Microsoft is having its annual staff meeting today at Safeco field, the baseball stadium in Seattle.Any Microsofties in attendance want to drop us a note on what it’s like, or what’s said our anonymous tip line is always open. (Or you can just hit us directly at [email protected])
What’s the mood at Microsoft? Judging by the comments at Mini-Microsoft, it’s somewhat optimistic.
Sure, there’s paranoia about Microsoft firing people. And there are worries about Apple eating Microsoft’s lunch.
But, Steven Sinofsky is doing a good job, and Microsofties think he could/should be CEO when Ballmer leaves in the next few years.
This comment, which Mini-Microsoft highlighted, does a pretty good job of summing up the company from an employees perspective. We read it as more positive than negative:
There are certainly some issues at MSFT but some of the people that post in this blog are just over the top in their pessimism and whining. As I see it right now, the good, bad, and ugly of MSFT are:
- XBOX Kinect blew it away this past Holiday, over 35M customers now pay for the privilege of XBox Live
- The enterprise business is strong, committed revenue is higher than it’s ever been (MSFT has a global enterprise business that is really unmatched by anyone
- Office365 and Dynamics both are rapidly growing businesses with a ton of upside
- MSFT now has 11 distinct businesses that do over $1B in revenue – I can think of maybe one or two other businesses on the planet (GE, etc) that can say the same
- Largely because of this diverse portfolio of businesses, MSFT was able to grow revenue, operating income, and net income in spite of *declining* PC sales (MSFT is not a one-trick pony any longer, if it ever was)
- Even with weakness in the PC market the past couple of quarters, it’s hard to argue with the success of Windows 7 with over 400M licenses sold
- MSFT’s Cloud offerings collectively are second to none
- Bing has a long ways to go but has actually made some progress in the US search market against Google, which was once thought impossible
- As an employee, unless you are a bottom 20% performer, the new comp plan is a win. If you don’t think so, then you don’t really understand the change
- Say what you will about Ballmer, there are some senior execs at MSFT that are truly outstanding. Mattrick, Satya, KT, Qi Lu, PK, Lisa B – you won’t find anyone better than these folks anywhere
- The Nokia partnership will be instrumental in getting a WP7 device in a lot of people’s hands
- As mentioned, PC sales actually declined in Q4
- MSFT still hasn’t figured out a way to win in India or China and doesn’t seem to have a cohesive strategy for emerging markets
- WP7 is a good product but as others have alluded to, MSFT is way late to the party in terms of highly functional / attractive UI / rich app eco-system smartphones. The Nokia deal only allows MSFT some hope at playing catch-up at this point
- Employees will soon have to pay a contribution (and deductibles) for health care (thank you very much ObamaCare and the Cadillac Tax for bringing that to us)
- Although there are talented people still there, a lot of talented folks have left MSFT senior leadership in the past 18 months or so – Liddell, Elop, Muglia, Bach, etc, etc. Although Elop was instrumental in getting the Nokia deal up and going
- AAPL sold 20M iPhones and over 9M iPads in a quarter. In. A. Quarter. Let that sink in a moment
- While MSFT has plenty of other viable businesses, none is as profitable nor as core strategically as Windows. Windows was once an impenetrable fortress, but in the past year, AAPL has penetrated it with a single product launch. MSFT is destined to play catch-up in slates, and it sounds like nothing serious is coming out until Windows 8 in another 12 to 15 months (maybe)
- MSFT is still very strong in the enterprise but to the consumer, MSFT seems completely dead. MSFT has no consumer mindshare any longer
- Yes, there are some interesting possibilities with Skype and Lync and XBox (etc), but it is still not at all clear that shareholders will reap anything close to $8.5B of value
- GOOG still dominates search in the US and will for the foreseeable future. And their dominance is even greater internationally
- OSD as an org continues to bleed money and will continue to do so for at least another couple of years
There it is, from a high-performing L63 employee in a broad-based business role, trying to lay things out in a truly fair and balanced manner. Take it or leave it.
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