a journal of a researcher

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Exit Microsoft

Once the dream workplace of tech’s highest achievers, Microsoft suffers key defections to Google and elsewhere. The recent BusinessWeek has two articles about Microsoft’s losing key talents. One case brought to court is the one about Kai-Fu Lee who left Microsoft to Google. I met Kai-Fu Lee in a recruitment meeting for Microsoft’s research lab in Beijing in 1999. It was one of my choices after my graduation. He was from Taiwan, very gentle speaking like a typical Chinese intellectual, and very precise as a smart scientist. He is not only a smart and well established researcher to lead a research lab, but also an efficient manager with global vision. This case shows how important a key talent to a company even like Microsoft. In court, Lee called Microsoft “incompetent”. His comment for google is “the culture is very supportive, collaborative, innovative and Internet-like – and that’s bottoms-up innovation rather than top-down direction.” Another article is about a blogger in MS who blogs his complains about MS. He said MS is a “passionless, process-ridden, lumbering idiot”. Hahaa, even Microsoft is called an idiot, I should be more relax on my own organization.


  • Microsoft is most certainly not an idiot organization. Microsoft is simply not a technology-driven company like Google, it is a business-driven company. This means that what motivates Microsoft is always the business, never the technology.

    Google does many things because it is cool to do so technologically. Microsoft thinks about the business.

    Both have weaknesses. Google could be killed for a bad business decision or a lack of business leadership. Microsoft could be killed because of a technological shortcoming (think about how security is a problem for them right now).

    Obviously, if you are a scientist, you might prefer Google as an employer. If you are a businessman you'll prefer Microsoft.

    I think that the claim that talent is leaving Microsoft in droves is greatly exagerated. Microsoft Research is still packed full with great researchers.

    If Microsoft Research opened a lab in Montreal, I'd apply immediately. Same deal if Google opened a lab.

    By Blogger Daniel Lemire, at 6:50 AM  

  • I have an E-Cash Machine site/blog. It pretty much covers Making money on the web.

    Come and check it out if you get time :-)

    By Blogger Rich Molumby, at 4:24 AM  

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