Microsoft to open training hub in Canada

May 06, 2014

Microsoft is creating a new training and development center in Vancouver, British Columbia, focused largely on Office, Bing, Skype and MSN, that eventually could create 400 new jobs.

The center, being called the "Microsoft Canada Excellence Centre," is expected to open late next year in the Pacific Centre shopping mall, above a Nordstrom store, in downtown Vancouver.

With the move, Microsoft will be roughly doubling the number of people it employs in Vancouver.

Microsoft said it expects to spend about $90 million a year on the center, with the bulk of that money going toward the lease and employee salaries and benefits.

Vancouver has been establishing itself as a hot new tech hub, taking advantage of Canada's generous tax benefits, more flexible immigration rules - with a faster visa process than in the U.S. - and relatively abundant supply of engineers.

The creation of Microsoft's new facility "is more important validation of Vancouver's continued emergence as a world-leading hub for innovation, with unprecedented new investment and job creation in our fast-growing digital-technology sector," Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a news release.

The center will focus mainly on training people who will go into research and development with Microsoft's Applications and Services Group. That group is responsible for Office, Office 365, SharePoint, Exchange, Yammer, Lync, Skype, Bing, Bing Apps, MSN and Microsoft Advertising platforms.

Microsoft plans to start hiring the first of its employees for the center this summer, focusing on software and services engineering and program and solutions management for the Applications and Services Group.

The company will lease 143,000 square feet on two of the four levels of office space above Nordstrom's future Canadian flagship location, according to Cadillac Fairview, which owns and manages Pacific Centre.

Microsoft also said Thursday it's establishing the "Foundry Vancouver" paid internship program. The 16-week program, which launches this summer, gives development and design students at Canadian universities the opportunity to build applications for Microsoft's platforms and devices.

No tax breaks were involved in the deal to open the new training and development center in Vancouver, Microsoft spokesman David Cuddy said.

Microsoft already has a sizable presence in Vancouver, with more than 300 employees working largely in game and entertainment development there at studios including BigPark and Black Tusk.

In 2007, Microsoft had also opened what it alternately called the Canada Development Centre and the Vancouver Development Center in the Vancouver suburb of Richmond.

The center, opened in part to accommodate workers it was recruiting from overseas but which evolved into a general development center, has since been consolidated with Microsoft's other facilities in Vancouver.

Microsoft says that more than 80 percent of its employees in Canada currently are Canadian citizens, and that the new Excellence Centre it's opening will employ both Canadian nationals as well as those hired from overseas.

"The focus is on hiring the best people," Cuddy said.

Once the remodel at Pacific Centre is complete, all of Microsoft's employees in Vancouver - including those working at its games studios - will move into the Excellence Centre.

Explore further: Microsoft picks Miami for first US innovation center

4.7 /5 (3 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Microsoft's Yammer adds translation functions

Feb 28, 2013

Microsoft said Thursday its Yammer social network for internal corporate communications would add message translation capabilities to help firms with multilingual operations.

Microsoft expands ad-free Bing search for schools

Apr 23, 2014

Microsoft is expanding a program that gives schools the ability to prevent ads from appearing in search results when they use its Bing search engine. The program, launched in a pilot program earlier this year, is now available ...

Microsoft to take over Nokia HQ in 2014 after deal

Nov 21, 2013

Nokia says its headquarters near the Finnish capital will be taken over by Microsoft on completion of the sale of its cellphone and services division to the U.S. software company, expected in early 2014.

Recommended for you

Turner channels removed from Dish amid pact spat

17 hours ago

Channels such as Cartoon Network and CNN are no longer part of Dish's programming lineup as a deadline has passed for the satellite TV provider and Turner Broadcasting to renew their distribution agreement.

Verizon reports higher 3Q net income, revenue

18 hours ago

Verizon Communications Inc. on Tuesday reported higher net income and revenue in its third quarter, helped by strong wireless subscriber growth and demand for its high-speed FiOS Internet services.

Amazon, Simon & Schuster sign book retail deal

Oct 21, 2014

Amazon has reached a deal with American book publisher Simon & Schuster, the companies said, though the e-commerce giant remains at loggerheads with France's Hachette over e-book pricing.

User comments : 0