Monday, October 31, 2005

Giving a Reality Check

Giving: checking in with the Giving Campaign at http://give/ shows we met the dollar target but missed the percent target (just by 5%). I am so proud to work at a company that matches our charitable giving dollar to dollar. Since 2001, I always feel a little anxiety every time a Giving Campaign rolls around, wondering if people are prone to giving less when work is more like a jay-oh-bee than a remarkable place. I do muse over the business group breakouts, wondering if there's anything to be drawn from the high participation (research / exec staff) to the low participation.

Business Week: there were a few interesting letters following up to the Business Week interview with Steve Ballmer: Reading Between The Lines At Microsoft. Interesting snippet:

With 25 years of experience as a human resources and organization consultant, I found the hollow phrases of Ballmer and his evasive response to the pointed questions of your journalists very recognizable. I've heard and seen them before in numerous companies where, soon afterward, the chief executive and the organization were in deep trouble and totally "surprised."

Mr. Greene also kicks in his assessment of last week's financials: Microsoft's Xbox Factor. As for the financials and other reactions, Friday was a good day (though any day we end up at least one cent feels like a good day for the past few years). A number of articles are coming vetting that Microsoft has finally hit bottom and is set for stock growth. I have my favorite cowboy hat ready to start waving as I yell out "Yee, haw!" riding that climbing stock chart line graph. The following should stay live and current as time goes by so we'll see (Microsoft vs. the stock indexes via Yahoo!):

Check, check: regarding the posts cheering on ChrisJo's internal blogging and the departures of Hadi and Don, this comment hits the Reality Check Reset button:

I am surprised with the kind of people that are getting praised in this group. First you expect the HR folks to come and solve the problems that exist at low levels. Linda Brumel is expected to solve all problems that exist. Then every fat middle management person that leaves microsoft is praised as having contributed incredibly for the success of Microsoft. ( what about the folks that are breaking their backs and still working hard )

Then people like Chris Jones who did a lot of useless things are being praised as heros. Who killed the IE team without any business sense ( IE team is being re-created because of firefox ), pushed longhorn API and messed up alpha longhorn and has a business degree. Not only has he successfully disbanded a good team - he has grown incompetent people to management roles. His org still has a lot of issues and people like him are causing the current problems at Microsoft.

Goodness! A little context goes a long way.

No Windows for You! Various comments in the last post go back and forth discussing the threat to yank Windows out of South Korea if the South Korean government come down with a decision that forces Microsoft to redesign what goes in the box. I agree with some of the commenters that the components in question should already be such that the base COM components can always be installed and you can make the executable instantiating those components either hidden, install on demand, turned-off, download only, whatever. As a shareholder pissed off by the whole Windows N debacle, though (how many copies of that have we sold, M. E.U.?), I am a bit ready to collect my marbles. But then, a $200,000,000 growing market keeps my attention (and my marbles on the ground).

I'm not clear on the SKU plan for Vista, but perhaps there is a stripped down "N"-ish version in there with all the basic components to program against but none of the executables present that we can provide for situations like this. I like the idea of "Mega" or "Max" or "Supah Premium" versions because they then do give value to the, ah, bundling of features out of the box and distinguish them from a monolithic operating system that governments object to. Choice begets wiggle room.

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