Microsoft’s Cool, the Smart Grid’s Growing, and HP’s Still PC

DICETV UPDATE

Is Microsoft the best place to work in the world? Silicon Valley’s going all smart grid on us. And HP’s staying in the PC business, after all. All on this week’s DiceTV Update.

Microsoft is the best multinational company to work for, according to the research and training firm – the Great Place to Work Institute. Yes, there really is something called the Great Place to Work Institute. SAS was second best, followed by NetApp, Google and FedEx Express. To be considered, companies had to have at least 5,000 employees worldwide, at least 40 percent of them based outside their home country. Though the top companies have some really nifty perks — think Google’s free gourmet food — Great Place to Work says exceptional company leaders think about more than individual perks. The three traits of top companies: employee trust in management, pride in the company, and camaraderie with colleagues. At the best companies, even low-level employees know they’re part of the team, with a common goal.  Microsoft hasn’t been hiring as aggressively as other tech companies recently. Its yearly employee growth was about 2.7 percent, compared with 7.6 percent for SAS, 18 percent for NetApp and 32 percent for Google.

The Valley Will Be a Smart Grid Center. A report from the firm Collaborative Economics says Silicon Valley and the broader Bay Area will be national leaders in the development of smart grid technologies. In 2009, there were more than 12,000 smart grid jobs in the region, up from about 5,500 in 1995, a jump of 129 percent. Area businesses providing related products and services grew 139 percent during the same period, from 280 companies to 670. The Department of Energy wants the electric grid to be more reliable, secure and efficient, and local telecom and software experts are key to making that happen. Smart grid-related industries include energy storage technology as well as electricity transmission and distribution.

Hewlett-Packard is going keep its PC division after deciding a proposed spin-off would cost too much. The company’s CEO, Meg Whitman, says that keeping the group is “right” for pretty much everyone – customers, partners, shareholders, employees. She also said the company remains committed to tablets – but not with webOS. Instead, HP will make tablets that run on Microsoft’s Windows 8. The company still doesn’t seem to know what to do with webOS, but says it’ll probably decide in the next few months.

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