How Google, Microsoft, and Amazon’s Boston-Area Offices Stack Up

8/5/14Follow @curtwoodward

The biggest names in technology have very few boundaries when it comes to competing with each other. Take the smartphone market, where Amazon, Google, Apple, and Microsoft—four companies with very different core business models—have all made huge investments.

At the core of that competition is a race to hire the engineers, designers, developers, and other talented workers who can build the next big product or service. So it makes sense that these companies are knocking at the door of the country’s top universities.

In the Boston area, that means Kendall Square, the neighborhood that hugs the borders of MIT’s campus.

Just about every West Coast tech company worth its salt has established a branch office in the neighborhood. But some are larger than others: the Twitter, Facebook, and Apple outposts remain relatively small, while Microsoft, Google, and Amazon have all established large footprints.

Since Google invited people in to see its newly renovated digs this week, we decided to see how the those three big companies’ offices stack up. Check out this map showing their locations in the neighborhood, and read this quick dossier on each company’s office in Kendall Square:

Goog Desk Head G 600

 

GOOGLE
Offices:
300,000 square feet in three newly connected buildings.
Employees: More than 800
What they’re working on: Google Ventures, the Google Play app store, networking infrastructure for YouTube, travel search, wearable technologies, technical research.

Google had a small sales team in the Boston area before 2005, but its presence in the area started expanding dramatically after the company acquired Android, the startup behind the now-ubiquitous smartphone operating system. Rich Miner, an Android founder and Massachusetts native, stayed in the Boston area and now is a partner at Google Ventures. Google’s leader in Cambridge is Steve Vinter.

MSFT Tall Crop 600

 

MICROSOFT
Offices:
300,000 square feet across two buildings.
Employees: 800
What they’re working on: Research, speech and language, machine learning, Microsoft Office and other work software, enterprise IT.

Microsoft had a kind of classic Boston-area technology footprint before the 2000s, with most of its area workforce in the suburbs along the Route 128 corridor. With today’s trend toward more urban campuses and workspaces, Microsoft grabbed its New England Research and Development (NERD) Center in 2007, and later expanded to an office tower just down the street.

AMZN Sign Far 2 600

 

AMAZON
Offices: 140,000 square feet in one building.
Employees: Likely more than 300.
What they’re working on: Speech and language, Amazon Web Services, consumer electronics, digital media.

Amazon is one of the most secretive companies in a secretive industry, so all of the public information about its operations in the Kendall Square neighborhood is gleaned from third-party sources: Lease documents we dug up give us the size of the office, while LinkedIn profiles show 370 people who list themselves as working for Amazon in the Boston area (although the square footage could potentially accommodate more). The job descriptions are drawn from Amazon employees’ public listings and the company’s hiring boards and ads in the area.

Curt Woodward is a senior editor for Xconomy based in Boston. Email: cwoodward@xconomy.com Follow @curtwoodward

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