Interns: Microsoft “cool again”, Google and Facebook “creepy”

imageIn line with its share price, which increased 20% year on year, it seems Microsoft’s coolness index is also increasing, Reuters reports, allowing them to attract fresh new interns who are actually enthusiastic about the company.

"Microsoft feels cool again," said 22-year-old Gbenga Badipe, an electrical engineering student at Rice University, one of 1,500 interns spending 12 weeks at the company’s leafy campus this summer. "Microsoft products touch almost every area of technology, and everything they do is starting to work together."

Microsoft’s keen new interns already think their competitors’ days are numbered, branding Google and Facebook as "creepy" because of their aggressive stance on privacy and heavy reliance on advertising.

"What kind of business model is that, shoving ads in peoples’ faces?" said one Microsoft intern, who asked not to be named.

Microsoft is "revolutionizing the world," said Juan Llanes, 25, a computer science and finance major at Georgia Tech, who is also interning in Redmond, Washington this summer.

A recent poll by careers site Glassdoor put Google as the most desirable place to intern, followed closely by Microsoft. They are also the best paid, averaging over $6,000 a month.

Many in Silicon Valley have seen Microsoft as irrelevant, but with Microsoft starting to fight back with products such as Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8, and that view may be working in their favour.

"Young students want inspiration, they want to follow something," said John Ludwig, a senior executive behind the creation of Internet Explorer and Windows 95, who left Microsoft in 1999 to found Seattle venture capital firm Ignition Partners. "That underdog thing is a powerful motivator – for a lot of great talent, that’s an appealing place to be, that feeling of us against the world."

"To me, Microsoft is a giant start-up battling to innovate while maintaining compatibility," said Llanes from Georgia Tech. "We are underdogs in some areas, and we are strong in other areas with lots of people trying to knock us off. The stakes are incredibly high at Microsoft, and that’s the kind of place I want to work."

"There’s been a fundamental cultural shift – this really is in many ways a different company," said James Whittaker, a well-known software engineer who left Microsoft for Google three years ago but was turned off by Google’s increasing focus on ad revenue. "At the high levels of the company they are far more willing to consider grassroots innovative ideas bubbling up than they used to be."

Read more at Reuters here.


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