Software // Enterprise Applications
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7/26/2014
08:36 AM
Michael Endler
Michael Endler
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Microsoft's Nadella: More Than Talk

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella proves he can be a man of action with the biggest layoff in company history and other concrete steps to reshape Microsoft. Now what?

Microsoft Office For iPad Vs. iWork Vs. Google
Microsoft Office For iPad Vs. iWork Vs. Google
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

They say talk is cheap, but that's not necessarily true if you're Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Microsoft stock is up more than 20% since he took over in February and has reached heights never attained under predecessor Steve Ballmer. Microsoft released lots of products during that period, but if you look at what people were really responding to -- at the things for which Nadella was responsible -- it was Nadella's language.

Now it's more than talk. With the announcement of 18,000 layoffs, Nadella has shifted into action. He's no longer reshaping, tweaking, and re-contextualizing what Steve Ballmer left behind, or making the sorts of moves that can remain invisible to outside observers. He's now begun remaking Microsoft according to his vision, and in so doing he's moved to a new stage of leadership, one where actions will increasingly speak louder than words.

It's a big step up from his early days as CEO. Nadella's been justly praised, but it's hard to know how much different Microsoft's product line would look if Ballmer were still in charge. On his way out, the former CEO reportedly gave the go-ahead on Office for iPad, for example, and one assumes Microsoft would have continued to beef up Azure under Ballmer, just as it has under Nadella. That's not to say Nadella hasn't exerted his authority. He reportedly axed the Surface Mini at the eleventh hour, and a lot of the cloud momentum Nadella's currently hyping stems from work he oversaw in earlier roles.

[Does Satya Nadella have Microsoft back on track? Read Microsoft Faces 4 Big Challenges.]

Still, almost everything Microsoft released during Nadella's early reign was already well into development under Ballmer. Nadella didn't bring new products; he brought new packaging for those products, new strategic sensibilities, and a new business vocabulary. His poetic delivery and hipster attire contrast sharply with Ballmer's salesmanship and bombast, a PR victory all by itself.

But by early July, Nadella's rhetoric had begun to grow repetitive. He'd been recycling key talking points to developers, partners, and other key constituencies as he wound his way through Microsoft conferences and events. A recent press tour engendered a lot of goodwill. But as his description of a cloud-driven world full of personalized digital experiences grew more familiar, the topics he wasn'taddressing became more obvious.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Before the layoffs, Nadella appeared almost pre-emptive in his references to first-party smartphones and tablets, for example. They were normally limited to enthusiastic platitudes about the Pro 3, or vague intentions to integrate Nokia and build the Windows Phone market, with help from partners. He seemed to bring up devices, not only to assure audiences that Microsoft hadn't forgotten about its challenges, but also to stop the conversation before it started.

Layoffs seemed inevitable; Microsoft was already undergoing a restructuring effort when Ballmer stepped down, and in absorbing Nokia's device business Microsoft took in some skills overlap that had to be consolidated. But it did not seem inevitable that Nadella would enact the largest job reduction in company history. Even not counting the Nokia layoffs, 5,500 other job cuts -- which included changes to the Windows team and its testing process -- constitute Microsoft's second-biggest layoff ever. It's not clear if these efforts to make

 

Michael Endler joined InformationWeek as an associate editor in 2012. He previously worked in talent representation in the entertainment industry, as a freelance copywriter and photojournalist, and as a teacher. Michael earned a BA in English from Stanford University in 2005 ... View Full Bio
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pcharles09
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pcharles09,
User Rank: Moderator
8/19/2014 | 5:22:41 PM
Re: Let's be a little more serious about the word 'action.'
@heartpuppy,

I think most people see it & understand what's going on. They just feel powerless. Even worse, they choose NOT to speak out for fear of retribution.
heartpuppy
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heartpuppy,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/1/2014 | 9:07:06 AM
Re: Let's be a little more serious about the word 'action.'
Sorry my tone is not always the nicest.  The way this critical industry is going, is going to be a massive national insecurity issue.  The way the American young nerds are being shoved under the bus while experienced American nerds are being squeezed out the industry, and everyone seems not to see it.   That does upset me.

If Microsoft is turned into a 100% cuckoo hatchery, American IT, even global IT will be undefendable from this brood of hypocritical, racist, nepotistic, self-serving cuckoos.
pcharles09
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pcharles09,
User Rank: Moderator
7/31/2014 | 11:41:22 PM
Re: Let's be a little more serious about the word 'action.'
@heartpuppy,

I was referring to your tone more than the content of your message. It came off to me that you were upset with MSFT, which is why I asked if there was a reason why. I didn't say anything you mentioned was inaccurate.
heartpuppy
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heartpuppy,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/31/2014 | 9:41:45 PM
Re: Let's be a little more serious about the word 'action.'
am I aggressive because i said anything false?

I thought the facts are pretty clear.  The way this layoff is conducted is very strange.  

fact 1: Microsoft has 80 billion dollar cash.

fact 2: Microsoft continues to employ 90000 contractors including Tata consulting services, Infosys, Wipro and HCl, all giant Indian contractors hijacking the H1b visa program for many years in a massive way.  Only 1 month ago Microsoft renewed an IT contract with Infosys.   Apparently Microsoft laid-off techies are not given a chance to retrain to take care of their own IT.

fact 3: giant Indian contractors imported 1 million H1b IT experts into the US in the last 15 years, where the entire marketplace only has spots for 2 million IT jobs.  What happened to the 1 million American IT workers replaced by the H1b visa labors?  They trained their replacement and faded into unemployment or became real estate agent.  those trying to stay in software industry,  are turned down by Indian hiring managers as "overqualified", "poor culture fit", "too old".

fact 4: Computer Science majors in many American schools are occupied by Indian students.   American grads from respectable American universities could not compete with new Indian grads in the IT workplace.  why?  Indian grads could get into a contractor job easily through one of those giant Indian contract firms, given on-the-job training, their career made by getting on one of the ladders under the protective wings of Indian hiring managers and middle managers, maybe even Mr Nadella himself.   American grads get none of these perks, they are just laughed out interviews by the Indian managers, called inexperienced, poor culture fit, stupid and lazy.

fact 5: the way Satya did his grand job cuts: It's protracted, painful and encourages infighting among nonIndian permanent workforce; at the same time it left the 90,000 contractor workers nearly intact.   Mark my words, in a few months, there will be a giant backdoor opened for these Indian temp workers to become full time employees (without pesky interviews that kept so many American grads out of Microsoft) or a giant push to outsource to India.   It's such an old trick used by Cisco, Ebay, VMware & Qualcomm and other tech companies.  It's unmistakably effective, as these companies' engineering departments are now almost completely Indian.

 

fact 6: rumor says entire teams of Indian testing engineers under Indian managers received the coveted promotion to become software engineers (under the curren testing-development job role integration reorg).   Because these are already often 90% Indian teams, they compete only with each other in performance and have nothing to fear but trust that the Great One has their back.  So while everyone else fear for their jobs, the Indians at Microsoft are enjoying gyms, relaxation ,defacto promotions and office politics' spoils.   They are eagerly awaiting the next stage of takeover, where they could become 100% of Microsoft, to inherit the empire and its cash hoard.

American IT industry is besieged by Indian invaders on every front.   Currently at occupation rate of 50%, Indians are 30-40% Microsoft's permanent engineering workforce; more Indians than Americans are employed in IBM; Cisco,Qualcomm's engineering are nearly completely occupied by Indians.  Go take a look at VMWare and Cisco's headquarters and many IT departments for financial/insurance industries, and then tell me if I'm too aggressive in pointing out the quiet IT invasion or simply telling the facts as it is.

In another 10 years at this rate, the occupation rate will go from 50% to 100%.   Now when Indian contractor CGI screwed up Obamacare website,  there are still Google's engineers to the rescue.  In another 10 years, the way Indians keep importing more H1b experts, there will be NO nonIndian software engineer to be found.   Send an email, visit some website, some Indian big brother will be sniffing on the network, you will never know.   80+% executives in Indian companies admitted to using network monitoring, bugging, and employing spies on their competitors.   I do not expect that they will change their stripes when the imported Indians became the 100% Lords of America's information system.
pcharles09
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pcharles09,
User Rank: Moderator
7/29/2014 | 10:48:23 PM
Re: Let's be a little more serious about the word 'action.'
@heartpuppy,

Did you work from MSFT in the past? Why the aggression?
Jeff Jerome
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Jeff Jerome,
User Rank: Ninja
7/28/2014 | 11:12:35 PM
Re: Microsoft is now a server company
@ charles - I thnk that you are correct the Azure product is doing well and so is Lync.  And I think Lync can drive some device sales too.  Which could help to drive Microsoft device sales.
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
7/28/2014 | 5:44:52 PM
Microsoft is now a server company
Although Microsoft still aspires to be a device company, I think it's inevitable that its future lies as a server company. it's last successful business device was the Windows PC. Which means that it's now a server company, both Windows Server in the enterprise and the Azure Cloud, delivering services to other people's smart phones and mobile devices. 
heartpuppy
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heartpuppy,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/28/2014 | 3:32:36 PM
Re: Let's be a little more serious about the word 'action.'
With his protracted layoff, Nadella is trying to squeeze out the "best" Microsoft workers.  By "best", I mean the American nerds who do their job well and get paid well and are ill-equiped to handle the vast office-politicking credit-stealing job-stealing PPT-touting nepotistic net-sniffing IT "expert" invasion army, 1 million strong, brought in from India into American IT workforces(total about 2 million jobs).

Admit it, American nerds focusing on doing their software jobs should not be expected to put up with this kind of infighting and uncertainty(intentionally unleashed by Nadella), and will likely look for alternative employment opportunities.  Nadella's Darwin process will only leave the Indians (protected by Nadella and gang) to be declared the heir to the Microsoft's 80 Billion dollar cash hoard.   Indians could use this hoard to launch another million "experts" from slums to take over American IT 100%...  Isn't it beautiful?

Yeah beware your email and all office communication is being spied on by your Indian invading force.  I'm sure a low caste American like you would appreciate Indian Big Brother's taking care of all your IT needs for the next thousand years.

 
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
7/28/2014 | 3:02:29 PM
Re: Let's be a little more serious about the word 'action.'
So to distill your message, you're positing that Nadella's grand plan is to lay off large numbers of Microsoft's US citizen tech workers, replace a significant number of those people with (presumably) less expensive Indian tech workers, then bail out of the company?
heartpuppy
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heartpuppy,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/28/2014 | 2:39:31 PM
Re: Let's be a little more serious about the word 'action.'
Nadella does not fit the classic profile of "outsider hachet man".  but fit the profile of "Indian insider hachet man with secret agenda".   His college buddy (from an obscure second rate Indian university that produced NO big CEOs before Nadella ) became Nokia CEO, and carried out extensive layoffs in Nokia during his career at Nokia.   The 2 friends seem to follow the same playbook, a playbook used extensively at other Indianized American high tech outfits like Cisco and VMWare.   Where you see rounds of small/big layoffs and attrition aimed at nonIndian workforce, coupled with extensive outsourcing to India and Indian companies.  In addition these companies also preferred hiring and promotion of Indian workers in America, resulting in a huge Indian technical population (sometimes 8/10) in their US corporate headquarters.   

Cisco's indianization strategy:

 http://www.networkworld.com/article/2264760/lan-wan/cisco-quietly-downsizing-through-outsourcing.html

Qualcomm's Indianization strategy:

http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2013/jan/09/citylights1-engineers-dislike-h1b-bosses-gloat/

http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2011/mar/09/citylights1-american-engineers-short-supply/

IBM now more Indian workers than the US:

http://nypost.com/2013/10/05/ibm-now-employs-more-workers-in-india-than-us/

 

 
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