The Tech Battle in Seattle

View Larger MapA map of office locations in the Seattle-area; the map legend is below

Competition in the tech job market is heating up in the Seattle are and its showing in the office real estate market. In the past couple of months both Google and Microsoft have announced the intention to open new Seattle offices, Amazon is opening a new building, and Yahoo is moving north as well.

As you can see from the Seattle area map above there is a large body of water (Lake Washington) in the middle. On the left side is Seattle (AKA the Westside), on the right is the Eastside. Both Kirkland and Bellevue are closer to Seattle than Redmond — a difference that can mean a lot for someone commuting from the Westside.

bus icon

Microsoft is famously in Redmond, but they now have 16 jobs available in Seattle (versus 2693 across the pond). The Seattle openings are for Windows Live, Live Meeting, Zune, and Office in a variety of marketing and product development positions. Most of the Seattle employees will be existing teams, but these listings give us an indication of who may be moving.

This move to Seattle will be a real shift for the company. It can’t just put a couple of token teams over in Seattle. Their employees will need to be able to assume that they can have full careers in a single location (like they can in any other remote MS office). The shuttles buses that they recently announced (complete with wifi) will help keep the Seattle-Redmond connection going, but it will still be very difficult for some teams to adjust.


Google opened its first Northwest office in a more-palatable-to-Seattle residents Kirkland in 2004. The office is apparently one of the most successful remote location and is about to expand significantly. Google also intends to expand their Seattle sales office. This will not be as big of a shift for Google as it will be for Microsoft and will aid recruitment. Google has 34 openings for Seattle/Kirkland and 2 openings for Seattle. They are for a lot of different position types. Some of the more interesting ones include, advertising, sales, and Mobile wireless. I think that Google realized that they that stand a better chance of getting employees from Amazon and other Seattle-based companies if they were on the Westside; they also will be able to get Microsofties who are tired of the commute. I suspect that Microsoft feared that they were right.


Yahoo! is also coming to the Northwest via the town of Bellevue. Yahoo! has 9 openings in Bellevue (sorry, not a permalink to the search); they are all in engineering. There are 2 openings in Seattle, for what I believe is an existing Sales office. Yahoo! must be feeling the heat down in Sunnyvale with over 800 openings waiting to be filled perhaps the Northwest developer pool will help.


Seattle-based Amazon has 527 openings for Seattle in all manner of positions. This number includes technical and administrative positions. I recall reading that they are opening a third building in Seattle to handle growth, but can’t find any references online. Amazon has always done been in Seattle, but I am sure its Westside-only stance has hurt its recruitment over the years with Eastsiders.

All of these companies are also competing with a rich start-up market as well as smaller big companies like Adobe (purple camera icon) and Real Networks (red audio signal icon). It’s a good time to be a Seattle techie — and a real estate agent.

(Thanks to Todd Bishop and John Cook for their excellent Seattle coverage over the years)

tags: ,