Microsoft chief talks about expansion and employment in Canada

(Toronto) Microsoft CEO believes that the Canadian technology sector is rich in talent and plays a role globally, but he wants policymakers to assess the impact of regulation on innovation when making decisions.


Tara Deschamps
The Canadian Press

If booming businesses face additional hurdles, Satya Nadella believes they may start to lag behind and drag in the sectors of the economy that work with them.

“You want to make sure you have the latest technology in order for you to […] Canada can create more world-class technology, “he said in an interview.” By isolating yourself from a factor of production, you are only being left behind. ”

Nadella’s comments come as Microsoft strengthens its presence in Canada with a new innovation center in Toronto and hundreds of employees in Vancouver, and the federal government has promised to announce regulations for tech giants soon.

Heritage Minister Stephen Gilbault is keeping a close eye on Australia, which has demanded technology companies provide compensation to news groups whose stories are shared on their platforms.

In response, Facebook began banning reading and sharing of news content on its site in Australia, but reversed its decision a few days later and eventually restored the blocked pages.

However, Microsoft supported Australia’s policy and said in a blog in February that it would support the same proposal if it were brought up in Canada, the United States, the European Union and elsewhere.

Nadella has not spelled out which regulations he would like Canada to adopt, but he believes that a distinction must be made between how governments deal with protecting citizens and how they deal with digital technology used by citizens and companies to improve health or create manufacturing resilience.

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According to him, the term “technology giants” is a broad term that does not recognize the existence of different types of technology that have varying effects on society and the economy.

New expansion projects

Microsoft spent most of the 1990s and 2000s fighting legal battles in the United States and Europe, with regulators arguing that the company was engaging in monopolistic practices using Internet Explorer, Office, and Windows. Ultimately, Microsoft paid billions of dollars in fines, but avoided abuse.

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that Microsoft is considering expanding again and is in talks to acquire Discord, a social media company popular with video game fans, for as much as $ 10 billion.

In recent years, arguments Microsoft once faced began targeting competitors such as Facebook, which also owns Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus, and sparked discussions about whether tech companies have too much power.

Nadella’s discussions on the subject did not seem to have frightened Canada.

Microsoft announced Wednesday that it will open a data innovation center in its downtown Toronto office to give its customers a place to test new features and share their digital best practices.

The company will also bring the Azure Edge region to Vancouver, which will help users who need to host data within the country to complete certain tasks faster, as they will be able to connect to local infrastructure instead of Toronto’s.

Microsoft said this extension of Azure Cloud Services will enable healthcare and public sector customers in Western Canada to meet residency and data compliance requirements.

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In addition to offices, Microsoft will add more than 500 technical jobs to Vancouver this year, which will focus on designing cutting-edge applications in the areas of smart communications, Office, Azure, OneDrive, web experiences and mixed reality.

Mr Nadella focused on Canada because he saw the country’s human capital as “huge”.

“In the developed world, Canada is kind of setting the tone in many areas,” he said.

“Per capita, if you look at the AI ​​experience in Canada, it’s extraordinary.”

Taking advantage of this talent comes with competition. Shopify, Twitter, and Pinterest revealed earlier this year that they are expanding into Canada and employing engineers and other tech workers. But Nadella sees the type of work Microsoft does as critical, as it focuses on digital skills and credentials, which he says will be critical to the future.

“The more we can do our best to provide people with these items, the better the society and the economy will look.”

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