Microsoft vet to lead new HBO engineering office in Seattle

Drew Angeloff

HBO has hired a longtime Microsoft manager, Drew Angeloff, as the vice president in charge of a new software development office in Seattle, focused on building out the company’s HBO Go video service for devices and the web.

Plans for the new HBO office were confirmed this morning by Otto Berkes, another Microsoft veteran who is now the New York-based senior vice president for digital products for HBO. Angeloff and the new Seattle office will be reporting to Berkes.

GeekWire first reported on the office last week after spotting a related job posting and Washington state corporations filing.

HBO is aiming to have a permanent office up and running sometime in the first quarter of next year, with about a dozen people to start, and growing from there, Berkes said. HBO, part of Time Warner, has the bulk of its engineers in New York.

Berkes and Angeloff worked together in the early days of the Xbox at Microsoft, and later Angeloff reported to Berkes as part of the team of Ray Ozzie, then Microsoft’s chief software architect. Angeloff left Microsoft Game Studios in May, according to his LinkedIn profile, and has been building up the HBO office in stealth mode.

Why Seattle and not Silicon Valley? Berkes, who worked at Microsoft for 18 years, said engineers here tend to have a better understanding for the types of experiences HBO is seeking to create. His personal connections to the Seattle region also played a role in deciding to put the office here.

“It was a much more natural fit from that perspective, and frankly the software talent pool in the Northwest is, in my opinion, second to none,” he said.

HBO is the latest in a series of big media and technology brands from other parts of the country to establish engineering centers in Seattle the region’s engineers. Facebook, Google, Salesforce.com, Hulu and Zynga are among those with existing facilities here.

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