My years at Microsoft: Frustration, disappointment and apathy

“I first used Windows on a TULIP portable computer, some twenty years ago. Graphical user interface, icons, mouse, an amazing new world was ushered in before my wide eyes,” Max Zografos writes for TechCrunch.

MacDailyNews Take: All lifted from Apple and implemented upside-down and backwards in order to try to avoid getting sued.

“At university, I scored a summer internship with Microsoft. I sported a Microsoft collared shirt and showed off my ‘Microsoft Product Specialist’ badge with infinite pride,” Zografos writes. “When Windows 2000 launched, I distributed official evaluation copies to the School of Engineering. Lecturers didn’t hide their admiration, and wonder, about my infatuation with this company. They called me the ‘Microsoft man,’ which I saw as a compliment.”

MacDailyNews Take: Misguided youth.

Zografos writes, “Like Alice in Wonderland, I pranced around the campus, drinking as much of the Microsoft Kool-Aid as I possibly could. In 2007, I obtained a ‘blue badge.’ I was a full-time employee now. One of them.”

MacDailyNews Take: Yes, Fully brainwashed and delusional.

Zografos writes, “In time, my eyes opened. We were box tickers and pen pushers. Any original thinking was sacrificed at the altar of time-proven, common sense process. Efforts to break the mould were all but punished.”

MacDailyNews Take: “Time discovers truth.” – Seneca

Zografos writes, “Strategy reviews, deep dives, virtual coffee breaks, quarterly off-sites, monthly get-togethers, director summits, leadership meetings, etc. Yikes, who is going to organise all that? Fear not. Every team has their very own ‘business manager.’ And since business managers are too senior to be bogged down with logistics, enter the legions of ‘support managers’ and ‘administrative assistants’ reporting to business managers. Large companies have overheads, a necessary evil, you say. Overheads need to be managed. And managed they are: Group Managers, Program managers, General managers, together with ‘Senior’ flavours of those and a whole new breed of directors, stakeholders, business owners, relationship leads coupled with their own countless derivatives.”

“This company is becoming the McDonald’s of computing. Cheap, mass products, available everywhere. No nutrients, no ideas, no culture. Windows 8 is a fine example. The new Metro interface displays nonstop, trivial updates from Facebook, Twitter, news sites and stock tickers. Streams of raw noise distract users from the moment they login,” Zografos writes. “In an already loud world, all Windows 8 does is increase the decibels.”

MacDailyNews Take: Metro performs that circus act in order to try to hide the fact that the tent is empty. There are precious few apps and precious few developers. And what apps and developers it has have already forced first on iOS and then on its idiot clone before porting their wares to Microsoft’s way late entry. Those tiles are meant to hide a bottomless pit that should be full of apps and accessories, but isn’t be base Apple took them all over half a decade ago.

Zografos writes, “Mea Culpa: I should have left on my own volition, much earlier.”

Read the email that Zografos sent to a Microsoft VP that got him fired from one of, if not the worst companies to ever exist here.

MacDailyNews Take: Meeting upon empty meeting conducted within and beneath a soul-crushing bureaucracy. Sounds like friggin’ Fidelity Investments*, not a technology firm.

May Ballmer T. Clown remain CEO for as long as it takes!

*Non-catatonic Fidelity employees are nodding knowingly right now.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Rainy Day” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Microsoft to struggle vs. Apple, iPad also-rans in tablets – April 10, 2012
Windows 8 tablet freezes during demo – April 4, 2012
Microsoft needs Apple’s support if they want Windows 8 tablets to have a chance – March 21, 2012
The Guardian: Microsoft’s Windows 8 is confusing as hell; an appalling user experience – March 5, 2012
The 9 versions of Windows 8 show one of the key differences between Microsoft and Apple – March 2, 2012
Windows 8 tablet vs. Apple iPad running iOS 5: feature by feature (with video) – March 1, 2012
Needham: Apple Mac growth to continue six-year run of outpacing Windows PCs – February 28, 2012
Tim Cook: Apple the only company innovating in personal computers, and have been for some time – February 24, 2012
Microsoft missed every major new technology, innovation, and great idea of the last decade – January 11, 2012
More good news for Apple: Microsoft previews Windows 8 (with video) – June 1, 2011

23 Comments

  1. Jobs specifically insisted on the quality of people that should work in the company.

    Any original thinking by just “good enough” worker has much higher chances to be completely wrong, comparing to original thinking by the best staff.

    This is the reason why some vertically-integrated companies fail, no matter how closed their environments are.

    So Microsoft’s approach that awards proven, sensible thinking by a lot of mediocre or even simply good people works for them. If Microsoft would all of sudden allow “original thinking” by people who are just simply good (or even mediocre), but not really best, they would fail long time ago.

  2. I heard from one developer in Redmond who made the claim that his week was so full of meetings that he spent less than 2 actual work days per work writing code.

    I can believe it.

  3. I’ll confess that I once interviewed for a job at The Borg. I talked to several heavy weights in areas related to database systems and was taken to lunch by the boss of the SQLServer development group. On the way back to the M$ campus, the Devil made me ask the following question: “what is it like to work for a company that so many in the tech world hate?” Manager-man immediately rejected the premise of my question and, of course, I never received a job offer.

  4. Microsoft struggles to find ideas it can steal. Netscape is gone. So are Stac, Digital Research and Sun. Apple has wised up to them. Heck, Microsoft had to travel all the way to Israel to get the technology that became Kinnect (from a company called PrimeSense, as I recall) – the only winning product it’s had in years.

  5. I once tried to apply to a job on Microsoft’s website (desperate for any coding job at the time) only to suffer from a glitch that randomly changed all the text into a different language in the middle of the application. I tried but could not find any way to switch it back to English. I realized then my mistake was trying to apply to Microsoft in the first place – there’s was simply no way I could be happy working for a company that makes so much crappy software, that can’t even get a job application website to work right.

    1. LOL. I made it through the application process but my sit down interview killed my enthusiasm in short order. The first guy interviewing me was interrupted multiple times and was constantly looking at his calendar in outlook as we spoke.

      The next guy was at a meeting and was not available

      The third guy came across like a last choice and the worst pick for any part of an interview. He sat there and complained about the company for a solid 5+ minutes before asking me any questions.

      I turned the job down 2 days later. I saw nothing interesting or even worth applying my talent for.

  6. I read the guy’s letter (in the article) about all the meetings, and what he describes sounds like a friggin’ MLM group. Just a bunch of rah-rah motivational get-togethers, utterly without substance.

    As I think about it though, it makes complete sense. What is Ballmer after all? A salesman.

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