Yahoo is leasing office space and hiring in the Seattle area, not far from Microsoft actually, as part of a plan to create a technology hub in the area.
The company has leased three floors, about 115,000 square feet, in an office building in Bellevue, Wash., and will likely fill it with 450 to 600 workers, David Sobeski, senior vice president of platforms and architecture at Yahoo, said in an interview on Friday.
In addition to hiring an unknown number of people, Yahoo will consolidate workers who are in scattered offices in the area. They include salespeople and engineers from data mining company DMX Group, which Yahoo acquired in 2004.
Sobeski cited the presence of "so many big companies" and a talented workforce in the Seattle area as the reason for the expansion there. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer was first to report Yahoo's lease of the Bellevue office space.
Microsoft's headquarters are in Redmond, Wash., which is next door to Bellevue. Both towns are across Lake Washington from Seattle, to the east.
"Our goal is to try to build a good technical engineering base up here in the northwest," Sobeski said. "We're going to turn it into a big center of excellence."
Of course, Yahoo won't poach Microsoft employees, he said. "And, yeah, I'm an ex-Microsoft guy," he said with an ironic chuckle.
Yahoo is undergoing an existential crisis of sorts following a series of earnings disappointments, market share slips and a management shakeup this summer in the wake of Google's continued rise in search and online advertising. Yahoo Chief Executive Jerry Yang has promised to shut down "one off" services, eliminate redundancies, and focus on advertising business and portal-type services like e-mail and news.
Asked if now was really the time for Yahoo to be hiring and expanding in Microsoft's backyard, no less, Sobeski said, why not?
"We have a hiring plan for the company and we're sticking to it," he said. "This doesn't mean that we are adding to that hiring plan."
You can expect the offices to have the look and feel of Yahoo's headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif., "all purpley and fun," as Sobeski put it.