Microsoft - Post-BillG Microsoft is great employment - for HR and Lawyers | Glassdoor
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Helpful (4)

"Post-BillG Microsoft is great employment - for HR and Lawyers"

StarStarStarStarStar
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Career Opportunities
  • Comp & Benefits
  • Senior Management
Former Employee - Lead+ Program Manager in Redmond, WA
Former Employee - Lead+ Program Manager in Redmond, WA
Doesn't Recommend
Disapproves of CEO

Pros

Microsoft is the new government job with better pay, better benefits, nicer offices, free starbucks coffee, flexible hours and fewer hours overall ... as long as you don't actually want to build software that serves a purpose, or make it work for customers. If you really just don't care about software or customers, this is the software company for you.

Microsoft today is an exercise in political correctness run amok, with leaders desperate for approval and well-sold (note I did not say GOOD) ideas and happy to throw money at them. If you understand that kind of environment and want to either run at the new-style Brass Ring or simply surf along the edges - this is the company for you. Go for it. If you can sell it, Ballmer will buy it. (If you need a primer, buy a copy of "Big Blues, the unmaking of IBM".)

Now, if you are a marketer and believe that actually building product is "someone else's problem" then this is absolutely the right place for you. Because Mr. Ballmer and all of his directs - believe the same thing. (unfortunately all the "someone else's" left with Bill). It's also a fantastic place for HR and PR, with it's high turnover and need to pretend to be an upscale software company and a great place for technical people to work, and nirvana for corporate lawyers. Check out the close links between Microsoft and Odell Guyton - the lawyer trying hardest to make "ethics" mean "legal compliance". (ie, if you're not actually breaking a law - right now, exactly - it must be ethical, right?)

To recap, MS is a great place for anyone in the business of PRETENDING to build software. Sad but true.

Cons

What? You actually have to build the things you advertise and make them work?

If you're a technologist and can't get hired directly into a research group - you really don't want to work for Microsoft today. Microsoft has suffered horribly since Ballmer took over. He's a marketer. He was always the guy who'd come stomping down the hallway going "I WANT WHAT I WANT". We'd explain that the products couldn't actually do that and the reaction would be along the lines of "AND WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH ANYTHING?" If it was important, we'd take the technical facts to Bill, and Bill would intervene and shut him down. It was a decent balance of power. Ballmer's drive to do the impossible would get Bill to do things he wasn't inclined to do, but only if they were POSSIBLE. Yes, there was a time when I loved Microsoft and worked with great enthusiasm in that niche of the "not technically impossible". I did a lot of risky things knowing that I could always count on Bill to rein things in when I could prove they weren't technically possible, or so difficult they simply weren't practical.

But Bill is gone now. Since taking over, Ballmer has promoted other similarly-minded marketers around him, so now he's completely cocooned in layers of marketing fluff with absolutely no basis in reality. He doesn't know the difference between an actual product and a picture of a product. And just to improve the whole customer-focus and employee-focus thing - he's imported old IBM (Kevin Johson) and legacy Wal-Mart (Kevin Turner).

The company used to be better and simpler. Everything asking for millions of $$ went in front of Bill, who would look skeptically at everything at a technical level and go "um, I don't understand how this actually gets built at all, never mind on time or on budget. SHOW ME. CONVINCE ME." People dreaded Bill's reviews but he weeded out the crap and he fired the liers. Ballmer's a marketer. He believes the crap and promotes the liers.

After 8 years of Ballmer, you get Vista, Office 7, and Yukon (SQL2005) ... a suite of products that took 5-6 YEARS to release and on seeing them, users are waiting for the next releases on the feeble hope that they'll be better.

If you recognize this environment and you know how to manipulate it - you'll be in your element. But if you wanted to build software or do something positive, look elsewhere.

Advice to Management

Bring back the harsh technology reviews (and the people who could do them). Let the managers and marketers lie. Then take every $$ they put on their slides and put it through review, and just fire the people who clearly didn't even try. You can start with the people who didn't even hire staff for projects they never intended to even start. Yes, it's that bad.

Other Employee Reviews for Microsoft

  1. Helpful (1)

    "Microsoft-The cure for what sales you"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Sales Manager in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Sales Manager in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Benefits, probably the best in the industry

    Cons

    Not at all a sales environment. The opportunity to really sell does not exist, as the comp plans, managemnet, and company orientation are all mired in the mid-80's 80's belief that the stock price will grow and split over and over.

    The stock hasn't split in 8 years, and like many technology firms, has sat at roughly 1/3 of it's bubble peak. But unlike other companies, Microsoft believes that they do not have to face this reality. Accordingly, it hires, retains and promotes a sales culture that doesn't sell, but visits. There is no relationship between activity and closing business in the competitive server space, and worse, if you try to sell into that space, you are vilified by the "resting and vesting" culture.

    Advice to Management

    Wake up! With your dominant position in desktop you could dominate server software if you would get rid of slaes managers who can't sell and only play politics.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Strong work!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Recruiter in San Diego, CA
    Current Employee - Recruiter in San Diego, CA
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Microsoft is a place where you are surrounded by smart people, and you get to be a part of developing products that will make the world a better place. I feel very proud to be part of a company the is striving to the best.

    Cons

    Hmmm. . . . it can be kind of hard to navigate in such a large company, so getting to know people outside of your group is key. This will also help you figure out how to get things done, so building relationships and networking within Microsoft is important.

    Advice to Management

    I'd like to see more people given the opportunity to telecommute. We make all kinds of products to make that work for us, but senior leadership still wants everyone at headquarters.

There are newer employer reviews for Microsoft
There are newer employer reviews for Microsoft

See Most Recent

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