Beleaguered Microsoft CEO lays groundwork for mass layoffs, yet another rearrangement of the deck chairs

“Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s chief executive, has written a company manifesto of sorts,” Nick Wingfield reports for The New York Times. “His 3,100-word essay, distributed by email to Microsoft employees Thursday morning, is Mr. Nadella’s mission statement and a rallying cry for the staff. Although it contained few specifics, the essay appeared to lay the groundwork for significant changes, to be announced this month.”

“Mr. Nadella said everyone at Microsoft must find ways to simplify and work faster and more efficiently. ‘We will increase the fluidity of information and ideas by taking actions to flatten the organization and develop leaner business processes,’ he wrote. ‘Culture change means we will do things differently,'” Wingfield reports. “Those words seemed to hint at the possibility of layoffs. In most years, around the end of Microsoft’s fiscal year on June 30, rumors swirl among employees about cutbacks in different groups as the company defines its plans for the next 12 months.”

S.S. Microtanic Captain Satya Nadella
S.S. Microtanic Captain Satya Nadella
“When job reductions occur, though, they are rarely big enough to meaningfully affect Microsoft’s overall head count, which was close to 100,000 at the end of June 2013,” Wingfield reports. “This year, however, the layoff rumor mill has been especially active. That is partly because Microsoft added 25,000 new employees at the end of April with the completion of its acquisition of Nokia’s mobile division.”

“Mr. Nadella said in his email that, throughout July, senior executives would reveal “more on the engineering and organization changes we believe are needed.” He said he would discuss changes more when the company released its earnings on July 22,” Wingfield reports. “Mr. Nadella said Microsoft was ‘the productivity and platform company for the mobile-first and cloud-first world… We will reinvent productivity to empower every person and every organization on the planet to do more and achieve more.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: A 3,100-word diarrhea stream of corporate-speak laced with kernels of bullshit meant to inspire threatened worker bees (many of whom have been jerked around and reorg’ed to death for at least a decade and a half) to “find ways to simplify and work faster and more efficiently.”

Our smiles couldn’t be wider.

Nadella, who might be nearly as clueless as Ballmer, also found the need to drop the word “empower” seven times during his expulsion. That would, of course, be seven times too many. How many sentences into this interminable crapfest did it take for the average Microsoftie to get that sick feeling in the pit of their stomach prompting them to pull up their resume for updating? This is what happens when a company that desperately needed new direction from new blood instead stupidly and cowardly hires from within (not that is wasn’t too late already regardless).

This is what failure looks like. Apple roadkill.

Revel in the endless beauty of what Steve Jobs and co. have wrought. This vast, growing ocean of schadenfreude shall sustain us forever.

Sleep tight, Satya.

Related articles:
Steve Ballmer to unveil S.S. Microsoft’s new arrangement of deck chairs by July 1 – June 25, 2013
Captain Ballmer working hard on rearranging S.S. Microsoft’s deck chairs yet again – June 3, 2013
Microsoft said to again reorganize marketing operations; may include hundreds of job cuts – February 1, 2012
Ballmer rearranges the deck chairs again; seeks to get engineers into executive ranks – February 8, 2011
Microsoft rearranges the deck chairs again; reorgs cellphone, games division – May 25, 2010
Microsoft rearranges the deck chairs – February 15, 2008

75 Comments

  1. Truth be told, I would rather the current version of Microsoft to have some success in phones and tablets to compete a little with Apple, and prefer Google to go down the toilet for all their consumer privacy and data abuse, IP theft, double speak, disregard for security, etc. Google seems like a more unscrupulous version of the old Microsoft.

  2. “We must all understand and embrace what only Microsoft can contribute to the world and how we can once again change the world.”

    Here — just two paragraphs in — he appropriates two Apple messages, Tim Cook’s recent “only Apple” line and Steve’s classic pitch to Sculley to join Apple and help change the world. Not surprising, but hardly inspiring either.

    Gruber had a great take on the “only Apple” premise here:
    http://daringfireball.net/2014/06/only_apple

    Keeping snark to a minimum, what things can “only Microsoft” genuinely do? Any ideas?

    1. What things can “only Microsoft” genuinely do?

      Create vectors that allow 85% (and declining rapidly) of the world to be easily infected with malware.

      Retard world productivity.

      Make people truly laugh at a tech company.

    2. Only Microsoft can release product failure after product failure over the last 10 years and still be in business.

      I’m trying to think of one successful product in the last 10 years. I’ve got nothing.

  3. While it’s far from a done deal, it’s not looking any better for them after this essay. Hopefully all the employees that get cut and their family’s can get to their next step. At the end of the day there is only so many chairs at the table and as companies fail big and small, chairs don’t get added elsewhere.

  4. This is excellent propaganda for Apple fans. It ignores the realities:

    A) Microsoft powers 90% of desktops and laptops and will continue to do so as long as Apple prices 70% of people and businesses out of the market, and 50% of the remaining 30% will see no added value in paying 3 times as much for a Mac that does the same thing.

    B) Microsoft is still the #1 enterprise computing company in the world. They can dump their consumer software business tomorrow (actually they won’t because they are still making a ton on XBox) and still be the #1 business technology company. Their cloud business is growing (and Apple is one of their #1 customers by the way) and that is just one example.

    C) Microsoft has plenty of opportunities to retool. For example, what if they stop trying to compete with Apple and Android and just start making software for them? They could just shift and become the #1 developer for apps for both Apple and Android.

    D) Similarly, what prevents Microsoft from just giving up on Windows and building a completely new OS from the ground up? You know that Microsoft was the first to try to market a Unix-based OS (Xenix) back in the day. Apple and Google simply came along and did it decades later. So make Windows 9 the last Windows release and spend the next 4-5 years making something completely different. Or just spend the next 2 years making a commercial version of an existing Linux distro.

    Bottom line: as long as Apple needs Microsoft for iCloud (because as a hardware company Apple is not relevant in that space at all) Microsoft is not going anywhere. And as long as an entry level Apple PC costs $1000, Microsoft isn’t either.

    1. Do you REALLY believe this!? Realities!?

      Macs do not cost three times as much as a Windows computer that does the same thing. Nowhere remotely close. Over the years, if actually comparing THE SAME capabilities, sometimes Windows is cheaper, and sometimes Mac.

      And that is not even taking productivity into account. Even the pro-Microsoft Gartner Group had to acknowledge that people are dramatically more productive on Macs.

      And if you actually know anything these topics at all, you know it has been shown, over and over and over, that the TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIP of Windows computers is markedly higher than Macs.

      And MS does not make a ton of money on Xbox.

      And on
      “plenty of opportunities to retool”
      “what prevents Microsoft from just”
      Nice theories. If it were so easy, why haven’t they done it already? Yehhh, they could. I don’t see it happening, though.

    2. You honestly sound like an aspiring IT doofus which is a spectacularly dumb move when you stop for a moment to consider the facts:

      a) Ballmer instigated stack ranking as his preferred managerial style and encouraged his hardware partners to engage in a similar race to the bottom game that effectively caused them to rapidly bankrupt themselves.

      b) Ballmer then introduced a race to the bottom pricing strategy for IT consultants which meant every IT doofus needed to take a pay cut every three months in order to remain competitive. Since the market remains flooded with unemployed mcse’s – IT doofuses worldwide are becoming seriously spooked. Many have huge mortgages to pay and massive monthly payments for a leased car. And every day they’re having to deal with angry users unwillingly sat in front of a Metro GUI designed by steve sinofsky.

      c) steve sinofsky no longer responds to email and has effectively abandoned Windows 8 and the user base entirely. He now spends most days anonymously moving between rural towns in Argentina.

      Bottom line: Microsoft cannot recover from the catastrophic damage inflicted by Ballmer. Nadella knows this and is already liquidating assets.

    3. don’t even need to argue your points as they are so off base as Sean etc have pointed out.

      but I’ll like to ask if you are RIGHT and Msft is doing so well and they have so many opportunities…

      THEN WTF IS BALLMER OUT AND NADELLA DESPERATELY WRITING Elop style ‘BURNING PLATFORM” MEMOS??

    4. ‘atlman’, there are a few good points made.

      But then you threw in some abominable clinkers that lure me into a snark attack. But seeing as it is my dinner time, I will merely point out:

      Similarly, what prevents Microsoft from just giving up on Windows and building a completely new OS from the ground up?

      Outstanding cluelessness. Do you know ANY Microsoft history? Do you comprehend exactly what they have done to AVOID exactly what your are suggesting? OMFG try again.

      …as long as Apple needs Microsoft for iCloud (because as a hardware company Apple is not relevant in that space at all)…

      Say WHAT?! At that point in your post, you veered severely out of three dimensional space. I can no longer track you.
      ♪ Can you hear me Major atlman? ♪
      ♪ Can you hear me Major atlman? ♪

      Next time, try a bit more research before you post.

  5. LOL!!!!

    “His 3,100-word essay, distributed by email to Microsoft employees Thursday morning, is Mr. Nadella’s mission statement and a rallying cry for the staff. Although it contained few specifics”

    3100 words, yet manages few specifics? Yep, that’s Microsoft for you. I suspect Balmy the sweaty dancing chair throwing clown must have fully approved Nadella as his replacement.

    Microsoft has become a LOST cause célèbre. Move over wreck of Titanic, Microsoft needs a place to rest on the bottom of the ocean too.

  6. This:

    “Mr. Nadella said Microsoft was ‘the productivity and platform company for the mobile-first and cloud-first world…”

    Was, not is. Should have, would have, could have, but didn’t, couldn’t, and wouldn’t have.

    This is not the Titanic though, it only took one major breach and a couple hours to sink her. The MS ship has been leaking for years, but because she sailed in such shallow waters, merely foundered. But with half the crew manning pumps twenty-four hours a day instead of patching leaks, and new holes appearing weekly, the ship was doomed as soon as she headed out into deep waters. The amazing and agonizing thing is just how slowly she is going down. The smart ones have already debarked, including the first two captains(!) and there will be time for an orderly evacuation, till there’s nothing but rats, and the Captain.

    Like Titanic however, there will be no sequel.

    Piping off…

    dmx

    1. Excellent conformity to metaphor. I haven’t seen it in years, and thought the form dead, victim to generations innocent of any language but those of their own weak invention.

  7. I was chattering with a friend today about this letter. IMHO it is going to be featured in the history books as one of the WORST acts of a CEO in history. Here were my thoughts:

    1) If the CEO was thinking he was going to avert employee paranoia with the way he worded this letter, he has very poor comprehension of how people think. The letter could NOT have created WORSE employee paranoia. Well done.

    2) The CEO addressed the letter directly to The Press, NOT to the peasant minions who work for him. What an excellent statement of attitude.

    3) The fallout results in this being an act of self-destruction for Microsoft. Great move for hurrying things along.

    IOW: More fun times ahead for Microsoft watchers. No fun ahead for Microsoft employees. I’d jump ship ASAP if I was, gawd help me, working there.

  8. Point out one narrative that never changes.

    Microsoft runs 90% of the computers around the world.

    I have been reading THE SAME since the late 90s.

    Now, factor in Apple computers have been outselling ALL PC MODELS combined for the the last 20, 30 quarters, not to mention iPad sales — and the market share is THE SAME? WTF???

    Danger, danger Will Robinson this does NOT COMPUTE!

  9. All right. Let us consider my points.

    1. Oracle: leading enterprise software company. Red Hat: leading enterprise software company. Salesforce: leading enterprise software company. Citrix. VMware. Seibel. Siemens. BMC. You know what? Microsoft’s enterprise business makes more than them all. And it isn’t close. So if Microsoft is on their last legs going out of business, then Oracle and VMware are too. Right? Even if the percentage of people who buy Windows PCs for their home use drops dramatically because they are getting iPads instead, Windows Server is not going anywhere. SQL Server is not going anywhere. Microsoft Office is not going anywhere. And so on. All Microsoft has to do is retool, stop trying to get accountants and firemen to purchase laptops and desktops for surfing the Internet, listening to music and writing the occasional document at home, focus on getting better at the side of the business that they are still #1 and guess what? THEY ARE STILL THE #1 SOFTWARE COMPANY IN THE WORLD. So as for the crack that I sound like an aspiring IT doofus: well excuse me but IT doofuses are the only ones that have ever heard of companies like Salesforce and VMWare to begin with. Why? Because they do not make consumer products. They do not make operating systems. Yet they are still very large, very successful companies. And not saying that Microsoft even has to abandon the OS business entirely. They can continue to compete with (and be far, far, far ahead of) the other players in the server OS business. Windows Server is the #1 server OS because no other server OS can match its range of features, and no other server OS is as good for managing networks with heterogenous clients. Their web server product stinks, but they are also the #1 email server, the #1 communications server, etc. for reasons.

    2. Oooh, my mention that Apple needs Azure to offer its own iCloud service struck a nerve. BUT IT IS STILL TRUE. Microsoft is the #3 cloud company behind Amazon and Google. And this is despite A) Microsoft entering that space YEARS after Google and Amazon did and B) Azure not being a particularly good, intuitive or easy to use product. But imagine if Microsoft focuses on Azure and actually makes it as compelling as, say, Amazon AWS. They will become the #1 cloud company in addition to being the #1 enterprise software company (and #1 software company overall) and the cloud computing space is growing by leaps and bounds.

    3. All of this Ballmer stuff … Ballmer is no longer the CEO. You guys keep claiming that Ballmer irreparably harmed Microsoft. You are focusing only on the CONSUMER product space. Microsoft retained their lead in enterprise computing software under Ballmer, a lead that exists because no other enterprise software company offers their range of products and services. Their current CEO was hired from the non-consumer portion of the company to make that stronger. He has stated that he is willing to ditch the portion of Microsoft that markets to consumers in favor of focusing almost entirely on their enterprise business if that is what it takes for Microsoft to survive, and Microsoft would have never made him their CEO otherwise. And yes, the reason why Microsoft did not hire an outside CEO because that would have been a move to save their consumer software position. Microsoft is not certain that saving their consumer software (and hardware) is even necessary, let alone possible, and that is why they hired a CEO who is willing to get rid of it.

    4. You claim that Microsoft cannot retool? Well excuse me, but if that is the case, why is Microsoft selling an Android phone? It is not just because they bought Nokia and Nokia already had the Nokia X too far down the pipeline for Microsoft to kill it. Instead, Microsoft has joined the Android Open Source Project, is rumored to be on the verge of introducing a Lumina Android phone and trying to find a way to get Google store apps installed on their mobile devices. And yes, just as they have released Microsoft Office for iOS (and is on the verge of doing it for Android) they can release still more software through those channels and retain relevant – and profitable – in the consumer software space that way too. Microsoft seems to have gotten the message that the days of pushing bloated software packed with unnecessary features that costs hundreds of dollars that 99% of its users only need for mundane tasks is over, and is now moving towards cloud-based and lightweight app-based computing like everybody else. Yes, it took them very long – too long – but there is little to indicate that once they start doing it they won’t be good at it. Unless you have the idea that Microsoft is bad at making software, and if that is your case then you will need to explain their long market leadership in so many software markets (again, it is WAY more than merely desktops and laptops running Windows).

    5. Say all you want about how Macs make workers more productive and how the total costs over the life of the product. If I am a working man on a limited budget, I will see that the cheapest Windows PC costs $350 and the cheapest Apple alternative costs $1000. Or if I am running a small business on a tight margin, the cheapest quality business capable Windows PC is $600 and the cheapest “productivity” PCs for my IT, programming, design etc. people is $850, while the cheapest Apple counterparts are $2000 or more. So there is cost and productivity over the 5-7 year life of the machine versus the initial outlay that a company has to make to stay in business, or an initial bite out of a working middle class man’s paycheck for a device that he can take home and let his daughter and son listen to music and do their homework that evening. Cost of entry is what it is, and as long as the Apple cost of entry remains so high, machines running Microsoft software will continue to dominate market share.

    1. So I was downvoted but no replies given. Typical. Look guys, you hate Microsoft because for most of their existence, PCs outsold Apple machines by a large margin (because they were much cheaper and – for a lot of purposes – ACTUALLY BETTER). Big deal. That hatred does not transfer to the business/enterprise/IT space. Just because you hate Microsoft because there were (and still are) far more Windows computers than Apple computers, you want to marginalize their market leading position as an enterprise software company and their being #3 in cloud and services despite entering it long after Amazon and Google and everybody else did.

      So mock Windows 8, Windows Phone, WIndows RT, Surface etc. all you want. Businesses are going to keep running SQL Server, Exchange and Active Directory. And incidentally, Apple tried to enter the business server market and got hammered. Why? Great hardware, yes, but it didn’t run any of the software that is needed to run a business. Microsoft does, which is why they could stop selling Windows tomorrow (though they won’t because Windows still enjoys a massive market share for both business and home users) and still be the #1 software company in the world.

      1. If you do have any good points, they are mixed up with so much raving gibberish (e.g. that Macs cost three times as much as Windows computers that can do the same) that I, for one, cannot be bothered to wade through it all and figure out if you’re saying anything worthwhile.

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