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2008 July 08 : Positive Peace

There are millions of differences. I work at Google and often (un)willingly use Microsoft products every day. Once upon a time I didn’t know about GNU-Linux and I actually liked Windows. I still prefer to use Excel. I am not an extremist, but do not really like Microsoft and I absolutely love Google, I loved it even before I started working here. In fact, what got me through in the interviews must be the passion and the industry info. But, I digress.

Coming back to the title of the post. I was having a conversation about spirituality with a friend’s cousin. I had no clue she worked for Microsoft. She was at my desk at work and we had a really good conversation. So, the first myth that I had in my head about Microsoft people being snobs has disappeared.

However, later when we were dining, I got to know that she works for Microsoft and I was shocked. Visibly shocked! After about 10 minutes, I recovered and started talking about what she does at Microsoft and how can she work at Microsoft and I even said, have you sold your soul to the devil? She replies, she is doing more damage to Microsoft by actually working for it.

She happened to mention a product she was working on and used the phrase, “feedback from our clients & customers”… this is exactly where the difference lies. Did you miss it? Read again, “feedback from our CLIENTS & CUSTOMERS.” At Google it is “feedback from our USERS.”

This is ingrained in the psyche and heart of every Googler. Users and User Experience. We always care for what will be best for the user. We have writings on the wall which say, “Focus on the USER and all else will follow.” Google makes products for its USERS and delivers it for free. Microsoft on the other hand makes products to sell them to its CUSTOMERS and also to compete with other companies. User experience is usually not a priority. They might have a specialist team focusing on user experience, but it is not in the heart of the developers and the employees.

That one phrase that I heard, helped me understand Microsoft better and put the company and its people in perspective. I almost feel that there is nothing wrong with Microsoft, they are simply doing business, they are really good at it. At the same time Google is different. Google is not a business enterprise. We(Googlers) are here for the user.

Now you know the one big difference.

PS: Blogging is important at Google and peers wait even past 10.45pm to let their friend finish posting.

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