This is a great topic relevant to the times for sure.
Of the three big companies that are the face of technology for most Americans (in my opinion - not researched) that use computers, here is how we look at them.
Google- they 'get it'. They know what people want and how to make it easy to use, not to mention free for goodness sake. They know what it takes to make complicated technology simple and everyday/everybody accessible, adequate for both the newbie and the advanced to use. They create needs we didn't even know we had, and fill them beautifully, free. Just take a look at 'labs' on Gmail, Documents, and Calendar for example, and these are the very minor ones. They do have some work to do on creating hardware though. Well, 'nuff said, it would take pages to laud the advances Google has given us in our computing life.
Apple- they 'get it' too, and make incredible hardware to fill the needs they create. They understand how people want to use things, and how to make it simple, and beautiful. Often ahead of their times. But they don't want to let anyone play in their sandbox.
Microsoft- they just don't 'get it'.
I have no professional background to form my opinions of the above, heck, I'm an 'old-timer'. Been using the net before it was the net- do some of you recall Prodigy and Compuserve when it was all simple bulletin boards
? Pre-dating AOL even. All my tech... ahem...'skill' is self taught. After all the years of frustrations, and literally years of sitting staring at screens whilst trying to make MS products do something, ramping up and then down and then up and then down excitement with Apple, Google is like a constantly fine-tuning miracle.
Google is 'it' as long as they never lose control of the vast information they have, or lose sight of their beginning mission.
Random investments? Doubt it.
Hope I didn't stray too far off topic of the opinions you were looking for.
Now, get over to Bakery Square and apply for a job in that new expansion
I think they will be one of the premier employers a quite a while to come. Pittsburgh is incredibly lucky to have them here.