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

The Penticton Farmers Market is gearing up to open April 17 with COVID-19 safety protocols in place including mandatory masks. (Brennan Phillip/file photo)
Penticton Farmers Market needs volunteers, prepares for opening day

The Farmer’s Market will return to Main Street April 17

An old faucet. (Pixabay)
‘Wild wild west’ of water has Farleigh Lake resident concerned

Lack of oversight and unclear responsibilities has led to nothing but stress

The Cactus Court housing property was intended to have zero barriers for accessibility, but the door sills are visibly above the outer layer of concrete. It is one of the issues that BC Housing has hired a new contractor to fix. (Brennan Phillips - Keremeos Review)
BC Housing begins fixing issues at two Keremeos housing projects

The new plan is to have the units ready for residents by the summer

Slackwater Brewing, on Martin Street, is hoping this warm, sunny weather will bring out people to their patio and rooftop patio as do the dozens of other restaurants in town counting on patio visits during these difficult times. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Perfect patio weather brings perfect chance to help out Penticton restaurants

City boasts more than 30 patios to choose from, with more patios coming downtown soon

(Photo: pixabay.com)
Morning Start: More human twins are being born now than ever before

Your morning start for Friday, April 16, 2021

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

A Canada goose honks at other birds at Salish Park on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Goose addling program underway in Vernon

2021 cull applications in process as addling program enters 15th year

The Columbia Valley Wetlands are known for their extensive and fragile ecosystem. (File photo)
Wildsight speaks out against logging in Columbia Wetlands

Located 50 kms south of Golden, the proposed operation was justified as bark beetle management

Paper Excellence took over Catalyst Paper operations in B.C. in 2018. (Paper Excellence photo)
The Vernon Pickleball Association spotlights member Don Friesen ahead of National Volunteer Week (April 18-24, 2021). (Vernon Pickleball Association)
Volunteer praised by Vernon pickleballers

Marshall Field pickleball complex wouldn’t be possible without dedicated volunteer hours: VPA

Eight-year-old Piper and her family were raising money to help Guinevere, the bearded dragon, get a gynecological surgery. Sadly, the reptile didn’t survive the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Lizard fails to survive surgery, GoFundMe dollars help Langley family offset medical bills

Guinevere, a pet bearded dragon, underwent an ovariectomy on Tuesday

John Gibson has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help care for his father Stephen McCrae-Gibson, who suffered a stroke in February and had to undergo surgery to remove a blood clot near his brain. (Contributed)
Long road ahead for Salmon Arm man recovering after stroke

Son launches GoFundMe campaign to help prepare for father’s return and rehabilitation

A driver stopped by Saanich police following a road rage incident on April 15 was found to be impaired, in violation of a license restriction and in a damaged vehicle. They received a 90-day driving prohibition and a 30-day vehicle impound. (Saanich Police Traffic Safety Unit/Twitter)
Road rager fails breathalyzer on busy B.C. highway in vehicle he shouldn’t be driving

Saanich police say man was operating vehicle without required ignition lock

Most Read