Manager (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 12, 2014 @10:23AM (#47437731)

    It should be pretty easy for anyone to tell that this is a sinking ship. Notice what he didn't address:

    - Windows Phone. For all intents and purposes a complete failure. I can safely say that I've never seen ANYONE with a Windows Phone. Ever.
    - Windows 8. No one likes or wants Metro. The first thing most experienced Windows users do after installing 8 is start looking for a way to get the start menu back. They tried to push a uniform interface across traditional PC's and tablets...and it sucked. Badly. Which brings me to...
    - Surface. So many failures simultaneously it's hard to believe. Hundreds of millions of hardware sitting in warehouses, probably for the duration, because again...nobody wants the things (and before some anal retentive starts pointing out sales figures, by "nobody" I mean "not enough people to be financially viable"). Overpriced laptop/tablet hybrids that nobody asked for in the first place.
    - The Xbox One. Not much to say here really. When your best title for 2014 is a Halo compilation and your best hope for 2015 is Halo 5... Then there's Kinect. Fuck the more of these I line up the less sense it makes. Goofy motion control gimmicks were a short-lived fad, even Microsoft is backpedaling on it now.

    Nadella not only refuses to address any of these colossal failures (or even acknowledge them), he seems to think that the solution is either a change in corporate culture or...more cloud services! Sure, why not buy into another train wreck of an industry, a train wreck courtesy of the NASA no less? Nobody who uses a computer regularly, as well as watching or reading any news online regularly, has any remaining trust for "cloud computing." At best it's a half-measure against DDoS attacks...if that's the direction Microsoft is going in, the hosting business, they'll be going up against cloud services and backup hosting like Google and, say, Akamai respectively. Both of whom already have the infrastructure and are already beating Microsoft at their own game.

    Nadella needs to pull his head out of those self absorbed "cloud" delusions and come back to reality.

  • Re:Manager (Score:5, Interesting)

    by raddan ( 519638 ) * on Saturday July 12, 2014 @11:38AM (#47438041)
    (disclaimer: I have interned at Microsoft for the past three summers; I do not speak for them)

    I think your criticism against lock-in is fair, and this is clearly one of Microsoft's strategies, and I suspect that it will continue to be to some degree. But on the language front, you are wrong. Not only are Microsoft's newest languages open-source (F# [fsharp.org], TypeScript [codeplex.com]), but they are also cross-platform [msdn.com] and collaboratively developed [xamarin.com] with open source groups. And, of course, you can run all .NET languages on the Mac, Linux, FreeBSD, etc. with mono [mono-project.com].

    While it is theoretically possible that all of this is a deadly Microsoft-bait-and-switch just waiting to happen, having worked at Microsoft, I can say that doing so would fly in the face of a lot of hard work by many, many people there. I was as critical about Microsoft as you were (dig into my /. history and you'll see) until I worked there. Not only is it a great place to work, but the company really is committed to changing its culture. Use of open-source tools at Microsoft used to be strictly-prohibited. Now they have a fast-track process for working with them. Open-sourcing of Microsoft software was also a complete non-starter. Now putting Microsoft code up on the web is increasingly routine, and they even have their own open-source hosting ala GitHub [codeplex.com] that has git bindings [codeplex.com].

    Microsoft is a big company (the Redmond campus is mind-bogglingly huge to me) and they have a lot of corporate momentum. Despite this, in my opinion, I've seen my daily interactions with people do a complete 180 in the last couple of years. Microsoft knows that the era of selling boxed copies of proprietary software is coming to an end. So you're simply wrong about Microsoft not being able to change.
  • Re:Good call (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @01:06PM (#47438429) Journal

    Meanwhile some of us actually want to develop multiplatform software.

  • by bzipitidoo ( 647217 ) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Saturday July 12, 2014 @01:49PM (#47438593) Journal

    Nothing is off the table? Does the table include lying, doublespeak, file format lock in, using proxies to sue Linux users, bribing and strongarming standardization committee members, the whole embrace, extend, and exterminate strategy that they tried with Java and IE, Windows Genuine Advantage, staying in bed with the copyright extremists of the entertainment industry, continued support of organizations like the Business Software Alliance? Is any of that off the table?

    If MS's new CEO isn't acknowledging that they went too far with that stuff, and that the company will go in a new direction, stop being anti-social, stop being evil, then the new CEO represents no real change, just some minor adjustments.

  • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @10:25PM (#47440697) Homepage

    I'd much rather hear him say:

    "I use Windows 8.1 on a desktop and it sucks. Windows 9 is going to be good on desktops and we are not going to release it until it is.

    AND, we are going to play fair with users and make sure that every security patch we develop for Windows Embedded Industry is also SQAed on and made available to all Windows XP users. It may not make us the most money but it's the right thing to do."

    Corporate culture? I am an end-user, I don't care what Microsoft's corporate culture is, I care about its products.

Things equal to nothing else are equal to each other.