Microsoft said Wednesday it plans to open an engineering design center in Hillsboro this fall and it has hired an Intel vice president to help lead it.
Selim Bilgin was Intel’s vice president for validation engineering before leaving the company last year to join Microsoft. Microsoft, headquartered near Seattle, has posted openings for four categories of semiconductor engineering jobs in Oregon this month alone.
“Although we’ve had an office in the area for some time now, the new design center will serve as Microsoft’s dedicated engineering hub in the region,” Bilgin wrote in an online posting announcing the new office. He spent more than two decades at Intel before joining Microsoft.
The Portland Business Journal reported last month that Microsoft had leased 85,000 square feet in Hillsboro in the Ambercreek building. That could potentially accommodate a few hundred workers, fewer if Microsoft devotes a significant share of its building to lab space.
“We’re continuing to invest in every part of our technology—including but not limited to areas like design, validation, and tools,” Bilgin wrote.
Apple opened its own Oregon hardware engineering lab in 2018, also drawing from Intel to staff the facility, but has said nothing about that operation.
Intel’s chip business is under growing pressure because of successive lapses in its development of new chip manufacturing technologies, work that is based in Hillsboro. Apple has begun transitioning away from Intel microprocessors in its Mac computers, using chips Apple designed itself instead.
New reports suggest Google, Microsoft and others are working on their own microprocessors, too. But this Hillsboro job openings Microsoft posted this month are for system-on-a-chip (SoC) engineers, who integrate processors and other functions onto a single chip. Microsoft could use those in a wide array of hardware products.
Microsoft did not immediately respond Wednesday to an inquiry seeking additional detail. The company declined comment on its plans earlier this month.
Earlier this month, Intel hired back former Oregon executive Pat Gelsinger to be its new CEO. Gelsinger has already hired back some engineers who left the company under prior leadership and said he intends to bring back more as he works to restore the company’s technological leadership.