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Here’s Where Microsoft Is Opening a New Lab for Some of Its Biggest Projects

June 17, 2016, 8:11 PM UTC
Microsoft opens state of the art technology centre in Vancouver
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.)
Courtesy of Microsoft Canada Inc.

Microsoft is expanding its reach in Canada.

The technology giant said on Friday that it opened a new engineering center in Vancouver, British Columbia. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended the opening of the new facility, dubbed the Microsoft Canada Excellence Centre (MCEC).

The new engineering outpost is expected to eventually employ over 750 people, according to Microsoft. Microsoft (MSFT) wants to hire coders who will work on several of its big technology projects, including the Skype Internet calling service, the HoloLens augmented reality headset, and apps for both the Xbox gaming console and Windows 10 operating system.

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“There is no better time to invest in Canada,” Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement. “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 touted that because the office is relatively close to its Redmond, Wash. headquarters, staff members from both locations would collaborate on big projects, as in the case of a research project called Seeing AI. Microsoft workers from both Redmond and Vancouver jointly developed an artificial intelligence-powered app that describes real-world surroundings and helps read text out loud for the visually impaired.

The new Vancouver office caps off a busy week for Microsoft.

Microsoft said on Monday it would spend $26.2 billion to purchase the business social networking company LinkedIn (LNKD), which Salesforce (CRM) was also interested in buying.

On Thursday, Microsoft announced it would buy a hot messaging startup called Wand Labs, whose team of natural language processing experts could help improve Microsoft’s Cortana digital assistant and related chat bots.

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Microsoft also partnered this week with a cannabis technology company called Kind Financial, which will use Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing service to help regulators and government agencies collect data relating to various U.S. laws on marijuana production.