Max Zografos was once called the "Microsoft man" by lecturers at his university as he hawked evaluation copies of Windows 2000 and bragged about his Microsoft summer internship. He drank "as much of the Microsoft Kool-Aid" as he could, he writes on TechCrunch, but once he became a full-time employee in 2007 he began to see how things really were—and was ultimately fired just before his five-year anniversary. The first sign of trouble was when he suggested Microsoft stop handing out corporate-branded toys to employees and instead give some of that money to charity; his "communication style was flagged as inappropriate and antagonistic."
His days were filled with meetings in which nothing actually happened. He became intimately acquainted with the business managers, support managers, administrative assistants, group managers, program managers, general managers, and on and on—all of whom did basically nothing. "We were box tickers and pen pushers. Any original thinking was sacrificed at the altar of time-proven, common sense process. Efforts to break the mold were all but punished," he writes. As a result, "This company is becoming the McDonald's of computing. Cheap, mass products, available everywhere." Click for Zografos' full column. (Read more Microsoft stories.)