Thursday, April 19, 2007

And You're a Microsoft Shareholder Because...?

Hello. Just a quick check-in for Mini-land. As I start writing this, I should be out soaking up the sun biking down some nice trail, but my knee started making those wet twig-snapping noises so here I am, side-lined and typing.

Quarterly financials are due in a week, and I'll probably skip a post on this one. Other places do a pretty good job of tracking the financial results. I am really curious, though, of all the people either holding or accumulating Microsoft stock: why? Why are you a Microsoft MSFT shareholder? What kind of metrics are you using to deciding to buy and/or hold? Sure, we all set alarms on stock when we buy it, but usually that does not include stagnation. Rick Sherlund gets off the Microsoft beat and the next thing you know we're getting bounced around.

This past week, I was driving home, listening to Marketplace on NPR, and some fellow gets on talking about Microsoft: "Lumbering..." he starts off with. "Dinosaur" he adds. Wow, he ripped into us more than I ever have. And what else shows up today? Lumbering Giants, mentioning Microsoft and other Dogs of the Dow.

This, combined with reports of Microsoft's death (SteveB and BillG in the repository: "Sorry, we're what? We can't hear you over all the ruckus of counting these billions raining down on us."), means we've reached a cultural turning point: Who's afraid of the big Microsoftie bad wolf?

No one.

Thank goodness. Pretty soon, the institutional shareholders might actually rub their eyes really well and look over the data, stumble up to the microphone at FAM, tap it, and say, "Hey! What the hell are you Bozos doing with my money?"

Personally, I'm in the middle of extreme diversification and I've scheduled myself out to aggressively sell-off all the MSFT ESPP and stock awards I've left alone for all these years. I guess that's just another little death in my confidence that Microsoft is actually ever going to turn around stock price-wise. I'm holding on to my options, though, hoping to at least fund an extra shot or two in my occasional mocha.

Other goings on...

InsideMS: "hey, was that a shark I just jumped?"

Collision Domain has a new post - "Bunnies!" - discussing the state of LisaB's internal InsideMS blog. Readers of the comments to a recent post will get the title. InsideMS certainly had a lot of potential at the get-go, along with probably a deep desire of Microsofties to use it as a place to engage and help change Microsoft and knowing that they could safely engage in conversation with peers. Then, it seems, it all went kinda wrong. Chops to LisaB for keeping it running as long as it has but hell, I wouldn't have it on my commitments either at this point. You can't keep posting on HR topics forever. I think it could change with more guest posts and with follow-up posts that summarized the major themes in comments so that the comments can at least be acknowledged, if not acted upon ("order up!").

Or maybe any topics originally started by He Who Must Not Be Named are off-limits.

If LisaB were to be interviewed, what are the hard, unanswered questions you'd want posed to her?

Microsoftie in the Field: hey, my goodness, a new post. Keep it up!

Outlook 2007 Performance: so, as Joel Spolsky notes, an update for Outlook 2007 was released to address performance problems. And, by the way, Outlook PM suggests you trim down your PST / OST size so that it doesn't accumulate email and silly stuff like that. Outlook is a temporal organizer, not a repository! Anyway, my performance is a little better but I still have strange freezes with POP, which I don't even know if it's on the Outlook team's radar. I'd be interested in what SQM said was the percent of non-Exchange Outlook users.

But it has me thinking. Thinking about waterfalled monolithic product wave shipping. Can it go on? Can we keep with the every three year product pipeline burst? One issue with Office proper is that it's half client software and half platform, and some large chunk of each wired up to the server solutions. The corner we've painted ourselves into is the platform part, where it was a strategic advantage but now IT departments are wary of upgrading less all their custom platform-based solutions regress because of new features or deprecation.

What to do? Well, avoid making that mistake again. Can Office be saved? Could you write a feature and stabilize it and just ship it, all within three months? A release of Office becomes constantly updated as new features come out, at least ensuring we can stay competitive fresh.

"Oy!" You start screaming about service packs and QFEs and N minus one and crazy sustainability crap like that. Really? Do we really have that limitation? Is it leading us to the path of reward and success?

And do we have the culture and know-how to be on track to just incrementally ship new features as we finish them? I'd be interested in knowing which groups do this really, really well.

Take This Microsoftie Job and Shove-It: Ms. Mary Jo Foley picks up on a f(Microsoftie) = Googler post: Ouch Goodbye Microsoft; Hello, Google. Ooo, that item got deleted from the blog. Silly delete. Never delete your blog entry. Always update and just plain replace the content with a space or a smiley. Less people track it down in the BlogLines cache by looking for feeds with "David Bennet" or such.

Vizzini! You know I have to give a shout-out to Mr. Joe Wilcox for his Princess Bride reference in DoubleClick and Microsoft's Thrift Culture. DoubleClick. Well, I'm glad it wasn't Microsoft paying $3,100,000,000 for it.

(Oh, and Mr. Wilcox: man, you've got some interesting comment action going on in your posts. Whew.)

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