Competition for tech talent in the Seattle area is fierce, and Amazon and Microsoft are the heavyweights in this fight. Many professionals find themselves torn between the two companies, asking a question whose answer is shrouded in rumor and myth: Which is a better place to work?
A second-year MBA student with a job offer from Amazon turned to Reddit for the answer, and he got one.
In fact, more than 70 people have commented on the thread to share advice. The majority of answers offered qualifiers and pros and cons for each company. However, of those who took a side, Microsoft was the clear winner. Nine respondents firmly recommended the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant. Just one chose Amazon.
Amazon’s reputation has taken a hit in recent years. The company is tight-lipped about its inner workings, which creates an opening for others to fill in the blanks. The New York Times took a crack at it, publishing a scathing exposé about the Seattle e-commerce giant’s “bruising” culture.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and several employees responded to the article, saying it did not reflect company they know. Former White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, who now serves as Amazon’s VP of Global Corporate Affairs, published a Medium article questioning the legitimacy of the Times story. Still, the workhorse reputation is pervasive.
It’s difficult to draw an apples-to-apples comparison between Amazon and Microsoft. The latter has been around much longer. In its early days, Microsoft had a lot in common with the Amazon of today, with a hard-driving culture. On the Reddit thread, a few former Microsoft employees touch on that period of the company’s life, but most commenters focus on Microsoft’s new era, led by CEO Satya Nadella.
“Culturally speaking, Microsoft is really different than when I worked there before the MBA,” writes one commenter. “With Satya at the helm of the ship, the sniping, competitiveness, and political infighting that plagued Microsoft has largely subsided.”
Here’s a round-up of comments that provide a window into the culture and atmosphere of the Seattle-area’s two biggest tech companies:
“Currently work for Microsoft. Benefits are unreal and culture is crazy good and Satya is kinda a jobs meets Google meets India.” — Mattw242
“Also working at MS, and very unhappy with some of Satya’s decisions. Sure, the stock price is going up, but at the expense of many consumer plays that’ll keep the company more relevant and popular in the long term.” — Shadowthunder
“A job at Amazon has the ability to open doors and grow you in ways you didn’t know possible, but it goes only as far as your team and your manager. My first role here confirmed all those rumors and stereotypes about the company, my second role has me not wanting to work anywhere else.” — SeattleGunner
“My main piece of advice is to really consider whether you want to be looking for a new job 2-3 years after graduating, because you likely won’t want to stay at Amazon. Or, do you want to be in a well paying, stable job/trajectory that gives you the freedom to focus on other life priorities (buying a house, having kids, etc…).” — Jhelly99
“Culture wise, Amazon really depends on the team. I’ve heard retail teams are crap, but AWS, Amazon Publishing, Amazon Studios, Amazon Instant Video, Prime Air, etc. have a more startup like culture. There was a NYTimes article about people being bullied so much they were crying at their desks. This turned into a meme of sorts, because I’m sure those cases were egregious and not the norm. The constant reciting of the leadership principles is kind of culty.
Culturally speaking, Microsoft is really different than when I worked there before the MBA. With Satya at the helm of the ship, the sniping, competitiveness, and political infighting that plagued Microsoft has largely subsided. Really excited about the prospects for what they want to do in the future.” — FactOfMatter