Rendering of Microsoft’s Vancouver office at Pacific Centre. (Microsoft)

Rendering of Microsoft’s Vancouver office at Pacific Centre. (Microsoft)

Microsoft announces Vancouver expansion, adding 500 new jobs

‘AI expertise in Canada is just extraordinary,’ says chief executive Satya Nadella

Microsoft’s chief executive says Canada’s technology sector is talent-rich and a player on the global scene but he wants policy-makers to weigh regulatory effects on innovation when making decisions.

If businesses currently thriving face additional impediments, Satya Nadella believes they could start to lag behind and drag their various sectors of the economy along with them.

“You want to make sure that the latest technologies are available so that … Canada can create more world-class technology,” he said in an interview. “By shutting yourself off from a factor of production all you do is fall behind.”

Nadella’s comments come as Microsoft is boosting its presence in Canada with a new Toronto innovation centre and hundreds of hires in Vancouver and as the federal government teases that regulations for Big Tech are coming soon.

The New York Times reported Tuesday that Microsoft had its sights on expansion again and has been in talks to acquire Discord, a social media company popular with gamers, for as much as US$10 billion.

In recent years, the arguments Microsoft once faced have dogged competitors like Facebook, which also owns Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus, and sparked conversations around whether tech companies have too much power.

Canada’s discussions don’t appear to have spooked Nadella.

Microsoft announced Wednesday that it will open a data innovation centre at its downtown Toronto office to give customers a place to test early capabilities and share digital best practices.

The company will also bring to Vancouver an Azure Edge Zone, that will help users who require in-country data residency to perform tasks faster because they can connect to a local data centre rather than the one in Toronto.

The zone, said Microsoft, will help health care and public sector services in Western Canada ensure they are meeting data residency and compliance requirements.

In addition to the offices, Microsoft will add more than 500 technical jobs in Vancouver this year that will focus on application building, its Office and OneDrive offerings, web experiences and mixed reality.

Nadella zeroed in on Canada because he said human capital in the country is “huge.”

“In the developed world, Canada is in some sense setting pace in many areas,” he said.

“Per capita, if you look at AI expertise in Canada it is just extraordinary.”

Nabbing that talent will come with competition. Shopify Inc., Twitter Inc. and Pinterest all revealed earlier this year that they are expanding in Canada and hiring engineers and other technical workers. But Nadella sees the kind of work that Microsoft is doing as being key because it’s focused on digital skills and credentials, which he said will be key to the future.

“The more we do our best work to get people equipped with those, the better of the shape of the society and the economy will be.”

tech sector

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Matthew Balogh was last seen in Abbotsford on Sunday, April 18 at 10 a.m.
Police seek help in locating missing 17-year-old in Abbotsford

Matthew Balogh was last seen at 10 a.m. on Sunday, April 18

Michael Colmant, a former manager of Abbotsford International Airport, was killed in a hit-and-run in Washington state while he was riding his bicycle.
Abbotsford man dies in hit-and-run while cycling in Washington

Seattle police still searching for driver of vehicle that killed Michael Colmant

Sasquatch Days typically takes place in May but has been canceled the past two years due to COVID-19. The Sts’ailes First Nation recently announced this year’s cancelation. (Photo/Tourism Harrison)
2021 Sasquatch Days canceled due to COVID-19

Second year in a row the pandemic canceled this event

..
Abbotsford nurse at ‘breaking point’ pleads with public to take COVID-19 seriously

Instagram post urges general population to stay home, wear a mask and get vaccinated

The Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO) (File Photo)
IIO investigating after man seriously injured by police dog during Abbotsford arrest

Independent Investigations Office looking into incident from March 6 in 3700 block of Davie Street

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

Christy Clark, who was premier from 2011 to 2017, is the first of several present and past politicians to appear this month before the Cullen Commission, which is investigating the causes and impact of B.C.’s money-laundering problem over the past decade. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Christy Clark says she first learned of money-laundering spike in 2015

The former B.C. premier testified Tuesday she was concerned the problem was ‘apparently at an all-time high’

Surrey RCMP reunited three stolen puppies with their mom. (RCMP handout)
Puppies stolen from South Surrey home located, reunited with mom

Surrey RCMP said they found the stolen puppies on April 16

A woman is vaccinated at a Maple Ridge clinic. (Black Press files)
Fraser Health providing priority AZ immunization for people 40+ in COVID hotpots

Six Surrey neighbourhoods, North Delta, PoCo, South Langley Township, and West Abbotsford targeted

The city asking the public if they want to pursue legal action against the province and their decision to override the city on the Victory Church issue. (Jesse Day Western News)
Penticton to sue province over homeless shelter

City council voted unanimously to go forward with legal action

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Cash seized in a 2018 RCMP drug bust in the Lower Mainland. (Contributed)
Kelowna RCMP-led drug investigation nets charges for 4 in Lower Mainland

Cops seized 12 kilograms of MDMA and $380K executing several search warrants in the Lower Mainland in 2018

Most Read