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Microsoft or Google?

Cliff posted about 8 years ago | from the better-working-environment dept.


Undecided asks: "I will be graduating next April, and I have been fortunate enough to receive job offers from both Microsoft and Google. This has left me with a bit of a conundrum, however — I'm having real difficulty deciding which offer to accept. Putting aside compensation and other personal circumstances that will factor into my decision, what is the Slashdot community's take on this? Am I crazy not to go with Google? I am especially interested in the insight of others working in the computer science industry, in particular those who may have experienced what it's like to work at both companies."

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sony? (5, Funny)

zebs (105927) | about 8 years ago | (#16421343)

Guess Cliff thinks Sony is the answer?

Submitter thinks it's Sony (1)

empaler (130732) | about 8 years ago | (#16423267)

Cliff just didn't correct it before posting.

Advice from a professor... (5, Informative)

vistic (556838) | about 8 years ago | (#16421347)

A professor of mine (who went away and came back to visit) said that if you work at Microsoft you'll have a life outside of work. If you work at Google, then work will be your life. At Google you'll end up being at work all the time, but you'll enjoy it, and you get really good free food. But at Microsoft you can at least go hiking or something on the weekends. They're both pretty demanding though, I take it.

That's what I've heard as far as corporate culture goes. As far as business practices go and innovation, that's common knowledge.

And what... no Apple?

Re:Advice from a professor... (3, Insightful)

NekoXP (67564) | about 8 years ago | (#16421417)

Microsoft also has free caffeinated soda machines and the food on campus is pretty cheap :)

I would rather live in Redmond or Seattle than the Bay area.

I think that should be the decision to make; given two identical job opportunities with practically identical pay and benefits, where do you want to live in the world?

Re:Advice from a professor... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16423289)

Re:Advice from a professor... (2, Funny)

NekoXP (67564) | about 8 years ago | (#16423969)

Depends if he got offered a job at that Google, doesn't it?

Still, location is still key. If it's the same location, well... why not Google? It will look cooler on your resume

If you get sick of it you can always move to Microsoft. I hear the other way around gets you sued :D e/2100-1014_3-5795051.html []

Re:Advice from a professor... (4, Informative)

rk (6314) | about 8 years ago | (#16423981)

And if you take a job with Google, you can still live in Seattle []

. Google has a big operation in Kirkland.

Re:Advice from a professor... (2, Funny)

Dysantic (901927) | about 8 years ago | (#16421563)

But at Microsoft you can at least go hiking or something on the weekends.
Well, THAT explains it! No wonder Microsoft's code is so buggy; their staff are always going out hiking or "something" on the weekends!

Re:Advice from a professor... (5, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 8 years ago | (#16421727)

Sounds like he'd be better off not working for some giant corporation. I work for a small company, and although I don't get paid as much as some of my peers, it's nice knowing that I don't have to stay at work until 7 pm every night, or work weekends. I also get to do work on a lot of different and interesting projects, instead of being pigeon holed into some tiny insignificant role in the company. I find that people who work for larger corporations end up doing the same thing day after day, refining a very small piece of code, while I'm always doing new things, getting to work on everything from the database right up to the UI of the application.

Re:Advice from a professor... (3, Informative)

GoofyBoy (44399) | about 8 years ago | (#16421851)

>I work for a small company, and although I don't get paid as much as some of my peers, it's nice knowing that I don't have to stay at work until 7 pm every night, or work weekends.

Consider yourself lucky.

I've worked for large and small companies and by far, the OT/weekend work are more common in small companies.

Re:Advice from a professor... (3, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 8 years ago | (#16421961)

But even if I was working a lot of overtime, I'd still be doing a lot more interesting stuff than some people I know who are working in the large corporations.

Re:Advice from a professor... (5, Informative)

pz (113803) | about 8 years ago | (#16421919)

if you work at Microsoft you'll have a life outside of work. If you work at Google, then work will be your life.

I visited the Google campus two weekends ago. On a Saturday. I counted only three working employees (in the Pirate group) other than the contractors who were setting up something in the main auditorium: the whole place was cavernously empty. The corporate culture is that life outside of Google is first, working at Google second. When it's time for work, everyone's there. When it's time to go home, people enjoy the rest of their life. And this makes for some very loyal employees.

I don't know about the Microsoft corporate culture, but the one at Google is definitely not what your professor described in the least.

Re:Advice from a professor... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16422569)

Pirate group?! Do they steal software? Do they talk in a humorous accent? WTF? I want in!!! woot.

False (5, Informative)

WindBourne (631190) | about 8 years ago | (#16422075)

I still have friends at MS and they are putting in 60+ hours because their managers insist on it. One guy hates it, but the pay is good (he makes 160K there) and the other guys stays because of what he does (not wild about the hour, but likes the job).

At Google, from what I have heard, the members put in the hours because it is fun, not because it is demanded of them. Biiiig difference.

General Rule on work hours (3, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | about 8 years ago | (#16422193)

If you work in a tech position for a regular company, generally, you will put in 35-50 Hr/wk. They simply want a warm body in a chair and most companies view tech as a needed evil.

OTH, if you work for a tech company, then the hours are demanded by releases. In general, higher tech companies have more and faster releases (i.e. more work, longer hours). They need things done and tech is EVERYTHING.

Re:False (4, Funny)

AnswerIs42 (622520) | about 8 years ago | (#16423407)

Umm.. I like where I work but I do NOT put in anymore work than what I am paid for. Putting in 4,5+ extra hours a week because it is "fun" does not put any more food on the table and keeps you away from family longer.

Manager: You really like working here?
Peon: Yep, this is a fun job!
Manager: Great to hear! By the way.. there would even be more fun if you stayed 2-3 hours more each day.
Peon: Great! Do I get paid for that?
Manager: Err.. no. But it will be fun though, I promise!
Peon: Ok!

It all depends which group you are in (3, Interesting)

jchenx (267053) | about 8 years ago | (#16424041)

I work in MS, and I can tell you that we don't work 60+ weeks where I am. It's the same way with other groups. But there are teams that are under crunch time, and I'm sure they might be putting in late hours (Vista anyone?). I'm guessing it's the same way with Google. Some groups are going to be under more pressure than others, or maybe it's the end of a milestone, etc.

If anything MS is trying to push for a more "friendly, softer side" of things regarding work-life balance, etc. We've had some major HR overhauls and revisions in the past few months, and I can say that it is making a difference. Also, the benefits package in general for MS is amazing. I don't know what Google offers, but the author should definately take that into account.

Re:Advice from a professor... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16423551)

At microsoft the internal commitment to existing business goals/products far outweighs any customer/service consideration. You can see this play out across many products. This is probably not the best example but their map service [] doesn't work well on Firefox and it doesn't work at all on Safari. If the development were customer centric this service would work on these platforms. Overall this seems very limiting for the work (and the customer). Definitely something to consider before committing.

Location, Location, Location (4, Insightful)

jackb_guppy (204733) | about 8 years ago | (#16421355)

Seatle or SF Areas? That should be a better question. It is the quaility of life, not the job.

Re:Location, Location, Location (4, Insightful)

beaverfever (584714) | about 8 years ago | (#16421445)

"Seatle or SF Areas? That should be a better question. It is the quaility of life, not the job."

Yes, quality of life is very important. As a recent grad, this might not be taking up a lot of your concern, but in a few years it will matter a lot more. As Marilyn Monroe once said, "A career is wonderful, but you can't curl up with it on a cold night."

As for whether you'd be living in the SF or Seattle areas, it's not just a matter of which pastimes and entertainment are available, but how your salary compares to the local cost of living. Besides that, no matter where you live, if you don't have time for yourself, then the greatest location in the world doesn't mean much. It's up to you how important free time is or isn't.

Re:Location, Location, Location (5, Funny)

vasqzr (619165) | about 8 years ago | (#16422653)

As Marilyn Monroe once said, "A career is wonderful, but you can't curl up with it on a cold night."

You've obviously never slept on the floor in a server room.

Noooooooooo (1, Troll)

joschm0 (858723) | about 8 years ago | (#16421379)

Do not go to the dark side.

brands. (1, Funny)

sTeF (8952) | about 8 years ago | (#16421387)

besides the question, i really digg the logo associated with this story.

If you don't know the answer to this question (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16421427)

Then you belong at Microsoft. You don't deserve to work at Google.

Re:If you don't know the answer to this question (1)

drakaan (688386) | about 8 years ago | (#16422147)

That isn't a Troll, that's an opinion...then again "-1 Troll" is an opinion, too.

Re:If you don't know the answer to this question (1)

revlayle (964221) | about 8 years ago | (#16422329)

(off-topic) And meta-moderation is an opinion, etc., et. al., so on, and so forth

Re:If you don't know the answer to this question (1)

Dr. Smeegee (41653) | about 8 years ago | (#16423733)

I don't see how Forth users are more opinionated in their meta-moderation than C# or Python users.

Now LISPers, that's a different story.

Seattle Rain (4, Insightful)

jazman_777 (44742) | about 8 years ago | (#16421449)

It rains a lot in Seattle. Not steady rain, but dripping and drizzle. In the winter it gets light late and dark early and is cloudy and gloomy. A great place to be a mushroom.

Re:Seattle Rain (2, Funny)

mrmittens (866293) | about 8 years ago | (#16421545)

Sounds like quite an easy place to transition yourself to from good old blighty (England would be the US translation!) :o)

Re:Seattle Rain (5, Informative)

thefoobar (131715) | about 8 years ago | (#16421943)

I have to ask, are you even from Seattle? I've lived here all my life and can honestly say it is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been in. No matter where I travel (and believe me - quite a few places...) I am always thankful to return home to the fresh air, mountain ranges on both sides, comfortable weather, abundant trees, etc.

We have actual seasons, as opposed to many cities that seem to only have two, with a range of decently hot weather, to not-too-cool winters. In regards to rain, we had a nice long stretch of 60 or so days (someone correct me if I'm wrong) just a little while back where there wasn't any rain at all. One thing I can say about the rain though, is that it makes the air amazingly fresh.

Not exactly a technical topic, but Seattle's constant rain is an overstated load of hooey.

Re:Seattle Rain (5, Funny)

Joe Snipe (224958) | about 8 years ago | (#16422861)

Idoit! Don't tell them that! What are you going for, the first slashdotted city?

Everything he said is a lie. It's a miserable place with lots of rain and overcast days. Seasonal depression sets in hard and fast. It takes all my willpower not to spend my time painting my nails black while listening to The Cure.

Re:Seattle Rain (2, Funny)

thefoobar (131715) | about 8 years ago | (#16423411)

Damn! I fell for it! Now the whole city is doomed!

Yeah... bad city. Lots of rain. Move away. Earthquakes. Weak beer.

Re:Seattle Rain (2, Interesting)

Morphine007 (207082) | about 8 years ago | (#16423607)

Weak beer.

I'ma get modded troll for this one for sure, but that sounds like any other place in the US...

Come to Canada where we have real beer, and some absolutely insane shit(*) []

(*) - yes, it really is 9% alcohol beer. It's called La fin du monde which is french for The end of the world

Re:Seattle Rain (1)

blincoln (592401) | about 8 years ago | (#16423931)

It's called La fin du monde which is french for The end of the world

We have that here in Seattle too.

If you're ever down here, and it happens to be the right time of year, there is a pub/brewery in the University District called The Big Time Brewery that makes a 16% alcohol barleywine that is one of the tastiest dark beers I've ever had.

As for the rain, Seattle is hardly a really rainy city. I lived in Vancouver, BC for three years and it rained at least twice as much up there. At least during those three years, days where it was raining actually outnumbered days where it wasn't.

Re:Seattle Rain (1)

Morphine007 (207082) | about 8 years ago | (#16424053)

samichlaus [] is pretty good stuff too... was 16% when I last tried it in Quebec...

Re:Seattle Rain (2, Interesting)

What'sInAName (115383) | about 8 years ago | (#16423099)

I always thought that Seattle's notorious rain was just a smokescreen (rainscreen?) to keep people from moving there! I have to say that both times I've visited (ok, both times it was summer, but still...) the weather was gorgeous.

One question: Are the drivers there more courteous than in other big cities? That was the impression I got last time, even on the highways, people seemed more patient. Perhaps that was just my impression because I was on vacation and feeling relaxed.

Re:Seattle Rain (1)

thefoobar (131715) | about 8 years ago | (#16423447)

At the risk of doing more damage to jazman's rainscreen, yes... I've found SOME of them to be more courteous. On the other hand, some of them are nasty jerks. But...compared to California drivers (jab) it is an amazing difference.

Re:Seattle Rain (2, Interesting)

Dr. Smeegee (41653) | about 8 years ago | (#16424001)

Just last week I just took a sunny trip from Seattle down 101 to Portland (college buddy's wedding + vacation). My spouse and I were both shaking our heads at the abundance of speed-limit-driving, turn-signal using, let-you-ining, smiling, waving humans from all socioeconomic groups populating the highways. For folks used to the NASCARphilic, carpet-chewing arsetulip driving in southern indiana it was like floating on a cloud of soft, soft boobies.

We rented a Yurt in a state park on the beach. We were agog at the cleanliness of the Yurt and the Shower/Restrooms. The next morning we woke up to find the state employees briskly, yet serenely raking the gravel in the driveways in front of the other Yurts. They stopped for a second to exchange pleasantries and coo over my daughter, then returned to work without a sigh, eyeroll or snide comment. Abubhbuhbuh?

It was like we had wormholed our way into a world populated by enthusiastically miscegenating swiss hoteliers, japanese gardners, appalachian philosopher-lawyers (think Atticus Finch with a bong) and mexican day-laborers all happily guzzling good coffee.

One drawback that kept us from trying to find work and stay: Greatful Dead on the radio. *shudder*

So yes, I think perhaps folks there know how to drive. Civilization is pretty neat!

Re:Seattle Rain (1)

jazman_777 (44742) | about 8 years ago | (#16423247)

I have to ask, are you even from Seattle? I've lived here all my life and can honestly say it is one of the most beautiful cities

Yeah, I live here, obviously you don't, since you want more people to move here...Californians have a difficult time up here, and they drive badly.

Shush, you fool! (2, Funny)

Blakey Rat (99501) | about 8 years ago | (#16423433)

Isn't the 20% growth rate we already have enough for you? You want MORE Californians coming up here and clogging up our freeways?

*ahem* Yes you are right the weather is terrible and all the people here are really rude and there are not any hot chicks! PLEASE STAY IN CALIFORNIA AND TEXAS!

Re:Seattle Rain (1)

WebCrapper (667046) | about 8 years ago | (#16423445)

My wife is from Portland Oregon and she gets mad when I say there are 2 seasons: Winter and Almost Winter and that "winter" is just a drizzle for 6 months. She's the only person I know who gets happy when it rains.

Anyway, as much dislike the rain, the Northwest is a great area...

And for the Story parent - accept the offer from Google but request to work in the facility you want.

I'm from Seattle and I'd say we have 2 seasons ... (1)

jchenx (267053) | about 8 years ago | (#16423861)

We have actual seasons, as opposed to many cities that seem to only have two, with a range of decently hot weather, to not-too-cool winters.

Umm, really? I grew up in the Northern Virginia area (suburbs of DC), and we truly had four seasons there. After living in Seattle for the past few years (now working at MS, go figure), I'd have to say it's Seattle that has two seasons:

1) Rainy/wet season (Late fall, winter, early spring)

2) Awesome non-humid, always-sunny, summer season

The first season does admittedly suck. It actually doesn't rain heavily, it just drizzles ... constantly. In the winter, it never gets cold enough to snow (and beware Seattle-ites when it DOES snow), so I can't say there's really a "winter" in Seattle. HOWEVER, the mountains nearby usually get plenty of the white stuff, which makes the skiing and snowboarding pretty awesome (at least compared to East Coast slopes).

The second season, many people don't know about. The Seattle area can go for weeks without a drop of rain, during the summer. Don't believe me? Check out the climate chart [] . It doesn't get overly hot or humid either, with highs only in the 70s most of the time. While much of the country was boiling in heat waves this summer, it was often clear skies with a high of 75 around here.

Re:Seattle Rain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16422155)

Just to add to what thefoobar said above me: many people would take rain and beautiful green trees and mountains over dry brown grass covered hills like what you see around the south side of the bay in the summer.

Re:Seattle Rain -- Geologically dangerous places (1)

fredex (146162) | about 8 years ago | (#16423585)

Well, others mentioned rain.

I'll bring up the fact that both Seattle and 'Frisco are geologically dangerous places.

I know, people love both places and refuse to leave or consider the danger. And I'm not saying it's dangerous THIS WEEK, but still the dangers are real.

Seattle sits where Mt. Rainier could destroy it in moments with a major eruption (yes, Rainier is still considered to be an active volcano), and San Francisco sits right on top of the San Andreas fault (not to mention thousands of others).

But if that's not a concern for you, I think I'd go for Google were I in your shoes, and willing to move to the left coast. I hear it's a fun place to work, and they've got some really high-level people there.

YMBFJ (1, Insightful)

metamatic (202216) | about 8 years ago | (#16421469)

You've been reading Slashdot how long? You must have seen all the articles about how Microsoft's toxic and dysfunctional culture destroys innovation and quality. When's the last time they shipped something truly innovative, or even better than the competition?

One of the ACs has it right. If you even have to ask the question, you deserve to end up at Microsoft.

Re:YMBFJ (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16422741)

And google is perfect?

They have a great advertizement program funding their search engine (along with the IPO money). Which search engine isn't as good as it used to be IMO. Too much results are from ebay/amazon/and linkfarms lately...

Other than those 2 things they've had for pretty much forever, what have they done that's overly impressive? gmail is OK... Google maps is pretty good. Video is so-so. But that's about it. Most of their other stuff was bought outright (like youtube, writely, etc). Some of it plain sucks (like their poor excuse for a spread), and besides their search (and perhaps gmail), the number of users is rather low... They just don't have many big successes.

In comparison, MS is no worse. Look at all the new exciting tech in the .NET Framework 3, Office 2007's new and very innovative UI, Vista's new techs (all kinds of), etc.

Also, they're a younger company, give 'em a few years and they'll be very much alike to MS and older companies.

This will be modded down into oblivion for going against the slashdot groupthink (M$ bashing), but still, consider it!

Newer company might have more room for advancement (5, Insightful)

kalidasa (577403) | about 8 years ago | (#16421481)

Google is still in its early days, and it has a reputation for innovation and intelligence (the same reputation that Microsoft had in the early 80s). If you like Google and stay for a long time, you might have a lot of room to move up the ladder. Microsoft is where IBM was in the 80s, but with cheaper tailors: they dominate the industry, but not the mind share, and it's a mature organization with less room for advancement.

innovation (1)

jamesh (87723) | about 8 years ago | (#16422031)

reputation for innovation and intelligence (the same reputation that Microsoft had in the early 80s).

I'm not sure that buying someone else's product and slapping your name on it is the sort of innovation the original poster had in mind...

If it were me, there would be some shame in admitting that I worked for Microsoft... but maybe that's just me. You could always tell people you are working to bring the system down from the inside.

Re:innovation (2, Informative)

WindBourne (631190) | about 8 years ago | (#16422257)

Yes, MS has and does operate that way. But back in the 80's, the company had the reputation as being innovative. Keep in mind that even today, many ppl on /. regard MS as innovative (they will be in another 5 years as their RD lab takes hold). I guess there a number of groups out there that will believe anything that they are fed and ignore the facts.

Re:innovation (1)

the_B0fh (208483) | about 8 years ago | (#16423417)

Bleh, you seem to be misremembering things. In the 80s, they were copying Apple. What's so innovative about DOS? The fact that it was bought from another company? What about things like Dr. Dos and all the others that were so much better? I'm actually curious to see if you can list things out from the 80s that can be considered innovative, from Microsoft.

Re:innovation (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 8 years ago | (#16423571)

You are speaking about the difference between is innovative and considered innovative. As I said, they HAD the reputation of being innovative; it does not mean that they were. Quite simply, people did not know better. And yes, it was in the rags that MS was innovative.

Re:innovation (2, Informative)

Kuciwalker (891651) | about 8 years ago | (#16422425)

I'm not sure that buying someone else's product and slapping your name on it is the sort of innovation the original poster had in mind...

Picasa? *cough*Writely*cough* Google Docs? YouTube?

Re:innovation (2, Interesting)

michrech (468134) | about 8 years ago | (#16423341)

I'm not sure that buying someone else's product and slapping your name on it is the sort of innovation the original poster had in mind...

Picasa? *cough*Writely*cough* Google Docs? YouTube? Gmail? Google maps? Google Earth? Google News? Google Pages? Google Talk?

Re:Newer company might have more room for advancem (0, Flamebait)

wpanderson (67273) | about 8 years ago | (#16422057)

Innovative? Intelligence? Pah. Microsoft were a box-shifter in the early 1980s, punting BASIC and Multiplan to any and all who would license it. "Hey, Radio Shack are about to release another crappy 8-bit computer without a programming language, we can sell BASIC for it! Hurrah! Next stop, the Commodore C128!" Windows was far from innovative at release, and Microsoft's dedicated R&D department wasn't created until 1991.

Google have constantly innovated, while Microsoft have consistently stood in the shadow of greater technology giants, pen and paper ready to take notes. MS may have financial muscle and market presence, but that surely shouldn't be the end-point of a career decision?

verb conjugation and pirates (2, Funny)

drakaan (688386) | about 8 years ago | (#16422289)

This is decidedly off-topic, but I had to try three times before I managed to get past "Microsoft were a..." and "Google have constantly...", etc.

As it's not talk like a pirate day, I am left with two possible explanations:

  • You dislike or have trouble with conjugating verbs
  • You *are* a pirate (imagining that made it possible to finish reading your post)

I'm hoping you be a pirate, mainly because I be lookin fer some software on the cheap...err, I mean booty, ARRRRR!!!

Re:verb conjugation and pirates (3, Informative)

Peter Cooper (660482) | about 8 years ago | (#16422435)

It's got nothing to do with conjugation.

"Microsoft were" and "Google have" assume that company names are collective nouns. This is common in non US English. "The government are" vs "The government is", etc. Not everyone here speaks US English.

Re:verb conjugation and pirates (2, Funny)

Morphine007 (207082) | about 8 years ago | (#16423663)

Not everyone here speaks US English.

... so Pirate English it is then... ;-)

Re:Newer company might have more room for advancem (1)

Nanpa (971527) | about 8 years ago | (#16422301)

So, Microsoft learns from others and makes it's own 'improvements', and that's a bad thing?

Re:Newer company might have more room for advancem (1)

kalidasa (577403) | about 8 years ago | (#16423263)

I wrote "the same reputation that Microsoft had in the early 80s." Reputation is a very slippery thing, and it does not have a very direct relationship to reality. Back in the early 80s the popular media was full of stories about how working at Microsoft was about only hiring very smart people, working a lot of 100 hour weeks, free junk food, pool tables, and pinball and video game machines in the work areas, lots of leeway to try new things, &c. That was the perception, and that perception helped people move on from Microsoft to great positions at other workplaces in the industry. Windows wasn't released until 1985, and soon after that (and in part because of that, and the obvious derivativeness of Windows -- most assumed it was directly and entirely derived from the Macintosh, not knowing the whole messy history), the perception of Microsoft had changed to the "We did it Second!" reputation it had until the Windows 3 "We Are Microsoft. You will be assimiliated." behemoth days.

If you ask me... (1)

Mad Merlin (837387) | about 8 years ago | (#16421485)

Just read my sig, I think it speaks for itself.

Alternatives (3, Funny)

digitalhermit (113459) | about 8 years ago | (#16421503)

There's a small company called SCO that you may be interested in. They used to make a Linux workalike called SCO OpenServer. It's almost the same as working at Microsoft, except without the gyms and free coffee.

Why? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 8 years ago | (#16422347)

Then he is working for MS and Sun only via Proxy.

Well, it might depend... (4, Insightful)

acvh (120205) | about 8 years ago | (#16421513)

...on what they each want you to do, and what you want to do. If you want to be the guy/girl who codes the next Excel interface (or more likely the one who chooses the next font for the Excel Help menu) go with Microsoft. If you want to develop applications that start with "g", go with Google.

Or, seriously, if you want/need a somewhat more traditional (all relative of course), go MSFT. If you want to be hip and work more flexibly, go GOOG. Google is obviously hot right now, but where exactly are they going? Will they survive and prosper through the Web 2.0 collapse? Microsoft, regardless of our personal opinions, has product, and cash. Lots of cash.

If I could offer a third alternative: skip them both for now and take a year off to walk across Tibet, or kayak down the Nile. You'll be working for the rest of your life. Do something fun with your youth.

Re:Well, it might depend... (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | about 8 years ago | (#16421913)

You must be kidding. "Choosing the next font for the Excel Help menu" is going to require at least 10 rounds of meetings with the development, marketing, tech writing and art departments.

Hence, go with Google.

Here is a real clue (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 8 years ago | (#16422369)

When was the last time that a nobody started a project for MS? It was back in the 80's. All the other items have come from Marketing and strategy groups. The days of a nobody geek developing a product for MS that they take to the market are LONG over (not that MS really had been innovative).

What about Xbox? (1)

jchenx (267053) | about 8 years ago | (#16424077)

When was the last time that a nobody started a project for MS? It was back in the 80's. All the other items have come from Marketing and strategy groups. The days of a nobody geek developing a product for MS that they take to the market are LONG over (not that MS really had been innovative).

Actually, I thought Xbox fit that model. It wasn't started by a "nobody" per say, but I'm pretty sure it was NOT through marketing or strategy. If anything, Bill and company had to be really convinced to dive into the console industry.

Unknown (1)

zztong (36596) | about 8 years ago | (#16421527)

There's no way to know other than to work for both for a year and then deciding, which you probably cannot do. There's so many factors that are involved and the interview process gives you very little information. Do you like the "mission" of the teams you would be joining? Will you get along with your co-workers? It may be that the real answer is that neither company is the best fit for you. There are bright people and good teams all over the world in all sorts of companies.

So crazy... (5, Interesting)

Feefers (985994) | about 8 years ago | (#16421627)

Tell both companies the other has noted in an interest in you working there and ask the question that most job interviewees hate; but not "Why should you work for us?" but "Why should I work for you?" It's the question they will be least expecting and the answer may be somewhat telling.

And when you get there... (1)

Threni (635302) | about 8 years ago | (#16421629)

...tea or coffee? I admit, these are tough choices.

Ask yourself a question - who do you want to work for?

Google, no question (4, Interesting)

blackjackshellac (849713) | about 8 years ago | (#16421657)

I've been working in the industry for 25 years and IMNSHO I would recommend that you take the job from google. Microsoft's business model is a dying entity, and with Vista in an eternal state of delay, history has shown that these sorts of companies have a very hard time of changing directions and coming around. This is not to say that Microsoft will not turn around, there's just a lot of momentum in the other direction, and it will take time for them to put the brakes on and come around. Enough with the metaphors.

Web 2.0 is almost certainly the future, and chances are very good that neither Google nor Microsoft will provide the first real web 2 killer app, but with google you'd be on the right side of the technological dividing line.

Go with google for a few years. And for some real fun, if you like working long hours, join a startup, cause thta's the only way to make big money, although your changes are only slightly better than winning the lottery.

Re:Google, no question (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | about 8 years ago | (#16421905)

Of course, Microsoft is adding new business faster than Google, but they are already so huge, it is difficult to notice. Take a look at absolute revenue growth. And that's with Vista 'in an eternal state of delay'.

Re:Google, no question (1)

pasamio (737659) | about 8 years ago | (#16423017)

People are still buying new computers. Most new computers if I'm not mistaken come with Windows XP preinstalled. Microsoft aren't losing a whole lot of money by not shipping Vista because they have a product already out there.

All that happens when Vista is released is a small spike with the Microsoft fan boys jumping on and buying a new PC and Vista Ultimate edition, and slowly it will trickle down to everyone else. Vista won't do what Windows 95 did - it won't be as big a shift and I don't expect people lined up in the night for it, all potential of that happening has passed.

Re:Google, no question (1)

eric76 (679787) | about 8 years ago | (#16422263)

I suspect that the only way Microsoft will be able to survive and prosper in the long run is if they break it up into a number of smaller companies, many of which may not last long.

The very size of the company not only gives it an "inertia" that makes it difficult to change, the very size and wealth of the company probably gives it a false sense of security and a feeling that it doesn't have to change.

Re:Google, no question (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | about 8 years ago | (#16423505)

What about Microsoft Games? Microsoft Hardware? Microsoft Software for Macintosh?

Even assuming that Office and Windows are going to crap, there's still a LOT in Microsoft to excite a new programmer. Microsoft Games is basically ruling the industry at the moment, Microsoft's Macintosh software is great, and their hardware is always top-notch. Microsoft is bigger than just Windows and Office.

My take (4, Insightful)

clickclickdrone (964164) | about 8 years ago | (#16421679)

I'd say Microsoft would be better for your CV, Google for your career. A subtle but important difference. In the early days you need a big safe 'corporate' name to gain credability, that would be MS. After that you need a firm like Google to actually allow you to grow and advance.
That said, If I was young, I'd go for Google but then I have zero career sense when it comes to myself.
I'm amazed that someone said MS got you the weekend off, I always got the impression they were hard workers and everyone there was burned out.

Yes, because... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16421899)

No one has ever heard of Google. You don't want an unknown name like that on your CV.

Come on.... (5, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | about 8 years ago | (#16421725)

If you have job offers from both Microsoft and Google, you're obviously orders of magnitude superior as a programmer to 99.99% of the dullards here. What the hell do you care what they think? Ask your professors if they can hook you up with some alumni who work at one company or the other and see what they say.

Re:Come on.... (1)

Patrik_AKA_RedX (624423) | about 8 years ago | (#16421903)

No the real reason why no one on /. gets a job offer from MS is because the HR-manager reads /., If they don't like your company, why bother sending them a job offer? The scary part is how he figures out your real name...

Re:Come on.... (5, Funny)

Daniel Boisvert (143499) | about 8 years ago | (#16422091)

The scary part is how he figures out your real name...
Any more info on that? I've always wondered how people on slashdot figured out my real name.

which group? (1)

mojorisin67_71 (238883) | about 8 years ago | (#16421733)

Does the group you are going to work in excite you?

It should be a small exicting group and people.

In large companies, work culture within different organisations
can differ.

Stupidest Ask Slashdot Evar (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16421751)

Yay I'm a cool guy with big name job offers and I can *ASK A MILLION DOUGH HEADS ON A WEB SITE WHICH ONE TO TAKE*. Grow the fuck up, please. If I were MS or Google and connected the dots to who you are I would withdraw the job offer immediately, no need for fucktards like you on the team.

Re:Stupidest Ask Slashdot Evar (1)

Morphine007 (207082) | about 8 years ago | (#16423719)

uh... oh... hey... did you hear that? *pauses* ... yup... I think that was the sound jealousy makes, kids...

You're kidding (5, Funny)

illuminatedwax (537131) | about 8 years ago | (#16421759)

You've already made up your mind by asking Slashdot in the first place. Obviously, you have some kind of wish to work with Google and not Microsoft. Similar questions include "should I get a job lobbying for the EFF or the RIAA?" and "should I invest in SCO or Red Hat?"

Third option (3, Insightful)

kjart (941720) | about 8 years ago | (#16421763)

Pick neither. If you can, try to find an interesting small company to work for. Having worked for both large and small companies I much prefer the atmosphere that you can only get in a more intimate work environment. It's only a matter of time before bureaucracy and HR catch up with Google, and I'm sure Microsoft is already there.

Easy (1)

div_2n (525075) | about 8 years ago | (#16421797)

By all accounts, Microsoft has become internally mired in middle management and ineffeciencies while also stagnating quite a bit in innovation if they ever had it to begin with. But that is another discussion altogether. Google is nimble, making waves and doing very exciting things.

So who do you want--the company that views the world as its domain or the company that views the world as a world of information and possibility?

You have to make this decision on your own (3, Interesting)

mzs (595629) | about 8 years ago | (#16421939)

But be very careful figuring how much it will cost you to live in the Redmond vs. Bay areas. Also consider how soon you could get married and have kids. It gets WAY more expensive to house a family in the Bay area.

What will you do? And after that? (2, Insightful)

Vokkyt (739289) | about 8 years ago | (#16421965)

What exactly does each company want you to do for them if you were to work for them? Are either going to drone you? Are either going to put you into a position where you are going to be able to have some freedom and personal satisfaction in your work? Job satisfaction, as well as life satisfaction, will be important. Which job looks as if it's going to allow you to really experience what you need in life? Which is going to allow you to grow as a person outside of work? (If that is a desired result, that is) Also, and I know this is trivial, which is going to offer you better benefits right away?

Go with the Expanding Company (1)

ogar572 (531320) | about 8 years ago | (#16422103)

Putting my dislike of Microsoft aside (but Bill is one heck of a Marketer), Google is expanding and setting the pace for everyone else to follow. Going to Microsoft, you might feel that you work for a company that is trying to keep up with someone else in some area of the industry (Apple with the IPod, Google with Search, etc).

Doh! (1)

peu (163472) | about 8 years ago | (#16422181)

You're asking this at the /. crowd?

What is your job? (5, Funny)

russ1337 (938915) | about 8 years ago | (#16422349)

You didnt say what your work area will be:

If you are a janitor, then pick the one with the least floor area.
If you are a security guard, Google is probably safer from disgruntled customers or workers going postal.
If you are a window cleaner, go with Google. I hear the chicks are hotter.
If you are a chef, go with Google, cos their food sounds pretty good.
If you are a maintenance tech, go with MSFT - rigid corporates are less likley to ride their scooters into the wall.
If you are a russian spy, work for MSFT. They are evil.
If you are an X-ray technician, WTF are you doing in IT....

That depends on a lot more than you think (3, Informative)

Thumper_SVX (239525) | about 8 years ago | (#16422623)

Microsoft's actually not one big monolithic Borg culture as Slashdot likes to jest. I have made many friends with Microsoft people over the years, and have one friend who works for Google. So, take what I'm about to say somewhat at face value; it's all second-hand information anyway.

Google might be a good place to work if you just really feel that their products and services are going to be part of the next big wave of technology. They are doing a lot of cool stuff with network computing which I think people failed to predict a few years ago, and they have a culture of "doing the cool stuff". However, they're a small company. Despite their significant resources, they are still as susceptible to the mood of the market as any other relatively small company. Sure, they can liquidate resources if they get in a pinch due to the whims of the marketplace, but to do so would invariably affect their deliverable services and drive more people away. That's a hard place to be and could lead to a devolution of Google within a very short timeframe. They've been lucky so far, and I have to admit I do like their products a lot. However, I don't pay for them. At least not directly.

Microsoft is a big company with deep pockets and wide reserves that can weather a storm in the economy much better than Google. Sure, again they can liquidate resources in a crunch but it would take an economic disaster far worse than the Dot Com crash to kill a company like Microsoft. We as the Open Source / Apple / Tech crowd might want to believe Microsoft will be beaten by , but that's not really going to happen any time soon.

Google has a monoculture. Sure, they're a small company doing some cool stuff but they're still quite focused on a particular market. When you work for Google, you work for the company. Microsoft surprisingly has many different cultures depending on where in Microsoft you work. Microsoft is not one company, not really. It's a gestalt entity that shares the umbrella name of "Microsoft", but each division is run differently by different people with different management styles and personalities. This makes sense because each division does something very different. Even different areas of the country provide different cultures; I find the Microsoft guys I work with and know in St. Louis are VERY different from the Microsoft friends of mine in New York, at least in terms of business. They work differently, they think differently.

Bear in mind also that a job at Microsoft doesn't tie you to Redmond. You can pretty much work anywhere in the world. Last I checked, Google is in SF and that's about it. Bear that in mind; at Microsoft you can transfer your job to any of the other communities where they perform that function. Especially Microsoft Consulting Services... you can pretty much pick your location after you've been at MS for 6 months to a year and really proven yourself.

On the down side, I do know that Google tends to be an easy-going work environment, though with a veiled sense of pressure. Employees are subtly pressured to work far beyond 40 hours a week and thus it's not a good career in my opinion for someone with a family or someone intending to start a family. However, it *is* a fun place to work with lots of dynamic individuals who work hard but also play hard. Microsoft... well it depends where you work. There are fewer chances for advancement within Microsoft because people do tend to stay there. That also to my mind speaks to how good Microsoft actually are to work for; people tend to start there and stay there. However, the chances to "make it big with MS Stock" are over and have been for years. There may still be room for Google millionaires for real rock-star employees... MS... less so. However, the lack of advancement in my opinion is more than made up for by the flexibility of work location I mentioned previously.

I have to say that those friends of mine who work for Microsoft really enjoy their work. Many of them are as much of a geek as I am... running Linux and Vista on their laptops because they can, geeking out on the latest in cellphone technologies, discussing the relatively merits of MP3 players hitting the market (and many of them own iPods despite what some might tell you). You name it, they're human just like the rest of us. They're also well paid and well compensated when they're good at what they do. My friend at Google... well I don't get to talk to him much because he's always working. I get to talk to his wife via IM quite often, and when I do see him online he's often too tired from pulling another all nighter. However, he *is* very happy at his job and loves what he does. However, I couldn't do it. I have two kids who are my world and I can't work those kind of hours any more. Maybe 10 years ago... and I DID work those kind of hours ten years ago... but these days 50 hours a week is my limit. Even then... probably not.

Congratulations on having both options open to you. Hopefully my feedback will help you make a decision. If you want a dynamic and fast-moving career that can change in a heartbeat... Google is for you. It will be a fun ride, and there's no mistaking that. However, if you want stability and predictability... not to mention flexibility (depending on the division you'd be working for) then Microsoft's your best bet. Myself, I'd pick Microsoft... but I can't make that decision for you.

If you want to discuss further, you can always email or im me... my id at is the same as my slash ID.

Re:That depends on a lot more than you think (2, Insightful)

whatnotever (116284) | about 8 years ago | (#16423457)

Last I checked, Google is in SF and that's about it.

Well, last I checked [] ...

Sailing in fair weather or foul? (1)

mysticgoat (582871) | about 8 years ago | (#16422765)

I've no direct experience with either company. But this much seems obvious: as the Vista and VOffice roll-outs begin, much of Microsoft's resources are going to be turned from these major development projects to other things. There will be a lot of reassignment of duties, especially at the team leader level-- the people who will have the most influence on your daily work environment as a new hire. In other institutions I have personally seen how this leads to an increase in the amount of hidden, personal agenda crap that people bring into their jobs-- and this definitely affects the quality of the work experience. If you see the workplace as a corporate jungle ruled by tooth and claw, then you might enjoy this kind of environment and do well in it. OTOH, be wary of the friendly overtures of others for it can be hard to tell the person who is looking for mutual support from the person who intends to use you as a support as they try to step over to what they really want.

In contrast, Google's near-term future looks pretty stable: continued refinement of GOffice, Google Earth, and similar projects with no major shifts in corporate emphasis in sight. Combined with other things I have heard about Google's management style, it sounds like the Google environment currently promotes cooperation and community values among its staff, and that this is likely to continue for a few years.

Keep in mind that the most important thing you will get out of your first job is the social network you develop with your peers and immediate supervisors. These contacts can have more impact on the first decade of your career than any other thing.

Brilliant! (0, Redundant)

alexo (9335) | about 8 years ago | (#16423093)

Title says: Microsoft or Google?
Icon says: Sony


I'm surprised... (1)

kabocox (199019) | about 8 years ago | (#16423111)

I'm surprised at how rational most of these posts that I've read in this thread are! I was expecting to see a long string of posts bad mouthing the MS corporate culture at every turn and praising Google at every chance. I've seen posts that actually rationally compare the working environment, the actual corporate culture, and what factors this guy should use to make his decision. Most of the best posts that I've read state that Google is a workaholic company at the moment, but with lots lof long term potential to move up. In similiar posts MS apparently has a more long term healthy attitude in expecting their employees to have a life outside of work though their mature company and advancement would be what's normal for a large company.

Honestly reading the topic, I think that that guy should make up his own mind and not ask slashdot unless he wanted our opinions about some of the actual corporate environment rather than what was shown to him during interviews. What's really ironic is that likely the folks at both Google and MS are reading this thread and mentally comparing their work places. We need to have slashdot poll for those that work for google, those that work directly at MS, those that are MS contractors, those that are employeed in the IT field and actually work with employees from either company, IT people in general, hey I read slashdot and would like to be employeed in the IT field in the US at any employer, and my job was outsourced to India or downsided to make room for these new cheaper grads you so I'm pissed at the guy for being offered my old job for less money.

The fact that you're wondering (1)

wonkavader (605434) | about 8 years ago | (#16423167)

The fact that you're wondering which to work at means you should work at Microsoft. I'm not going to clarify why. You'll figure it out. Or you won't. But you're way past old enough to know why already, and you don't.

You'll be happier at Microsoft.

Hmm... (1)

chowdy (992689) | about 8 years ago | (#16423383)

"Google or Microsoft" hmm? Why don't you just google it?

Depends on your priorities in life (2, Informative)

c0d3h4x0r (604141) | about 8 years ago | (#16423531)

If you are one of those people who "lives to work", has no ambitions of settling down or starting a family, isn't risk-averse, and likes Arnold Schwarzenegger and the laid-back stoner-headed culture of California, then pick Google.

If you are one of those people who "works to live", has a family or plans to start one, prefers the stability of a company that focuses on revenue and profit over being an R&D lab, and likes being surrounded by polite but anal-retentive liberal environmentalist organic vegans, then pick Microsoft.

The myths you hear about "mandatory overtime" at Microsoft are bullshit. I work there as a developer, and I can tell you that the amount of overtime people put in varies depending upon what group they choose to work in and how efficient (or not) they are at getting their work done quickly. There are very few times of year when I have to put in more than the typical 40-hour work-week. Of course, some people I know who are working on Vista are putting in tons of late hours these days. So it varies a lot. I suppose the same is true at Google -- lots of variation, depending on what you choose to work on, your working efficiency, and the culture of the group you choose.

Depends on a lot of things (1)

tttonyyy (726776) | about 8 years ago | (#16423667)

How much do you value your free time and do you have a girlfriend? Do you want to keep her? Is salary important or is job satisfaction?

I very much doubt you will find a cut and dry answer to your question here.

Try to find out about both companies and the culture as much as possible. Don't be afraid to ask - it shows you're interested and enthusiastic.

There's two polar ways to work, and I've experienced both:

- The jobs where you're above it and life is easy, and you have lots of free time.

- At the other end, the jobs where you're key to the project, spend massive amounts of time on it with no end in sight, travelling the world and feeling important (whether you really are or not is irrelivent).

The first is easy, but gets very boring. The latter is great if you love being at work and don't have a family or other commitments. I do have a family, and it was only fun for a short while.

For me, the balance was in the middle, which happily I've found. Where you sit on the scale is entirely up to you - but it does sound like Google is on the crazy end and Microsoft is a bit towards the other end.

Your choice. Make an informed decision.

Which will not make you ashamed ? (1)

Programmer_In_Traini (566499) | about 8 years ago | (#16423847)

I've read pretty good advices but I think you should also consider this...

If you had to state out loud in front of 2k people whom you work for, which company would make you proud enough to yell that you work for them ? without making you want to hide under the rug.

Because in the end, you have to like your job, you have to be able to embrace the company's goals and methods.

Don't aim at which job will give you the most $$$ or which one will get your career advance faster. Things come in due time when you do them right. If both companies appeals to you, then go for the best offer. If you don't like the way Google do things then go for MS - or vice versa. If none of them appeals to you, turn down both of 'em. If THEY want you, chances are you are qualified enough to get a job wherever YOU want.
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