Former Xbox manager: To save Microsoft, Ballmer and thousands of others must go

“When Jennie Locati heard that Microsoft is looking to restructure the company, she decided to offer CEO Steve Ballmer some advice: Don’t restructure: renew,” Emily Parkhurst reports for The Puget Sound Business Journal. “In a blog post this week, Locati suggested Microsoft implement voluntary layoffs with generous severance packages for as many as 20,000 to 30,000 people, including high level corporate vice presidents. That, she said, would cost a small fortune, but it would release all the brilliant innovators to start companies of their own that Microsoft could potentially acquire several years down the road.”

“Locati isn’t just an armchair quarterback. She recently left her job as a director of strategy and business management in the Xbox studios division and has spent eight years working in various divisions within Microsoft,” Parkhurst reports. “One of the biggest problems Locati sees for Microsoft is the man at the wheel: Ballmer. ‘He’s truly out of touch with the market,’ she said. ‘He’s never been a product guy. He’s a money guy. He thrives on the competition between companies, not products.'”

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Parkhurst reports, “But the market has changed, she said, and Microsoft has maintained its technology xenophobia. ‘People are pushed to not recognize innovation if it’s not on the Microsoft platform,’ Locati said. She got to know this first hand while working in Mac Business Unit for several years. ‘If you acknowledge the value of another platform or product, you get called out for it,’ she said. ‘It’s a very bizarre environment.'”

“For example, when the iPhone hit the market, Ballmer was quoted saying there was no chance the iPhone would ever get any significant market share. Locati said he told Microsoft employees the iPhone sucked,” Parkhurst reports.

Parkhurst reports, “‘What he should have done was get up on stage and say, ‘I’ve been using this thing for a month and I think it’s great. And I think we can do better” … ‘The company is just so broken,’ Locati said. ‘It is truly a case of too many fish in too small a pond. There’s not enough air.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: For as long as it takes.

Excerpts from a BusinessWeek interview with Steve Jobs, October 12, 2004:

Steve Jobs: Apple had a monopoly on the graphical user interface for almost 10 years. That’s a long time. And how are monopolies lost? Think about it. Some very good product people invent some very good products, and the company achieves a monopoly. But after that, the product people aren’t the ones that drive the company forward anymore. It’s the marketing guys or the ones who expand the business into Latin America or whatever. Because what’s the point of focusing on making the product even better when the only company you can take business from is yourself? So a different group of people start to move up. And who usually ends up running the show? The sales guy… Then one day, the monopoly expires for whatever reason. But by then the best product people have left, or they’re no longer listened to. And so the company goes through this tumultuous time, and it either survives or it doesn’t.

BusinessWeek: Is this common in the industry?
Steve Jobs: Look at Microsoft — who’s running Microsoft?

BusinessWeek: Steve Ballmer.
Steve Jobs: Right, the sales guy. Case closed.

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

51 Comments

      1. Sadly for Apple “for as long as it takes” truly will be a long tme since Aplple shows no signs of entering enterprise and doesn’t have one killer app that is part of or challenge the 90% windows install base in business AND government. Then when it comes to boutique business, studios, etc Apple kills its pro app for video, and makes no moves to acquire any big names otherwise like avid. As always just hoping some mule from Apple is monitoring these boards. So now I actually do have to buy office 2011 for Mac. Adobe cs6 and Quickbooks which pales to the windoze version. But we all knew that.

        1. no, sadly for business that it cannot wake up to as “long as it takes.” You’re talking about a jackass word processing app created in 1985 and for some unknown, goddamn sense of Stockholm Syndrome continues to exist. Fuck Microsoft, it’s dead on every level of computing.

        2. An earlier MDN story announced that Office will now be available on iPhone..my first thought was “Henry Ford allows horseshoes on the Model T” then, I thought, no my cousin was right all along “The Monkees ARE better than The Beatles.”

  1. Unfortuneately governments change their structure at a snail’s pace. It has Windows ( in our case 2003) which provides everyone with a ‘typewriter’ and e-mail and they just dont wamt to change because that involves new staff training and the delivery of am IT programme – and they are, corporately, shit at IT delivery. Therefoe MS will die a long , slow death.

    1. I wish I could read intelligent comments void of foul language. It’s a shame that we feel the need to use such language in order to fully convey our thoughts. 🙁

      1. there’s nothing wrong with swearing. as long as there’s no ill will or meanness being conveyed and no one’s being hurt then who gives a …fuck, I just stubbed my fucking toe again on the fucking ottoman again.

  2. Noooo! Don’t ever leave Micro$oft, Stevie! Run it right into the ground like you’ve been doing all along! Don’t give up! You can do it! You’re almost there!

    1. It’s amazing that someone who worked at MSFT for that long (8+ years) could clearly see MSFT’s problem, when a guy that’s been there 30+ years can’t. Oh, that guy IS the problem. No wonder.

  3. Nah, M$ will never die.

    It’s a perfect tool for spying on you (that’s why it ships with holes like Swiss Cheese for all these years. With all the programmers at M$, they can’t fix? You figure this one out.)

    Also it’s a perfect tool for unnecessary and often times silly I.T. spending and hiring. Bill Gates once said that Windows keeps the economy going so nobody should be using free Linux.

    Heck, perhaps M$ will be observed into the gov’t. Then it would have finally fulfilled it’s purpose.

  4. MDN and its lemmings here are looking at this story all wrong. “And so the company goes through this tumultuous time, and it either survives or it doesn’t.”

    Apple has fallen into the same place as Microsoft. Only we know it NOW instead of waking up a couple years later and realizing the thing is broken under a weak leader in whom there is no confidence among investors or consumers. Instead of replacing Tim with someone with real promise, he is celebrated by turning the iOS into something that looks like him.

    Just keep rejoicing at the mess that is Microsoft and denying that Apple has entered the same condition, and soon you will have nothing more than a memory of what once was.

    1. You seem hellbent against Tim Cook at a time period when he’s doing rather great. TELL THE MDN READERS!!… are you Scott Forstall? We’d appreciate this knowledge. I know it will further decimate your credibility if you tell us you’re Forstall… but you’ve already hit rock bottom in that respect so you might as well tell us.

    2. Jay, stop trolling.

      As Jobs said in the quote from MDN’s take, the problem comes when the new leadership doesn’t listen to the product guy and focuses more on sales than on that product. Clearly, Tim Cook is not that guy: he sticks to the company philosophy of producing great products, AND he has JONY FREAKING IVE driving those products.

      I may not like all of his decisions, but to think that Cook is doing to Apple what Ballmer has done to Microsoft is absolutely ridiculous.

    3. Tim Cook doesn’t control the reins like Steve Jobs did – he lets people live Jony Ive, Phil Schiller, and Craig Federighi call the shots. This week’s keynote address marked the start of a new post-Steve Jobs Apple.

    4. So, would you like to explain to us ‘lemmings’ exactly what you mean by …’turning the iOS (sic) into something that looks like him’.
      You have no experience of iOS 7, which is still barely a beta, so you are in no position to comment on what it’s final release version will look like.
      You’re yet another useless troll living in his mommy’s basement.
      And I’m waiting for the explanation…

      1. the jerk meant, it looks “gay”, alluding to “girly”.
        While he obviously has no idea how MOST of gay men look like, namely, very masculine, who would kick the s… out of him, anytime.

        Why can’t people just live let live?

    5. FUD Only we know it NOW
      FUD instead of
      FUD waking up a couple years
      FUD later and realizing

      FUD the thing is broken
      FUD under a…
      FUD no confidence…
      FUD replacing Tim…

      LOVELY FUD, WONDERFUL FUD!
      LOVELY FUD, WONDERFUL FUD!
      FUUUUUUD!
      FUUUUUUUUUD!
      LOVELY FUD! (lovely fud!)
      LOVELY FUD! (lovely fud!)
      FUD!
      FUD!
      FUUUUUUUUUUUUD!!!

    1. Haha. Yeah, corporate politics is rough. Her comment about people there being called out for recognizing an innovative product shows how bad it really is there. I would suspect that either she already attempted a coup and failed, or is starting one now. Or perhaps she is just saying good riddance, and is thankful to be out of that mess. I’ve seen it happen in big corporations. A dynamic leader with some different think rises through the ranks, then hits the immovable objects at the top of the corporate ladder. If you’re not one of them, you are shuffled aside, and your career at that corporation is virtually stopped and you are put in “special assignments” never to be heard from again. Great leaders know how to surround themselves with people that can make them even greater. The ones like Ballmer apparently will just continue to build political support from within with yes-men. A despot. Hopelessly floundering in a sea of bad decisions.

  5. Yes they need to do this. Look at the latest screwup. The Xbox one and it’s high price and games starting at $99.00 each. Did they loose their mind? Only the hardcore gamers will go for that.

  6. Please, please, please. We need to start a letter campaign demanding that Mr. Ballsmear stays on as CEO for LIFE! He must never ever leave MS. We need to protect him and prevent any possibility of his departure!

  7. What a remarkable insult:
    …it would release all the brilliant innovators to start companies of their own that Microsoft could potentially acquire several years down the road.

    But I really wish she would stop giving Ballmer ideas. *cringe* What if he listens to her?! Too scary to contemplate. 😉

  8. Nothing will save Microsoft! MS has no real product base, no leadership, no meaningful ecosystem, little or no innovation, no future direction and little care for it’s diminishing customer base. More than enough said!

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