On the Microsoft campus these days, 20,000 square feet of office space amounts to a mere "addition." Amid massive building and remodeling...
On the Microsoft campus these days, 20,000 square feet of office space amounts to a mere “addition.”
Amid massive building and remodeling in Redmond, the company last week showed off such an addition — in this case, new space at its Executive Briefing Center (EBC). At the same time, the Microsoft provided some insight into the nature of global business and sales.
The broad hallways are decorated in neutral tones and adorned with unique art.
High ceilings, modern furniture and lush appointments are meant to make the space comfortable for business people from all walks of life. More than half of the visitors Microsoft hosts here are international.
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Top executives and world leaders come in droves to hear sales pitches, cut deals or just meet with Microsoft executives, including Chief Executive Steve Ballmer and Chairman Bill Gates.
The EBC is “one of our most strategic sales tools,” said Lynne Stockstad, general manager of enterprise marketing.
Among the features of the addition, referred to as the East Wing, are a small conference room that can be used for prayer and will soon be outfitted with a medallion to indicate the qibla — the direction of Mecca.
There’s a private room for nursing mothers. Are there many briefings in which new moms bring their babies?
“We anticipate anything that one of our customers, executives, would need, so that they’re able to focus their time spent here,” said Monica Drake, a senior PR manager with Microsoft’s Worldwide Enterprise and Partner Group.
Other amenities include a concierge desk and a large dining area that has skylights and huge east-facing picture windows looking out on a stand of evergreens and the Cascades in the distance.
It’s a pretty nice view — probably not unlike what the company’s top leaders see from the upper floors of Building 34 next door.
“When we talk about bringing the outside indoors and giving people the flavor of the Pacific Northwest, this is something unique about Microsoft,” said Bryan Rutberg, director of the EBC. “We’re up here and we want our visitors to get a sense of the values of the Pacific Northwest and the values of Microsoft.”
The remodel will allow Microsoft to host 15,000 visitors a year in the facility, which adjoins Microsoft’s large conference center and also has displays such as the prototype “home of the future.” The previous capacity was 10,000 visitors.
One visitor to the EBC last week was Finnish Prime Minister Matt Vanhanen, who also dropped by the Microsoft home of the future.
Vanhanen was escorted through the mock-up as a cellphone operated the lights and RFID tags identified a bag of flour and a food processor on the counter.
The visit also included announcement of a partnership in which Microsoft will provide Windows Live services to kids in kindergarten through 12th grade in Finland.
The program, called Live@edu, is a customizable application that allows schools to add content and decide what to do with the traditional advertising spots on Web pages. It also provides free space on Microsoft servers.
The partnership builds off a small Microsoft presence in Finland. The company has an office there with 250 employees.
Sounds like the services will go over well. Microsoft says 480,000 of the 500,000 people in Finland under age 18 use Windows Live Messenger.
In addition, a million people of all ages use Hotmail. That’s in a country of 5.2 million people.
Download, a column of news bits, observations and miscellany, is gathered by The Seattle Times technology staff. We can be reached at 206-464-2265 or firstname.lastname@example.org.