Microsoft to expand Redmond headquarters

Microsoft said Monday that it would expand its Redmond, Wash., headquarters to accommodate the hiring of more than 10,000 new employees over next 10 to 20 years.

The world's largest software maker, which has been based in the Seattle suburb for the last two decades, said it had agreed with the city of Redmond to spend up to $30 million to pay for local transportation and infrastructure.

The expansion plans, which will add several new buildings to Microsoft's sprawling campus, reflect the company's commitment to remain in the Puget Sound region, said Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel and senior vice president.

Airplane manufacturer Boeing, another major employer in the region, moved its headquarters to Chicago in 2001, although the bulk of its operations remain in the Seattle area.

"Microsoft has been in the region for 25 years, and we are here to stay," Microsoft's Smith said in a statement.

Microsoft repeated that it expects to hire 6,000 to 7,000 new employees worldwide during its current fiscal year.

Microsoft's campus, which includes a conference center, television studios, soccer fields, a museum and a company store, is home to 28,000 of the company's 57,000 employees worldwide.

Microsoft is known for giving each of its employees an individual office, along with other perks such as free soft drinks and gym memberships.

Construction on some new buildings included in the expansion project will begin in 2006, Microsoft said.

Microsoft was founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, two Seattle natives, in Albuquerque, N.M., in 1975. The company later moved to Bellevue, Wash., a Seattle suburb, and then to its current location in Redmond in 1986, the year it went public.

Source: CNet