Yesterday I read Werner Vogels's weblog. I had the opportunity to meet and talk to Werner at HPTS'03 and consider him one of the finest people to learn from for anything related to distributed computing. He was recently hired by Amazon.com and in his weblog he explains why he accepted to work for Amazon instead of a company such as Microsoft.
His analysis is spot on and describes why companies such as Google or Amazon offer such interesting challenges compared to traditional software companies like Microsoft, Sun or BEA. It explains why some of the top software people and most prominent figure of the IT field (Adam Bosworth and Joshua Bloch to name a few) left "traditional" software companies for these internet application companies.
I'm currently on a mission for a big internet company and I totally share his point of view. The scale and range of such applications is just so challenging and completely different from the various middleware projects I was previously involved in.