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Some Developers Leaving Google For Microsoft 685

Posted by kdawson
from the turning-tide-or-momentary-reversal dept.
recoiledsnake writes "We have heard about lots of talented developers jumping ship from Microsoft to Google, but is the trend beginning to turn? Dare Obasanjo (a Microsoft employee) writes about a few high-profile people picking Microsoft over Google — either making the jump directly, or choosing Microsoft after receiving offers at both. Sergey Solyanik is back to Microsoft and he primarily gripes about the culture and lack of career development at Google. He writes, 'Everything is pretty much run by [engineering] — PMs and testers are conspicuously absent from the process. Google as an organization is not geared — culturally — to delivering enterprise class reliability to its user applications.' Danny Thorpe, who was the key architect of Google Gears, is back at Microsoft for his second stint working on developer technologies related to Windows Live."
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Some Developers Leaving Google For Microsoft

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  • Re:Cost of Living? (Score:2, Informative)

    by lazyDog86 (1191443) on Monday June 30, 2008 @06:57PM (#24008825)
    Well Google does offer employment in Seattle as well. And if you don't like the rain, how about Santa Monica? Or, if you want even more seasonal choices, how about Boulder?

    Man, that just sounds like an ad. Not really what I was after.

    Anyway, yeah, I agree any are about a billion times better than Silicon Valley and you still could be working for Google if that's what floats your boat.
  • Re:Cost of Living? (Score:3, Informative)

    by stewbacca (1033764) on Monday June 30, 2008 @07:00PM (#24008891)
    The fact I can afford a house on a software engineer's salary in Seattle, but not San Francisco? They both have crappy weather, so everything else equal, Seattle wins. Plus, growing up in Oregon, I have an ingrained hatred towards anything California.
  • Re:Is that so? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew AT gmail DOT com> on Monday June 30, 2008 @07:11PM (#24009031) Homepage Journal

    Labels aren't better than folders?

    Labels can functionally completely replace folders, and surpass them.

  • Re:Is that so? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew AT gmail DOT com> on Monday June 30, 2008 @07:24PM (#24009175) Homepage Journal

    Let me restate myself.

    They can seamlessly, easily and completely replace folders. You used to put items in folders. Put labels on them and archive. It is the same thing, but even better, now one mail can have multiple labels which solves the dilemma of where to file it.

    There are also extensions I've seen to have sub-labels that operate the way sub-folders do if you really want an old school nest. Technically you don't need extensions for this, but it helps the appearance for those who want to hide sub-folders/labels until you navigate to them.

  • Re:Cost of Living? (Score:5, Informative)

    by DrEldarion (114072) on Monday June 30, 2008 @07:28PM (#24009209)

    Crappy weather? The south bay area, where Google is located, is widely considered to have some of the most consistently pleasant weather of anywhere in the US. It's 70-85 and sunny for 3/4ths of the year.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 30, 2008 @07:41PM (#24009361)
    Actually at Microsoft there are two uses of PM. The most commonly used one is in the development organization where PM = Program Manager. Program Mangers generally have several developers working under them and the PM's "own" one or more (usually more) features. As one goes up in the chain, they can be a Lead PM, Senior PM, or Group PM.

    The other common use is "Product Manager" and that is in the Marketing organization.
  • Re:Cost of Living? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 30, 2008 @07:42PM (#24009377)

    RE the gas thing about Oregon: If you don't specify, they'll fill you up with Super. Keep that in mind if you ever drive through Oregon. Especially nowdays.

  • Re:Cost of Living? (Score:4, Informative)

    by mrwonton (456172) on Monday June 30, 2008 @07:43PM (#24009381) Homepage

    It's not necessarily all about location... Microsoft's 2nd largest dev center (and in the interest of full disclosure, where I work) is less than a mile from the Googleplex, in sunny Mtn. View, CA. Much of Windows Live is developed here.

  • by Vexorian (959249) on Monday June 30, 2008 @07:54PM (#24009535)
    Guy moves to microsoft, article explains how this manages to be the ultimate proof Microsoft is better than google. I guess it qualifies as stuff that matters...
  • Re:Is that so? (Score:2, Informative)

    by shitzu (931108) on Monday June 30, 2008 @08:04PM (#24009645)

    Gmail: no folders? WTF is with that? Labels are not like folders, and they're not better.

    Hmm - i propose an experiment to you. Apply some labels to some mails in Gmail. Now set up an IMAP client to connect to Gmail inbox. Uh oh - what do you know - they are not only 'like folders' they 'are' folders.

  • Re:Is that so? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew AT gmail DOT com> on Monday June 30, 2008 @08:04PM (#24009651) Homepage Journal

    Yes you can. You need to read the post immediately above you.

    First, you can create a label that you only use beneath another one.

    Secondly, there are extensions that allow nesting to operate in a more traditional sense, where you navigate to sub-labels.

  • Re:Cost of Living? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 30, 2008 @08:07PM (#24009673)

    Having lived in Seattle for seven years and the bay area for one, I'll back up stewbacca. The bay has a lot to offer, so long as you live in SF or Berkeley to Oakland, but it costs you a lot of time, money or safety - or some combination of the three - compared with Seattle.

    The public transportation is better in SF, in that it goes more places and runs more often, but I've ended up sitting next to semi-wet blood a few times. In Seattle, I could go to any neighborhood I desired to at any time of night, whereas here there are places I wouldn't venture by myself past a certain time. Condos are the only choice in SF and houses don't get affordable until the bars are on the doors or you live a long ways away from nightlife (and the BART closes around midnight). I've had more things stolen here in a year than my seven years in Seattle. Plus, you pay state income taxes in CA while having only around a 0.5% discount on sales tax. Rockridge (in Oakland) is the closest thing I've found to Seattle out here, and it's both more expensive than similar Seattle neighborhoods and has more crime - and you can walk the wrong direction and end up where you really don't want to end up (as I did recently).

    That said, I understand Google does provide shuttle service into the city, so commuting should take a long time but you'll be able to use it for other purposes. SF & the bay area certainly has more people - it's been much easier to get dates out here - and more entertainment, better distributed throughout the city (except for larger concerts, which are often out in the boonies). The winters aren't as severe here, though the summers aren't as good and the air isn't as clear. There's more and better public transportation, but the MUNI (buses in SF) system can be a disturbing experience - I've already had multiple incidents involving relatively fresh blood next to me, though after the first time I was always much more careful looking where I was about to sit.

    I can understand why some people wouldn't want to put up with Seattle winters, and I also know some people are more oriented towards suburban living, but for me Seattle seems to be a much better deal overall. I wouldn't mind living here a couple of more years, but I think I'll end up spending much of my later life in Seattle - or maybe Portland - after doing some more traveling and trying out a few other cities.

  • by naoursla (99850) on Monday June 30, 2008 @08:30PM (#24009879) Homepage Journal

    PM = Project Manager. It is an engineer whose job is to understand what customers need and write the product specifications to meet those needs. But they don't have anymore authority than the SDE's (software development engineers). There is back and forth communication between PM's and SDE's (software development engineers) on the specification.

  • Re:Is that so? (Score:2, Informative)

    by morgan_greywolf (835522) * on Monday June 30, 2008 @08:35PM (#24009925) Homepage Journal

    Don't you think a more intelligent solution would be to offer both labels AND folders? You may not see or understand why some people would rather have real folders instead of some half-baked solution that kind of do the job, but your own limitations should not impose any solution to other people. If the problem is "we didn't have the resource to do it" then I can understand it, otherwise it just shows incompetence.

    Solution: Get Thunderbird or [insert your favorite mail client here] and point it at GMail's servers. You can use either POP or IMAP, and you can use it in addition to, rather than instead of, GMail's (rather excellent, IMHO) Web UI.

    I should also point out that the filters and labels approach Gmail uses is not unlike the 'virtual folders' aka 'saved searches' approach in Evolution or Outlook.

  • Re:Is that so? (Score:2, Informative)

    by joelwyland (984685) on Monday June 30, 2008 @08:53PM (#24010085)

    Seriously, have you tried to manage a gmail account with several hundred of labels? With a real hierarchical organization (read folder) it can be done

    Why on earth do you need several hundred labels? The point of GMail is that the search is far more powerful than any other mail client ever. You don't need to organize everything into a hierarchy, because it can be searched for and found in 3 words or less almost every time. GMail isn't trying to emulate folders with a "half-baked" label implementation. You are trying to trying to force GMail to behave like out-dated mail clients, so really... your hundreds of labels are the "half-baked" solution.

  • by dedazo (737510) on Monday June 30, 2008 @08:54PM (#24010089) Journal

    Exchange = Any SMTP server w/ IMAP service.

    If you have no idea what Exchange is and how it's used, why even bother with coming up with a clever "replacement"?

    Ditto for your other ones... seriously, you have no bloody clue what group policy is, do you? I'm continually amazed at how people actually swallow what sites like Slashdot tell them. It's a bit like Fox News. You know they're full of it, but sometimes you still watch it, for the comedy relief. But you know the real world is much different.

  • Re:Cost of Living? (Score:5, Informative)

    by mrkitty (584915) on Monday June 30, 2008 @09:04PM (#24010171) Homepage
    Facts
    - Seattle average home cost - 400kish
    - Bay area home cost - 600-650kish
    - WA state taxes - 0
    - CA state taxes - pwned paycheck
  • Re:Is that so? (Score:3, Informative)

    by NNKK (218503) <nknight@runawaynet.com> on Monday June 30, 2008 @09:06PM (#24010185) Homepage

    Actually, let's _really_ generalize it properly.

    * Any object should be able to have an arbitrary number of 'links' to any other object (and we've just implemented an object-oriented database, but that's just outside the scope of this discussion).
    * Labels are objects.
          * Labels can therefore have links to other labels.
    * Messages are objects.
          * Therefore labels can have links to messages (and/or vice-versa, this gets into implementation details that aren't really important here).
          * (And messages can have links to other messages, we've just implemented threading, but again, outside the scope of this discussion.)
    * Therefore, a label can contain links to messages as well as other labels. This can be infinitely nested.

    Fully representing this in a standard tree is, of course, impossible (loops), but one could fake it pretty well if the user cooperates (which they presumably would if they were that desperate to keep to their existing UI paradigms for representing folders). There are UI tricks one could implement and make available to the user to make it easier to not screw up (and detecting loops and sticking an "Error" node on the tree explaining what happened is not overly difficult, either).

    What this amounts to is that with a proper generalization and UI treatment, it becomes perfectly possible to implement the concept of "folders" in a system that only understands "labels". There is nothing about the concept of labels that precludes this.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 30, 2008 @09:07PM (#24010197)

    You'd think an 18,000 person company would be able to release a finished project once in a while.

    ...said the parrot developer :-o

  • Re:Is that so? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew AT gmail DOT com> on Monday June 30, 2008 @10:24PM (#24010775) Homepage Journal

    I've been using Gmail since the beta first launched. I have thousands of emails and labels work just fine for me. Perhaps it is a matter of good vs. poor organizational skills. I use Outlook at work with folders and detest them. The search functionality in Outlook is slow, and I find as numbers scale up labels become a better alternative. With 4 folders you know where everything is. With 200 folders, you don't know where everything is. Label = instantly find what you're looking for, especially with multiple labels.

    You can also auto-label incoming email.

    Create Filter

    Step 1 - Select criteria, any criteria.
    Step 2 - Select "Apply label"

    There you go.

  • Re:Cost of Living? (Score:5, Informative)

    by MBGMorden (803437) on Monday June 30, 2008 @10:46PM (#24010971)

    Indeed, it is illegal for a customer to pump gas in Oregon. Supposedly, gasoline is considered too toxic and dangerous for mere mortals to touch, and so it must be pumped and handled by highly trained staff (you know, that guy who dropped out of school in the 9th grade and you didn't see again).

  • by Orion Blastar (457579) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {ratsalbnoiro}> on Monday June 30, 2008 @10:52PM (#24011025) Homepage Journal

    Windows Live is Microsoft's attempt at making their version of Google Apps/Pack except that it works with MSN, Hotmail, MSN Messenger, OneCare and other Microsoft services instead of Google, GMail, Google Earth, GTalk, and Norton Security Scan and Spyware Doctor.

  • by damiam (409504) on Monday June 30, 2008 @11:20PM (#24011241)
  • Re:Right.... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Lincolnshire Poacher (1205798) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @02:57AM (#24012583)

    > Screw that. I want miranda-class reliability.

    To be really pedantic, the Reliant was of the Avenger class.

    Miranda was a TNG-era abomination that was then retrospectively
    applied to prior vessels, despite five years of publications to
    the contrary. Just another example of Okuda Revisionism.

  • Re:Is that so? (Score:4, Informative)

    by CTachyon (412849) <chronos AT chronos-tachyon DOT net> on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @03:15AM (#24012667) Homepage

    As a fairly new Google employee, who is now bound by NDAs and thus probably can't say anything about our development process, I have chosen an alternate means of expression:

    ... and I doubt that many write unit tests.

    *grumble*

    *grumble* *grumble*

    *grumble* *grumble* *grumble*

    This concludes the unit test of the Emergency Grumbling System.

  • Re:Is that so? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Alphager (957739) <florian@haas.gmail@com> on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @03:48AM (#24012841) Homepage Journal

    Where testers don't get to touch it until it's ready for testing?

    The later a bug is found the costlier it is to fix it. And if your projects run late (who are we kidding: WHEN your projects run late) the first two things to be cut down are documentation and testing. Do daily automated testing and you find many errors before they become critical.

  • Re:Is that so? (Score:3, Informative)

    by speedtux (1307149) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @03:54AM (#24012881)

    Maybe it's just a functionality problem. Can you auto-label incoming email?

    Yes. That's what the "Create a filter" link is for.

    Can you filter your inbox depending on the label?

    Yes. That's what the "Create a filter" link is for.

  • Re:Is that so? (Score:3, Informative)

    by speedtux (1307149) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @04:00AM (#24012905)

    This is what I want. I want to log into gmail, and only see my new messages. I want my old messages put away, IN FOLDERS. Storage for me to refer to later.

    Click on All, then Archive to move your mail from your INBOX to the archive.

    You can also move things to the archive automatically with the "Create a filter" option.

    Or, if your really just want to see unread, new messages, type "is:unread in:inbox" into the search box, then bookmark the resulting and use that as your start page for reading mail.

    Or, you can just use an IMAP client.

  • Re:In other news (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @04:34AM (#24013083)

    Larry and Sergey don't seem like the chair throwing type...I'd be surprised if they could even lift one of the gold-plated Aerons they probably have in their office.

    No they don't have those, but you probably shouldn't give them ideas on what to do with their spare money. The real Sergey waits in line for burritos or salads just like me (I've waited in line with him), Larry has held a door open for me, and Eric Schmidt gets his own coffee, from the same type of machine that I do. Oh yeah, and Eric's office is half the size of mine (though he doesn't share his). And I'm just a run-of-the-mill dev, and a new one at that. It's frankly inspiring how little company money those guys waste compared to the usual CEO/founder/etc.

    All of the crazy stuff you hear about (airplanes, space trips) is them spending their own money, which is theirs, so I don't care how they spend it. Most of us would do the same things if we had that kind of money.

  • by Trepidity (597) <.gro.hsikcah. .ta. .todhsals-muiriled.> on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @06:02PM (#24022781)

    During the late-70s/early-80s anti-tax crusade (during which Reagan was ascendant), Proposition 13 put quite stringent limits on property taxes that in effect mandated that they would always decrease in real terms, even if the property increased in value.

    Under Prop 13, a property is valued when it's purchased. Thereafter, its taxable value can only go up by 1% per year. Since this is generally less than inflation, and much less than property-price appreciation, in effect the longer you own a property, the lower taxes you pay on it. This leads to people like Warren Buffet owning million-dollar houses that they pay taxes on as if they were worth $100,000 (Buffet himself admits this is ridiculous).

    So where does the money come from? From new construction and new entrants to the state, who have to pay taxes at current assessments (since they just bought in). But many of these people are recent college graduates and new immigrants, neither of whom are particularly wealthy or good sources of reliably large tax revenues.

    Quite apart from bankrupting the state, it also has the effect of being a hugely regressive tax, where the rich generally pay much lower property taxes than the less-rich. In addition, it's created a landed aristocracy---the privilege of paying lower property taxes than new immigrants is, inexplicably, inheritable.

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