Via the CP, yesterday Microsoft officially opened their development centre in Richmond, suburb of Vancouver. We've talked about this before, as it first opened over a year ago. Since then, they've grown from 21 employees to 300 in two buildings of over 73,000 square feet in the Crestwood Corporate Centre. Work in the centre spans "more than half" of Microsoft's products, including Windows, Office, the Zune, and Xbox 360. The mention of Xbox is interesting; Microsoft opening a gaming studio in Metro Vancouver would be a completely other story in itself.
"The real contribution is the innovation they are creating," said Microsoft Canada President Phil Sorgen. He said the company chose Vancouver in part because of its quality of life and multiculturalism.
"We are recruiting, as many companies are, for the best talent in the world and Vancouver has consistently been rated as one of the five top most livable cities," Sorgen said. "When we have talked to our recruiters, one of the things they told us is... this would be another asset to us, to have a centre in Vancouver we can recruit talent to."
Sorgen said the high Canadian dollar was not considered an issue because the centre is a long-term investment for the company, and the currency fluctuates.
A development centre in BC is convenient for Microsoft because Canada's more generous immigration laws let them bring in international workers that would be more difficult to bring into the United States. Engineers in the centre represent 45 different countries and speak 15 distinct languages. Further, Richmond is only a couple hours drive from Microsoft Headquarters in Redmond, WA.
Welcome to Vancouver, Microsoft; don't let all the Macs scare you off :)