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October 25, 2004

Google To Open an Office in Kirkland

Google is planning to open a development office in Kirkland, WA (just down the road from Microsoft), according to this post by Greg Linden. Scoble thinks this is funny, but if I were Microsoft I would be concerned.

I know Microsoft has had to struggle in the past with people leaving to work at the company of the moment, be it Netscape, Amazon, or whatever. Several people have recently decamped for Google and I doubt anybody is very happy about it. Although Kirkland is a lovely town, presumably Google is setting up shop there for one reason only, which is to poach employees from Microsoft.

It's not clear if Google just wants a think tank (in which case they would mostly be trolling for Microsoft Research employees) or a general development office (in which case all of Redmond is their oyster). The description of what goes on at Google Europe (in Zurich) is inconclusive.

Certainly when you work at Microsoft in Redmond you are at the center of the action, whereas Google Kirkland would be an isolated satellite. I doubt people working on MSN Search itself would be tempted to switch; they are already working on a search engine, and their product is getting lots of executive love. But Google as a whole (and its stock) is so red-hot that it could look mighty appealing to someone stuck in a less visible project on Microsoft. The company has about 2700 employees, roughly the size Microsoft was when I started there in 1990. Better to rule in hell than serve in heaven, as it were?

Posted by AdamBa at October 25, 2004 09:15 PM

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google = hell
microsoft = heaven

hmm, looks backwards from here :)

Posted by: Jonathan Ellis at October 27, 2004 06:54 AM