Google, Microsoft, Reality

September 18, 2005

I am a little annoyed by this story in Business Week. Although factually correct about many things, it paints a very skewed picture of the situation for most employees. Frankly, I think it is a little insulting to many of us that work at Microsoft.

It is never a good thing when a company loses valuable and productive employees, but it is also not good for the company to keep people that are completely out of alignment with the current state of the organization. The best superstar employee might not be the right person for the job, and sometimes they can cause more harm than good when they stick around.

Yes, Microsoft has made some changes to the benefit package. However, the benefit package is already so much better than 95% of the companies in America that is is trivial in the grand scheme of things. Unfortunately, many of the employees at Microsoft have never worked in another industry or had to realize that the benefits we get are amazing by the standards of most working Americans. People are up in arms because the company wants them to get generics instead of name brands? Give me a break. Go take a look at the cost of health care for the poor, the elderly, even the working middle class in this country. Go take a look at the health care itself in other countries. Now see if I have a single iota of sympathy because someone has to pay $40 for a name brand scrip instead of $0 for the equivalent generic. Yes, that is correct, $0 co-pay for prescriptions.

Microsoft is a $40 Billion company with 60,000 employees. If anyone thinks that Google will be able to continue to offer the salaries and bonuses they are currently offering 10 years from now they are really out of touch with the realities of corporate finances and growth. You can be as idealistic as you want, but the harsh reality is that no company in history can maintain such high double-digit growth forever. The economics of it just don’t work (do the math — do you really think Google is going to be bigger than Wal-Mart 15 years from now?).

I may not love everything about Microsoft, but I am never forgot just how good a package I have. I would love to make more money; who wouldn’t? But, I value stability and consistency and a future of real opportunity more than anything else.

For the record, I have worked at Microsoft for less than 3 years, so I am not a long-timer sitting on a fat stack of stock. I have also worked at enough start-ups to know exactly how that model works. I have made lots of money on any IPO but have had far more worthless options come and go.

Good luck to Google. I hope they are very successful.

I already know Microsoft is successful and has stood the test of 30 years.

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One comment

  1. I wish they understood the cost of healthcare too. And how fortunate they are to have the coverage they do…it is an extremely rich benefit.

    The wife, who works in the health insurance industry.

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