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What computer or laptop do software engineers or programmers at Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Twitter Amazon, and/or other big tech companies use?

One of the big question facing a prospective computer or laptop buyer is which brand PC/laptop he/she should buy. Most of us go by the reviews published on different websites to make an informed choice but it is a fact that most of these reviews are paid for and don’t give the correct picture to the prospective buyer.  Sometimes, going by such reviews might land the PC/laptop buyer with a dud/non-performing gadget causing not only monetary loss but data loss as well.

So what should such a buyer do in such cases? The best idea would be to buy the very same computer or laptop which big tech companies like Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Twitter, etc. give to their engineers and programmers. The reason for this is that most big companies have a dedicated quality control team which vets all buys including systems and laptops and when they make purchases it is bound to be good. And what is good for them should be good for you!

In this article, I have collated data from Quora to find out exactly which PC/laptops big companies give to their engineers and programmers.

What computer or laptop do software engineers or programmers at Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc. use?


We will start off with the big daddy of them all, Google. According to Alex Wiesen, Engineering Manager, Voice Products Group, Google employees are given a variety of desktops, laptops, mini-desktops like Chromeboxes, and even tablets. 

Developers at Google typically choose a desktop and a laptop, and they can choose what they want. Wiesen says that most Googlers choose lightweight laptops like MacBooks; while other people will opt for the beefier laptops. On the desktop side, it depends a lot on what the developers are working on; iOS programmers are given Mac Pro, while Googlers working on the cloud have to work with Chromebooks.

Google engineers get beefy workstations running a modified version of Ubuntu. Benson Leung a Chrome OS Kernel Engineer says that his team works on Chrome OS and they are given Chromebooks to be secure enough for access to Google’s corporate network. He himself uses Chromebooks to SSH back into my Ubuntu workstation to code. He also uses a Chrome Remote Desktop to run a UI driven app.

Leung says that most of Googlers are given MacBooks and Ubuntu laptops for running local applications but Chromebook is the most used laptop at Google.


The social networking giant trusts Apple’s MacBooks and Lenovo Thinkpads for its employees. Facebook front-end engineer, Daniel Baulig says that when you join Facebook you are provisioned with a laptop and a phone. The choices  usually are Mac Book (15″, 13″ or Air) or Lenovo Thinkpad (T-series) and current iPhone or any flagship Android. He says that Facebook employees are rarely given desktops except for the VR guys.

He says that Facebook employees can  ask for anything that will help the job done. E.g. lots of Android engineers will have several phones for testing. Some engineers working on VR software will have powerful desktop rigs. And lots of engineers will have two or even three monitor setups.


Microsoft unquestioning trusts Lenovo for its computer and laptop needs. Wirawan Winarto, ex-Technical Evangelist at Microsoft says that all employees are given two laptops. Both Lenovo! One was used for daily administrative stuff (e-mail and presentation), while another one was used for engineering/programming. Winarto says that he was given Lenovo W530 beast with Core i7 and 32 GB of RAM that ran Windows Server with a multitude of VMs running.


At Adobe all employees are given a choice of owning any machine from the approved list. Nathan Hoover, Senior Engineering Manager, Adobe says that if the engineer wants something more powerful,  the cost center manager has to approve it. For engineers, the standards are a choice of top-spec 15″ MacBook Pro, top-spec Lenovo W series, Mac Pro desktop, or Dell Precision Workstation.


At Twitter, all engineers are given Retina Macbook Pros. Almost everyone has the 13″ version but the 15″ version is used in some cases where the developer needs a bit more power. Samuel Maskell,Android Engineer at Twitter says that the company gives Macbook Airs to PM’s/managers/designers.


Venkat Balabhadra from Amazon says that an SDE gets a choice of high-end Mac 14″ Retina display i7 processor laptop or equivalent HP/Lenovo Windows laptop, a big 34″ monitor or two 24″ monitors, not just that any number of EC2 high-end machines as per requirement.

As you can see most companies prefer MacBooks for laptops and Macs for desktops while Lenono PCs and laptops are the second choice. Next time you decide to buy a computer or a laptop, do keep this article in mind.


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