Microsoft Grows Presence in Bay Area With Berkeley Office Opening

The company now has an office in San Francisco, Silicon Valley and the East Bay.

(Editor’s Note: This article was first published on Microsoft’s blog.)

Microsoft started in the California Bay Area as a remote engineering site in Mountain View and a sales office in San Francisco. Now over 35 years later, the region is home to a vibrant community of Microsoft employees working across teams and products to drive forward innovation with impact.

Today, Microsoft has offices across Berkeley, San Francisco, and Silicon Valley. Each of these embody the entrepreneurial spirit of the Bay Area in a unique way. The region is home to more than 30 different teams developing strategic products in the intelligent cloud, re-imagining hardware, empowering customers, and exploring new technologies like artificial intelligence. Although there are many teams, all are dedicated to one mission of empowering others. The collective expertise across product groups brings together a diverse set of views and opinions that create a hyper-creative environment true to our engineering roots. We also take part in the thriving startup world through M12, our corporate venture fund, Microsoft for Startups, and acquisitions that help create community as well as support business goals.

The Bay Area is of course home to many technology companies, large and small. Microsoft has a key differentiator though, according to Chief Technology Officer and co-sponsor of the region, Kevin Scott. “Our superpower at Microsoft is our culture of empowering others,” he said at last year’s annual Employee Growth Conference. “It is permeating through our organization and we all have a shared sense of purpose. This, combined with our scale and talent at solving some of the most challenging problems, allows us to bring technology to people faster in a way that will improve their lives exponentially.”

There is a lot to be excited about across the region as the Microsoft community grows. Here are a few highlights across each of our locations:

Berkeley office opening

Location of Microsoft’s Berkeley office as of January 2020 © Jeremy Bittermann

This year Microsoft brought several AI and research-based teams together at a new site in Berkeley. Having a physical presence near U.C. Berkeley, a renowned institution for research and education, complements the academic nature and learning mindset of the teams located here.

Two groups that will be located on the seventh floor at 1919 Shattuck Ave. joined Microsoft last year through acquisition. Semantic Machines and Bonsai, now the Autonomous Systems team, are both dedicated to developing AI technologies that push innovation to the next level. David Hall, principal researcher at Semantic Machines, is focused on building a team that advances the state of conversational AI. Using the power of machine learning, the technology they are working on will enable users to discover, access, and interact with information and services in a much more natural way, and with significantly less effort. “The future of human computer interaction is conversation—actual back and forth dialogues between you and a machine carried out in natural language,” says Hall. “Think today’s technology, but without having to carefully memorize commands, or spell out every single step. We’ve assembled an amazing team of researchers and engineers in speech and natural language processing to work on this, and we look forward to deepening our connection to Berkeley’s learning culture.”

The space is specifically designed to drive collaboration in a modern, welcoming environment. It is geared toward driving interaction not only with the teams there, but also the local academic community. Microsoft is a proud sponsor of the Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Research (BAIR) lab, co-located in the building, as well as the Real-Time Intelligent Secure Explainable Systems (RISE) lab, and Simons Institute. The proximity to these groups enables Microsoft to be a better partner, connect with others through  research, and educate students on the opportunities available to them when exploring careers in technical fields.

San Francisco footprint

The Microsoft San Francisco office at 555 California is dedicated to client support and local community engagement

Multiple sites across San Francisco allow Microsoft to better serve some of our largest customers, work with local engineers on impactful products, and support community events.

The original location of our sales office, Katy Brown, vice president of enterprise sales of the western region, has helped grow the local team into a complete Microsoft experience group. Her team is dedicated to ensuring clients have the technology they need to be successful. “Our culture of empowering others is everything. It is at our core, something we do daily to ensure success for not only our largest customers, but also each other,” says Brown. “We’ve created an environment where people can bring the very best version of themselves into work every day.”

San Francisco engineering teams across products like Yammer, Outlook Mobile, Modern Life Experiences, and more play a vital role in building our inclusive culture. The teams located at 1355 Market St. regularly come together to hack, learn about allyship, and ensure colleagues live a growth mindset beyond just building or selling technical solutions. Separately, at our SF Reactor, Microsoft openly engages with developers, non-profits, and technical groups that support forward-looking technologies related to XR, cloud, AI, and more.

Silicon Valley Campus

Later this year, we’re looking forward to bringing many of our teams in Sunnyvale under a new, living roof. Expected to open in the summer of 2020, the Mountain View campus will be Microsoft’s greenest yet as a result of the innovative, eco-friendly technologies incorporated throughout.

The campus was built specifically for employees. An abundance of natural light, movable workspaces, and on-site recreational facilities ensure employees across teams like HoloLens, Azure, Silicon, Teams, PowerPoint, and more can move seamlessly from work to their everyday lives. The overall design brings people together to foster community and diversity of thought across teams. Additional information on the new campus, news updates, and more can be found at our dedicated microsite.

Learn more about our local teams here, and how to join them here.

Aerial rendering of the new Mountain View campus © WRNS Studio
West Coast Commercial Real Estate News