Microsoft opens shop in Vancouver, BC

If you haven't been to Vancouver, BC you really haven't been to a real cool city in NA. Well, unless you haven't been to Montreal either! :)

I am so glad that MS is opening a Dev center in Vancouver!

Like most of the people at MS, I'm tired of this whole Visa process and the green card BS! I'd love to move to Canada and do the job same job, that I absolutely love doing!

Anyway, here's the excerpt from our Internal daily...


Morning fog blankets the Lions Gate Bridge and parts of the downtown just before dawn in Vancouver, BC.


MS Development Center to Open in Vancouver Area 

The facility will debut in September. It builds on Microsoft’s strategy to develop R&D expertise outside the United States.

Microsoft will open the Microsoft Canada Development Centre in the Vancouver, British Columbia, area in September. The new facility reflects the company’s continuing strategy to develop expertise globally – though, admittedly, part of this center’s attraction is its proximity to Redmond.

The Vancouver area is a gateway to the world and its burgeoning technology sector and diverse culture are an important reason for opening the center. Moreover, the site will give Microsoft a bit more flexibility in working under the legal limits of the U.S. visa program.

“Because of the technical growth in the region, we have always been intrigued with the possibility of a facility in western Canada, as have our Microsoft Canada subsidiary colleagues,” said S. Somasegar, corporate vice president of the Microsoft Developer Division.

Initially, a couple hundred employees will work at the new center, with plans to increase the work force over time. Most of the Vancouver-area staff will be newly hired recruits working on various technical teams. Microsoft does not currently plan to relocate entire teams, only individuals.

Somasegar is leading the BC strategy. He came to Microsoft in 1989 as a software design engineer from Chennai, India, and drove the creation of the company’s R&D facility in Hyderabad, India, in 1998.

“In the 18 years that I have worked here, demand has always been greater than supply,” Somasegar said. “We would love to bring all these people to Redmond, but … this is not possible. So how do we get these people to work for Microsoft? We developed R&D centers around the world.”

In that way, he said, the Vancouver area center is an addition to Microsoft’s established strategy to conduct some research and development outside Redmond.

“We now have large R&D centers around the world, including India, China, Israel, Denmark, and other places. … We will continue to look at where the talent is, what products and technologies we want to build, where our customers are, and where the partner ecosystem is, and then … make R&D investments based on that,” Somasegar said.

The Vancouver-area complex builds on Microsoft’s existing Canadian subsidiary. Founded in 1985 in Mississauga, Ontario, Microsoft Canada has more than 900 employees and provides sales, marketing, consulting, and local support services in French and English. The addition of the new development center in the Vancouver area could double the number of Microsoft employees in Canada within a year or two. Currently, Microsoft Canada has built relationships with more than 24,000 partners across Canada.

The decision to develop expertise in Canada also reflects the steady decline of computer science (CS) as a course of study among U.S. college students. The latest Computing Research Association Taulbee Survey showed a continued decline among U.S. undergrad. New CS majors in fall 2006 were down 50 percent from their numbers in fall 2000, and down 70 percent from their peak numbers in the 1980s.

In 2004, the U.S. ranked 17th worldwide for undergrad science and engineering degrees, down from third place in 1975, according to a Stanford University study in 2004.


-Mithun Dhar

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