‘Hello there’: Eight lessons from Microsoft’s awful job loss memo

“Barely 10 days old, Stephen Elop’s ‘Hello there’ memo has already become a classic example of how not to fire people. It is a 1,110-word document stiff with ‘appropriate financial envelopes,’ ‘ramp-downs’ and ‘ecosystems’ which, towards the end, casually mentions that thousands of Microsoft jobs are to go,” Lucy Kellaway reports for The Financial Times. “Rather than dish out the bad news directly, the executive vice-president takes refuge behind a curious subjunctive: ‘We plan that this would result in an estimated reduction of 12,500… employees.'”

“Yet to focus on Mr Elop’s tin ear misses something. This memo deserves to become a set text for all executives interested in communication,” Kellaway reports. “It adds value by showcasing the delivery of business piffle that is perfectly aligned with current high-end management guff. It is a case study in how not to write, how not to think, and how not to lead a business.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take:

Stephen Elop and Steve Ballmer
Two cretins smiling idiotically
Elop’s failure to write a simple memo is wholly unsurprising. He’s an expert at failure.

We’d love to know what the hell Ballmer and he expected from their grand plan – infiltrating Nokia and the spectacular face-plant that followed. Idiots.

Every once in a awhile, Steve Jobs must have looked around at his so-called competitors and said to himself, “Of course, we’re winning. How could we lose?”


    1. Exactly right. Let’s hope Apple pays attention to history and doesn’t repeat this Idiocracy down the road. Microsoft products are ALL awful, even Microsoft office.

      1. Pretty sure you meant to say “Microsoft products are ALL awful, *especially* Microsoft Office”. That piece of bloatware needs a HARD rework. Its lack of interoperability with competitors and the fact we’ve all used it since grade school makes us think its “ok” but step back and take a look at the mess of a toolbar and dated symbology and you will see what a mess it is. MS is a one trick pony whose one trick is old and tired.

    2. In far anticipation of James Naismith, the ironically named Committee for Public Safety determined that it was gauche to allow heads severed by the guillotine to roll across the executioner’s platform, and so devised the basket to collect heads, royal and otherwise. The basket was later replaced by open netting, which allowed an official to collect the basketball without a ladder. Oh, I get my blood sports so mixed up…

    1. No, that was another, MORE horrible memo which only hinted at the future downsizing.

      Both memos prove beyond a doubt that MS is absolutely domed.
      The type of sick corporate culture that allows that kind of incompetence to survive and apparently be rewarded is going to go up in flames much sooner than later.

        1. Being that Ballmer is domed, as in bald? Also reminds one of the Microsoftian silos which are domed in the sense of isolation from one another and leading to a doomed business model, one that internally defeats itself

  1. It is a case study in how not to write, how not to think, and how not to lead a business.

    AND: Déjà vu much of Nadella’s horrific letter to the press, and oh yeah all you MS employees? We officially have a twosome team of timid tards running Microsoft. Oh joy. 😛 Lots more fun ahead!

  2. What this memo says to me is that Microsoft is dieing.

    The company is haemorrhaging cash as it’s products and services fail to attract and sell in the massive numbers needed to sustain such a massive company worldwide.

    Expect loads more layoffs later this year, reduction in the number of external consultants they use too.

    Microsoft is a classic lesson of what happens when a business fails to innovate. It’s almost like the Sony Walkman story and apples iPod but on a massive scale.

    Sony dominated the music market with their Walkman and apple came along with the iPod and it was game over.

    Microsoft is too big to respond fast enough to stay relevant, is bloated with corporate politics and is a dinosaur waiting for extinction.

    It’s not a case of if the company closes down, it’s a case of when.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.