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Microsoft's Treatment of Google Defectors 572

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the well-thats-just-not-cool dept.
Miguel de Icaza (Note, this Miguel is not the Ximian developer, just someone whose small life is fulfilled by trolling under someone else's name) writes "Here is a story revealing just how threatened Microsoft is by Google. While senior partners can expect the full chair experience, some lowly staffers who are putting in their notice are being escorted off campus immediately. Why? Because they've put in their notice to join Google. In Microsoft's eyes, Google is Enemy No. 1. Anyone leaving Redmond for the search leader is a threat. Not because they'll scurry around collecting company secrets — as if Google's interested in Microsoft's '90s-era technologies. Departing employees, however, might tell other 'Softies how much better Google is. If an employee is leaving for Amazon.com or another second-tier employer which doesn't make Microsoft so paranoid, they'll probably serve out the traditional two weeks of unproductive wrapping up. So if you're planning on leaving Microsoft for Google, pack up your belongings and say goodbye to friends ahead of time. There'll be no cake and two weeks of paid slacking for you."
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Microsoft's Treatment of Google Defectors

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  • not that uncommon (Score:5, Interesting)

    by yagu (721525) * <yayagu@@@gmail...com> on Sunday November 11, 2007 @11:11AM (#21313359) Journal

    If you're leaving these days it's not uncommon to get escorted to the door... and it's not uncommon to be a perp walk, which sucks. It undermines the fabric of trust in the workforce generally and damages individual psyche specifically. Microsoft isn't unique in this regard, though the article does seem to indicate it is Google-specific.

    If it is Google-specific it underscores Microsoft's pettiness, and maybe a little stupidity. They should enforce a consistent policy. Unless an employee has shown himself to be a bad seed, treat him (or her) with respect.

    I experienced the perp walk (layoff) after 21 years with qwest. It has garnered nothing but ill will since. The net balance of this kind of treatment is surely negative. You can handle this kind of policy with dignity. Most don't.

    While I doubt too many Google employees are leaving for the crumbling Monarchy that is Microsoft, I wouldn't be surprised if Google has similar policies and procedures.

    • by p51d007 (656414)
      At our business (office machine dealer), ANYONE that resigns, even though they give a two week notice, is asked to leave at the end of the business day. Their email account is yanked, all passwords changed. It's SOP for just about any business. With the ease of taking business customer information with you, I don't blame MS, or any company for doing this. I don't think it is sour grapes, but a good business practice.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 11, 2007 @11:25AM (#21313455)
        Its not SOP. I've been through many companies, not a single one treated me or other employees this way. If someone wants to damage the company, why would they give you a chance to throw you out? They'll just do it before they put in their notice. Respect your employees and they'll treat you in kind.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by cayenne8 (626475)
          "Its not SOP. I've been through many companies, not a single one treated me or other employees this way. If someone wants to damage the company, why would they give you a chance to throw you out? They'll just do it before they put in their notice. Respect your employees and they'll treat you in kind."

          I agree with this...even with gigs that had some pretty secure stuff, never given the bum's rush out the door...actually in last gig, was asked if after being gone a week if there was any way to come back for

        • by instarx (615765) on Monday November 12, 2007 @07:01AM (#21321531)
          Its not SOP. I've been through many companies, not a single one treated me or other employees this way

          In the typical over-simplification of slashdot, in only ten posts this issue has become either total trust by employers (your point of view) or an insulting perp-walk (OP and other's view). In reality it IS standard procedure in many companies to pay resigning emplyees through their notification period, but to ask them not to report to work during that time. It isn't insulting - I've had it happen to me, and I prefer it.

          I've also had an employer who tried to wring every last drop of work out of me by making me work to 5:00 PM on the last day of notice. I found the second approach much more demeaning - as if I were some sort of rental human. To show how insulting that can be, they docked me two hours of pay when I left early at 3pm on my last day of work even though I was a salaried professional.
      • by Tom (822) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @11:29AM (#21313493) Homepage Journal
        No, it isn't.

        Everyone who intends to take anything with them is probably smart enough to make copies before telling you they're leaving. Likewise, any damage they might do can already be set up.

        The only situation where being escorted off is when the company fires someone, or when he resigns surprisingly (including to himself) in a fit of anger. In any other situation, anything you're trying to protect yourself from has either already happened, or won't happen even if you just let him go peacefully.
        • by DeBattell (460265) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @12:37PM (#21314025)
          Unfortunately this is not always true. I worked in a computing lab at the University of Tennessee in the 90's. We had a girl who came in to do backups every evening. She put in her notice one day, served it out, still making the backups. After she left, she logged in with the still-unchanged root password and trashed our systems. And it turned out the last few "backups" she made were blank. I guess she was pissed about something; we never firgured out what.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 11, 2007 @01:02PM (#21314197)
            Maybe you referred to her as a "girl?"
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by cp.tar (871488)

            Well, if the last few backups were blank, it's clear she had been planning it.

            Even if paranoid procedures had been in place, she would have trashed the systems just as well, only a minute before resigning.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by jonbritton (950482)
            After she left, she logged in with the still-unchanged root password and trashed our systems. And it turned out the last few "backups" she made were blank.

            Damn, if only you had made security escort her out like a criminal without dignity....absolutely nothing would have been different! You had no idea she wasn't making backups, rent-a-cops wouldn't change that. You had no idea the other admins were incompetent, rent-a-cops wouldn't change that either.

            She left you a mountain of evidence against her,
        • by giafly (926567) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @12:52PM (#21314129)

          Everyone who intends to take anything with them is probably smart enough to make copies before telling you they're leaving. Likewise, any damage they might do can already be set up.
          True. But if they have done as you suggest, and not taken enough care when deleting the private files on their disk to defeat a specialist data recovery company, then you have a slam-dunk lawsuit against their new employer. You may also find out what they were offered before your other good people are head-hunted. And if they have a company-provided cellphone, the contact details on that are gold dust.

          So you really don't want to leave them alone with their PC or phone.
        • by Chapter80 (926879) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @02:12PM (#21314759)
          When deciding whether to terminate someone immediately or let them serve out their two weeks, obviously there's an issue of trust (and as you said, they could have already taken stuff). But it's ALSO an issue (more importantly) of the perception of the SURVIVORS.

          By escorting someone out, it could be an intentional signal to the other employees that you take this rivalry seriously. Or by letting them work the two weeks, it could be a signal that you are employee-friendly and there are no hard feelings. But the main concern really needs to be about how the remaining employees feel. There should be little concern about how the departing employee feels - except that it's often not a good idea to make enemies.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by sustik (90111)
          Keeping the employee for the period of notice wrapping up work makes a lot of sense IMO. If the employee knows that he/she will have to come in for a couple more weeks (facing coworkers and mgmt), it is unlikely that they will inflict damage. (Formatting the drives on Tuesday and come in for work Wednesday , who would do that?)

          Access to some sensitive information, use of copiers and fax machines etc. could be restricted starting immediately, and then the mgmt may decide a few days (weeks) before the perio
          • by kmahan (80459) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @05:50PM (#21316383)
            I've got a friend who worked at a software company for a number of years and was involved in a lot of projects. He gave his notice and said he could continue working for up to 4 weeks to help transition projects if needed. He had timed things to be leaving after wrapping up the project he was working on. Really tried to be a nice guy about it. And he was switching to a job that did software in a totally different field -- no common customers, no related technology.

            The management didn't quite see it that way. He was asked to wait in a conference room while they conferred. They had security put his personal possessions into a box, turned off his access, had HR come review all his NDAs and threaten him, and then made a public announcement (over the paging system) that he was no longer an employee and was being escorted out. And then gave a 2 security guard escort to the parking lot, and followed him until he drove off the lot.

            He tried to keep it all in perspective -- he was a bit shocked at how he was treated since he thought he had a good relationship with the company, and had wanted to leave on good terms. His new employer was happy to let him start early.

            Funny enough two weeks later the old company called him. Could he help fix a problem a very important customer was running into? They said if he came in and helped he could pick up his final paycheck at the same time (nice veiled threat). He was cool about it. He said that his new job was taking up all this time and he didn't have any time currently, but that he might be able to offer some advice to the current staff over the phone. Oh, and they could mail him his check. Yeah, that went over like a lead balloon. Lots of threats, cursing, and such. Wish he'd recorded that. His new company gave him Group Legal as part of his benefits, so last I heard he was using that to attempt to get his final paycheck. And he's incredibly happy at his new company.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by huge (52607)

          Everyone who intends to take anything with them is probably smart enough to make copies before telling you they're leaving. Likewise, any damage they might do can already be set up.
          Exactly, they have already made the copies if they need them, but why to give them access to new information that is produced *after* they gave the notice?
      • by lukas84 (912874) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @11:30AM (#21313507) Homepage
        Here in Switzerland, 2 months notice MINIMUM is required by law. Most companies write up 3 months for most regular jobs, and 6+ months for senior/executive positions.

        And most of the time, you'll spend this time wrapping up your work. It's HIGHLY unusual to be suspended immediately - usually only if you stole company goods or something like that.

        When i've switched jobs, i always spent the time productively, completing documentation, instructing my follow-up, etc. pp.

        American working culture always looks very strange to me :)
        • by The Second Horseman (121958) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @11:51AM (#21313687)
          It's not so much a working culture. It's more like watching one of those nature documentaries where the slower and weaker animals are getting run down and eaten, or wander into quicksand and drown. If you're lucky. In some areas, it's positively Dickensian.
        • by liquidpele (663430) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @12:12PM (#21313801) Journal
          Just FYI, here in the US, the law basically states that the company can fire you for any (legal) reason at any time, and therefore employees also have the right to quit at any time for any reason. The 2 week thing is a general courtesy understood throughout the workforce, but not required by law.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by tompaulco (629533)
            The 2 week thing is a general courtesy understood throughout the workforce, but not required by law.
            It used to be required on a lot of the employment contracts that I had, but now that at-will is around, the company tells you that they can't put wording like that into your contract.
            However, they do request the "courtesy" of a two week notice. If you don't give one when you quit, you are being unprofessional. However, when they fire you with no notice, supposedly that is not unprofessional. In my opinion,
      • by MoonBuggy (611105) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @11:40AM (#21313577) Journal
        But the story is that MS is not doing this for security, they're doing it to prevent 'defectors' taking others with them. I really can't even begin to get inside the thought process of whoever had this idea - who seriously thinks "Hmm, good employees are leaving because they think another company is a more pleasant place to work, we'd better make sure the secret doesn't get out" rather than "Hmm, good employees are leaving because they think another company is a more pleasant place to work, we'd better see if we can find out what we're doing wrong and perhaps work on fixing it".
      • by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy&gmail,com> on Sunday November 11, 2007 @11:40AM (#21313583) Journal
        I've been in both types of business. I find that the higher the level of trust that they've had to have in you, the less likely you are to get booted immediately. If you're in charge of data integrity and security on a financial system, a position of high trust, you're not going to get railroaded like you would if you're an applications developer.

        The job I'm in now, I should get "perp-walked" when I put in my notice (I have way too much systems access), but I doubt I will be, because they'll be desperate for me to train someone, and catch up my documentation. It's a trust position, though a number of people over me probably don't trust me...If I were them I wouldn't trust anyone, due to the amount of backstabbing they've been dealing in.

        They're not always rational...It'll be interesting to see.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by 1u3hr (530656)
        With the ease of taking business customer information with you, I don't blame MS, or any company for doing this. I don't think it is sour grapes, but a good business practice.

        No, it's not. When I was about to quit my last job, I spent two weeks copying files (my personal files) and removing my personal things from the office. (As well as working late every night wrapping up my current projects.) Then I gave my notice and said goodbye. (Until the court case when I claimed my three months of overdue salary

    • by JonTurner (178845) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @11:37AM (#21313567) Journal
      Giving notice is a courtesy to the company and it must be earned.

      >>If you're leaving these days it's not uncommon to get escorted to the door...

      Then, if this is standard practice at your company, do not provide notice. Just quit, walk out, and never look back.
      Clean out your office over the preceeding week, then simply say to your manager on the last hour of your last day "I quit, effective immediately. I'm not coming back tomorrow, and I did not give notice because of the poor way this company responds to those who resign (e.g. "perp walk"). Goodbye and good luck." Or just send them an email over the weekend. It might sound harsh but if they truly respond this poorly to resignations, you have nothing to lose anyway.

      The funny part is, I'll bet the clueless executives have had at least one profanely expensive "retreat" this year where they listened to expensive consultants's opinions on boosting employee morale and/or commitment.
      • Then, if this is standard practice at your company, do not provide notice. Just quit, walk out, and never look back.

        That's dumb. If I was at a company where the standard practice was to walk someone out the door as soon as they gave notice, I would give them 6 months notice. After all, maybe they would walk me out immediately and pay me for the next 6 months. If they didn't walk me out, I would always have the option of changing my mind and giving a shorter notice.

        In my last company, the standard practice was to immediately walk you out if you were going to a direct competitor. If you were not doing that, then you s

        • by vidarh (309115)
          It's a mindset thing. You might intend to be perfectly loyal, but if you've gotten an offer and accepted a position with another company, it's hard for that not to be at the front of your mind, and you've just suddenly created a completely different level of temptation, whether it's just to look at code you'd never bothered to look at before even though you've had access.

          Personally, if I was leaving to a direct competitor I'd want to take steps myself to ensure I didn't any longer have access to informati

        • I don't think so... (Score:3, Informative)

          by Frosty Piss (770223)

          If I was at a company where the standard practice was to walk someone out the door as soon as they gave notice, I would give them 6 months notice. After all, maybe they would walk me out immediately and pay me for the next 6 months.

          I'm sorry, what planet do you live on? I assume you're in the US, right? Your employer would be exercising their right to fire you for no reason at all as an "at will" employee. At most you might qualify for unemployment. But 6 months free money? I don't think so, unless you have

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Sparr0 (451780)
            Most places around here we have unemployment insurance. They walk me out 6 months ahead of time, I spend 6 months "searching" for the job I already have lined up to start 6 months from now, and their unemployment insurance costs go up an amount similar to that I am getting paid by the state (unless they do this on a regular basis, in which case they are already paying an appropriate amount to cover my 6 month vacation).
      • Don't Burn Bridges (Score:3, Insightful)

        by raftpeople (844215)
        Even if the company will treat you poorly, you are working for and with individuals that you may meet again in your career. It's to your advantage to treat all with respect even if they (or the company) don't return the favor, your professionalism will be noticed and remembered by some.
      • simply say to your manager on the last hour of your last day "I quit, effective immediately. I'm not coming back tomorrow, and I did not give notice because of the poor way this company responds to those who resign (e.g. "perp walk"). Goodbye and good luck."
        I did this at my last job. They lied to me about giving me stock in the company and raises. Then they fired about 8 of my best friends with no notice. I figured that a company that would do that deserves no notice. But they had the last laugh. They sai
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by suppo (267896)
          "They said since I quit, i was no longer an employee and not entitled to the several thousand dollars in unused vacation that they owed me."

          You might get a second opinion, depending on how your vacation time is defined in your (former) employment contract. Earned compensation is an entitlement that can't be hand waved off, even by a slick lawyer.
    • It undermines the fabric of trust in the workforce generally

      This presumes that there is any actual trust in the workforce generally. When I was doing computer security consulting work we preached to anyone that would listen that the biggest danger to your security comes from employees, not outside aggressors. This is because IT IS TRUE. No, it isn't nice, but it's not a nice world. If someone has informed you that they are leaving the company, the first thing that should happen is that your manager shou

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rainer_d (115765)
        > If someone has informed you that they are leaving the company,
        > the first thing that should happen is that your manager should
        > push a red button that instantly removes all access you have to
        > computers and badge-access doors (or get that process started),

        You got that (partly) wrong.
        The problem is not that it doesn't get done on day one, the problem is
        that people don't do it at all and leave accounts open for months
        after people have departed.
        Freaking out when an employee leaves and calling "De
    • by Exp315 (851386) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @11:42AM (#21313605)
      I agree, it is very common. I think most HR consultants advise companies in competitive industries to escort fired or quitting employees to the door immediately, giving them no chance to do any damage. The thing is, I still think it's wrong. It's a unilateral violation of the trust contract between employees and the employer. Employees are trusted with the most sensitive information and assets of the company while they are working there, and it would be easy to abuse that trust. Any employee who is planning to leave, or who getting the vibe that they could be laid off, could be stocking up on sensitive info or doing other damage if they wanted. What stops them? Nothing but mutual trust and the value of personal reputation. When the employer violates that trust contract by treating the employee badly and showing that they have no trust, that is being communicated not only to the mistreated employee, but to everyone else who still works there. Only future badness can result. As an emmployer, I'd rather demonstrate trust in my employees and take the chance of an occasional hit from a bad one.
      • by Brandybuck (704397) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @01:55PM (#21314625) Homepage Journal
        It's a unilateral violation of the trust contract between employees and the employer.

        A sense of trust and loyalty between company and employer used to be common. It was a recognition that the relationship was mutually beneficial and voluntary. But that has been lost with many large companies recently. The relationship now is closer to that of master and servant.

        A couple years ago I left the Siemens leviathan, for a small fifty man company. I've never been happier. Better pay, better respect, interesting work. My work takes me inside lots of other companies, and I see the same thing there. Smaller companies have happier employees doing more interesting work, while large companies are full of melancholy drones.

    • The company I work for has a policy that if you get hired by a competitor, they will escort you out immediately. If it's a non-competitor company, you can serve out your two weeks. Theoretically, this is about intellectual property, though I'm still trying to find some of that.
    • by vishbar (862440) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @12:35PM (#21314005)

      Anyone leaving Redmond for the search leader is a threat. Not because they'll scurry around collecting company secrets -- as if Google's interested in Microsoft's '90s-era technologies. Departing employees, however, might tell other 'Softies how much better Google is. If an employee is leaving for Amazon.com or another second-tier employer whichdoesn't make Microsoft so paranoid, they'll probably serve out the traditional two weeks of unproductive wrapping up.
      Is it just me or is this totally wild, baseless speculation? They provide no source to back this up...who's to say they're not doing it for a different reason?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Blakey Rat (99501)
      If an employee is leaving for Amazon.com or another second-tier employer which doesn't make Microsoft so paranoid, they'll probably serve out the traditional two weeks of unproductive wrapping up.

      That's a pretty damned big "probably." If Microsoft does let those people serve out two weeks, then this article is actually making a point. If not, then this article is worthess trash. Does the author bother to find out which it is? Nope! Wild speculation all-around!

      For all we know this is standard practice in all
  • by Ckwop (707653) * <Simon.Johnson@gmail.com> on Sunday November 11, 2007 @11:12AM (#21313367) Homepage

    I have never worked for Microsoft and to be honest, I'd probably never want to. I think the key problem for Microsoft is that nothing they do is exciting anymore.

    I think Vista has really damaged Microsoft. Not in terms of revenue, since a sale of Windows XP is still a sale for Microsoft. No, the damage is in morale. Vista was an absolute disaster for morale. They worked for a couple of years only to ditch it and start again from the Windows 2003 Server source-code. Nothing they put in to Vista was in anyway something you can get developers energised about. Every feature had nightmarish committees which destroyed any hope of motivation. They even developed anti-features like SecurePath that nobody cares about.

    I read somewhere that Microsoft developers write something like 1,000 lines of code a year. Last-year, I contributed around forty times that to our source control at work. When you're paid so much to do so little - that has to destroy morale too. Most developers I know like to work.

    Vista is a symptom of a much deeper problem. Microsoft doesn't know how to be sexy. it doesn't now how to to be secure and it doesn't know how to please it's users. Worst of all, it doesn't know how to make it's huge base of developers happy!

    All of this makes Google a very attractive place. If all your talent walks right of your door, it isn't too long until there is no way whatsoever to fix any of the problems I've just mentioned.

    Put more succinctly, Microsoft sucks and Google rocks.

    Simon.

    • What? MS Developers write 1000 lines a year? What lazy bastards! I'm pretty sure i do that in a lazy month.
    • by Iphtashu Fitz (263795) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @11:35AM (#21313547)
      I read somewhere that Microsoft developers write something like 1,000 lines of code a year

      I forget if it was here on /. or somewhere else but I recall reading a story of a person hired at MS whose job was to revamp the shutdown/suspend/sleep features of Vista, mainly involving the menu options available to the user. After 6 months or so he left in disgust because of all the bureaucracy involved. He attended dozens of meetings, had something like 6 different groups providing input on requirements, menu design, etc. (but nobody actually responsible for resolving issues/conflicts) In his time there he ended up only writing a few hundred lines of code, and attended just about as many meetings.

      I would love to find that article again. It was very interesting reading.
    • by garcia (6573)
      I read somewhere that Microsoft developers write something like 1,000 lines of code a year. Last-year, I contributed around forty times that to our source control at work. When you're paid so much to do so little - that has to destroy morale too. Most developers I know like to work.

      Strange, I know most people that are exactly the opposite. They want to do as little as possible and get paid 10x more than they currently are and I watch them sit at their desks spending more time surfing blogs, iTunes and news
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by StormReaver (59959)
      "I have never worked for Microsoft and to be honest, I'd probably never want to."

      When I was nearing university graduation in 1999, and my school was preparing the the annual job fair, I got a call from the Microsoft contingent offering to set up a programmer interview at the fair. I told the caller that Microsoft's business practices were so unacceptable that I would never be able to ethically work for them.

      I graduated, got a shitty temp-to-hire corporate programming job for six months, quit, went unemploy
    • by Toreo asesino (951231) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @12:22PM (#21313897) Journal
      If you think MS R&D is bland, it's because you're just uninformed.

      Take a look at this for instance - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECPOXUQB5k0 [youtube.com]

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by wild_berry (448019)
        The fellow in the fine video says that they acquired parts of it when they bought a company, and that other parts are grad student work. So the jury's still out as the blandness of MS RnD.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ChronosWS (706209)
      Do you actually believe what you write, or are you just trolling? You speak of Vista as if that were the only product we had. Most of us don't even work on Vista. There are 80,000 employees at Microsoft. We have a bazillion products to work on covering a huge variety of the software engineering space.

      The people who are going to Google are going there presumably because Google is offering them something fun to work on or a new environment for them. I originally left Microsoft in 2000 to work at a startu
      • by thoth (7907) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @08:28PM (#21317577) Journal
        I'd like to add to this. I worked there for 5 years and left a burned-out husk ;) but the company did offer huge variety. Think about it - where else would you be able to work on databases, consumer internet apps, graphics device drivers, compilers, console games, etc. All in the same company. Any area you are interested in, Microsoft has a group doing it. Plus they have a fair amount of financial stability, which does count when you have dependents.

        Anyway, I'm no Microsoft apologist but if you want to work on technology, they can offer that. As for endless meetings without getting much done. Here's some news - LOTS of places are like that. My first job at a government contractor, I think I wrote one PERL script of about 20 lines in a year. There are pros and cons, you career shouldn't just be a "Microsoft sucks" knee-jerk reaction.
    • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @12:49PM (#21314107)
      The thing that people forget is that Microsoft is big. Really, really big. You're right that the botched Vista release has probably reduced the cachet of the Windows division... but Microsoft Games right now is super-hot and kicking ass. Microsoft Office has just finished redesigning almost the entire UI of Office in their new release, and it's been received pretty well. (No matter how it was received, though, the pure risk involved in doing that deserves taking note!) Microsoft Hardware has always been pretty good at putting out good products, and Live.com right now has the best image search on the web and is rapidly advancing on Google in nearly all areas.

      But even then you can drill down. I said I was impressed that the Office division completely re-designed their UI-- then again, look at Office Live. They're putting out a product that virtually nobody wants, and selling it in a crummy way. And I'm sure you could go down another level and find a group within Office Live that's really kicking ass if you did the research.

      Point is, Microsoft has 70,000 employees in the Redmond/Seattle area alone. They're freakin' huge. If you read an article saying IBM printer sales were down, you wouldn't assume that iSeries midrange computers are going to tank also. Remember the same applies to Microsoft.

      If you were working at Microsoft Games, you wouldn't think your job sucked based on how Windows was received.
    • by Moraelin (679338) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @12:54PM (#21314153) Journal
      Just counting lines of code can be highly misleading:

      1. IIRC that was a flawed metric anyway. That was final number of lines of code, divided by developpers, divided by time. It just isn't the same as what you seem to think it means. E.g., lines of code changed or refactored or whatever, would not be counted in that number.

      Judged by that kind of a flawed metric, my contribution to some projects would actually be a negative number of lines of code per time unit. E.g., each time I moved someone's copy-and-paste code to its own method and replaced it with a call... well, let's say it was in 3 places, 20 lines of code, replaced with a method and a call each. That's minus thirty-something lines of code in a quarter of an hour by that metric. Am I the worst programmer ever, or what?

      I'm sure CVS counts them for yours, though. So you're not comparing the same number.

      Now I'm not saying that that alone accounts for that kind of a difference, but it's a start.

      2. Just writing code is easy. It's debugging it that takes a lot of time. So the limiting thing is really how well you want that code to work. Going from, say, 90% caught bugs to 95% can easily double your development time on the whole... and thus halve your average lines per year.

      Yes, I know, it's MS, but they still have a policy to not ship with known bugs. (Though obviously the unknown ones are more than enough in their own right.) So they'd inherently have less lines of code per year, compared to, say, Google which is officially a perpetual beta.

      3. Lines of code / time doesn't scale linearly as the program complexity and team size grow. In other words, you can't just add man-months.

      I thought I was so smart too in college, when I could write a program or module of several hundred lines of code in a day. But then that was the whole program, that was the whole complexity, and I was the whole team. That's the easy scenario.

      Now move to something the size of Vista and it's just not the same thing any more. Now you suddenly have to deal with stuff like how your code works together with Tom, Dick and Harry's, what they want from your code, and what you need from theirs. There's a lot of overhead just to synchronize it all, document it all, learn other people's APIs, and deal with the increasing level of mis-understanding each other's interfaces.

      Now I'm not saying that MS is necessarily the paragon of efficient coding anyway, but I am saying that a lot of people waving that number around... just aren't qualified to make that judgment. They've never actually worked on something that size, and that total team size. I've seen teams hit a wall and get bogged by the fact that each time one guy changes something, it broke some other guy's code, long before being anywhere near the size of MS or of Vista.

      4. Well, I also don't like that metric because I've seen people actually abuse it. Not all lines of code are born the same.

      E.g., my good coleague Wally would have topped that metric easily, because the guy just copied and pasted everything in sight to make it look like he's doing something. Not only he had whole open source projects pasted into his code tree, but also such surrealistic stuff as: a Swing (standalone GUI framework) file chooser dialog hidden deep in the source code of one of his EJBs (server-side thing.) That thing didn't serve any purpose. It was just there to inflate the number of lines of code he supposedly produced.

      Replacing that monstrosity with something smaller and simpler, not only cut down the size (hence, less average lines of code per year for the team, ya know), but also made it run around 40 times faster.

      You can also inflate the number of lines of code arbitrarily by just liberally mis-applying patterns. Just have everything get packed in a decorator, made by a factory, which is a singleton, register it with a manager, etc, etc, etc. The number of lines of overhead can be grown arbitrarily, without actually adding any functionality. And past a size wit
  • Paid slacking (Score:5, Insightful)

    by modelint (684704) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @11:13AM (#21313377) Homepage
    Actually, getting escorted out the door gets you two weeks of paid slacking at home! I would consider it an insult if I weren't important enough to be shown the door in a paranoid fury.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by psychicsword (1036852) *
      I would tell everyone that I am going to Google just to get the 2 week pay for doing nothing, even if I wasn't going to be working for Google.
  • No Cake? :( (Score:4, Funny)

    by psychicsword (1036852) * <The@@@psychicsword...com> on Sunday November 11, 2007 @11:13AM (#21313381)

    There'll be no cake
    And now the flood of portal jokes.
  • There is no cake!
  • NOT Miguel de Icaza (Score:5, Informative)

    by balster neb (645686) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @11:18AM (#21313419)
    Just to clarify, the submitter is not the real Miguel de Icaza. The real one uses the Slashdot ID miguel [slashdot.org].
    • From the POSTER'S Page [slashdot.org]

      I play a pivotal role in a grand conspiracy to cripple the free software movement from within, by covertly embedding an unnecessary, yet seductively useful, patented technology at the very heart of the linux operating system's second most popular desktop environment.

      Umm, who the fuck is this guy and is he for real?!

    • Oh... I had made that mistake in other threads. He does a pretty good impersonation of what I thought Miguel was like, although he does seem to have a little too much time on his hands. I guess I have no opinion on the real Miguel now.
  • There'll be no cake and two weeks of paid slacking for you.


    Two weeks of paid slacking? Gee, sounds like Microsoft is really missing out there.

    If someone has turned in their resignation why would you want to keep them around for two more weeks anyway? Their work should already be documented and "two weeks of paid slacking" doesn't sound like valuable work to me.
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @11:19AM (#21313423) Homepage Journal
    While that is the right thing to do, why on earth would you tell your current employer where you are going next?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mgrassi99 (514152)
      I don't know about you, but I have friends at my former place of employment, and even if I didn't tell them where I was going, they would find out through the grapevine. Besides, there's always that chance that a colleague may be interested in following, and were afraid to speak up without prompting. Its good to network people...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      While that is the right thing to do, why on earth would you tell your current employer where you are going next?

      That information is embedded in your "You guys can suck it, I'm going to ______.." speech.

      Larfs aside, you raise an interesting question.. how exactly does MS know where an employee is heading, when they're on the way out the door? Do MS employees have some contractual responsibility along these lines?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by mgblst (80109)
        They can tell by the big smile on your face, and the glint of hope in your eye. These sort of signs really stand out on Microsoft Campus.
    • by jorghis (1000092)
      Maybe the boss asked? I mean doesnt that seem like the logical response?

      "I am going to work somewhere else."

      "oh, where?"

      I mean, how do you not ask "where" right after someone says that to you?
      • You could say: "across town"
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jorghis (1000092)
          Any decent manager would surely ask for a specific company. I imagine most people would be inclined to give an honest answer. I think refusing to answer completely would be a surefire way to make said manager very suspicious that its a direct competitor and make damn sure you were out that same day. Its not like it would be some casual conversation where you could dodge questions, any responsible manager would want to know your motivations as to why you wanted to leave.
      • by nurb432 (527695)
        " I would rather not divulge who my future employer is".

        The last job i left to move on/upwards i was *not* asked out of courtesy, i was wished well.
    • While that is the right thing to do, why on earth would you tell your current employer where you are going next?

      In this case, either A) a two-week paid vacation, or B) two weeks of double paychecks. Also the opportunity to twist the knife a bit as you jump ship to their biggest competitor (as of now).

      I hadn't checked for a while, but GOOG's market cap is now 2/3s of MSFTs. No wonder they're getting cranky.

  • Giving only one side of the issue. It could be that Microsoft has some institutional anti-Google hate, but it sounds a little bit black top hat and twirling mustache to me. I have to ask why they are leaving MS for Google in the first place. It seems to me that it's very likely they were already unhappy with their job there, so they may very well have been seen as disruptive and escorted out because of it. I know this is getting off the MS is the most evil corporation ever bandwagon, but I just don't see
    • by plopez (54068) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @11:34AM (#21313535) Journal
      How does it benefit Microsoft?
      What makes you think it was a rational decision? Not all business decisions are rational. Far too often they are driven by a desire to control, frighten the employees and/or stroke the egos of managers.
    • I think it is normal enough, and assuming it was done reasonably shouldn't be taken personally.
      You can't have your direct competitor's employee walking around your R&D (or any other) department while they work out their notice with you. Not that people in general are going to steal anything, or even use company confidential knowledge, but if they did it would be questioned why you let it happen.
  • by jorghis (1000092) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @11:26AM (#21313467)
    Why is this a problem? Its just MS playing it safe, if I told my employer that I was leaving for our biggest competitor I think I wouldnt be allowed to sit around for the next two weeks out of concern that I could be gathering information. While 80% probably wouldnt there would surely be some who would. I can think of a half a dozen times off the top of my head when non-MS engineers I knew were "shown the door" when they informed their employer they were leaving for a competitor.

    And since when is Amazon a second tier company? I've been there and know people that work there, it seems like a great place and from what I hear the compensation is very competitive with MS, Google, and whatever other company you think is a trendy "first tier company".
    • by jorghis (1000092)
      Just as a clarification, when I say "80% wouldnt" I am refering to the employees not the employer. I mean "80% wouldnt gather information that could prove valuable for their new corporate masters".
    • by Teun (17872)

      And since when is Amazon a second tier company?
      Since they're only known for one software patent (One Click), Microsoft claims it has at least 264 patents more than Linux.
      So!
  • by Iphtashu Fitz (263795) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @11:30AM (#21313499)
    Sorry, but even if I were to be escorted off the premises after giving notice it wouldn't prevent me from talking to coworkers. I've kept in touch with coworkers from a number of previous jobs. In todays high-tech marketplace it's very common. I get from, and send to former coworkers e-mails about new job opportunities. I have IM and e-mail accounts for a number of people going back 4 jobs or more. Then there are sites like LinkedIn, Plaxo, etc. that let you keep track of former employees.

    If I worked at MS, gave notice that I was going to Google, and was immediately escorted out, I'd be much more inclined to e-mail my former co-workers and let them know what happened. I'd also willingly give them details about working at Google if they asked.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LVSlushdat (854194)
      Silly Question: Assuming you worked at MS, and got a great offer from Google, why in the world would you tell MS HR/Mgmt *where* you were going? I've changed jobs a bit in the last few years, and I've never told my losing company where I was going.. There's no legal or moral requirement to do so, since its between you and the new company... at least thats how I see it...
  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @11:34AM (#21313531)
    I've been twiddling with computers for a long time now. For me, Microsoft has always been like Churchill's definition of democracy -- it's the worst operation system (for the general public) except for all the others that have been tried. Yeah, macheads could argue that the OS* flavors are great but so many people would never even bother taking a look due to the premium price paid for the hardware. And Linux on the desktop? That was as far off as fusion power plants. Nothing Microsoft did was particularly elegant but you just sucked it up and dealt with it. What other choice did you have?

    Well, it seems like Microsoft has really gotten itself in a bind. I think it's certainly possible for them to reverse course and right things for the company but I don't think it's plausible. Not that they're going to evaporate tomorrow, just that they've peaked and are entering a shallow and prolonged decline. Why is this? Because the very kind of corporate culture change that would allow Microsoft to get lean and agile is an affront to the power structure. I love Orwell's quote on this sort of thing: "The point is that we are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield." In this case, substitute "marketplace" for "battlefield."

    The poster above nailed it when they said that Microsoft's products aren't exciting and thus the company itself is not an exciting place to work for. Why is it that Microsoft has to buy innovative companies instead of spinning off ideas from internal skunkworks? Because the corporate culture smothers innovation in the cradle.

    So now we're seeing a mixture of interesting trends. Ubuntu has really made desktop Linux practical for the average Joe, I'd say 90% of the way there. That last 10% is up to the 3rd parties, bundling drivers so that a non-tech can go to the store, buy a widget, take it home and have it work right out of the box. We've got ridiculously low-priced laptops, both the OLPC and that new one from Asus. We've also got more encroachment from smart phones, PDA's, etc. These are all devices that are taking over activities that used to be wedded to PC's, big, bulky desktop machines running Windows. We've got open source office applications that can run native under Windows or Linux. They will only improve in time. Google is spitting out innovations left and right.

    While making future predictions in the computer arena is a fairly silly thing to do, I'll go out on a limb and say that Microsoft is in serious trouble here. In order to overcome these dangers, the Microsoft kakosarchy will have to go away. Otherwise I think we're looking at a long, slow withering.
  • by Peter Cooper (660482) * on Sunday November 11, 2007 @11:35AM (#21313543) Homepage Journal
    I don't want to cite references, so just take this as anecdotal, but judging from comments from people who've left Google, and some other Silicon Valley commentators, I've recently been getting the impression that working at Google isn't really that great (at least, no better than MS). Supposedly there are too many people for too few profitable projects (remember where 95%+ of Google's revenue comes from) and thousands of people are, allegedly, working on projects that are going nowhere. I've also heard that since the IPO, a two-tier kind of environment has built up between the rich, old employees and the new ones.
  • What the fuck? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    First of all, the summary is a verbatim copy of the "article" (minus one sentence at the beginning and one sentence at the end). Secondly, the "article" cites no sources at all (not even so much as "this guy I know"). Finally, any idiot can see that this is just the next installment Slashdot's Two Minutes Hate of Microsoft. I'm not saying that this doesn't happen (in fact, I wouldn't doubt it), but this "article" has absolutely no substance at all.

    I guess what I'm saying is that is the blueprint of a per
  • by bogaboga (793279) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @11:43AM (#21313609)

    Microsoft's Treatment of Google Defectors

    From this heading alone, I'd conclude that defection is the other way round. That is to say, the defection is from Google to Microsoft.The story suggests otherwise.

    But again, I could be wrong.

  • by JustNiz (692889) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @11:43AM (#21313613)
    why not just avoid telling the company you are leaving where you are going to? ..or just use the same trite line companies use whenever they fire a CEO: "leaving to persue other opportunities" or "taking a sabbatical" or whatever.
  • Dumb (Score:3, Insightful)

    by niceone (992278) * on Sunday November 11, 2007 @11:51AM (#21313683) Journal
    I can understand why a company might escort you off the premises after they lay you off - to avoid you stealing stuff and generally trying to get back at them. But when you resign you've already stolen everything you intend to (unless you're particularly disorganised), so what's the point?
  • by denzacar (181829) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @12:08PM (#21313773) Journal
    Why don't you just lie?

    Like... you know... when they ask you... you tell them that you are going to work for McDonald's, or that you are dieing from AIDS or something.

    My favourite would be a rare form of Ebola virus. Make sure to cough from time to time.
  • Sshhh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ranger (1783) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @12:23PM (#21313913) Homepage
    Why would you tell your soon to be former employer that you are going to go work for one of their competitors? Just say you are going to go work for a startup that you hope gets bought out by Microsoft.

    I've seen employees escorted out and had to escort one out at a previous job. It's a humiliating experience even under the most benign of circumstances.
  • by gelfling (6534) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @12:49PM (#21314109) Homepage Journal
    I tell today's young tech people get stupider and stupider. You don't tell, they ask you say, "That's not the issue, thanks." But if you're going to brag all over the place then you're a retard.
  • by bartwol (117819) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @01:43PM (#21314537)

    they'll probably serve out the traditional two weeks of unproductive wrapping up

    Said like a lousy manager, or one who doesn't appreciate what people actually do, or somebody who never worked in a large enough organization to appreciate the true cost of attrition, or I don't know what...

    Excepting the departures of Truly Useless People, those last two weeks are somebody's last chance to find out that which you don't know about that which you are about to inherit. I am so sick of watching stupid managers and stupid successors squander that invaluable last chance because they act like scorned girlfriends or just don't understand the true value of even people who would leave, and the undocumented knowledge they carry in their heads.

    I've never met a leaving person who wouldn't be helpful in his own succession. Most, in fact, are incredulous as to how little anybody seems to care about the invaluable knowledge they are walking away with, and how much more difficult their successor's lives will be for the ignorance.

    Shape up, managers and everybody else. Those defectors leaving your ranks should be more valuable to you in those last two weeks than in any other two weeks of their employ.

  • Um... so? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Guppy06 (410832) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @03:35PM (#21315335)
    Quick question: how many people here work or have worked for Microsoft? What about Google?

    How many here actually have a snowball's chance in hell to work for either of these companies?

    Why does Slashdot care so much about the goings-on of the elitist clique of software developers fostered by both companies? Is there any chance this will actually effect any of us, or is this simply the Slashdot equivalent of reading People magazine?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by cnettel (836611)
      I think quite a few have done interviews or even declined interview offers. I know that I have, as I want to complete my PhD. That didn't stop them (Google) from flying me to Dublin and Zürich. A friend took up the offer of an internship, for a start.

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