Microsoft's Ballmer Flogged Over Company Meeting Messages

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Microsoft's Ballmer Flogged Over Company Meeting Messages
Microsoft's acid-tongued covert blogger Mini-Microsoft offered up a report card on Thursday's all-company meeting at Seattle's Safeco Field, giving CEO Steve Ballmer two zeros and accusing business division president Stephen Elop of "sucking the life out of the stadium."

While Microsoft employees provided tepid tweets from the company meeting that pulled 20,000 of them into the baseball stadium and jammed AT&T's cellular network, Mini-Microsoft looked for signs that the company was tuned into the job at hand, understood the impact of thousands of layoffs over the past year, and how Microsoft might stem inefficiencies at the company.

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CEO Ballmer was the first to disappoint, according to Mini-Microsoft, who hoped that the company leader would "come out front first, before any other Microsoft leadership, to speak the truth about the last year and where we are now. He must acknowledge it starkly. We had layoffs. We had inefficiencies."

Ballmer, however, didn't appear until the end, slapping hands with employees sitting close to the stage and tearing an iPhone out of an employee's hands and pretending to stomp on it.

Ballmer got zeros on both counts.

Elop faired even worse, drawing Mini-Microsoft's wrath for crushing the blogger's hope for short, sweet and powerful demos.

"Elop. Steven. Baby. Dynamics. XRM. Really? What did I do to you to have that forced down my eyeballs? ... Geez. Did anyone give you advice that this was a bad idea? If so, keep listening to them. If not, you're seriously lacking good reports willing to give you honest feedback."

Mini-Microsoft had blogged before the confab on six hopes for the company meeting. In the grading system each hope represented a point and when all was said and done the score was 1.75.

"Hey, almost one-third realized," wrote Mini-Microsoft.

Ballmer's zeros came from not coming out first to "set the context for the meeting in light of a pretty awful FY09 Q3 and Q4," and one for not giving a serious wrap up.

The other hopes included "practical vision," which Mini-Microsoft graded out at .5, giving Craig Mundie, chief researcher and strategy officer, and Ray Ozzie, chief software architect, props for focusing on "practical aspects of product groups, research, and inbetween the technology transferring power of the labs groups."

Mini-Microsoft's hope for short, sweet and powerful demos earned a .5.

"Robbie Bach [president of the entertainment and devices division] did okay, but I can't say the demos blew me away," wrote Mini-Microsoft.

The grade for Mini-Microsoft's hope on getting a good peek at new stuff came up .75. He called looks at Bing, Zune HD and new Laptop Hunter commercials "conservative."

And the hope to see a new review system got a zero.

On the up side, Mini-Microsoft said he was surprised to hear COO Kevin Turner, who opened the meeting, admit that the company had over-hired.

And Mini-Microsoft had kind words for Dr. Qi Lu, formerly of Yahoo and now running Microsoft's online services group.

"[He] might be my favorite techie right now. I was impressed with what he's brought together for Bing and what's coming and how he has focused the team and adopted some of the new technology that Satya [Nadella, senior vice president of research and development] was showing. Who the hell thought we'd be feeling so good about our search decision engine? Ever?"

This story, "Microsoft's Ballmer Flogged Over Company Meeting Messages" was originally published by Network World.

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