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Microsoft Businesses The Almighty Buck Technology

Microsoft: We're Razing Our Redmond Campus To Build a Mini City (zdnet.com) 98

Armand Winter shares a report from ZDNet: Microsoft president Brad Smith said the company will spend $150 million in transport infrastructure, public spaces, sports fields and green space. It expects the project will create 2,500 construction and development jobs. Microsoft's renovation budget is modest compared with the $5 billion Apple spent on its new spaceship headquarters in Cupertino, while Microsoft's Washington neighbor and cloud rival, Amazon, will spend $5 billion on a second North American headquarters, which will offer space for 50,000 people. "We are not only creating a world-class work environment to help retain and attract the best and brightest global talent, but also building a campus that our neighbors can enjoy, and that we can build in a fiscally smart way with low environmental impact," said Smith in a blog post.
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Microsoft: We're Razing Our Redmond Campus To Build a Mini City

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  • ... why some of these big companies just don't have their own official town/suburb already -- complete with homes, schools, police, fireman, etc. just to minimize the commute time.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      ... why some of these big companies just don't have their own official town/suburb already -- complete with homes, schools, police, fireman...

      ... borders, army, government, laws. Let's go full corporatocracy.

    • by sconeu ( 64226 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2017 @06:09PM (#55646985) Homepage Journal

      Welcome to West Virginia in the 1950s, where the company owned everything in the mining town.

      • More or less what I was thinking.

        You're born, live, work, and die within The Company. It is your entire life, cradle to grave. The Company is your family. The Company is your social group. It's where you work, sleep, eat, play, go to school, have your children. The Company provides everything you'll ever need, and The Company keeps you and your family safe. Why would you ever want to leave?

        *SHUDDER*
        Scary.

        • So pretty much like working on any tunnel project or rural mine. It's not that bad actually.
          • by Amouth ( 879122 )

            As long as you can leave when you want to. A lot of the company towns where setup so that yes it wasn't bad, you could have a nice life there, as long as you worked there. They made it so you couldn't quite make enough to live there AND save up to get out of there.

          • So pretty much like working on any tunnel project or rural mine. It's not that bad actually.

            Which explains why so many people are lining up to move into mining towns...

        • The numbers don't match the rhetoric. TFA says the budget is $150M. That is barely enough to build one small office building.

        • Is that quote from a movie or book? Sounds interesting.

    • And they can pay the teachers, police, and firemen in company script, exchangeable at the company store.

      In other news, how are those C-class non-voting stock options treating you?

    • Because after this song and some violent strikes, we stopped doing that shit. Hell, the United Nations eventually declared such systems to be slavery.

      Some people say a man is made outta mud
      A poor man's made outta muscle and blood
      Muscle and blood and skin and bones
      A mind that's a-weak and a back that's strong

      You load sixteen tons, what do you get?
      Another day older and deeper in debt
      Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
      I owe my soul to the company store

      I was born one mornin' when the sun didn't shi

    • Never been to Redmond eh?

    • The point is to *attract* qualified developers, not make them run away screaming.

    • I owe my soul to the Microsoft store...
    • by I75BJC ( 4590021 )
      Have you ever read the dystopian novel, 1984? Or, A Brave New World? Or, Animal Farm? Or, tons of other writings about corporate control?
    • Like Disney World
    • so...mr gates...bellmont...west of phoenix, az...when's it gonna happen...fyi...welcome to the desert.
    • Have you ever been to Redmond campus? It's huge, and I'd wager than 70% of all housing within 1 mile of Microsoft is Microsoft staff...
  • Don't worry, the corporate run city-state arcologies aren't a problem until they employ their own military. That's the point we hit full cyberpunk corprocracy dystopia.

    • ..until they employ their own military.

      Sure. It starts out as their 'security team'. Since they're protecting Intellectual Property of The Company, and they're employed on private property, naturally they're allowed to carry weapons -- and since the Intellectual Property of The Company is so valuable, no expense is spared in equiping the security team of The Company with the very best.. all the way up through crew-served weapons and air support.

    • Oh, that means Knight Sabers!

      I'm calling first dibs on Nene Romanova! (first series, not the 2040 version)

    • No need for an army, lobbying in Washington is enough
  • Low environmental impact!? How can they say that without the level of irony in their heads generating a cosmic singularity that swallows the entire earth? Here's a tip to any Microsoft executives or developers reading; most cities in the world are already developed. If you are wondering about how to implement "smart cities", you should be wondering about how to implement it upon already built and lived in cities, not new developments.
    • A wise person once told me that the most environmentally friendly building is one that's already built, at least in most instances.

      Tearing down a building to put up another is horrible for the environment. All things considered it is USUALLY better for the environment to revamp and remodel an existing building over removing it and starting new.

      Of course, sometimes the real issue is that the old building just looks dated or takes up too much of the buildable space and replacing it is really just an esthe

      • Generally when it is an aesthetic issue you have a "repositioning" remodel done-- it might strip the building to the structure or just re-clad things to make it pretty... and hopefully more functional. This type of renovation can even include adding a floor to the building, if you are stripping down to structure anyway.

        Tear-down makes sense though when the building siting just doesn't work; it sounds like MS wants more large open-space areas. I think there is also the unsaid reality that they have downsiz

        • Maybe their projections point towards downsizing and reduced revenues. So they are redeveloping the property with the intention of being able to sell it back to the community at a high value.

          They are pitching it as something modern, to appeal to their stockholders, or at least not spook them and undermine the company's future.
      • A wise person once told me that the most environmentally friendly building is one that's already built, at least in most instances.

        Seconded. Many a times even very well insulated, energy efficient building replacing the energy guzzlers will not bring the benefits on paper if the said owner are one with a character that chases fads (and it sounds like so here), or for "yet another lower impact building design" in, perhaps, every 17 years.

        And they haven't even think about all the human disruptions and carcinogens that will happen in their Campus. The place can't be as good as it reads on paper if tonnes of building are pulled down ever

    • But presumably the Microsoft Campus (I've never seen it) is a sort of city already, so this is a brownfield site, not a greenfield site, which is something. Developers usually hate brownfield sites because they must remove the shit that is already there.

      As for low environmental impact, they must be intending to teleport the building materials in, the 2500 building workers will never be seen, and after it is built the traffic to and from it will be in Boring tunnels or something. Or perhaps it willl be self

  • Look, this whole place is just filled with construction cranes, although Dubai has us beat on that score.

    But are these passivhaus green buildings? Do they have solar roofs (yes, I know, you incorrectly think Seattle and Redmond are bad places for solar, but we get 80 to 100 percent solar output all year round, even when it's cloudy as the dickens and mist rains are falling)? Will they have lofted wind turbines like you see in Big Hero 6? On the Eastside, they aren't as green as Seattle City Light is, so tha

    • by WrongMonkey ( 1027334 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2017 @06:51PM (#55647225)
      Even from an environmental perspective, what's the point of roof top solar in Washington? According to my power bill, 87% of my electricity comes from hydro and 11% comes from nuclear. There is only one coal power station in the state (in Centralia) and it's scheduled to close by 2025. Seems like buying power from the grid is greener than manufacturing new Chinese solar panels.
      • Who said they were Chinese?

        Look, most wind and solar are built in the US. I think you incorrectly believe that all wind turbines and solar panels are built in China. A lot of the patents and the facilities for making them are here. In various states, but especially in the county where Microsoft has their HQ.

      • by steveha ( 103154 )

        According to my power bill, 87% of my electricity comes from hydro and 11% comes from nuclear.

        Where do you live, Newhalem [wikipedia.org]? (mostly kidding) But seriously, as far as I know, Microsoft gets power from Puget Sound Energy, and PSE says they get 31% from hydro:

        https://www.pse.com/aboutpse/E... [pse.com]

        Sadly 37% is coal. But 22% natural gas and 9% wind.

        I did some Google searches and I found that you are correct: Washington just has a single coal plant, and it will shut down its coal burning by 2025. I believe it will

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Saving money is the point. Solar PV will pay for itself in 5-10 years, depending on location. They only add a fraction of a percent to the cost of the building, but will generate a guaranteed return for at least 20 years, probably longer.

        These days you have to justify NOT fitting them.

    • by steveha ( 103154 )

      I've spent a lot of time on the Microsoft campus, and some time in various nearby buildings that are not connected to the campus but are also owned by Microsoft. Microsoft has a lot of people who need office space.

      The original building designs were optimized for largest possible number of window offices. They are shaped like a plus sign or X when viewed from above and are two stories. (Example: building 4 [campusbuilding.com]) Most of them have no parking underneath them. When those were built, Microsoft just used flat par

  • You can just look at their current campus. [google.com] They already have a baseball diamond and two soccer fields.

    They essentially own everything between 148th ave, 51st, and Bel-Red Rd. Interestingly, Pactera Technologies, Honeywell, and Nintendo are all allowed in their turf. Ha, and "Posh Consulting" is right next door.

  • Both lesser known business incubators and cities have done just as much for communities at smaller scales in many parts of the nation.
  • Let your rank and file telecommute 80-90% and house them (and maybe even their families) at the resort the other 10-20% for a "working vacation" when face-to-face needs arise.

    Why would anyone want to work at a "close-to-home campus" set up like the damn Ritz and then commute an hour or two daily back to a 3-bed box in the burbs?

    • I think it is incredibly smart for a long term thinking company who plans to relocate or downsize.

      The housing's proximity to Microsoft's headquarters will make it extremely valuable. There is also the historical aspect, even if Microsoft relocates. And if Microsoft relocates then it is an incredible PR boost. Who wouldn't want such an incredible business that raises property values, and cleans up before they leave? As opposed to leaving an abandoned building behind like a deserted ghost town.
  • We are not only creating a world-class work environment to help retain and attract the best and brightest global talent, but also building a campus that our neighbors can enjoy, and that we can build in a fiscally smart way with low environmental impact,

    In other words, it is paid by fiscal optimization? Obviously, a new campus for Microsoft was in the general interest, and all citizen had to help the effort.

  • Nice place you got there. Be a shame if something were to, ah..happen to it. They build a city, we build a 30 foot wall all the way around it. Problem?
  • Until actual housing is mixed in, and the first floor of the each of the buildings is rented out as a public facing rental space (IE retail, restaurants, etc), the campus is still a private campus that the public cannot access and has no interest in going into.
  • I've been to Microsoft's campus a couple of times, and it literally is like a college campus. There's huge buildings with a large amount of open green space. Back before Agile and DevOps, developers would have their own private offices. If I had to guess, this is their excuse to build more "team collaboration spaces". They could just knock down the existing buildings and consolidate everyone down into high rises since all they need is huge open spaces now.

    I don't know about everyone else, but I can't concen

  • Take me down to the Microsoft city
    Where the UI's flat and security's shitty
    Oh won't you please take me home

    Take me down to the Microsoft city
    Where upgrades are forced and there's no privacy
    Oh won't you please take me home

    I wanna go, I wanna go
    Oh won't you please take me home

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