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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

Whether you’re thinking about working at a big tech company or just are interested about the inner cultures of places like Amazon and Microsoft, there’s a website similar to Yelp that provides an inside look at some of the biggest corporations in the country.

Glassdoor hosts a load of information on job compensation and company reviews. One of the more interesting parts about the site are the company reviews written by employees and they certainly say a lot about company culture.

Here are some examples of what employees think about working at Amazon and Microsoft, two of the biggest corporations in Seattle. Note that Jeff Bezos has an 87 percent approval rating, while Steve Ballmer has just a 46 percent approval rating (that’s up from 29 percent one year ago).

You can see all of reviews for Amazon and Microsoft at Glassdoor.


Pros: “everybody is pushing for the same goals centered on the customer (big difference with Microsoft). Promotions are gated by well written promo guidelines with focus on delivery, and impact, not on internal politics. People spend less time campaigning for their own promotions (seen cons). Much better healthy relationships between teams/orgs/people. TOP performers are heavily compensated.”

Cons: “Less levels than at MS, hence promotions are farther apart. Most individual contributor job families only have 4 levels (junior, mid, senior, principal) with very few people in the upper two levels.
Big raise on promotion happen less frequently. Average raises for the average people. Most people from MS usually come at one level down (principal -> senior, senior lead to MGR III).”

— Amazon Manager (who reportedly previously worked at Microsoft) (Seattle, WA)

Pros: “If you work for an influential technology department at Amazon, it is a fantastic place to learn what it means to launch a business from the ground up – from the inception of an idea to getting a public launch across the finish line.”

Cons: Performance reviews are less about your actual contribution at the workplace than they are about managerial opinions about your leadership skills and growth potential.”

— Amazon Program Manager III (Seattle, WA)

Pros: “You’re always going to have opportunities to grow within the company. You have a great way to gain experience through mentor-ships. Amazon has a very casual work environment.”

Cons: “Amazon is a very frugal company, therefore no free lunches daily. Restaurants around campus are somewhat expensive. No free Amazon Prime or Kindle Fires.

— Amazon Digital Specialist (Seattle, WA)


Pros: “Great pay and benefits, great technology.”

Cons: “Top heavy, everyone trying to get to high level jobs instead of doing their jobs. Higher levels taking credit for work done by their employees. Very internally focused, MS competes more internally than it does externally.”

— Microsoft General Manager (Seattle, WA)

Pros: “Good benefits, stability, 40 hours per week work.”

Cons: “Hard to truly impact product decisions, review process is tricky”

— Microsoft Senior Software Engineer Development In Test (Redmond, WA)

Pros: “Great access to latest technology, you get all the tools you need. Excellent challenges, always keeps you busy. Sounds like a cliché, but you get the chance to work on products used by everyone.”

Cons: “Culture is definitely changing. It’s up to you to “manage your career” and find good work-life balance.”

— Microsoft Director of Product Marketing (Redmond, WA)

Glassdoor landed $20 million in new funding from DAG Ventures; Benchmark Capital, Sutter Hill Ventures and Battery Ventures in October. Total funding now stands at $42.2 million. The Sausalito, Calif.-based company is growing rapidly, with 13 million unique visitors checking out the website each month.

You can check out thousands of other company reviews at the site, including Seattle’s own Expedia, F5 Network and Limelight Networks.

Previously on GeekWire: Facebook is the best place to work; Steve Ballmer, Amazon enjoy better approval ratings

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