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Who is Winning the Web Talent War 287

jg21 writes "Ever since Fortune wrote an article about it, mentions have been occurring hither and yon about how Google is having problems retaining employees, and the latest comes in Web 2.0 Journal, where Dare Obasanjo interestingly tracks and interprets a couple of blog entries that he says leads him to hypothesize that "Google's big problem is that the company hasn't realized that it isn't a startup anymore." Of course Obasanjo works for Microsoft; it will be interesting to see if an equally prominent Googler posts a counter-theory."
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Who is Winning the Web Talent War

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  • interesting? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gEvil (beta) ( 945888 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @11:14AM (#24032339)
    it will be interesting to see if an equally prominent Googler posts a counter-theory

    No it won't. It will just prolong the pointless bickering between the two companies.
    • Re:interesting? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ohrion ( 814105 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @11:24AM (#24032471) Journal
      Some of us find that bickering terribly interesting though. I'm one of those people. The information that comes out during those tirades sometimes reveals "interesting" things.
      • by maxume ( 22995 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @12:24PM (#24033425)

        Google's momma so fat, when she gets on the internet, she really is on the internet!

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by MrMarket ( 983874 )

        Some of us find that bickering terribly interesting though. I'm one of those people.

        I doubt many of those people work for Google.

        • by Westley ( 99238 )

          The bickering itself (from within either company) is less interesting to me than the speculation it results in.

      • Re:interesting? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by CoughDropAddict ( 40792 ) * on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @07:20PM (#24038335) Homepage

        I do not speak for Google, but wanted to throw in a Googler's opinion. Here in Google Seattle (and Google Kirkland) we have tons of ex-Microsoft people. I was recently having a conversation with another Googler who has been here longer than me and we were musing about how neither of us knew of anyone who had gone the other way. Then this (non-)story breaks of one guy goes GOOG->MSFT, and my Googler friend sent me an email that said "well, now we know of someone who went in the opposite direction."

        So whatever, one guy goes to Microsoft from Google Seattle when tons have gone the other way. But somehow this became a whole news cycle. One Microsofter called it "an exodus [25hoursaday.com]" (that's right, one guy plus anonymous unspecified other people is an "exodus"). I've tried to resist the urge to say anything, but come on. There is no exodus.

        One thing to keep in mind is that Sergey Solyanik (the guy who started this whole news cycle) went back to Microsoft to be a Dev Manager. If what you want is to be a Dev Manager in the traditional sense (steering the course of a project top-down), I can see why you might leave Google -- management is totally different here. It's a very engineering-driven, bottom-up culture. Apparently that didn't work for Sergey. More power to him for recognizing that, and going to the place that works better for him.

        But if you're an engineering-focused person like me, Google is a mind-blowingly awesome place to work.

        To summarize: no, the tide is not turning on Google being an awesome place to work. Yes, Google is still awesome for people that fit its culture. No, there is not an "exodus." Yes, one guy left Google for Microsoft but many many people have gone the other direction. No, Google is not perfect. Yes, I do truly regret if a person has a bad experience interviewing here or if they get bad attitudes from anyone, but most of the people I know here are a pleasure to work with and very smart.

        If I knew that my 21-year-old self was going to be reading this message, I would tell him: "yes, Google is exactly where you want to end up." I've worked at a couple of other places and had a good time, but Google is a perfect match for me.

        (I'm not really interested in dignifying responses from bitter people who have a bone to pick with Google for whatever reason.)

    • Re:interesting? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @12:28PM (#24033513) Journal

      What's pointless about it? Microsoft's web presence is complete shit, and has been for longer than Google has been the major force. Google's presence is dominant and its apps are useful (at least to some extent). The bickering is simply more of Microsoft's FUD, it's playing the same sort of game it did with IBM back in the early 1990s.

      • Re:interesting? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @02:53PM (#24035393) Homepage Journal

        I agree with your excremental assessment of Microsoft's web presence. But the rivalry between Google and Microsoft is about a lot more than web applications.

        And far from being FUD, a lot of the criticisms of Google and its products are spot on. I'm no MS fanboy, and indeed if there's a Microsoft way to do something and a Google way, the Google way is always the one I prefer.

        But the fact remains that too much of Google's software is poorly tested, haphazardly documented, and always introducing irritating feature changes without notice. That's not a sign of a company that's well-run.

  • Waiting (Score:5, Funny)

    by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @11:17AM (#24032371) Journal

    I'm waiting for the web to mature, 3.11 for Workgroups.

  • glassdoor.com (Score:5, Interesting)

    by whtmarker ( 1060730 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @11:18AM (#24032387) Homepage
    From reading google and microsoft reviews at glassdoor.com [glassdoor.com], it became apparent that microsoft is like a government job with tons of bureaucracy. However google on the other hand treats non-engineers (marketing, etc) like second class citizens. Marketing and Sales guys complained that the expected endless promotions but instead found a kind of invisible ceiling.
    • Re:glassdoor.com (Score:5, Insightful)

      by realmolo ( 574068 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @11:26AM (#24032513)
      There SHOULD be a "glass ceiling" for Marketing and Sales guys. If they want to advance, they should have to learn some technical skills.

      Good marketing and sales guys have one skill, and that is "schmoozing" (also know as "people skills"). I don't consider that a skill worthy of big promotions. Raises, surely, but not promotions. It's not a skill that makes one an effective manager. The opposite is probably true, actually. Most marketing/sales people, the good ones anyway, live in their own little magical world where the normal rules of logic don't really apply. They should be kept FAR AWAY from any kind of technical positions, and should NEVER be allowed to manage technical projects.

      • by Dan667 ( 564390 )
        So true. They also should not throw chairs.
      • Re:glassdoor.com (Score:5, Insightful)

        by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @11:41AM (#24032745)

        Marketing in charge of technical products gets you Vista, Windows ME, MS BOB, Clippy, and a host of other software written by lot's of different vendors.

        I wish i had Mod points for you.

        • Strawman (Score:5, Interesting)

          by LibertineR ( 591918 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @06:45PM (#24038071)
          Marketing in charge of technical products also gets you Exchange Server, Visual Studio, Visual Basic, Excel and SharePoint.

          But, I can see how you might still think that a bad thing if you worked for Lotus or Borland. But then, those guys NEVER let the marketing dweebs near their product groups, right?

          It showed.

      • Re:glassdoor.com (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @11:42AM (#24032773)

        I agree. We certainly wouldn't want them to be aware of technical limitations with a product that might interfere with the reckless promises they make customers. How would they get those fat bonuses if they had to stick to the facts? Pissed off customers are customer service's problem.

        • Re:glassdoor.com (Score:5, Insightful)

          by dwiget001 ( 1073738 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @12:11PM (#24033221)
          I was a salesman *and* first line technical support for a specialized computer-aided-design software company, starting 20 years ago. Did it for seven years. Being sales *and* first line tech support, you get a very clear picture of what customer service or lack of it can do to your sales. I quickly got my technical knowledge up and that just increased my ability to sell. After self-teaching myself programming (two languages) I moved into the division that handles the programming of my company. From my own experience, sales and marketing people in a technical area *need* technical knowledge of what the heck they are selling *and* need to increase that knowledge, just like technical people need to keep up on top of technical issues, techniques, etc. In fact, it is *vital* for the success of a company that this occurs.
      • Re:glassdoor.com (Score:4, Insightful)

        by zappepcs ( 820751 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @11:53AM (#24032909) Journal

        That one skill is quite important for sales and marketing people. Their next most important skill (breathing doesn't count) is knowing when and how to keep their mouth shut when the technical people get involved in a sale or project.

        • Re:glassdoor.com (Score:5, Insightful)

          by stewbacca ( 1033764 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @01:41PM (#24034561)
          I shudder at the thought of letting any of our "technical people" anywhere near prospective customers...
        • Ass backwards (Score:5, Insightful)

          by LibertineR ( 591918 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @07:00PM (#24038179)
          There is nothing more dangerous than the mouth of a technical person during a product sale. The job "Sales Engineer" was literally invented for techies who know when to shut up and when to answer a technical question without verbosity, negativity or (stupid) honesty.

          More potential sales have been destroyed by techies talking too much in a meeting with prospective clients than empty beer bottles in Ireland.

          Example:

          Sales guy-"I'm telling you, Lotus Notes can do that right now, and in addition it can-.............."

          Technical dude-"Well, yeah, but not really, its kind of a hack, but we hope in the next release to tighten that up, we were in a ru-.........."

          Client-"Thanks for coming, guys! You need your parking validated?"

      • Re:glassdoor.com (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @11:53AM (#24032915)

        I think the reverse is also true, though.

        From what I observe as a business-geek is that the best ceos can relate to any position moderately well. A "Jack of All Trades".

        When you are high up in the organization and you have to come out of your cube for more than 50% of your day, what you disparage as "people skills" count for the majority of work.

        Truth is, you gotta be able to relate to everyone, and if that means having technical or "schmoozing" skills, then you gotta have it.

        And don't forget the nunchuck skills, because girls only like guys that have skills.

        • That one skill is quite important for sales and marketing people. Their next most important skill (breathing doesn't count) is knowing when and how to keep their mouth shut when the technical people get involved in a sale or project.

          I think the reverse is also true, though.

          I think the grandparent is right and the parent is wrong.

          Where I work, the salespeople try their best to keep the customers away from the engineers. We usually find out later that the salespeople sold something to the customers that we don't make.

        • When you are high up in the organization and you have to come out of your cube for more than 50% of your day, what you disparage as "people skills" count for the majority of work.

          You leave your cube?

          Who keeps an eye on that red stapler, then?

      • Re:glassdoor.com (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Elias Ross ( 1260 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @12:01PM (#24033041) Homepage

        I'm not sure why you got modded up... Managing people and getting paid more and getting promotions based on merit is orthogonal to "managing technical projects." Why would a promotion of a sales person create a technical manager out of them?

        And if Google or whoever don't pay or promote according to merit, they're not going to retain very good sales or marketing people. They are only hurting themselves.

        Many people (technical or not) "live in their own little magical world" and don't pay attention to what customers want, how to get the job done, or manage their time well. Technical people write software like Debian Linux. Having good relationships with customers (sales) and people to promote software (marketing) is what made Microsoft a lot more successful than we'd like to admit, although I wish they weren't so ruthless and avaricious.

        Technical people often have a disdain for people who don't understand technical things, which is why this board is full of responses similar to yours. It's some sort of elitism I wish nerds would knock off.

        • Re:glassdoor.com (Score:5, Insightful)

          by the_B0fh ( 208483 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @12:43PM (#24033723) Homepage

          Not sure why you get modded up. Does it _really_ matter to you whether you are sales peon I or sales peon II or sales peon XVIIVMC?

          In a sales department, there will only be so many territorial managers. There will only be so many sales directors.

          What kind of promotions did you have in mind?

          The reason the tech people can get more "promotions" is that they have a lot more projects, and these projects open up fresh lines for others. I'm sure if they open up GoogleMoonbase, there will be lots of sales promotions too.

          Color me someone who never got the "Oooo, I just got promoted for doing the same job over and over again".

          • by Aceticon ( 140883 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @05:50PM (#24037565)

            This the 6th or 7th post i've read moderated +5 from some ignorant elitistic techie going about how technology people are somewhat superior to Sales and Marketing.

            Honestly, i'm ashamed of being on the techie side of the fence.

            Open your eyes people and get out of your high-horses:
            - A successful company is a gestalt of different people with different skills doing what they do best.

            So yeah, people skills are really important if what you're trying to do is selling things to people, while logical skills are really important if what you're trying to do is construct really complex functional structures. That doesn't mean one is better than the other one.

            And yes, a successful company needs both people that can sell well and people that can make great products to sell:
            - A great product that is not sold is worthless
            - A great salesforce with nothing to sell is worthless

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by story645 ( 1278106 ) *

              - A successful company is a gestalt of different people with different skills doing what they do best.

              Totally agree. I wish these "elite" techies would get that without marketing and management and everyone else, they probably wouldn't get paid. (Unless they work for google and/or any other company where customers never have to go near what they produce.)

      • by sm62704 ( 957197 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @12:03PM (#24033087) Journal

        There SHOULD be a "glass ceiling" for Marketing and Sales guys

        I vote "third ark".

      • Re:glassdoor.com (Score:5, Insightful)

        by corbettw ( 214229 ) <corbettw@@@yahoo...com> on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @12:15PM (#24033285) Journal

        There SHOULD be a "glass ceiling" for Marketing and Sales guys. If they want to advance, they should have to learn some technical skills.

        What an incredibly bone headed thing to say. Have you ever tried selling an expensive product to a customer? What about convincing a customer they have a need for your product, when they really don't? Do you know the right time to ask for the signature on a contract? How many objections can you overcome to get the close? Do you even know what an objection is? (Hint: it has nothing to do with the customer saying "No.")

        You should try working in sales for a year, and see if you still have this attitude. When you find out just how hard the job really is, you might start appreciating those who can do it well.

        • Re:glassdoor.com (Score:4, Insightful)

          by woot account ( 886113 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @12:26PM (#24033481)
          Protip: if you're having to overcome a bunch of objections, it's probably because the person doesn't actually need what you're selling. That's why so many of us think marketing people are scum: they make a living off of conning people into buying things they (or sometimes anyone at all) have no use for.
          • Re:glassdoor.com (Score:5, Insightful)

            by ultranova ( 717540 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @01:46PM (#24034635)

            Protip: if you're having to overcome a bunch of objections, it's probably because the person doesn't actually need what you're selling. That's why so many of us think marketing people are scum: they make a living off of conning people into buying things they (or sometimes anyone at all) have no use for.

            Since you call marketing people scum, I very much doubt you're one of them, and thus couldn't really give protips on marketing, right ?-)

            Anyway, you're wrong. "We can't use Linux, because it has no office applications" is an objection. "Actually, OpenOffice is available for Linux, and Microsoft Office can be made to work through Crossover Office" would be a counterargument to that. Handling objections isn't about conning people, it is about getting them to express their reservations and concerns about the deal and addressing them.

            Obviously it's possible to be dishonest in handling objections, but in no way is the process of handling objections in itself evil.

        • Re:glassdoor.com (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Lord_Frederick ( 642312 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @12:32PM (#24033567)

          Here's a thought...if the customer really doesn't need your product or it's not worth what you are charging, maybe your product sucks. How about hiring better engineers that can develop a product so good that sells itself instead of paying top dollar for slick sales guys that can talk executives into buying crap.

          • if the customer really doesn't need your product or it's not worth what you are charging, maybe your product sucks.

            Do you honestly think that's the source of most objections? You've never been involved in a sales call, on either side of the table, then.

            How about hiring better engineers that can develop a product so good that sells itself instead of paying top dollar for slick sales guys that can talk executives into buying crap.

            That's an interesting point. What does the term "better engineers" mean to you? And if I were to hire those engineers, would we have a basis for agreement on this conversation?

            • Re:glassdoor.com (Score:4, Insightful)

              by JCSoRocks ( 1142053 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @01:07PM (#24034075)
              I'd have to agree here. Most customers have no idea what they want. You're talking to someone that's high enough up to be able to make the decisions and that usually means they're out of touch with what happens on the shop floor (where my company's software gets used).

              I once had a customer tell me that they thought it was perfectly reasonable to assume that joe blow in the shop would read the information off of a container and type it into our software... In reality this meant that joe would be dragging a 50 gallon drum over to a workstation buried in the corner of the shop so that he could copy it. It took forever to convince them that that just wasn't going to happen - for a myriad of reasons. Even when you have a product that perfectly meets the customer's needs you still have to get past their unfounded complaints.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            Unfortunately the sales and marketing teams make the sale and not the quality of your products. Micorosft did this quite well.

            I wish E-directory services and Novell were still around rather than active directory junk with Windows Server. But that sales guy from Microsoft made a point that I should pay $$$ because everyone else did so it can't be bad. I objected to it but wow that salesmen said it would cure cancer and end world poverty, etc.

            If you own a business your opinion about salesmen would change and

        • Re:glassdoor.com (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Paranatural ( 661514 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @01:15PM (#24034211)

          Having worked in sales, I can comment on this. I was a salesman for years. I wasn't very good at it, because I was focused on solving the customer's problems. Those problems could frequently NOT be solved by using our services. The people who were very 'good' salesmen were great at figuring out their customer's problems, ingratiating themselves to the customers, and promising up and down that our stuff could solve their problems, regardless of the reality.

          I've known a few legitimately good salesmen. My father is one. He sells industrial pumps and seals. When he was hired the first thing he requested was a month to work with the engineering and maintenance people. He was granted that, and studied the technical aspects intensely. He went on to become the best salesman in the company, and later split off to start his own company doing the same thing.

          Is being a 'good' salesman hard? Yes, lying effectively can be a challenge. I have, however, no issue will a 'glass ceiling' for those who do not want to learn the technical aspects of their jobs.

      • There SHOULD be a "glass ceiling" for Marketing and Sales guys. If they want to advance, they should have to learn some technical skills.

        What does that mean? What do you mean by "technical skills"? Does Steve Jobs have "technical skills"? Does Jeff Bezos? Does Larry Ellison? Is your opinion grounded in anything empirical?

        • What I'm saying is, if you are going to work for a TECH company, you should probably understand the tech. And if you are going to manage technical projects, you better have a *really good* understanding of the technology.

          And no, I don't think Bezos and Jobs and Ellison have any real technical skills. But they *aren't in charge of technical projects*. Not in any real way. They have "vision" and all that. That's what CEOs are for. But would you put Steve Jobs directly in charge of the OS X development team
      • by MrMarket ( 983874 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @12:37PM (#24033623) Journal
        I'm a people person. I deal with the customers so the engineers don't have to. Don't you get that? What the hell is wrong with you people!
      • There SHOULD be a "glass ceiling" for Marketing and Sales guys.

        don't forget the glass floor and sides to go with that. And a heavy weight. Some rope. And a deep stretch of water. :-)

      • Re:glassdoor.com (Score:4, Informative)

        by metlin ( 258108 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @12:52PM (#24033855) Journal

        There SHOULD be a "glass ceiling" for Marketing and Sales guys.

        Okay, this always gets to me.

        Repeat after me, marketing and sales are NOT the same. Both are completely opposite ends of the spectrum.

        Understanding a customer's needs is a core element of marketing, and that includes user experience, user needs and the like. To just about any company, that is a very important thing, and in Google's case, that is a very distinguishing element. In fact, separating all the crap from the data and getting to the crux of what users want, and translating those into requirements to be designed and developed in products and services is not something that's easy, and it's one of the things that marketing is usually tasked with.

        Marketing also deals with such things as appropriate pricing models (which includes a lot of math, let me reassure you) to find out the best way to market and sell something.

        Finally, marketing also deals with promotions, distribution strategies, distribution channels etc. All of this involves significant amount of data analytics to understand what needs to be done.

        Now, a part of marketing also includes branding, but once again, good branding is backed by strong data to suggest and recommend appropriate branding strategies.

        While sales involves a lot of, well, selling (which usually necessitates schmoozing), marketing is entirely different.

        Not that I'd expect a Slashdotter to know the difference, but still, please don't club the two together.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by stewbacca ( 1033764 )

          Marketing also deals with such things as appropriate pricing models ... to find out the best way to market and sell something.

          Wait...so how are marketing and sales on opposite ends of the spectrum if part of marketing's function is to figure out the best way to sell something? I'm not flaming, I'm just curious, because I liked your post. Just this part of it contradicts what you are claiming, and is literally why I have a problem separating marketing from sales.

      • by geekoid ( 135745 )

        Really? well a CEO that can shmooz well can bring in huge contracts.

        VP's that can Shmooz also get big contracts.
        Being able to shmooz your way into the White House and bring big deals.
        Technical skills are not needed, at all.

    • Re:glassdoor.com (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SpeedyDX ( 1014595 ) <speedyphoenix@NoSpam.gmail.com> on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @11:53AM (#24032917)

      It's interesting that whenever a MS vs. Google debate shows up on /. about which company is better to work for (or perhaps, more accurately, better run), I usually see posts about how engineers are treated better than marketing people in Google, and that shows up as a point of superiority on Google's part. Not saying that's what you're saying, as you're obviously just putting a link up with those opinions.

      I don't think, however, that this "us vs. them" mentality is fair. It represents a very ethnocentric frame of mind. Bureaucracy isn't always a bad thing. It prevents a lot of screw ups that may otherwise occur without that system in place. From a business owner and consultant's point of view, I can appreciate the value of a bureaucracy. It may not be the most efficient system, but efficiency is hardly the goal. Sustainability and stability, in a business philosophy perspective, are the primary goals of a corporation that must be fulfilled before a business can achieve true success. That is, they are necessary (but not sufficient) conditions for a successful business.

      When viewed in that light, it's hard to say how successful Google is. Google has rarely (if ever) released a final non-beta product. Their revenue is heavily dependent on online advertising. The one critical service that Google has is its search. If people stop searching with Google, their revenue will drop significantly to the point of possibly being unsustainable. If people stop using Gmail, their revenue will drop further. It seems unthinkable now, but it's happened before (cf. Yahoo).

      With all this in mind, Mr. Obasanjo's viewpoint appears to be right (I didn't RTFA because of all the obnoxious ads). If Google wants to avoid Yahoo's fate, they'll have to find some way to make their business stable and sustainable. Android seems to be a step in the right direction.

      Microsoft, and its bureaucracy, appears to have the two necessary conditions pinned down pretty well.

      • Success can be measured by the bottom line. Google may not be as successful as Microsoft, but it's pretty good.

        IMHO, the bickering seems to be some bloggers that are being read more because it's a slow news cycle.

      • by heytal ( 173090 )

        > (I didn't RTFA because of all the obnoxious ads).

        Then why not check out the original post which is available at http://www.25hoursaday.com/weblog/2008/06/29/TheGOOGMSFTExodusWorkingAtGoogleVsWorkingAtMicrosoft.aspx [25hoursaday.com]

        I'm not sure why /. posted an advt ridden link, rather than posting the original link.. oh yeah, that would require folks to RTFA, and I'm not new here :-)

        1. Get permission to re-post an article with advts
        2. post the advt ridden link on /.
        3. ???
        4. Profit

        Please do not mod me funny. I've just t

    • direct urls (Score:2, Informative)

      by whtmarker ( 1060730 )
      direct glassdoor.com links:
      reviews of microsoft [glassdoor.com]
      reviews of google [glassdoor.com]
    • Re:glassdoor.com (Score:5, Informative)

      by Shippy ( 123643 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @12:01PM (#24033049)
      ...it became apparent that microsoft is like a government job with tons of bureaucracy I currently work at Microsoft and previously I worked at a Dept. of Energy nuclear laboratory. Microsoft is nothing like a government job. The amounts of bureaucracy don't even compare. Here I have my computer set up the way I want, I don't have to punch a timecard every day, I can be open with my opinions to my boss and my team, I get as long of a lunch I want, I wear what I want to work, etc. etc. Microsoft has a lot of process (which we need -- and are trying -- to improve), but I wouldn't equate that to the "red tape" type of bureaucracy that a government organization has. The two aren't even close in terms of bureaucracy. Please don't make that comparison.
      • Re:glassdoor.com (Score:5, Informative)

        by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland@ya ... .com minus punct> on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @01:16PM (#24034219) Homepage Journal

        Bullshit.

        I have worked for MS as a consultant, and for government agencies. The BS at MS is outstandingly surreal. Them management bickering, people driving feature based on ego, and not on any form of reason. The outright lies to superiors who wanted to hear lies, gah.
        MS's process doesn't need to improve, it needs to change completly.

        Meanwhile, I don't ahve any of those problems with the government agency I work at. I come in on my schedule, and the software I have written has saved taxpayers millions of dollars.
        If you say something people don't want to hear enough times at MS, you will be canned.

        • Re:glassdoor.com (Score:5, Insightful)

          by MMInterface ( 1039102 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @01:41PM (#24034569)
          I think one thing that may have flown over you head at MS is the size of the company and how experience can very from group to group. Everyone likes to think that their experience is the norm. In contrast to what you say I have met managers at MS that use iPhones and make running jokes about certain MS products in the open. I have never met anyone who was fired for any reason at any employer I have been with but I am not going to claim that no one gets fired. Telling the guy above you that he is lying because of the experience in your group is entirely stupid. If you think this stuff is all the same in every group then you don't have a clue as to what goes on.
  • ,,, Microsoft's is (was?).

    Outside of a few exceptions google has managed to quite quickly develop an intense monoculture of people afraid to buck the system or trends. This is to be expected with rapid growth; too bad for them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ShieldW0lf ( 601553 )
      No, google's problem is the exact same as... (Score:1, Troll) by juuri (7678) Alter Relationship on Wednesday July 02, @12:19PM (#24032409) Homepage ,,, Microsoft's is (was?). Outside of a few exceptions google has managed to quite quickly develop an intense monoculture of people afraid to buck the system or trends. This is to be expected with rapid growth; too bad for them.

      They're a one trick pony, like MS (who had 2 tricks, OS and Office) who have been given gobs of money in the hopes that they weren
  • "Microsoft's big problem is that it doesn't realize its not the only game in town anymore"
    • by russlar ( 1122455 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @11:34AM (#24032631)

      "Microsoft's big problem is that it doesn't realize its not the only game in town anymore"

      I disagree. I think that Microsoft is well aware that it isn't the only game in town. What they don't understand, is how to remedy the situation.

      You are right in inferring that MS was the only game in town for a long time, and it is because of this that they seem so dumbstruck now. They know they're being overtaken, but they have no idea what to do about it, because they've never had to compete directly before.

      • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @12:02PM (#24033065) Homepage Journal

        I disagree. I think that Microsoft is well aware that it isn't the only game in town. What they don't understand, is how to remedy the situation.

        "Remedy the situation" is an interesting choice of words, as it could be interpreted two ways---the way that you probably meant it and the way that is more accurate but less flattering. IMHO, it's not that they don't know how to survive and thrive as one of many players, but rather that they don't know how to get back to a monopoly state. Microsoft's fundamental problem is that their corporate goal does not seem to merely be doing well for themselves as a company, but rather making sure nobody else does/can. It's a completely backwards corporate mentality and will eventually be their downfall in much the same way that treating their customers as likely criminals has hurt them significantly. The goal of a company cannot be to eke out every last possible cent.

        Put another way, the goal of a company must be to remain reasonably profitable while behaving responsibly, reasonably, and treating their customers, suppliers, and even their competitors with due respect. Sure, sociopathic corporate behavior serves companies well in the short term, but as Microsoft is seeing now, it eventually comes back to bite them in the you-know-what.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by russlar ( 1122455 )

          IMHO, it's not that they don't know how to survive and thrive as one of many players, but rather that they don't know how to get back to a monopoly state. Microsoft's fundamental problem is that their corporate goal does not seem to merely be doing well for themselves as a company, but rather making sure nobody else does/can.

          That is my point. All MS knows how to do is create and monopolize a market where no pre-existing competition exists. Now that there is competition, from Goole on the web and from Linux as an OS, MS is lost. They don't know how to "survive and thrive as one of many players", because that has never been their goal.

  • What's new in this slashdot story?
    The only link here which was not covered by the earlier story here is
    the Wikipedia link?

  • by tgd ( 2822 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @11:24AM (#24032475)

    Based on people I know who have done it, and other stuff I've seen online it seems everyone goes from Microsoft to Amazon because they want excitement, then Amazon to Google because they realize Amazon isn't that exciting, and then Google back to Microsoft because they realize they want to work 40 hour weeks and be comfortable.

  • semi-dupe? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fragbait ( 209346 )

    I don't know if I'd really call this a dupe because I think all the links in this post were AT the other article instead of IN the slashdot post.

    -fragbait

  • by 8127972 ( 73495 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @11:26AM (#24032517)

    .... Is clearly having an effect in bringing talent back to Microsoft.

    • Where else can you write software *and* learn to juggle chairs!? I bet they have a heckuva dodgeball team too... "If you can dodge a chair, you can dodge a ball!"
  • Why does he care ? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dbcad7 ( 771464 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @11:28AM (#24032545)
    Why doesn't he focus his energy on the company HE works for ? ... I think I'll spend tomorrow seeing if I can't fix our competitions problems for them.
    • by weston ( 16146 ) * <westonsd@NOsPam.canncentral.org> on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @12:50PM (#24033825) Homepage

      Why doesn't he focus his energy on the company HE works for ? ... I think I'll spend tomorrow seeing if I can't fix our competitions problems for them.

      He is focusing his energy on the company he works for. This isn't a genuinely friendly suggestion for improvement -- in fact, it's likely it's presented that way to mask what he's really trying to do.

      Google's stellar image hurts Microsoft as much as the quality of their products. It influences people to choose them for search and as an ad broker. It encourages top talent to look for employment there instead of MS or elsewhere.

      So if there is any cost to offering Google criticism that might end up being constructive to them, it's balanced against the benefit MS may derive if they can successfully tarnish Google's image.

      As it happens, in this case, I think there's not even a chance this might be constructive criticism. The engineering-centric culture at Google is considered a feature, not a bug, and it's improbable Google will change this. Everybody writing these articles knows this.

  • Please tag (Score:5, Funny)

    by MyLongNickName ( 822545 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @11:32AM (#24032601) Journal

    ZOMBOcom. Clearly they are winning the talent war.

  • The easiest way to win at something is just to declare yourself the winner as soon as you possibly can, because it's apparently much harder to reverse a decision once any kind of decision has been made on the winner (i.e. the 2000 US presidential election, where Bush just "declared" himself the victor and became president, despite actually losing the vote).

    • by sm62704 ( 957197 )

      The easiest way to win at something is just to declare yourself the winner as soon as you possibly can

      Yeah, that really worked well for the Saddam Hussein.

    • by 4D6963 ( 933028 )

      The easiest way to win at something is just to declare yourself the winner as soon as you possibly can

      And if that doesn't work, just 'adapt' the definition of "winning".

    • by Actually, I do RTFA ( 1058596 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @12:25PM (#24033443)

      (i.e. the 2000 US presidential election, where Bush just "declared" himself the victor and became president, despite actually losing the vote

      He won the election. You can complain about the Supreme Court ruling that led him to win the election. You can complain about voter disenfrancisment in Flordia that put it into the Supreme Court's hand. You can complain about the electoral college overruling the popular vote. But his declaration was only made (and not subsequently retracted) after the Supreme Court had handed him victory.

  • Popularlity Cycles (Score:2, Interesting)

    by blahbooboo ( 839709 )
    I think when companies get this large it's all about "cycles of popularity." All places have their pluses and minuses, and the few reports in this article are hardly of such grandiose statements. I can say having interacted with a lot of Microsoft people lately they really do have a thing against google. The mantra really is "Google doesn't really do anything successfully other than search." I think someone said on Slashdot that Microsoft makes software people have to use, Google makes products people wa
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by dedazo ( 737510 )

      The mantra really is "Google doesn't really do anything successfully other than search."

      Actually the point of that blurb is that Google doesn't do anything profitably other than search and the ads attached to that. Which makes Google essentially a one-trick pony. Which is always dangerous, yet at the same time diversification sometimes brings loss of focus. All companies go through that sort of thing. Some make it and some don't. I don't see Google not making it though.

      Microsoft makes software people have

      • Google doesn't do anything profitably other than search and the ads attached to that.

        Technically you could say that Microsoft doesn't do anything profitably except OS and Office software. Most other ventures of MS don't make profit. Xbox360 while considered a success is nearly $6billion in debt. Zune hasn't made a dent. Hotmail hardly makes anything. The list goes on.

        • by dedazo ( 737510 )

          Technically you could say that Microsoft doesn't do anything profitably except OS and Office software.

          Technically that would make them a two-trick pony, which is twice as good as a one-trick pony.

          Xbox360 while considered a success is nearly $6billion in debt

          Wrong [gamasutra.com].

          The list goes on.

          Go on then. The development tools division has been in the black for a long time, as has the server products division (outside of Windows Server, which is also on the black). Their hardware group (input devices and things like WiFi

          • Wrong.

            The article you mention only says that the Xbox division is profitable in Q2. It also says that the company is profitable overall. It does not mention that the division has lost $6 billion since the Xbox was created. Any profit that Xbox makes now is only paying back for the initial losses.

        • by ChatHuant ( 801522 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @01:02PM (#24034019)
          Technically you could say that Microsoft doesn't do anything profitably except OS and Office software.

          You could indeed say that, but you'd be wrong by billions of dollars. The SQL Server group is highly profitable as well, making almost a billion in profit in the first quarter of 2008, and over 3 billion over the 9 months ending March 31. See the numbers here [sec.gov], in note 9 (SQL Server is under Server and Tools). Note that even the Entertainment division (makers of the XBox) made a profit that quarter, and also in the 9 month ending March 31. The only division in the red is the Online division (no surprise there).
    • Microsoft employees likely hate Google for the same reason that Ford and GM employees are probably pissed at Toyota and Honda, because the latter are manufacturing more of the kinds of cars that people want, while the former, through the sheer incompetence of upper level management, kept building the kind of cars no one wants.

      Microsoft has been trying since the mid-1990s to create THE web presence, the portal that everyone would go to. They failed early on against Yahoo, and it's been the same crap even af

  • by cthrall ( 19889 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @12:00PM (#24033025) Homepage

    It's always kind of funny when companies wonder about retaining staff. It shouldn't be that hard to answer that question.

    If people are happy with their compensation and their work, they will stay. If they are not happy, they will leave.

    And this is different for everybody. Some people want to work 40hrs. Some people are ok working more if the compensation is there. Some people want to work on prototyping with new technology. Some people want to work on designing large scale solutions.

    When you are small, it is arguably easier to treat everybody differently. Once you scale, you start having these "one size fits all" reviews and compensation packages that don't really capture what people think is important.

    Free lunch is cool, but will it make up for the fact that your manager isn't any good? Spending 20% of your week on your own project is cool, but what if you already worked 50hrs on something that's overdue where you didn't come up with the estimate?

  • by sandysnowbeard ( 1297619 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @12:01PM (#24033033)
    Truly talented people should eventually feel the onus of working for someone else's company and branch off to do their own things. Inevitably a God-gifted talent is going to have some crazy and genius ideas that do NOT fit the corporate mold and whose superiors will be uncomfortable with such ideas and whose potential they will not be able to see. And such people will get out.

    For instance, ignoring the dubious notion of 'morality', how many projects have the top Google guys stifled because they were 'evil' or didn't see their potential? Sometimes you just want to make evil.

    Thus, I'd argue that perhaps it's not truly a mass-exodus from Google TO Microsoft or Amazon, but just seems that way because of the constant influx of new hires to feed the beasts. Many of the top talents go to start-ups or back to school, or in some cases out of the comp. sci. world entirely.
    • by sm62704 ( 957197 )

      Truly talented people should eventually feel the onus of working for someone else's company and branch off to do their own things.

      Talent is plentiful, but multitalent is rare. Someone good at programming will likely not be good at marketing. Just because you're a good guitar player doesn't mean you'll be any good at selling shoes. Talent in any field isn't inborn; every field requires training. Just because you're a good linebacker doen't mean you'll be a good coach.

      For instance, ignoring the dubious notion

  • by crush ( 19364 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @12:02PM (#24033069)

    Anyone who saw even his earliest writing (ie. in Kuro5hin when he was just interning) is aware that he views everything through the highly tinted lens of internal Microsoft propaganda.

    In any case Google are still best positioned to control the web for the forseeable future and Microsoft is thus being bonzaied into competing in the operating system arena and having their lunch eaten by Apple on the desktop front and GNU/Linux on the server front.

    At least Mono means that all the time that Dare has invested in .Net won't be completely wasted :)

    • The blogs Carnage cites immediately read to me like whining from people who found they couldn't hack it at Google. "There's not enough process!". Translation: "I can't do this unless I can spec it out in massive detail, get feedback from people with a clue, and then have a project manager follow my progress all the way through while 'balancing' other resources into my project when I'm slow!"

      "The interviews are all focused on algorithms and not software engineering skills!"

      Translation: "My Java vocational tr

  • Can someone tag this flamebait. Along with the last article on the issue. I mean COME ON you are quoting a msft lackey on Google. No shit he is going to say bad things. Google doesn't have problems getting the people they need. This is stupid, and I thank God that Google isn't just like microsoft. I'm somewhat amazed that the losing company can point and go oh hey, they suck because they arent just like us, and that has nothing to do with why we are getting crushed in every market they enter.

  • This seems like something of a propaganda war targeted at those inside Microsoft to try and stop the exodus. Lots of: "Look at me! I used to work at MS, I went to Google, but now I'm back because working at Google really sucks". It's funny that they've all appeared at the same time. It stinks like some kind of campaign.

  • by MattW ( 97290 ) <matt@ender.com> on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @12:14PM (#24033269) Homepage

    And the Microsoft employee claims that Google can't build enterprise-class reliability because of their happy-hacker environment. Oooookay.

    "How do you write Microsoft employees so well?"

    "I picture a Google employee, and I take away reason and accountability."

  • Middle ground?? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Panaflex ( 13191 ) <convivialdingo@y ... O.com minus city> on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @12:21PM (#24033389)

    My biggest grudge against these places is the "life suckage" they employ...

    I mean.. I want to do something other than code 12 hours a day (ya know... sometimes?)

    I've been coding since I was 10 years old... I find it fun and enjoyable. That's why I contract... let me decide how to live my life, and I'll provide you timely, reasonable service.

    I still relish the thought of doing massive parallel systems dev... I do small clusters now, and I really love it.

  • Snitcher report (Score:3, Interesting)

    by xadoc ( 1093315 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @12:46PM (#24033757)
    This sounds more like a snitcher's frustration report than an actual work report.
  • by EjectButton ( 618561 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @12:47PM (#24033777)
    This is the same piece of trash that was posted two days ago.
    http://developers.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/06/30/2240206 [slashdot.org]

    I won't repost my entire comment from that discussion, but the entire thing is based on the comments of three people. One interviewed with Google and never worked there, the other two worked at Microsoft, tried Google and had a culture clash, and fled back to Microsoft.

    Many slashdot readers might not reconize that it's a dupe since each article links to a different site (with near identical text) and no one bothers to RTFA. Though how can you blame them when the editors don't even read their own site much less the articles on it.
  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @12:53PM (#24033877)

    Googles problem that is Way Left. Microsoft is on the Right (It use to be left but it moved right), A lot of talent is in the middle those small to mid sized companies, who may never get wide brand reconigtion. But make a good living giving their custers tools they want. Slashdot tends to think of software/service in terms of mostly Consumer level products, stuff that you use on your own system. However there is a huge market of buisness only apps many of them customly made, by a lot of talanted programers who's code will not be recgonized outside their clients. Many of them offer novel and inovative methods to get things done as the reason why they were hired because they couln't find software that did what they wanted done. As well they need to keep their product quality (some will call it eyecandy) up to what people expect and see from companies like Google, Apple, and Microsoft.

    Both Microsoft and Google have a huge Ego, Microsoft has been brused lately a bit but not as much as it deserves. And these huge ego's often close their eyes on what is going on.

  • A startup has one or two primary products, and everything else the company does is about promoting these.

    A mature company the size of Microsoft is either a middleman like Walmart, or it has diversified, and has multiple product lines, and gets worried if any one product line is a significant part of its revenue. A mature company is willing to allow competition between business units. A mature company that puts all its wood behind one arrow and cripples products to avoid competing with their sacred cow(s) ends up like DEC... bought by a company that got started making the personal computers DEC didn't want to undercut the VAX.

    Microsoft crippled their handhelds and cut off the micro-notebooks built around Windows CE, and now they're scrambling to come up with a version of Windows that will compete in that market. So instead of having ten or fifteen years of increasingly sophisticated handhelds running efficient but still desktop-quality software that make Linux on the eeePC look sick, they cut that whole line of development off when they introduced Pocket PC for palmtops only and promoted Tablet PC for the notebook-level devices instead.

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