My work involved the feature planning, service evaluation, development, implementation and execution of various online services. Products that I mainly worked on were Spaces and Favorites.
There are a few things that I can probably publicly talk about Microsoft without getting in trouble.
For a start, it was interesting to see how folks at MS were more outgoing than folks at Amazon. Amazonians rarely go out to networking events to mingle but folks at Microsoft done it all the time.
MS folks seemed more web savvy in terms of understanding the trends what was going on in the web - most of the folk at Amazon Japan were hired from a retail background and not necessarily a web background.
MS generally treat their employees very well - once you get a job at Microsoft, you can probably stay there for life. I didn't hear of Microsoft laying people off. But there is a bad side to this - poor performers are sent to work with other groups and end up affecting the productivity of that group.
The other bad thing about this is that many people get in the comfort zone easily and try not to do anything that will rock the boat. There were only a handful of people who wanted to do something radical and put forward great ideas.
Microsoft is a great software company but tries to use processes for developing software to develop web applications which are a different thing.
Microsoft is unfortunately a follower and not an innovator. They would usually wait until a competitor is doing something before taking action.
Great examples are Firefox - if FF didn't come along, everybody would still be using IE6.
If Googles online services didn't come along, Windows Live probably would not have happened.
No Playstation, No Xbox etc etc.
There was an internal process where you had to submit information about what the competitor is doing before the project was approved - meaning that it was not possible to submit something that was not already being done by others.
The worst thing about Microsoft was their infatuation with Google. They even had a job position called "Beat Google" which you can read about at GizzBuzz. It wasn't about innovation - it was all about waiting for the competition to do something and then copy them - and then try to beat them at it.
Microsoft employees are *much* better paid than Amazonians. My observations were that a product manager at Amazon may have earned about 5,000,000 yen but a person of same responsibility at Microsoft earns 10,000,000 yen - double desu!