My Last Day at Microsoft

Well after 18 years a long journey is coming to an end and with it a lot of changes and a lot of growth. When I joined this company we were about 7500 employees. I knew next to nothing about hardware or software. Our mission statement was “A PC on every desktop and in every home” . Our primary competitors were Lotus and WordPerfect. My first job was in customer service – we had 4 groups in CS, all starting with the word “hot” – we were the “Hotdogs”. At that time Microsoft was young and essentially an extension of college except we were paid, but we still drank lots of beer.

Now of course we are close to 100,000 employees – the challenges are far greater as we now focus on so many things – Cloud Computing, Silverlight, xBox, Windows Mobile, Dynamics, Software Management, Information workers – and our competition is far broader. The competition is great – Oracle, IBM, Apple, Google, Cisco, Adobe, Nintendo, Sony, Open Source, Nokia, VMWare, Salesforce.Com, Amazon, RIM, etc..These are strong companies who exhibit much of the same passions about technology that we do. We compete with everyone from the consumer to the enterprise. For those who are fans of military history the question becomes, ”how many fronts can you open up before your supply lines become too thin?”.

You all work at a great company with a great history, now it will be up to all of you to determine if Microsoft will have a great future. Having had the opportunity to interact with so many of you I think Microsoft will meet those challenges because of the great people that you all are and the passion you bring to work each and every day.

I could probably, after 18 years at Microsoft, write a book on my thoughts and perspectives of the industry but at the end of the day I don’t want to waste your time as you are all under a lot of pressure to make your numbers (I actually am not going to miss that part), but I wanted to thank all of you who I have had the honor and privilege of getting to know during my time at Microsoft. I have heard from many over the last days wishing me well, offering condolences, many who have already had that uncomfortable meeting with HR, some angry, some happy…all appreciated. I am not bitter over what has occurred or how it has occurred, life offers us all challenges and our ability to meet those challenges ultimately determines our success or failure.

I leave here a more educated and more mature business professional and am thankful for having had this great opportunity to be a part of a magical experience.

With that I leave and in the words of Washington State University Alumni Legend, Edward R Morrow – “Good Night and Good Luck”

Hans Henrik Hoffmann

November 6, 2009

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