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Salesforce Is Opening an Innovation Hub Near Amazon and Microsoft

It’s probably safe to call greater Seattle area the hub of the cloud computing universe right now. After all, it’s home to public cloud behemoth Amazon Web Services as well as to runner up Microsoft. It’s also where much of the cloud engineering work for Silicon Valley-based players—including Google and Oracle—takes place.

Now it’s getting another big name as opens what it calls a “world-class” office in Bellevue, Wash., between Seattle-based Amazon (AMZN) and Redmond-based Microsoft (MSFT).

That location could be seen as symbolic. Salesforce competed with and then patched things up with Microsoft—and now they are competing again. Last year, Salesforce signed a $400 million deal to run new applications on Amazon’s data center infrastructure. Microsoft likely would have wanted that deal for its Azure cloud.

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Salesforce announced plans for this expansion in October 2015, and still plans to double its local workforce in the new neighborhood to nearly 500 people. The new Bellevue Salesforce Engineering and Innovation Hub will even include “dedicated mindfulness areas.”

Salesforce was co-founded in 1999 by Marc Benioff and Parker Harris, pioneering the Software-as-a-Service sales model in which software is delivered to customers over the Internet. The bulk of it runs on Salesforce servers—not at the customer site. In the intervening years, nearly every software company in the industry has rushed to embrace and mimic that model.

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The company started out focusing on customer relationship management (CRM) software, which sales people use to find, track, and close deals. But in the last decade, the San Francisco-based corporation has entered lots of related businesses, including e-commerce, marketing, and user productivity tools via acquisitions such as Demandware, ExactTarget, and Quip respectively, among other purchases.