Apple is moving into competition’s territory by starting an engineering office in Seattle, its first in the Northwest. The new office will be accommodating 2,000 employees to work on Apple’s network infrastructure.
It was reported that the nucleus of the Apple office is a group of employees who had worked at Union Bay Networks, a cloud computing startup near Google’s Seattle campus in Fremont. Union Bay’s information email no longer works, and at least five of its employees have changed their LinkedIn profiles to say they began working at Apple in September. Seven of the startup’s nine employees became Apple employees and are working at an undisclosed office location in the city.
That may be just what Apple needs to accelerate its cloud offerings and narrow the gap with leading cloud services, which were largely built in Seattle.
Most of the Union Bay team came from F5 Networks, including Benn Bollay, a former principal engineer at F5 and chief technology officer at Union Bay, according to his LinkedIn profile. Bollay now describes himself as an Apple manager and on Friday reportedly posted that he was looking to hire “multidisciplinary engineers” to work on “core infrastructure services and environments driving every online customer experience at Apple ranging from iCloud to iTunes”. The post that was later removed said: “Ever wanted to work at Apple, but didn’t want to live in Cupertino?”
One of Union Bay’s backers, Madrona Venture Group, was unusually tight-lipped about its investment and declined to say whether the company was sold to Apple.
Apple confirmed to the Seattle Times that it had indeed opened an engineering office in Seattle, but it has not confirmed a Union Bay Networks acquisition. Moreover the location of Apple’s new Seattle office has not been released yet. However this shouldn’t come as a surprise, because Apple has dozens of offices in secret locations in the Bay Area.
Until recently, Apple remained one of the few top-level tech companies that had yet to establish offices in the northwest corner of the US. Apple now joins Twitter, Facebook and Oracle as examples of companies moving up the US west coast from California. Seattle happens to be home to Microsoft and Amazon, as well.