Microsoft worker who tweeted about Nokia Windows Phone has left the company

By Tom Warren, on 20th Sep 11 7:18 pm with 78 Comments

A Windows Phone manager who tweeted about an unreleased Nokia Windows Phone device has left Microsoft.

Joe Marini hit the headlines earlier this month after a series of tweets about Nokia’s Windows Phone device. Marini originally tweeted: “I just got a chance to try out one of the slickest looking #Nokia phones I have ever seen. Soon, you will too! #wp7.” The tweet received a considerable amount of attention and Marini rated the device on a scale of 1-10. “Overall I would say an 8. Solid feel, good camera, responsive UI, and nice little touches on the body construction.” He then went on to explain that “the camera was good, but I didn’t have optimal lighting. I’d like a larger screen too.”

A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed to GeekWire’s Todd Bishop that Marini no longer works for the company. Company insiders revealed to GeekWire that Marini resigned after learning that he would be fired for improper use of social media and disclosure of confidential information. Microsoft has a strict social media policy (PDF) that covers the use of networks like Twitter and blogging. The company allegedly fired two workers who were involved in Windows 8 leaks earlier this year. Marini had worked at Microsoft since 2003 and was heavily involved in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 9 work on Windows Phone. Marini demonstrated a variety of the Windows Phone Mango browser features early on in the development stages on a non-production, engineering ASUS E600 device.

Marini also held a talk at Microsoft’s BUILD conference last week on building optimised websites and using the web browser control with IE9. Marini had also been involved in PDC 2010 and MIX 2011 talks. In his role as Principal Program Manager on the Windows Phone team, he lead the Web developer efforts for IE Mobile. He has been active in the web and graphics industry for more than 15 years and was also an original member of the Dreamweaver engineering team at Macromedia.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3OIDXOI5OEMTX6Z3O5YUBFSISA Diego3336

    I bet this guy will join the Chrome/Android team soon. Way to go MS -not

    • Anonymous

      I guess the first tweet will be: “I just got a chance to try out the first Googlerola. Laggy UI, fragmented apps and lots of malware”.

    • Guest

      You forgot the rating: 2/10!

    • OMG55

      Perfect Description…Five star rating

    • Guest

      Probably. But it was pretty blatant and more important became very public. You can’t have code of conduct and then selectively enforce it. It sends the wrong message to everyone else.

      Had it been less visible they probably could and would have used more discretion. But that horse had already left the barn. I’m only surprised that he presented at BUILD. Sounds like maybe they let him do that and then axed him, which isn’t cool.

    • Anonymous

      I’m sure MS isn’t crying over the loss of an employee who was unable to follow the rules. He can go to Google or Apple and screw them over instead. =)

  • http://twitter.com/bnlf Bruno Nunes

    he thought he was Joe Belfiori :S

    • Guest

      Nah, he got fired for leaking information before it was known. Most of the time you can’t get a tweet out of Belfiore even months after the fact. Can you say bungled updates?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Mita/100000729104373 Michael Mita

    If he really leaked information which where secret, then M$ way of handling is fine, as ridiculous as it is.
    An employee has to keep secrets. BUT, i think this is still fine. He didn´t post any pictures or specs, did he? Its just his personal opinion, nothing more nothing less.It even wasnt offending or anything. Smells like a lawsuit ;)

    • Guest

      “Smells like a lawsuit ;)”

      Yeah, I’m sure his reporting manager and HR never reviewed their policy and whether this was a violation of it before deciding to fire a seemingly otherwise acceptable and relatively long serving employee.      

  • Guest

    They don’t mess with the rules… If he had given a rating of 4/10, they would cut off his head ?

    • Anonymous

      funny.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LTV3ZLU3SY36CREEFQJ4UPE5XE Sergio

    That’s a shame! He shouldn’t have been forced to leave because of an inocent comment… I get that it was a disclosure of confidential information but it’s still a shame!

    Anyway I get why they want to keep everything as confidential as possible…

    Much Love!

    • Guest

      Yeah, all he did was leak about a product he wasn’t supposed to talk about that’s critical for MS’s partner Nokia, and which both companies need to be successful, and then criticized the screen size and gave it a thrilling 8/10. I mean, what’s not to admire about that?

      The guy used pathetic judgment. And that has consequences.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LTV3ZLU3SY36CREEFQJ4UPE5XE Sergio

      I don’t get why you act like I was hating on Microsoft or Nokia. I love them both! That’s why I’m in Winrumors… what I’m saying is that he did say the product was slick and the whole tone of the tweet was positive… he DID NOT bash it like you’re implying.

      And I totally get what you’re saying but the thing is that for someone to lose a job is a big deal, it should not be taken lightly or as a positive as some ppl are saying that he deserve it.

      I get that what I’m saying is probably not very bussiness minded but I can’t help but to feel bad when someone loses their job over anything, let alone a twit… which I still feel had a positive tone to it.

      Much Love!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matthew-Williams/713122739 Matthew Williams

      “someone to lose a job is a big deal”
      Disclosing information about a product that has had millions of dollars put into it “is a big deal.”

      He is lucky they let him resign.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LTV3ZLU3SY36CREEFQJ4UPE5XE Sergio

      Oh come on… someone losing a job IS a big deal… every worker is important to any company… ppl will always be more important that money but the thing is that he did not really disclosed info about the product like specs or something… although I know it was bad judgement… and he shouldn’t have done that…

      Much Love!

    • Anonymous

      he disclosed what? MSFT and nokia have a phone? meh, hardly disclosing anything new.

    • Anonymous

      He gave it a rating…

    • Guest

      No hate. Just sarcasm. And I feel bad for him too. But, bad judgment has consequences. And perhaps he’d been warned previously. Liveside.net, for example, is reporting that this wasn’t his first leak.

      Live long and prosper!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LTV3ZLU3SY36CREEFQJ4UPE5XE Sergio

      Ok ok… Now I feel much better because I feel like reasonable people still exists… It was bad judgement I’ll give you that… Let’s just all wish him well and in the meantime let’s wait for that amazing new Nokia device that we now know is somewhere out there! I can’t wait!

      Much Love!

    • Anonymous

      bad judgement and piss poor policies from MSFT. saying you like a phone which may or may not even make it to the public in its final state and not even showing anything about it is hardly grounds for temination of such talented guy. goes to show MSFT legal, like many other MSFT departments is totally out of touch with reality and the brain drain MSFT has suffered in the past few years. stuff like this only hurts MSFT. nobody wins.

    • Guest

      Most tech companies have NDA clauses and you risk getting fired if you break it. So unclear what you’re whining about.

    • Anonymous

      Ever hear of NDAs? He violated his!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LTV3ZLU3SY36CREEFQJ4UPE5XE Sergio

      I get that but it’s still sad isn’t it??? I feel like he did it innocently… and ppl on the Windows Phone team twit about phones all the time!

      Much Love!

    • Anonymous

      As a professional you have to know what it allowed to be Tweetered and what is not…. If you don’t know, err on the side of caution!

    • Guest

      Tweetered? LOL.

    • Anonymous

      questionable.

  • Anonymous

    That’s too bad. But let’s be honest, Apple would have escorted him out of the building 5 minutes after that tweet hit the air. It’s just common sense. Giving a *rating* to an unreleased product is a really bad idea.

    • Guest

      Apple would have fired him for telling his mother he thought the iPhone5 was going to rock.

    • Jamesfrost12

      You really don’t know Apple.  Apple would have indoctrinated him strongly enough that he would not have leaked anything in the first place, for fear of the shame and self-loathing that would immediately follow it.

      That’s the big difference:  it’s the fear of internally-generated emotional trauma that keeps Apple employees lip sealed, as opposed to the expectation of externally-inflicted loss/punishment other companies attempt to use.

    • Guest
    • Rekliss007

      You’re right.  He wouldn’t have said anything.  He would have just forgotten the Nokia phone at a bar somewhere…

    • IwubSteveJobs
    • Joe_HTH

      Good ridden to this guy, he knew he was bad mouthing the product, he should have been shown the door days ago.  Nokia will build the highest quality WP7 on the market, it will out all of the ifanboys to shame and if this guy is not smart enough to see this then out you go! 

    • Anonymous

      What a retarded comment.

    • Joe_HTH

      What is retarded is some guy who is suppose to be promoting the very important product for two major companies not having enough brains to give the score a 10 out of 10 even if it is just average.   Let the guy go work on Android we do not need him.

  • Anonymous

    However, here is a post on LinkedIn from a Nokia employee:

    Hi am true testing the first Nokia phone with windows
    7 that will be launched soon. Exciting stuff. great form factor and
    the window mobile OS is intuitive and a seemless extension of my laptop

    • Guest

      Completely different even if true. Nokia employee commenting about a Nokia phone. Conduct rules in effect are Nokia’s, not MS’s. Perhaps he had full clearance to do so. No real specifics. No rating. No criticism.

    • Anonymous

      it’s different. The MS guy specifically gave clues about the screen size and camera. A so-so rating is also a big no no.

  • Anonymous

    If he commented about another OEM’s phone (HTC, Samsung) it probably wouldn’t have been an issue, but since it was Nokia he probably got in trouble since it seems Nokia is trying to control the news generated about their future Windows Phone. Nokia probably let Microsoft know they did not like that he described in any way what he saw during a private reveal of the device. He should not have said anything at all or been anonymous in describing the phone. ie: leave out the OEM’s name.

  • Polish

    Im actually impressed that he left the company and not get fired. Microsoft cut him loose with a clean profile. If they would fire him with a leak on his profile, he wouldn’t get a seroius job in the future.

    • Guest

      Yeah, no employer is going to know about it now. It’s not like they might enter his name in Google or anything as part of DD when reviewing him for a job.

  • http://twitter.com/crenelle MichaelBrianBentley

    Half the job is talking to the public. The other half is getting stuff done under confidentiality. It is sometimes extraordinarily difficult to tell one from the other. He’s probably no longer with MS in large part because Nokia management was irritated, and they have a legit complaint. You do have to be on your guard when you’re are public-facing, and twitter invites easy ad-lib comments.

  • Anonymous

    Apple routinely fires employees who leak secrets.

    • Guest

      Yes but Apple employees actually likes the product they manufacture  

    • Anonymous

      he actually liked the phone. gave it 8/10.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UWVRPJYQFEG7ZCHPD7LDPBR2CM LWSJR

      An 8/10 score is disparaging, when the product is developed by the company you work and their 1 Billion dollar, multi-year partner!  10/10 should have been his verdict!

    • Guest

      Yes but what if it was not?  

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UWVRPJYQFEG7ZCHPD7LDPBR2CM LWSJR

      Your conduct represents the company, good or bad!  Giving your own product a disparaging rating is bad conduct!

  • Anonymous

    Sad news, but MS has always had a problem with information leaking out too soon.

  • Morgan

    He probably would have been ok had he not commented about wanting a bigger screen and that the picture quality was questionable in poor lighting. Plus ranking it an 8 didn’t help either. Leave that stuff for Cnet. Should have stopped after the opening line.

  • Anonymous

    you fired him because he liked the prototype phone? wow. way to go MSFT.

    • Anonymous

      He got fired because he violated his NDA. Have you ever worked for a hi-tech company?

    • http://twitter.com/levifreeman Levi Freeman

      he didn’t reveal any features or specifics.

    • Anonymous

      Obviously his employers felt he did.

    • Anonymous

      not really. he was railroaded to further the career of some legal guy at MSFT. is he stupid? yes. does this hurt MSFT yup. nobody wins.

    • Guest

      This story will be forgotten by tomorrow.

    • Guest

      Not necessarily a requirement. If the team had been instructed not to talk about this product publicly, then just doing so, even in vague terms, is a possible violation of the NDA you sign as a condition of employment (at MS and many other companies, especially in technology).

    • Anonymous

      MSFT PR should realize there is more harm being done by negative press about this than by what whatever info he leaked by stating he liked a phone everybody knows is coming. then again asking common sense from a corporation as big as MSFT is asking a pig to fly.

    • Guest

      MS PR had nothing to do with it. It’s an internal decision done by his management chain and HR. And outside of some trolls, hardly anybody will give a shit about it. Except maybe this guy’s next employer, assuming he can find one.

      Do you have any idea how much company confidential information is available to or crosses the desk of even an average MS employee daily? Then calculate the potential economic cost to the company of unauthorized disclosures. It’s HUGE. Now you know what there’s a policy and why it’s enforced. And HR and management probably leaked the story intentionally, in order that other employees are reminded that this is a serious matter. And if a few external wingnuts get wound about it, I’m sure they’re prepared to consider that acceptable collateral damage. 

    • Blargh

      sure he liked it, but he leaked info. that too “negative info” by rating it, he 1) sets the standard upon which the phone will be judged. he basically says “its a great phone, not the best I’ve seen, but it’s cool.”
      2) he adds to this by giving flaws [or what he wanted to see in the phone]… camera and the touchscreen size are a big deal for these types of phones, so by saying that these were not good enough for him [he wanted a better camera and a larger touchscreen], it kinda ruins the consumer’s buying thought process. If this person from MS didn’t like it a LOT, why should “I” like it?

      Leaking info is one thing, but rating and commenting about it is just a big NO. and he scored both points so like other commentators are saying- he should be lucky that he was allowed to resign. I personally would have fired him then and there, because to me these are inexcusable actions.

      It may sound a bit extreme, but that’s the way big corps. work :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1279200332 Jacob Geiser

    Too bad he couldn’t leak something more important… like when we are all going to get Mango. :D

    Sad day that he lost his job over no more then 420 characters of text. It is so little to lose so much.

    • Anonymous

      a guy with his talents is better off out of the titanic that is MSFT. do you really want to work for a company that fires you for being a fan of your own product in a vague tweet? it isn’t as if their stock is worth anything these days to think he can’t do better elsewhere.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UWVRPJYQFEG7ZCHPD7LDPBR2CM LWSJR

      @neonspark…A fan of your own product?  The guy gave his own product a score of 8/10!!!!  8/10 coming from Engadget, Verge, etc., that’s pretty good; 8/10 coming from Microsoft on a Microsoft product?  That’s bad!  He should have embellished, if anything, and said it was a 10/10 and something along the line of ‘and you folks will agree once you get your hands on it’.  Nonethess, if Microsoft required a NDA, and determined that it was violated, then they could have terminated him, right?  But they didn’t; he was allowed to resign.

    • Guest

      Got fired, huh?

  • Anonymous

    i dont undertand these idiots… really! losing a job for leaking information that wont make any better to them? specially since Microsoft is strict in that way.

    yeah its cool feeling the unique kid with new Nokia phone nobody knows about… but its silly leaking info and then losing a job. it sucks but he deserves it. since he Works for Microsoft he and anyone should follow the rules!

    • Anonymous

      he was just excited about MSFT. obviously he’s right now at an apple store getting an iphone :)

  • napier

    Too bad they didn’t fire Elop for the Sea Ray “leak”

    • Anonymous

      That “leak” was intentional after the Meego unveiling.

  • Anonymous

    NDAs… Violate them, get fired.

    • Anonymous

      big companies, common sense have not.

    • Guest

      Most startups also have NDAs and take them even more seriously. We get it, you have a chip on your shoulder about large companies. But your argument is demonstrably crap.

  • OMG55

    Could Joe Marini be moving over to Nokia preparing for a MS takeover eventually???? They didn’t say he was fired after tweeting about the device. Rumors have floated that MS might purchase Nokia; MS said the Nokia would have full acess to resource and work closely with MS employees on development,so again I ask could MS be moving employees to Nokia for a purchase eventually….Time will tell!!

  • OMG55

    Ignore my last post, I didn’t read the full article and I guess was over-eager for MS to puchase a company that will produce solid WP7 devices unlike many Manufacturers have done so far.

  • Anonymous

    Let’s get some things straight here.

    Joe Marini was not just another Microsoft employee. He held a fairly senior position within the company and represented the brand and the product lines on more than one occasion. There is no way in hell he did not know he was ending his tenure there when he tweeted those words.

    He was a DIRECTOR and a PRINCIPAL program manager at the company. A publicly traded company with a boat load of compliance education and courses on the dos and don’ts regarding trade secrets and intellectual property.

    Every tweet, message, press release that these people share is calculated. Do not kid yourself. To think or say they are constantly tweeting or sharing info about their products and plans is very naive. They are creating buzz and don’t mistake that for innocent tweets.

    I would buy a story that says he was intoxicated perhaps or pissed at how the product was being steered in a manner he didn’t approve of, but you don’t air out your dirty laundry if it’s the latter and you don’t drunk dial your ex if you share restraining orders together (I.e.: NDAs)

    Either way, hope that Joe has enough class and business acumen to rebound gracefully from here. Hope that Microsoft and Nokia take his views seriously and not dismiss them.

    That’s my $0.02 on this matter.
    Moving on

  • Anonymous

    Oh no :(
    I feel guilty.

  • Anonymous

    He probably has a history of such actions. I don’t know all the detail to the guys history and nor does the original blogger on this story. My guess is this is his history. And they were probably right to kick him under the bus. Just my sense of it and how these things generally shake out.