Memo Shows How the Google Half Lives

Ann All

With Google sitting atop this year's "100 best companies to work for" list put out by Fortune magazine and the tech industry's insatiable curiosity about all things Google -- not to mention people's general fondness for the forbidden -- it's no surprise that a purportedly leaked internal Microsoft memo about Google has captured the collective fancy of the blogosphere.


The memo, allegedly authored by a Microsoft manager, contains insights said to be gleaned from a Microsoft employee who also put in some time at the Googleplex.


The memo describes a work environment in which Google provides much of life's basic necessities -- food, transportation, clothing -- in exchange for a work day not constrained by a traditional clock. Turns out that "most" employees don't take advantage of one of Google's most vaunted benefits: the freedom to spend 20 percent of their time working on their own ideas.


Key pluses, according to the memo: free gourmet food and dedicated IT support facilities called "tech stops" -- complete with spare parts -- on every floor of every building. Though few companies would feel comfortable with such a decentralized IT structure, it boosts camaraderie and productivity at Google.


Minuses include lower salaries and fewer traditional benefits than found at Microsoft, a convoluted management structure and a lack of private office space.


For more "insider" insights, this Tasty Research blog post collects the thoughts of a Yahoo employee who interned at both Microsoft and Google.

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