Microsoft is expanding its footprint in Canada, announcing today that it plans to open a new training and engineering center in Vancouver’s Pacific Centre. The new facility — dubbed the “Microsoft Canada Excellence Centre” — is slated to open by late 2015, eventually growing to house up to 400 employees.
“Vancouver is a vibrant international hub for technology development with growth potential given its attractive location, amenities, reputation and proximity to top British Columbia universities and a highly-educated and diverse workforce and population,” said Janet Kennedy, President of Microsoft Canada. “This investment will enable us to create a world-class center of training and innovation that will have a positive ripple effect across the local, provincial and national economy.”
Amazon.com opened an engineering center in Vancouver, B.C. last year, and reports circulated last October that the company was planning to expand those facilities to accommodate as many as 1,000 employees.
At Microsoft’s new facility, employees will focus on software and services engineering and program and solutions management in Microsoft’s Applications and Services Group. The group is responsible for research and development across Microsoft Office, Office 365, SharePoint, Exchange, Yammer, Lync, Skype, Bing, Bing Apps, MSN and Advertising platforms.
Microsoft also plans to establish what is is calling “Foundry Vancouver” — a paid internship program designed to provide opportunities to students from Canadian universities.
“The Vancouver expansion of one of the world’s most innovative technological firms is recognition of Canada’s talent pool and investment climate,” said James Moore, Minister Responsible for British Columbia and Minister of Industry, in a statement. “It is also a validation that Canada is well positioned to take advantage of the global opportunities of the digital economy.”
Microsoft set up its Microsoft Canada Development Centre in 2007, and two years later acquired Big Park Studios. That team now includes about 300 workers, focusing on services for Microsoft Xbox.