Microsoft’s 1,500 interns can’t all be wrong.
The rap on Redmond is that it’s a lumbering, aging, bureaucratic dinosaur being nibbled up by newer and nimbler tech companies. Is that fair? No, say the interns. They says Microsoft’s resurgent and ready to compete with all comers — including Facebook and Google.
“Microsoft feels cool again,” 22-year-old Gbenga Badipe, an electrical engineering student at Rice University, told Reuters. “Microsoft products touch almost every area of technology, and everything they do is starting to work together.”
“To me, Microsoft is a giant startup battling to innovate while maintaining compatibilit,” said Juan Llanes, a computer science and finance major at 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.”
Another reason Llanes may be happy is that Microsoft treats its interns well.
Last year more than 1,000 of them were treated to a surprise show by the Dave Matthews Band at a Seattle zoo. State troopers paid by Microsoft have in the past cleared the usually clogged State Route 520 floating bridge to downtown Seattle to make way for buses full of interns.
“There’s been a fundamental cultural shift. This really is in many ways a different company,” said James Whittaker, a software engineer who left Microsoft for Google three years ago — but then came back. “At the high levels of the company they are far more willing to consider grassroots innovative ideas bubbling up than they used to be.”