Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer reorganized Microsoft today to be a more collaborative company.
The memo is dense, and filled with some of the most intense corporate speak we’ve ever seen.
This is a big part of the problem with Microsoft, and Ballmer. The company wants to be a leading technology company, but it can barely articulate its priorities.
We’ve read over the full memo, and plucked out some of the harshest corporate jargon we found, and tried our best to translate.
This may seem like an exercise in snark, but it’s not. It’s important for a leader to be able to clearly explain his motivations and decisions.
We’re not sure Ballmer did a very good at either of those things in this memo.
Here’s how Ballmer tried to deliver the nut of his memo:
Today’s announcement will enable us to execute even better on our strategy to deliver a family of devices and services that best empower people for the activities they value most and the enterprise extensions and services that are most valuable to business.
What he’s trying to say: I’m reorganising the company so we can produce better products more quickly.
A few paragraphs later, he says this:
We will do this by leveraging our strengths. We have powered devices for many years through Windows PCs and Xbox. We have delivered high-value experiences through Office and other apps. And, we have enabled enterprise value through products like Windows Server and Exchange. The form of delivery shifts to a broader set of devices and services versus packaged software. The frontier of high-value scenarios we enable will march outward, but we have strengths and proven capabilities on which we will draw.
What he’s trying to say: We make Windows, the number one most popular computing platform in the world. We make Xbox, the number one most popular gaming console in the world. We are the best company for enterprises in the world. No matter what happens in the future, our goal is to remain the best in each of those fields.
Then, he eventually says this:
We are rallying behind a single strategy as one company — not a collection of divisional strategies. Although we will deliver multiple devices and services to execute and monetise the strategy, the single core strategy will drive us to set shared goals for everything we do. We will see our product line holistically, not as a set of islands. We will allocate resources and build devices and services that provide compelling, integrated experiences across the many screens in our lives, with maximum return to shareholders.
He was almost clear, but what he wanted to say was: Collaboration is key at Microsoft, now. We may create a number of products, but there is only one product that matters: Microsoft. So, let’s all work together to build the best integrated experience possible.
Then he says this:
We will plan across the company, so we can better deliver compelling integrated devices and services for the high-value experiences and core technologies around which we organise. This new planning approach will look at both the short-term deliverables and long-term initiatives needed to meet the shipment cadences of both Microsoft and third-party devices and our services.
We’re not sure what he’s trying to say, but we think it’s just a variation on: We’ll work together, and we’ll update our products more often.
Then, for a change, Ballmer is very clear in his letter, outlining who does what at the company. But, he includes phrases like:
…his product leaders will dotted line report to Qi Lu, his marketing leader will dotted line report to Tami Reller and his sales leader will dotted line report to the COO group.
Next, he turns his attention to “How We Work,” and drops this gem:
Our focus on high-value activities — serious fun, meetings, tasks, research, information assurance and IT/Dev workloads — also will get top-level championship.
We think this simply means that Ballmer is going to focus on the basic things people do.
Under the heading of “communicative” Ballmer write this:
In the new, rapid-turn world, we need to communicate in ways that don’t just exchange information but drive agility, action, ownership and accountability.
He’s trying to say, talk is cheap, let’s make things happen.
Then, under “Decisive,” he says:
As a global company with literally billions of diverse customers in an accelerating business environment, we must have a clear strategic direction but also empower employees closest to the customer to make decisions in service of the larger mission. This is tricky in a big company, but it is the key to higher levels of productivity, growth and customer satisfaction.
He’s trying to say, let’s have a single focus, and let that guide all our decisions. Unfortunately, he doesn’t outline a focus.
Wrapping up, Ballmer says this:
We are going to focus on completely reinventing experiences like creating or viewing a creative document and what it means to communicate socially at home or in meetings at work. We are going to immerse people in deep entertainment experiences that let them have serious fun in ways so intense and delightful that they will blur the line between reality and fantasy.
It sounds more like a threat than anything to us.
His final paragraph is a bit more coherent:
Lots of change. But in all of this, many key things remains the same. Our incredible people, our spirit, our commitment, our belief in the transformative power of technology — our Microsoft technology — to make the world a better place for billions of people and millions of businesses around the world. It’s why I come to work inspired every day. It’s why we’ve evolved before, and why we’re evolving now. Because we’re not done.
NOW WATCH: Tech Insider videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.