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Posted by on Nov 5, 2012 in Companies, Structures |

A tour of the Microsoft campus in Redmond

A tour of the Microsoft campus in Redmond

When I mentioned that I would go to – near Seattle, in the United States – at the campus to attend the conference build 2012 , I met some people who told me “I thought the company was in Silicon Valley”. No, Microsoft has set up its headquarters in the state of Washington, the extreme northwest of the country where the weather is not so kind and warm and California.

That does not mean that Microsoft is the only one around here: in the area is also Boeing, Amazon, Expedia, Valve and the world’s first Starbucks, among others.

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Microsoft began operations in 1975 in New Mexico, because its first project was to develop software for the Altair, which was manufactured in Albuquerque. Hence the famous image of Bill Gates’s arrest there. However, both Gates and Paul Allen were originally from Seattle, so we wanted to return home in February 1986 and moved his base of operations to Redmond, creating street “One Microsoft Way”.

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First four buildings were built that housed all employees of the company, called simply buildings 1, 2, 3 and 4. Then came the 5 and 6, and so on more or less depending on when the order is built or bought. I still “more or less” because it is not totally ordered. “There is a building number 7,” said Jamin Spitzer, senior director of platform strategy, and Build conference organizer. “I do not know why. Apparently there were plans to build it, but something happened and jumped to eight, “he says. Then there are numbers discontinued, buildings with names, and more of a mess. Among employees, the building number 7 became a kind of myth, and say “I have a meeting in Building 7″ a key to escape or trick that never find the new building.

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Anyway, Microsoft now has many buildings that cover about 750,000 square feet of office, for the Windows, equipment, back the Windows Phone, etc. Holds 40,800 daily workers in Redmond. Its buildings are also extended to the neighboring town of Bellevue and the surrounding area. The campus has grown and around it, the city. In some places the houses are interspersed with fields of business, as you people have left their homes installed nearby.

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Unlike what happens in California, in the area around Seattle raining steadily and practically every day. The landscape is so very green (or orange in this case in the fall), and everything is surrounded by forest. Bicycle use is possible, but not very practical if you want to get wet to work.

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Mobilization, Microsoft has a bus system. According to Spitzer, 22 different routes are made, and 17,000 people use it daily. In total there are 69 buses that carried a total of 200 trips a day, and that transport employees from campus to their homes. The vehicles are hybrids and have WiFi, so that people can go to work (or watching YouTube). Also, one can register online for the bus that interests you and that you reserve a seat, so you will not have to stand in line or wait for the next bus if you expected was filled.

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The offices themselves are fairly conventional, or games resbalines as expected in Google , but from time to time appears an Xbox. Employees can decorate your area as they wish. We also discovered that Macs are apparently allowed, as seen in the photo above, corresponding to one of the offices.

Spitzer says, Steve Ballmer’s office is not very different from any other employee of the company, being the same size. Although we visited, we know what we do not have any employee is a “tablet” PerceptivePixel 82 inch with Windows 8 .

There are also recreational areas, such as basketball courts, volleyball, jogging trails in the forest and a large soccer field, which was yet to Build receiving tents cover developers who attended the events.

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The food is not free, but there is a very large food garden several restaurants of different types, known as “The Commons” by employees. There are also shops and other services available. Microsoft also has a store in the building 92, which also houses the visitor center. The store sold T-shirts emblazoned with the company logo, bowls, cups, badges and everything one can think with logos Office, Windows, Xbox, video games, etc..

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The store also sold keyboards, mouses and software company, and the employees get a discount for buying there.

There is also a “visitor center”, which is like a small museum of antiques and new products that relate to the company.

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This is the second year that develops Build conference, which came to replace other separate conferences for developers who performed the company. The 2012 version was the first to be held at the Microsoft campus, because “it is a very important time for the company. This is a significant change from the past and bring the developers wanted to celebrate with them, “said Jamin Spitzer, responsible for organizing the conference.

However, with more than 2,000 attendees from 20 different countries were considerable logistical problems, having to adapt the transport and facilities for lectures, conferences and the work of those attending the event. While on one hand it is an opportunity for employees of the company to be in contact with the developers, “employees have been patient, I do not know if we make this every year.”

And actually I imagine that life on campus should be a little different when visiting 2,000 people going from one place to another. Still, the calm of the forest and surrounded by nature in anything should help calm and quiet when working. Who would not want to see the forest through the window from the office?

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