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Former Bing Guy Rips Bing and Its Team

Says it's "Rotten to the core" and "nobody cares" about Bing

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Former Bing Guy Rips Bing and Its Team
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Philip Su is a software engineer at Facebook who spent 12 years working at Microsoft. Now, he’s put out a scathing post about Bing, or more specifically, the people behind Bing.

“I was reminded of Bing today during a depressing conversation with a former coworker who soldiers on, nobly, in That Great Darkness,” he writes in the intro.  “Though it’s been several years since I left, I still remember Bing as the time when I most despaired for Microsoft’s future.”

“Bing is a madhouse.  The inmates are running the asylum, and it’s rotten to the core…” the post continues. “And I’m not talking about the product.” He then adds, “Bing is solid. But it doesn’t matter because nobody cares.”

He goes on to discuss company politics and how the Bing team is “filled with overly politicized people pursuing Machiavellian schemes to forward their career ambitions.”

And he does indeed go on about it.

In a status update on Facebook, Su said, “This blog post about Bing took me three years to write. Though I felt it needed to be said, loyalty to my past coworkers prevented me from speaking openly. Enough of those former coworkers have now been crushed by The Machine that I must speak out.”

While the whole thing is just the viewpoint of one engineer, he is getting a lot of feedback on the post. Interestingly, some of that feedback seems to reflect the sentiments expressed by Su. In a Facebook comment, Maria Sommerfield writes:

I called my girlfriend who works for MSFT in a different department to find out why exactly my husband could be so miserable at work at one point. OMG, Maria he is at Bing, she said. I hear it is a nightmare over there. Fortunately he is over at Google now. Being the nice guy he is he has never once said anything bad about those Bing drama, but I always got my man’s back and I remember. All’s well that ends well and he is loving working for Google.

Ramesh Vyaghrapuri commented:

I left the company way too late. All the way back in 2003, there were horror stories from all over the company (so I don’t think Bing was *special*) but most employees preferred complaining behind doors and letting it be.

The lack of transparency *is* the worst thing that can happen to a company. Now, there was no transparency even in 1997 and things worked fine. But lack of transparency makes it a *stable* setup that a few rotten apples can’t destroy all the good work done by people before them.

Microsoft employee Rangan Majumder wrote:

Very candid post, Philip. Most of the folks you speak of are gone from Bing for at least a year. Bing is not perfect but honestly it is the least politically driven team I’ve worked on in Microsoft. Bing has been about metrics and bottoms up decision making from the beginning. In fact, it has to be, otherwise it doesn’t scale and won’t succeed; doing the right thing for the user always takes first priority. Sure there are people who are ambitious career wise, but those who don’t do the right thing for the user don’t last. I know I have ex-coworkers from Bing who work in Facebook Seattle now with you; did they really feel this way about the team?

In the comments of the post itself, an anonymous poster writes, “Thanks for writing this. Along with most people in my group at Microsoft, I’m looking for a job. I can’t wait to write my version of this story. It’s not just Bing. The Microsoft I loved is gone.”

It’s worth noting that as Su is a software engineer at Facebook, Bing and Facebook have a pretty strong partnership.

Last week, Bing launched its version of personalized search in “Adaptive Search”. Watch our recent interview with Bing’s search director Stefan Weitz here.

Former Bing Guy Rips Bing and Its Team
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  • http://www.quicklinklist.com Alex

    Sounds like a place where you don’t want to work. Actually, MSFT seems to have problems to hire capable people in our part of the world (Germany) as reported in an article i read just today.

  • Stupidscript

    It’s pretty tough at Microsoft. There’s no ‘glue’ between teams … everyone is in their own little cocoon, hoping the work they do meshes with the work other teams are doing. It’s a helluva way to piece together software.

  • http://www.q3tech.com/technology.html Software development services

    This really gives an idea of the kind of working culture manifesting in MS’s Bing and from the looks of it, its not good at all. Smart move going to Facebook Su !

  • Commenter

    There are hundreds of thousands of people who would love to go to work at Microsoft every morning, regardless of politics and/or hoping your work meshes with other departments. The economy is terrible and unemployment is in double digits in many places.

    There are politics everywhere – it’s how you handle them that makes the difference.

    Try being unemployed for a year, lose your savings, fall 6 months behind on your motgage and bills. You’ll have an entirely different outlook on working for “the man” than you have right now.

    Just saying.

    • Richard

      So there’s gunfire in my neighborhood every day, and I’m supposed to feel better because I haven’t been shot yet?

  • http://www.microsoftpromocodes.com Venkat

    “Rotten to the core” – I am not sure to the core, but Bing is damn slow in indexing websites. Whoever is currently heading Bing team, hear to Philip and clean up the house. God saves MS’s Bing.

  • http://www.modeltrainhobbyist.com Lionel Bachmann @ Model Trains

    I think there are always going to be people who have problems with the companies they are working for. This is no different. The company principles and goals change over the years, and people leave, but there is always someone there to take their place. Years from now, we will hear the same things from former employees of Google and Facebook.

  • Dave

    This sounds just like WALL STREET!

    Nobody gives a crap about anything but their own success at the cost of others. This is what I call B.S. and this mentality is ruining the world.

    Personally, I am extremely excited to see stories like this surface. Maybe they will rattle a few cages and some Real Changes just might occur when Good Businesses get into the Right Hands.

    Think About This:
    AdSense or BadSense
    AdWords or BadWords
    AdSense or NonSense

    Is Google headed in the same direction where all they care about is their profits, or will they come to their AdSenses and work with it’s clients to find a common ground to improve all of our economies instead of being self righteous and screwing hundreds of thousands of web publishers because they really don’t know how to operate a search engine effectively and fairly.

    As a web publisher one thing Google totally misses is that you cannot put all websites in the same Google Box. Google does not have a real world understanding about every topic that a website may be about, and it is really a joke when Google relies on the social aspect of visitors who are (get this now) Searching For Information about a Topic (because they do NOT already know) and Google values this activity and uses it to rank a website – That Is Just Plain Crazy!
    This is also known as the Blind leading the Blind:
    The Searcher who does Not know,
    and Google who does Not know that the searcher does Not know.
    Two Wrongs do not make a Right, and This is what our success is based on?
    This is called Ignorance.
    They Do Not Know, because they Do Not Know.

    Father forgive them for they know Not what they do!
    (or whatever…)

    Yea, I know this post was supposed to be about the Bing-Bongers or Bing-Bangers (opps) but in case you did not notice, I feel the entire search engine operation is incredibly FLAWED, and this is Screwing a LOT of People!

    Can somebody PLEASE do SOMETHING about THIS?
    Try this one:
    Use the same process as File Sharing only adapt it to Indexing Websites and Placing Advertising.
    (that process will pop Google’s Bubble in a matter of Months!)

    I have more ideas if WebPro wants to contact me – they can see my email address.

    TTFN

  • http://www.seonorthamerica.com Tom Aikins

    It would be nice to hear a lot more about what goes on at Microsoft but it’s probably difficult for anyone to really go on the record.

  • Shamu

    There is one easy way to overthrow Google but these bunch of empty suits at Bing have no common sense. Give part ownership to a couple of good programmer kids out there on a new search engine they’d start and let them do their thing undisturbed. Let them be kids and stupid. Let them socialize on Webmasterworld, digitalpoint, blackhatworld, etc. with the webmasters Then when it grows, take it over.

    It’s mostly about who is behind the search engine. Look at Facebook, a kid in some dorm-room killed Myspace.

  • http://www.microsoftpromocode.com Prabhakar

    Hello,

    It sounds great… Bing makes the difference it sure… If want more fight from bing.

    Microsoft

    regards
    prabhakar