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

Just Posted

Food programs such as the BC Fruit and Veggies program are important to student learning and students would be at a loss without them, Jeremy Janz principal of Pacific Coast School said, on May 13. Full tummies are the best way to start the day for Prince Rupert students, Natalia White (11) and Nikisha Johnson (12) who attended the official launch of the Breakfast Club of Canada program at PRMS on Feb. 25, 2020. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
School fruits and veggies may be cut, said BC Liberals

P.R. students healthy food knowledge grew from the BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional program

Gabriel Bureau president of the Prince Rupert Teachers union said on May 13 that SD 52 52 announced teacher lay-offs has broken the trust. (Photo:K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Teacher job losses are unnecessary, lay-off notices may be issued today, says PRDTU

Prince Rupert District Teachers Union says trust has been broken

Courtnay Girbav has been creating a little magic along the McClymont Trail in April with the initiation of a memorial fairy garden. The garden’s golden Buddha was recently found to be missing on May 2. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Fairy garden magic along McClymont Trail

An enchanted garden created in memory of a deceased friend has golden statue stolen

Prince Rupert Regional Airport is on track for flights to resume to the local airport on June 23. New airport federal funding was announced on May 11 to assist with COVID-19 recovery.  (Northern View file photo)
New federal airport funding takes off

Flights on track to resume June 23 at Prince Rupert Regional Airport

School District 52 Board of Trustees amended the 2021-2022 budget on May 11, eliminating 13 itinerant teaching positions as well as making other line item cuts and increases. (File photo)
SD 52 amends 2021-2022 proposed budget to eliminate 13 itinerant teaching positions

It has everything to do with the fact they were hired without the approval of the board - Tina Last

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

Police are at Ecole Mount Prevost Elementary but the students have been evacuated. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Gardner finds buried explosives, sparking evacuation of Cowichan school

Students removed from school in an ‘abundance of caution’

A COVID-19 patient receives oxygen outside a hospital in Jammu, India, Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (AP/Channi Anand)
B.C. donates $500K to Red Cross COVID-19 relief efforts in India

The money will provide oxygen cylinders and ambulances for patients in communities grappling with the virus

Superintendent Aaron Paradis, community services officer with the Surrey RCMP, during a media availability about a recent drug bust in Port Coquitlam. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Police seize 13 million ‘potentially fatal doses’ of pure fentanyl at B.C. drug lab

The evidence was seized at large, illicit drug manufacturing site in Port Coquitlam

B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth debates the province’s latest measure to control crime, March 10, 2021. The legislation allows police to impound vehicles used to transport weapons and further restricts sale of vehicle and body armour. (B.C. legislature video)
B.C. seeking ways to ‘name and shame’ gangsters, minister says

Mike Farnworth appeals to family members to talk to police

Jonathan Prest had to climb way up to the top of a dead red cedar tree to rescue a terrified cat, but he made it up and down successfully. (Facebook photos)
Tree cutter rescues cat stuck 100 feet up a dead and dried-out cedar

Jonathan Prest put himself in extreme peril to get a terrified cat out of a dangerous situation

The Greater Victoria School District continues to face backlash over its wording and approach to Indigenous learners in its 2021-2022 budget talks. (Black Press Media file photo)
School district’s approach to Indigenous learners leaves Victoria teachers ‘disgusted’

Backlash grows over ‘pattern of colonial thinking permeating the leadership’

Italian-Canadian prisoners at the Kananaskis prisoner of war camp in Alberta. (University of Calgary/Contributed)
Italian moved to Okanagan with hope; he ended up being sent to a WWII internment camp

Raymond Lenzi shares his grandfather’s story ahead of Canada’s planned formal apology to Italian-Canadians

Then-minister Rich Coleman, escorted by Victoria Police, makes his way to the east wing amid a protest blocking the legislature entrances before the throne speech in Victoria, B.C., Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. money laundering inquiry testimony ends today with reappearance of Rich Coleman

Responsible for the gaming file off and on from 2001 to 2013, Coleman been recalled after his initial testimony to the Cullen Commission last month

Most Read