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Google loses best workplace crown to NetApp

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California technology firm NetApp has taken Google's crown as best company to work for in 2009, according to an annual Top 100 list published by Fortune Magazine.

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Google held the Fortune title of "Best Company to Work For" for two years, knocking biotech drug firm Genentech from the top spot in 2007.

Google sank to fourth place in rankings published in the February 2 issue of Fortune. St. Louis-based brokerage Edward Jones was second followed by Boston Consulting, a management consulting firm.

Silicon Valley insiders speculated the sag in Google's status could be related to cost-cutting measures such as the cancellation of an annual ski outing for the northern California Internet giant's snow-loving employees.

The magazine noted that Google attracts 770,000 job applicants yearly, despite having done away with "frills" such as afternoon tea.

Fortune praised NetApp for a "legendary egalitarian culture" and down-to-earth management ethos.

Rather than business plans, workers at the company specializing in data management and computer storage draft "future histories" describing their visions for coming years, according to Fortune.

Worker benefits reportedly include paid days for volunteer work, cash to supplement adopting children and medical coverage for family members with autism.

Veteran network-equipment company Cisco in the heart of Silicon Valley ranked sixth on the list, while its neighbor Adobe Systems was listed in 11th place.

The rankings are done by San Francisco's Great Place to Work Institute, which reportedly surveyed more than 81,000 employees from 353 companies.

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