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Google case study

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Critically evaluate the current strategic position (environment+ resources and capabilities) of the organization and critically discuss the basis and sustainability of its competitive advantage.

To the author’s opinion, Google has been using 3 strategies over the time since the company Executive chairman Eric Schmidt was appointed. The author suggests that Google uses both prescriptive and emergent strategy and over the last five years developed a green strategy. “A prescriptive strategy is one whose objective has been defined in advance and whose main elements have been developed before the strategy commences”(Lynch 6th edition 2012). The company states its mission statement: “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”(Google 2012). Since it was established and it was the leading line of Google development, I think that the main elements such as the search algorithm were developed before strategy commences.

On the other hand, as Minzberg captured the essence of the emergent approach: “..While recognizing the importance of thinking ahead and especially of the need for creative vision in this pedantic world, I wish to propose an additional view of strategist-as a pattern recognizer, a learner if you will-who manage a process in which strategist (and visions)can emerge as well as be deliberately conceived.” (Lynch 6th edition 2012). The hyper competition and high changeability in the search engine market (high rate of change) require an Emergent strategy in order to stay ahead in front of competitors and to keep the organizations’ sustainable competitive advantage over time. As demonstrated in figure 1.2, compared to its competitors, Google dominates the global search engine market by far (karmasnack.com 2012). The reasons for that will be discussed further ahead on the environmental and resources capabilities analysis. Figure 1.2

The third strategy is the green strategy.
“Green strategy concerns those objectives of the organization that are focused on both sustaining the earth’s environment and developing the business opportunities that will arise from such additional activities.” (Lynch 6th edition 2012). “Google is creating a better web that’s better for the environment. We’re greening our company by using resources efficiently and supporting renewable power. That means when you use Google products, you’re being better to the environment.” (Google Green). Google eliminated their impact on climate change. Since 2007, it invested over 915 million dollars in renewable energy and Google data centers use 50% less energy than the typical data center. Currently, very little of the world’s power is produced from renewable energies like wind and solar (Google green). Google tests new renewable energy technologies on its campuses and evaluates them against two criteria: They must make good business sense and have long-term potential to transform the industry. For example, in 2007, Google installed the largest corporate solar panel installation of its kind—1.7 MW—at their Mountain View campus. It generates enough electricity to power 30% of the buildings on which it sits. (Google green) To the author’s opinion, an organization which is an environmental leader will be in a better position against its competitors in the market and accordingly succeed financially. Although Google is a virtual company, their data centers are among the largest consumers of electricity in the United States.

Cheap renewable energy is not only critical to the environment but also vital to economic development in many places where the available energy of any kind is limited. In addition to that, an organization that requires its suppliers along the supply chain to take bigger steps in measuring and reducing carbon dioxide (for example) produces for itself four main opportunities: risk reduction, cost reduction, new revenue sources and increasing the brand value of the organization. In order to evaluate Google’s current strategic position, the author points out that because of the turbulent market and the constant change of the environment there have been some differences from the case study (different competitors, threats etc.) For the consideration of the factors surrounding the organization, the author used PESTEL check list which consists of the Political, Economic, Socio cultural, Technological,
environmental and Legal aspects of the environment. Exhibit 2.0.

Exhibit 2.0

“The prescriptive approach favours the development of projections because they are often implied in major strategic decisions in any event. Emergent strategists believe in the turbulence of the environment makes projections of limited value.” (Lynch 6th edition 2012). The author suggests that as for Google, it is possible to combine the two approaches. Past experience can give us an idea about the threats that exist and may be overcome in the future but also the understanding that the situation can be opposite. Google as a market leader attracts unwanted attention. As of lately, the E.U as well as the FTC is launching investigation with regards to Google’s antitrust practices of acquisition spree. Add to it the withdrawal of Google from china and Google’s role in the uprising in the Middle East. Google attracts much wanted attention as well.

Google’s social and economic power is substantially leveraged due to the recognition it receives, including its top ranking in the global brand index and its being the first priority on a list of desired employers. Yet, it is less popular than Facebook, which was the most popular website of 2010. Google ought to take the threat of Facebook into consideration and action. Economically, despite its departure from China Google still produces big profits, nevertheless it must take into account the investigation conducted against the company, that if Google is found guilty at the E.U and the FTC investigation it faces significant fines. Google is also known for its acquisition of YouTube, Blogger, and of course the takeover of Motorola’s patents which allow us to identify a trend in Google’s future conduct. Google as a company based on a technology that invests in technology, deals with competitors such as HP, Apple, Oracle, which are constantly in pursuit of the latest technology with massive development budgets. Google must make sure that it remains a technology leader.

An industry analysis usually begins with a general examination of the forces influencing the organization. The objective is to develop the competitive advantage of the organization to enable it to defeat its rival companies. The author used Porter’s five forces Model because he identifies five basic forces that can act on the organization .figure 1.3(Lynch 6th
edition 2012).

Figure 1.3

Porter’s five Forces Analysis of Google’s Competitive Environment 1. Potential entrants
Economies of scale are a common characteristic of the leading companies in the online search engine industry. These companies managed to not lose profitability, while charging very low advertising fees. In the 2012 market, Google is positioned first with 88.8% M.S. Microsoft possesses 4.2% M.S and Yahoo has 2.4% M.S. The first major entry barrier which new entrants face is the immense brand loyalty of Google and Bing, the two leading companies. These two leaders have strong brand recognition and they dominate the market with a combined market share of over 90%. Rivals have to offer valuable advantages in order to enter. Another significant entry barrier the search engine business’ operation costs, which are comparable.

Therefore, smaller competitors may not succeed in reaching the cost effectiveness of the 3 major search engines. This fact decreases the threat that new entrants pose on the major companies in the industry. The next barrier entry is the switching costs for costumers. These are comparatively low in the internet search engine industry, since advertisers can easily switch from Google to Bing to any other portal, including a new entrants’ one, without significant differentiation in the advertising fees. However, in opportunity costs are high. The returns on investments decrease when moving from a trafficked search engine to a less busy one. This is important for advertisers, and is likely to make the entry very difficult on new competitors. The last entry barrier in discussion is government regulation. This is significant in some markets, like China. This is because of the strict censorship and regulation rules that the Chinese government imposes on its internet domains in order to prevent Chinese internet users from reaching unwanted contents such as pornography or controversial political issues. Google adapted to the Chinese market by launching its China-based google.cn search engine in 2005, in which results were being regulated according to the Chinese governments’ demands. Due to further regulation, in 2012 Google decided to exit the
Chinese market.

2. The Bargaining Power of Buyers

The bargaining position of buyers facing Google is weak, due to its market leadership. Thanks to its vast market share, Google has the largest target audience and therefore its value is naturally higher than others. The bargaining position of buyers facing the rest of the search engine companies is much stronger, since buyers can use the competition between the companies in order to force lower prices, especially given the low switching costs in the industry.

3. The Bargaining Power of Suppliers

The importance of the Internet Service Suppliers (ISPs) for the search engine companies is very high, since they are suppliers of innovative broadband infrastructure which is used to create the connection between the portals and their users. The ISPs’ vitality is combined with a small variety of infrastructure alternatives. Therefore, they are in a strong bargaining position. However, their bargaining position is weakened when it comes to Google, due to its powerful market position.

4. The Threat of Substitutes

Porter’s threat of substitute’s definition is the availability of a product from another industry that the consumer can purchase instead of the industry’s product. Threat of substitutes shapes the competitive structure of an industry and affects its profitability because consumers can choose to purchase the substitute instead of the industry’s product. The most imminent threat of substitutes posed on the search engines are social networks. For example, Facebook also offers internal search options and is an attractive option for advertisers due to its large scaled target audience. Switching costs are negligible due to the identical technology used in both platforms. Advertising fees are comparable across the two platforms, due to an identical pay-per-click pricing method. The social networking platform gains an advantage over the search engines owing to higher performance value which makes it worthwhile for advertisers to switch from search engines to the social networking sites.

5. The Intensity of Rivalry among Established Companies The main rivalry in the industry is among Yahoo, Microsoft’s Bing, Baidu and other smaller companies which compete on global market shares. Due to its domination over the market, Google has no suitable competition. Internet search demand is high and will continue to grow as more developing markets will be exposed to the Internet. The search engine market will require rapid and better response, and more search options not available through the search engines will be manufactured by using emerging social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. This growing demand could moderate competition and lower the rivalry among establish companies as innovation works to continually expand the market. To be a major player in the search engines market requires high investment in hardware and software. Velocity and shape of the search are significant features that are most important to the end user, it is also speculated that Google who leads the market has over one million servers that support its search engine compared to competitor Microsoft’s Bing which has only about 250,000 servers as of 2010. Therefore, the players in the search engine market seek to increase their market share and as a result from that also their revenues in order to recoup capital costs. Exit barriers in the Internet search engines market are very high. Investment in technology is very expensive, a huge amount of servers, personnel, legal issues and the cost of the brand are making the search engine market exit irrelevant for the key players. For these reasons, the rivalry between the companies is high and the driving force in this rivalry is the need to survive. In summary, the author’s conclusion is that Google’s future strategy should be based on its main components: capabilities and resources. Framework and main identity of this strategy will consist of either one of these parameters and the effect will be the main ingredient in creating the company’s competitive advantage and profitability in the coming years. However, the key to a resource-based strategy is the understanding of the relationships between the organization’s existing resources to its capabilities in order to create a sustained competitive advantage and profitability in particular.

2. Critically discuss the key strategic issues presented in the case study and their impact on the success of organizational strategy of the case study
organization over the long term.

The author discusses the following key strategic issues:
Survival base theories of strategy-“survival based strategies regard the survival of the fittest company in the market place as being the prime determinant of strategic management”” (Lynch 6th edition 2012). When the environment is highly competitive, shifting and changing it is much better to dodge and weave as the market changes, letting the strategy emerge in the process. Survival based theory are needed in order to prosper in such circumstances. “Henderson suggested that most companies needed in order to survive in these highly competitive circumstances were differentiation” “(Lynch 6th edition 2012). Google in order to remain market leader for the long term must continue create these differentiations if by continuing to innovate new products, new services or to buy new companies. In order both to fully exploit Google stock of resources, and to develop competitive advantages for the future, the external acquisitions of complementary resources may be necessary. As long as it will keep continuing then it will remain sustainable for the long term.

The survival based view in strategic management emphasized on the assumptions that in order to survive, Google has to deploy strategies that should be focused on running very efficient operations and can respond rapidly to the changing of competitive environment. “Human resource based theory-Human based theories of strategy emphasis the people element in strategy development and highlight the motivation ,the politics and the culture of organizations and the desire of individuals”” (Lynch 6th edition 2012). “Google has good senior managers. Importantly, it has managed to retain and motivated its senior people over the past few years-particularly vital for accompany relies on innovation and “out of the box” thinking. (Google case study Lynch 2012). “Google employees in Mountain View, south of San Francisco, and if you’re an employee here you’re encouraged to spend 20% of your time on a project of your choosing. It’s no surprise Google places fourth on the U.S. Fortune ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ list.”(CNN 2011-Appendix 1.3)

For the long term this is a very crucial point for Google according to Business Insider, with the help of Glassdoor.com Google went down to the 6th place and Facebook was upgraded to 3rd place.(Appendix 1.2) As long as the company will keep growing it will be harder to keep the same condition as before. (Motivation, salary etc.) Other competitors will try to seduce Google employees in order to gain some of their knowledge and decrease Google resources.

Innovation and knowledge based theories –”based theories of strategy privilege the generation of new ideas and sharing of these ideas and knowledge as being the most important aspects of strategy development. (Lynch 6th edition 2012).

Google has to keep innovate in order to succeed for the long term. The company R&D budget is high and enable the company to continue innovate. As the author mentioned before 20% of the employees is dedicated for innovation. So as long as the company will continue to do so than the long term strategy remains sustainable.

Market Growth –”from a strategy perspective, the importance of growth relates to the organizations objective”. (Lynch 6th edition 2012).

Internet use over time from non-computer devices such as smartphones will continue to grow and combine with technology emerging markets will also increase the global search engine market. According to a report by budde.com in 2012 around third of the global population will use the internet. More growth is predicted a head as the internet economy continues to develop particularly in the developing markets.

3. Develop arrange of suggestions of how these issues need to be address giving considerations for rational, impact, timescale and ownership within the organization. “Strategy has to do with the future, and the future is unknown .This make strategy a fascinating, yet frustrating topic” (Bob De Wit, Ron Meyer 2010). “From a strategic management viewpoint, the major issue is to identify the influence of stakeholder power on the direction of the organization” (Lynch 6th edition 2012). Following the above, Google depends on support from a wide range of stakeholder’s whether they are individuals or organizations. The stakeholder’s can be divided into five categories: 1. Shareholders, including owners, partners, employees or anyone who has a financial interest in the business. 2. Customers including clients, purchasers, consumers and end users. 3. Employees including temporary and permanent staff and managers. 4. Suppliers including manufacturers, service providers, consultants and contract labor. 5. Society including people in the local community, the global community and the various organizations set up to govern police and regulate the population and its interrelationship.

Each stakeholder brings something different to the organization in pursuit of their own interest, takes risks in doing so and receives certain benefits in return but also is free to withdraw support when condition is no longer favorable. As was stated above, no organization can accomplish its purpose and mission without the support of others. Google ought to keep attracting, capturing and retaining the support of its shareholders because it depends on them for its success. The author also refers to the fact that unlike other organizations (Apple and more), the co founders of Google (Brin & Page) are still part of the company and together with the strong management controlled by Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt are in charge of the company’s great performance over the last decade (Google 2012). It will be good for the company that this management will continue to control the company. Shareholders will continue to provide financial support, customers will provide revenue in return of the product or service brings, employees will provide labor in return for good pay and conditions, suppliers will provide products and services in return for payment on time, society will provide license to operate in return for benefits to the community. “In fast-moving markets, the dynamic process is dominated by innovation”(Lynch 6th edition 2012).

Strategy innovation requires changing or bringing new values propositions, services and productions process. To the author’s opinion, markets and technology based innovation which involves combining value proposition new to the industry or creating a new market with the help of technology and new ideas are crucial for Google’s future growth. As for Google, innovation must start with understanding that without it there can be no growth over time. With the understanding of the competitive market coupled with technological knowledge accumulated over the years and with a big R&D department the possibility to produce innovation can grow in the near future. As the author mention earlier Google must keep innovating, must seek for new markets and must resume the cultural environment that enable constant innovation. Although most companies that already controlled their markets and have committed resources are less likely to innovate (the sunk cost effect and the replacement effect) Google have to keep innovate. “In addition to competing against rivals, most organization also co-operate with other organization .Such co-operation can deliver sustainable competitive advantage”(Lynch 6th edition 2012).

It is assumed under this view that competition and cooperation are interconnected, and competition will force a business to be more cooperative. Hence, virtues and values of doing good and ethical business, such as through friendship, trust, loyalty, and cooperation are encouraged in order to survive the competitive market. It is very important for Google to keep conducting co-operation such as the research partnership with NASA that was established on 2005 and included a big R&D center, large scale data management, bio-info-nano convergence etc. Also the partnership with Sun Microsystems to help share and distribute each other’s technology, the Time Warner’s partnership which enhanced global advertising, the 900$ millions agreement with News Corp.’s Fox Interactive Media and much more (Google 2012). Furthermore, it is important to create more co-operations which deliver sustainable competitive advantages.

www. Investor.google.com
www.edition.cnn.com/2011/09/19/business/gargiulo-google-workplace-empowerment/index.html http://www.businessinsider.com/the-25-best-tech-companies-to-work-at-in-2012-2012-6?op=1 www.Glassdoor.com
04-05 http://www.google.com/about/company/facts/management/

Shankland, S. (July, 2008). Google Wins Over More Net Users in June. Retrieved 30th Nov 2010, from
Hein, K. (Oct 2008). Google Tops Brand Loyalty List. Retrieved 30th Nov 2010, from
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NetMarketShare (2010). Top Search Engine Share Trend. Retrieved 29th Nov 2010, from http://marketshare.hitslink.com/search-engine-market-share.aspx?qprid=5&qpct=2&qptimeframe=M&qpsp=142&qpnp=1
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Ansoff, I. (1965), Corporate Strategy, 1e., Mc-Graw-Hill, 241pp. Kotler, P. & Keller, K. (Jan, 2006), Marketing Management, 12e., Prentice Hall, 816pp. Porter, M.E (1998), Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors, 1e., Free Press, 397 pp.

Shankland, S. (July, 2008). Google Wins Over More Net Users in June. Retrieved 30th Nov 2010, from
Hein, K. (Oct 2008). Google Tops Brand Loyalty List. Retrieved 30th Nov 2010, from
Flosi L.F. (13th Oct 2010). Comscore Releases September 2010 Search Engine Rankings. Retrieved 30th Nov 2010, from http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Press_Releases/2010/10/comScore_Releases_September_2010_U.S._Search_Engine_Rankings NetMarketShare (2010). Top Search Engine Share Trend. Retrieved 29th Nov 2010, from http://marketshare.hitslink.com/search-engine-market-share.aspx?qprid=5&qpct=2&qptimeframe=M&qpsp=142&qpnp=1

Mellor, C. (June 2007). Does Google have the Biggest IT Carbon Footprint in the World? Retrieved 29th Nov 2010, from

Intac.net (2010). Comparison of Dedicated Servers by Company. Retrieved 29th Nov 2010, from
Ballmer, S. (Nov 2010). Remarks at Kiev Polytechnic Institute, Retrieved 29th Nov 2010, from
Miller, R. (14th May 2009) Who has the Most Web Servers? Retrieved 29th Nov 2010, from
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Ansoff, I. (1965), Corporate Strategy, 1e., Mc-Graw-Hill, 241pp. Kotler, P. & Keller, K. (Jan, 2006), Marketing Management, 12e., Prentice Hall, 816pp. Porter, M.E (1998), Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors, 1e., Free Press, 397 pp.


The 25 Best Tech Companies to Work For In 2012
Matt Lynley | Jun. 25, 2012, 12:52 PM | 7,938,465 | 86

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Google and Facebook get a whole lot of hype. But what are the real best tech companies to work for in the world? Does Google have the best benefits and job security? Which tech company has a jazz quartet during lunch hour? With help from Glassdoor.com, we’ve put together a list of the 25 best tech companies to work for right now. The reviews appear to account for culture, lifestyle and what you can learn while working there — not necessarily the upside for your career. All reviews and ratings taken into account are from the past 12 months, and only companies with more than 25 total reviews were included.

25. Microsoft still affects millions of people and is a great place to work right out of college.

Company Rating: 3.5
CEO Approval: Steve Ballmer, 46%
Bottom Line: Once the top technology company in the world, Microsoft has made several missteps in its attempts to compete with Google and Apple. That being said, Microsoft employees still impact millions of people on a daily basis and there are a lot of resources for career development. And we’re pretty sure having Microsoft on your resume looks great. Employee feedback:

“Welfare is good. It also has ‘benefit of scale’. I mean, if you change one feature or ship one new product, it has the chance of changing the lives of millions of people. That is what some small companies can’t offer. They also have very rich resource for career development.” “They provide grass route level of access to developers and multiple opportunities. It’s easy to work under the certified trainers assigned throughout the technology evolution.” “Due to recent changes in the review model, Microsoft is a less desirable place to work. The company has become excessively focused on metrics which detracts from focusing on the long term success of the company.” 24. Barracuda Networks is great if you’re a young gun, but feels a bit clique-y.

Company Rating: 3.5
CEO Approval: Dean Drako, 68%
Bottom Line: Barracuda Networks is a great company for young professionals, but appears to have a bit of a clique-y environment and doesn’t pay as well as other companies. It’s a great place for learning how to become a better engineer. Employee Feedback:

“Good team mates, nice atmosphere, lots of things to learn for someone who is new to networking or application side networking.” “The pay is little compared to others in the industry with the same title. The staff can be very clicky and gossipy.” “Its a point of pride with the managers they pay
15% below valley average. There is no feedback other than the yearly review which they nit pick anything you may have done wrong and do not allow you to explain yourself.” 23. Texas Instruments is run by sales-oriented people, but the work environment is great.

Company Rating: 3.5
CEO Approval: Rich Templeton, 73%
Bottom Line: Texas Instruments is a technical company managed by sales-oriented people, which means managers don’t always know the ins and outs of what you’re working on. This can also make it hard to move up into leadership positions as a tech person. The pay isn’t as good, but the work environment is great. Employee feedback:

“Relatively high work volume. Not the highest paying company but this is compensated by a better work environment.” “Good opportunities or growth even for young people, good salary, reasonable work like balance.” “Conservative and risk averse at large.”

22. NVIDIA employees love their CEO, and it’s working on next-generation technology.

Company Rating: 3.5
CEO Approval: Jen-Hsun Huang, 86%
Bottom Line: The pay isn’t as good as other technology companies, but NVIDIA employees are big fans of their CEO and the company’s friendly work atmosphere. NVIDIA is also becoming more important thanks to the emergence of the “system on a chip,” which is used in most smartphones — so you’re on the cutting edge. Employee Feedback:

“Very progressive company, keeps pushing the front line of this industry. Comes up with new awesome products each year. I worked in Mobile department. The working hours were flexible and you can work at home. However, most people there work overtime.” “Poor employee development options, as training
opportunities are curtailed in the name of ‘cost cutting.’ Favoritism is rampant. Dumb people with a salesman tongue regularly have lunch with their managers.” “Chance to learn about cutting edge technology. Exposure to games/graphics industry. Work/Life balance is great.” 21. Accenture is a huge company, but it’s attacking a lot of interesting problems.

Wikimedia Commons
Company Rating: 3.6
CEO Approval: Pierre Nanterme, 90%
Bottom Line: A provider of IT and other technology services, Accenture is a massive company that tackles a lot of interesting problems and provides a lot of flexibility. But like most huge companies, it’s growing slowly and your work isn’t always noticed. Employee Feedback:

“Lots of interesting projects in my industry and specialization. Great pipeline of work. Most importantly, I feel that by working hard and smart, by networking, and through a little luck, the opportunity for advancement is high.” “Great people in management and peer group. Flexible with part-time, full-time options. Compensation is good. Good review process for promotion process.” “In Accenture even though its a good company the growth is slow. In addition sometimes your work doesn’t get noticed by everyone.” 20. Intuit is about as solid as it gets, even if it’s hard to get promoted.

Company Rating: 3.6
CEO Approval: Brad Smith, 84%
Bottom Line: Intuit is a pretty decent place to work. The compensation is fine, there are decent on-site services and there are plenty of opportunities to learn. That being said, it can be hard to move up in Intuit’s hierarchy. Employee Feedback

“No growth opportunity. All the senior open positions are given to friends of senior management and often inexperience and incompetent people are hired for open positions. Hence its hard to grow in Intuit IT.” “Great people,
great on-site services (there’s a gym, a game room), extensive training initially and then additional training intermittently.” “Good work life balance, decent compensation, good opportunities to learn, opportunities and forums for new ideas, good teams that are generally non political.” 19. Groupon is run by a bunch of 20-somethings at the pace of a “sprint”

Company Rating: 3.6
CEO Approval: Andrew Mason, 78%
Bottom Line: Groupon is a young company with a gigantic sales staff populated by twenty-somethings, so it can feel extremely chaotic at times. The pace is comparable to a “Kenyan sprint.” A great company for young, driven tech enthusiasts. Employee Feedback:

“Groupon is a great company to work for, if you are young, extroverted, and thrive in an environment of high uncertainty. The job is perfect for the cliche self-starter who wants to have fun at work while putting in a high degree of effort.” “Too much focus on the product while neglecting policy, back office and employee morale. Good policy and efficiency were killed with initiatives like ‘Kill bureaucracy.'” “Awesome place to work as a developer. Engineering is still very small – they have some of the best people around. Work hours are still sane – not bad compare to other startups. A lot of exciting things to be built and a great opportunity to learn and grow.” 18. Intel has an open, collaborative environment and pays pretty well — but it’s still hard to move.

Boonsri Dickinson, Business Insider
Company Rating: 3.6
CEO Approval: Paul S. Otellini, 94%
Bottom Line: Intel is a solid company with a long, storied history of building great products. It’s an open, collaborative work environment with decent compensation and benefits compared to other tech companies. Still, it’s a big company — so it can take some time for the company to execute on key decisions. Employee Feedback:

“Lots of projects to work on and many brilliant minds open for collaboration.
if you are motivated, you can make anything you put you mind to become a reality!” “I’ve been there for over 7 years (right out of college). Great people and benefits. Compensation is good. Lots of work/life flexibility. I work from home 1 day a week and am able to take extended lunches or leave early so long as the work gets done. That being said, when it gets busy it gets busy and you can expect to work very long hours.” “Overwhelming information. Slow decision making. Not very efficient processes. As a result people need to work hard to get things done.” 17. Morningstar makes sure its employees feel welcome and has a lot of room for upward mobility.

Company Rating: 3.6
CEO Approval: Joe Mansueto, 95%
Bottom Line: The financial data services company doesn’t pay as well as other technology companies, but it’s incredibly inclusive for its employees and there’s a lot of room for upward mobility. Also: a casual dress code and free sodas. Employee Feedback:

“Morningstar does not pay competitively. It’s a great place, but the salary makes it hard to not look at positions outside the company.” “Informal, university-like work culture, lots of collaboration and learning within teams.” “Good and flexible working hours. A lot of time after work. Great benefits. CFA and Booth MBA are two things many people pursue at Morningstar. Flat working structure. Welcoming environment and good morale. People are helpful. One can excel and will be recognized if you put effort into it.” 16. Adobe has a lot of opportunities to try new things.

Company Rating: 3.7
CEO Approval: Shantanu Narayen, 67%
Bottom Line: Adobe produces a lot of software that most publishers use today, like Photoshop. It’s also not a bad place to work either — the work/life balance is great and there are plenty of opportunities to switch career path. Employee Feedback:

“Great benefits… Really. I work for a company that everyone else is impressed with. It’s good for the resume. Free software. In my position I get fun tech toys to play with. I work for a company that I respect.” “Extreme RIFs nearly every November. High-level changes of corporate direction several times a year. Moving most programming to China and India.” “Global company with tons of opportunities to grow, switch career paths, relocate, etc. Great work/life balance, a company core value.” 15. NetApp has a beloved executive, but it’s a bit of an old company.

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Company Rating: 3.7
CEO Approval: Tom Georgens, 100%
Bottom Line: NetApp has a killer executive team that values its employees, but the culture can feel a bit “old” for twenty-somethings looking for a fast-paced technology company. Employee Feedback:

“I feel like this company would be an awesome place to work if I had a family and children that I wanted to be able to spend time with. However, as a nerdy workaholic in my low 20’s, I want to find some work that I can be truly passionate about — I want to *want* to spend all my time working, or with people from work.” “Culture, highly collaborative, focus on customers, focus on growth. Company values are lived out across the organization. Company is not afraid to take risks to advance with customers & grow.” “Many long time NetApp people, therefore company suffers from lack of mid-level managerial talent and competence. Certain groups (Marketing, Professional Services, Management Software Product Group) are disorganized and dysfunctional.” 14. SAP America is driven by salespeople, and still feels like a German company.

Company Rating: 3.8
CEO Approval: Jim Hagemann Snabe and Bill McDermott, 85%
Bottom Line: A sales-driven company, the enterprise software provider has good work-life balance and you can work from pretty much anywhere in the
world. But the company is still German centric. Employee Feedback:

“SAP has passionate senior and executive leadership with lots of game changing innovation and an extremely loyal and dedicated customer base – great place to work and sell.” “Sales driven company. Negative impact on communications and processing due to hierarchy.” “Managers are supportive and fair; Very nice working environment, great people. Benefits are good and there is good sense of cooperation across silos.” 13. QUALCOMM loves its employees and gives them a solid work/life balance.

Wikimedia Commons
Company Rating: 3.8
CEO Approval: Paul E. Jacobs, 89%
Bottom Line: Qualcomm invests a lot of money in its employees, but if you aren’t aggressive enough you might not be a lot of upward mobility. Qualcomm has an excellent work/life balance. Employee Feedback:

“Overall a good working environment, technically challenging, employees helpful and friendly. Company invests in its people. Benefits are very good.” “The way they hold work-life balance in a high regard, a flexible company that values its employees and treats them very well.” 12. Citrix Systems has its headquarters in a “podunk” location, but is great for working remotely.

Company Rating: 3.8
CEO Approval: Mark B. Templeton, 92%
Bottom Line: Citrix has a headquarters in Florida, which is seen as kind of a “podunk” location. But if you can stand working remotely away from the headquarters, the perks are great and the company has a good work/life balance. Employee Feedback:

“Headquartered in Florida sort of podunk mentality compared to other software companies I have worked for. People don’t get back to you. Sense of urgency is low.” “Mark Templeton, the CEO, has a charitable and good philosophy about life, and how to run a company.” “Not much to get in the way of pure
development, plenty of support, great attitude, amazing work environment, the feeling one can do anything is fostered. Simply put, the best place I’ve ever worked.” 11. Wayfair is a young, fast-moving company that’s great — if you can keep up.

Company Rating: 3.8
CEO Approval: Niraj Shah, 96%
Bottom Line: A very fast-moving, young company, it’s easy to get caught up in the number of things Wayfair is trying to do. But the company treats its employees well and still offers equity to its employees. Employee Feedback:

“Short individual and interesting projects gives responsibility to take the project from the beginning to the end. Very open environment where people are willing to share information and help out.” “The pay is low. It is right in Boston, so you are paying to commute or live in the city. The pay should be higher to reflect this, but it is something that they are working on.” “Great coworkers, young community. The company tries to provide group building activities by giving cash ever month to go out with your group. Generally a good attitude around the office, except it is a tolling position when you’re getting yelled at so there is definite negativity as well.” 10 National Instruments has a lot of office perks, but doesn’t pay as well.

Company Rating: 3.8
CEO Approval: James T. Truchard, 100%
Bottom Line: National Instruments has all the perks of a big tech company — on site cafeterias, fitness centers and other things to make the office awesome. But some employees complained that the compensation was not as competitive as other companies. Employee Feedback:

“NI has some bright people. They recruit at very good universities, especially UT Austin, and they focus more on technical interview questions than most other companies. This focus helps ensure that they hire people who can solve problems creatively, instead of just automatons with high GPAs who
thrive within the school system.” “NI is a big company trying to pretend it’s still a small company. At 5200+ employees, it’s not a small company anymore, and as such, it suffers from the increased bureaucracy, impeded communication, and longer work hours that usually goes along with having a bigger company.” “If you are lucky to work in a group with a good manager, working at NI can be wonderful. A good manager being defined as someone who understands work/life balance and is flexible with your work schedule where possible, someone who advocates for you, etc.” 9. Salesforce.com doesn’t allow any “jerks” in the office.

Salesforce.com. Used by permission.
Company Rating: 3.9
CEO Approval: Marc Benioff, 88%
Bottom Line: After basically jump-starting the cloud computing revolution, Marc Benioff has spent his time building a fast-paced company that hires aggressively. Jerks are “not allowed” at Salesforce.com. Employee Feedback:

“The people are smart, genuinely happy, get their work done and do it well. I’d do anything to help my teammates and my manager out, and know they’d do the same for me. People are respectful, fair, honest.” “Very demanding. Be prepared to work hard and sometimes long hours. A lot of Management reviews and presentations.” “Good company overall, but not sure if senior management are all good and able to keep up with the growth of the company. Management can “talk” but can’t “deliver” — meaning they can present and show a very good deck in front of audience, but in actuality, their deliverable and overall execution are so so or even very bad.” 8. Rackspace is still run by relaxed “rackers,” though new management is mixing things up.

Rackspace headquarters
Company Rating: 3.9
CEO Approval: A. Lanham Napier, 84%
Bottom Line: Rackspace has hired up a bunch of outside management that doesn’t exactly know the culture yet. But the company is still dominated by “Rackers”: engineers and employees that pride themselves on a relaxed,
family-friendly office culture. Employee Feedback:

“The culture is unmatched. You can’t beat the Rackspace culture, and for the most part they live up to their core values. The Rackers are really what makes Rackspace a great place to work, and the CEO allows for that organic process to take place. On-site dodgeball tournaments, water slides, company parties, you name it.” “The grapevine is full of verifiable stories of techs (regardless of discipline) leaving the company and receiving 50-100% raises, large options/stock grants, large relocation packages, etc.” “The fellow administrators (Rackers) are amazing people and the company does a lot to foster that family feeling. The building has a lot of perks and makes it somewhat comfortable place to be. If you happen to work first shift, there are lots of opportunities to train and such. And of course you have a lot of freedom in how you dress, etc.” 7. Apple still makes some of the best products in the world, if you can handle the competitive culture.

Company Rating: 3.9
CEO Approval: Tim Cook, 96%
Bottom Line: There isn’t a lot of upward mobility at the company and the culture is incredibly competitive at Apple. But don’t let that stop you — at Apple, you’re working with some of the most talented individuals in the world on products that millions of people use every day. Employee Feedback:

“Exciting work that impacts a LOT of people. Operates more like a (collection of) startups rather than a big company.” “There is no room for mediocrity at Apple. If you’re not an “A” performer, it will become apparent all too soon and you’ll be down the road at Google.” “It’s Apple. Great technology, great products.”

6. CareerBuilder is still a fun job, and you can finish up your degree.

Company Rating: 4.0
CEO Approval: Matt Ferguson, 97%
Bottom Line: A great place to grow your career, CareerBuilder will pay to help you finish up your education while you’re employed. But the salaries aren’t as competitive as other technology companies. Employee Feedback:

“Many career opportunities and trainings for professional development. Offer great tuition reimbursement program and health and wellness program.” “The only thing I can see as a draw back is that from what I have heard you do not get paid as much as other companies.” “From a great work environment to being able to come into the office in jeans and a t-shirt this workplace is great. From what I hear you don’t get paid as much as some other places but the atmosphere and other benefits greatly outweigh the salary aspect.” 5. Google is, well… Google.

Scott Beale / Laughing Squid
Company Rating: 4.0
CEO Approval: Larry Page, 92%
Bottom Line: Google is still one of the best places to work in the world — it has the best perks, some of the best offices and employs some of the most talented people in the world. But as it grows larger, it’s encountering more scaling problems, leading to increased bureaucracy and less upward mobility. Employee Feedback:

“Really smart people, great benefits, amazing level of transparency and access, people -especially at the top are really committed to ‘getting it right’.” “For more senior people, odds are, you’re going to be waiting a long time for any kind of promotion. You will also be way older than most of the people you work with, and your manager may or may not understand family commitments.” “Everybody who’s paying attention knows how great the perks are. Between on-site gyms, massage, a wide selection of health benefits, 401k and stock grants, competitive salary, and of course the free, gourmet meals, it’s one of the cushiest jobs in Silicon Valley.” 4. MITRE handles a lot of exciting, next-generation science projects.

Company Rating: 4.1
CEO Approval: Alfred Grasso, 92%
Bottom Line: MITRE, which manages federally-funded research and development centers working on projects like those for the Department of Defense, has an excellent work/life balance and is a great place to learn. Employee Feedback:

“Best things are the benefits, the work-life balance, the ability to move around and find interesting and new challenges, and the quality of the technical staff.” “Talented individuals, open-minded, free-thinking, and cooperative. About 20% of the people have Ph Ds and more than 60% have a Masters.” “MITRE is a good place to work if one needs a work-life balance, is at an advanced stage of his/her career (near retirement) or wants job security.” 3. LinkedIn is starting to feel like a big company, but it’s still the most transparent and fun place out there.

Jim Edwards / BI
Company Rating: 4.1
CEO Approval: Jeff Weiner, 92%
Bottom Line: LinkedIn was one of the most successful initial public offerings of 2011. So while the chance to make a ton of money has probably passed, here’s what’s left: one of the most transparent and open workplaces in technology. It’s a company that still places a ton of value on individual ideas and talent, and does its best to keep its employees happy. Employee Feedback:

“Big ideas welcome, easy to get leadership support for projects/ideas. Solid executive team focused on long term vision of the company.” “If you like process, structure, and careful decision making you’ll be disappointed. Also, we are no longer as agile as we used to be, but we try to be. It is a public company, but it doesn’t yet feel that way. It will get there eventually though.” “I have a rewarding and challenging role for an innovative, dynamic and fast paced company. The recognition of individuals success and aptitude is a fundamental aspect within LinkedIn. The motivational culture and values make this company a genuine pleasure and inspirational place to work!” 2. Facebook is impacting a seventh of the world’s population, and it has fantastic culture.

Company Rating: 4.3
CEO Approval: Mark Zuckerberg, 89%
Bottom Line: The youngest of the top tech companies in Silicon Valley, Facebook is ruthlessly efficient in hiring the best engineers and keeping them happy. Its Menlo Park campus is a hacker’s heaven, and employees are working on a product that’s used by hundreds of millions of people around the world. Employee Feedback:

“My coworkers are the smartest people I have ever worked with. They love their jobs and they work hard. But they keep a balance in their lives.’ “I’ve worked at 5 different companies before here, from investment banking, CPGs, to 3 other tech companies and nothing beats this. People are amazing not to mention wicked smart. You’ll be surrounded by the most talented people in the world all with a mission to change the world.” “The ability to take an idea and turn it into a reality without the need for level after level of approval. Only really massive changes require any significant oversight at all.” 1. Guidewire gives its employees a ton of responsibility — and support.

Company Rating: 4.4
CEO Approval: Marcus Ryu, 98%
Bottom Line: Guidewire is chock full of talented and incredibly smart engineers that work alongside upper management, enabling “super-quick” upward job mobility.The company has a solid cash flow, and while the compensation is about average, it offers stock options to new hires. Employee feedback:

“Lots of responsibility and accountability. Company is constantly attempting to improve it’s product lines and to provide tools to make projects go faster and easier.” “The best part of working at Guidewire is that its corporate values are embraced at all levels, even all the way to the highest levels of executive management. Also, Guidewire is a very egalitarian
company. The company truly values all contributors.” “Guidewire was a very cordial place to work. They seem

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-25-best-tech-companies-to-work-at-in-2012-2012-6?op=1#ixzz2EAw4uxuP

Appendix 1.3
By Susanne Gargiulo, Special to CNN
September 21, 2011 — Updated 1358 GMT (2158 HKT)

Google’s Eric Schmidt, Larry Page and Sergey Brin in a self-driving car on January 20, 2011 STORY HIGHLIGHTS
Google employees in Mountain View get free food, fitness facilities and on-site doctors Such pay-offs show up in increased innovation and productivity Today’s employees want more than a paycheck

If you give employees freedom, they will surprise you
(CNN) — They’ve got it all: Free food, fitness facilities, massage rooms, hair dressers, laundry rooms and on-site doctors. Are they Hollywood celebrities? No, they’re Google employees in Mountain View, south of San Francisco, and if you’re an employee here you’re encouraged to spend 20% of your time on a project of your choosing. It’s no surprise Google places fourth on the U.S. Fortune ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ list. First place belongs to SAS, the world’s largest privately held software company which offers free on-site medical care for employees and their families, low-cost high quality child care, a fitness center, library, and summer camp for children of employees. How could this possibly pay off? “It pays off spectacularly,” says Milton Moskowitz, journalist and co-author of the Fortune ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ list since its beginning in 1998. “We keep track of stock market performances of companies on this list, and they are consistently outperforming other companies,” he adds. You don’t need a lot of money to do what Google has done. If you give people freedom, they will amaze you. Laszlo Bock

The payoff shows up in increased innovation and productivity, low turnover, low sickness rates, and high employee satisfaction. In a world warring for increasingly sparse talent, a strong employer image is also not to be underestimated. “It means you can attract and attain some amazing people”, says Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of people operations at Google. “People who are exceptional and motivated, and who are driven beyond a good job and a paycheck.” “Employees matter, and the thought that they just ‘turn off their lights’ when they come to work is ridiculous”, says Jennifer Mann, vice president of human resources for SAS. “You are not going to succeed unless you have a stable workforce. Our voluntary turnover is 4% or less in an average industry of 22%, and we estimate it is saving the company hundreds of millions in company turnover.” The approach is a far cry from the 1900s sweatshops of the U.S. So, what’s changed? Perhaps not as much as you might like to think. The companies on this list are “exceptional,” says Moskowitz. “They are not the norm. We still have a lot of ground to cover, but 25 years ago it was such a hierarchical business structure and that’s changed a lot.” “The realization that there is a relationship between employee welfare and productivity is actually not new,” says Daniel A. Wren, author of Evolution of Management Thought. “Henry Ford tried a workers’ welfare program to deal with high turnover, even paying people $5 a day at a time when that was unheard of. Others have tried similar programs. But, we’ve come a long way since the backbreaking work of the 1920s. Workers today are smarter, more skilled, more demanding. They want different things.” Research by the Great Place to Work Institute, co-publisher of the Fortune annual list, shows us that today’s employees really do want different things – and it is not in their paychecks. Their work with more than ten million employees worldwide reveals that what people want is: Trust in leadership and each other, pride in their work, enjoyment of the people they work with, and fairness and transparency; all things that companies like Google and SAS seem to do well. The key to making this approach successful, they say, is a sincere focus on employee wellbeing. “A lot of companies think, they can fix just one thing, says Mann, who through SAS also works with companies globally to help them create better work environments, “They think that if they add a healthcare centre then that

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