Microsoft opens state of the art technology centre in Vancouver, British Columbia

A world class development centre where top talent will learn, grow and innovate

VANCOUVER, June 17, 2016 /CNW/ - Microsoft today officially opened the doors of the Microsoft Canada Excellence Centre (MCEC) in Vancouver, a state-of-the art development facility that will create innovative products for the global market and develop technology talent in British Columbia.  

"Vancouver is becoming a global centre for technology, and we're committed to helping grow Canada's innovation economy." said Microsoft President, Brad Smith. "Our new development centre will bring talented Canadians together with leading talent from around the world to help develop the technologies of tomorrow."

The MCEC will allow Microsoft's presence in Vancouver to grow to more than 750 positions. It will inject $90 million in direct investment in the city annually. Across the province, it will have an estimated economic impact of $180 million each year.

"There is no better time to invest in Canada," said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. "I welcome Microsoft's decision to add as many as 450 new development jobs to their Vancouver operations – it is a real vote of confidence in the community, and in the talent and expertise of Canadian workers."

Microsoft chose Vancouver because of its strong technology ecosystem and British Columbia's network of globally recognized universities that provide a robust talent pipeline. The centre with its close proximity to Microsoft's global headquarters, gives the company's local developers and interns the opportunity to collaborate on projects as part of a diverse team of professionals. The Seeing AI research project is one recent example of Microsoft interns and developers collaborating with those based at Microsoft's headquarter in Redmond, Washington. The research project, being developed to help the visually impaired, was introduced this Spring by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

"The centre will serve as yet another gateway between British Columbia and the world." said the Hon. Christy Clark, Premier of British Columbia. This is further evidence of the talent and potential that Vancouver and the B.C.'s thriving tech sector have to offer, and we're pleased that Microsoft has made such a strong commitment to the future of innovation in this province." 

The MCEC will house developers from the Vancouver region, across Canada and around the world, as they bring to life new technologies and applications ranging from apps (Skype, OneNote, MSN) to gaming products (Gears of War), interactive television app (NFL for Xbox and Windows 10), mixed reality (Microsoft HoloLens) and ground-breaking accessibility products (Seeing AI). 

"It's no coincidence that Vancouver's nation-leading economy is also the home to world-class tech talent filling 75,000 technology jobs with another 15,000 expected in the next three years," says Mayor Gregor Robertson. "Vancouver's diverse and entrepreneurial tech ecosystem is a big draw to leading global companies like Microsoft who, time and time again, choose Vancouver as a centre of innovation and excellence."

The MCEC is located in the heart of downtown Vancouver in a remodeled 142,000 square foot space in the Granville Centre. It features the latest architectural designs, and floor-to-ceiling views of the city and surrounding mountains.  Designed by architect Clive Wilkinson, it boasts two 150-person multi-purpose community rooms, and both open and closed collaboration spaces. It also has a "Maker's Garage," an outlet for experimental projects with both hardware and software, that incorporates new design features to enhance productivity. 

Quotes:

"The Microsoft Canada Excellence Centre shows how strongly Microsoft values the depth of talent here in Canada, and it is a great source of pride for all of us. We firmly believe Canada can play a leading role in developing the innovations that will redefine how we think about technology - not just in this country but around the world."

 Janet Kennedy, President, Microsoft Canada

"Technology is driven forward by the best and brightest. The diverse makeup of the people of this city, and this country, are a significant advantage. Our goal is to bring dynamic local talent, both senior and developing, together with the best and brightest from around the world to make Canada a leader in innovation."

Edoardo De Martin, Director, Microsoft Canada Excellence Centre

"The opening of the Microsoft ‎Canada Excellence Centre marks an important new chapter in Microsoft's storied roots in British Columbia. The origins of some of Microsoft's most successful products - Outlook Mail and SharePoint - can be traced to technologies that were developed in Vancouver. We're excited to see the expansion of Microsoft's efforts and the opening of their 'second home' in Vancouver."

Bill Tam, President & CEO, BC Tech Association

"The Microsoft Canada Excellence Centre, with its focus on innovation and collaboration, is a welcome addition to the BC tech ecosystem. Microsoft is a well-established member of the BCTECH community and through its leadership encourages the growth of tech talent and the development of technology solutions that are changing our lives."

Greg Caws, President and CEO of the BC Innovation Council (BCIC)

"This was a unique opportunity.  We wanted to make sure we could take advantage of this raw space without obliterating the views or vistas. The challenge with such a large space was to make people feel good, to allow them to do individual and team work, collaborate and enjoy the space without feeling they were in a maze-like a corridor of spaces."

Brenda Ball, Microsoft Regional Workplace Strategist

ABOUT MICROSOFT CANADA
Established in 1985, Microsoft Canada Inc. is the Canadian subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq "MSFT") the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. Microsoft Canada provides nationwide sales, marketing, consulting and local support services in both French and English. Headquartered in Mississauga, Microsoft Canada has nine regional offices across the country dedicated to empowering people through great software - any time, any place and on any device. For more information on Microsoft Canada, please visit www.microsoft.ca.

SOURCE Microsoft Canada Inc.

Image with caption: "Prime Minister Justin Trudeau experiences Microsoft HoloLens at the official opening of the Microsoft Canada Excellence Centre today in Vancouver. The facility is designed to be an incubator of new technological talent and innovation. (CNW Group/Microsoft Canada Inc.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20160617_C3808_PHOTO_EN_716851.jpg

Image with caption: "Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Microsoft President Brad Smith speak at the opening of the Microsoft Canada Excellence Centre, June 17, 2016. (CNW Group/Microsoft Canada Inc.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20160617_C3808_PHOTO_EN_716853.jpg

Image with caption: "Preet Mangat, Senior Program Manager Microsoft Canada, demonstrates City Hacks with Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, the Hon. Christy Clark, the Premier of British Columbia and Mayor Gregor Robertson, for the City of Vancouver at the Microsoft Canada Excellence Centre. (CNW Group/Microsoft Canada Inc.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20160617_C3808_PHOTO_EN_716855.jpg

For further information: Katelyn Hack, Veritas Communications, hack@veritasinc.com, 416-955-4588; Brendan Bailey, Veritas Communications, bailey@veritasinc.com, 604-340-2440


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