Todd Bishop and John Cook from the Seattle PI report that Google will soon open an office in Seattle's Fremont area (map), right across the street from the Red Door Alehouse.
This is a pretty big deal. For those of you who don't know Seattle well, commutes on the 520 bridge across Lake Washington are long and unpleasant. Microsoft's campus and the new Google Kirkland office are both across the 520. Many Seattle area software engineers I know are unwilling to move to the Eastside or do that commute.
While this is sure to cause poaching losses for Seattle-side software firms -- including Amazon.com, Real Networks, and startups -- it will also cause losses from Microsoft for those who can't stand to live on the Eastside and no longer want to endure that nasty commute.
For many years, I've wondered why Microsoft has resisted opening a development office in Seattle proper. They don't even run dedicated commuter busses between Seattle and Redmond (like Google and Yahoo do for San Francisco to Mountain View/Sunnyvale). It will be interesting to see if this move by Google forces Microsoft's hand.
See also my earlier posts, "Google's Kirkland office" and "Microsoft cuts benefits".
Update: John Cook at the Seattle PI reports ( ) that, at least for now, Google's Fremont office is mostly for sales, not software engineers.
Update: Fourteen months later, John Cook reports that Google finally will be opening an engineering office in Fremont in Seattle, leasing space from Getty Images.
Update: Eighteen months later, Brady Forrest at O'Reilly Radar posts a good discussion of the Seattle-Eastside split and how it impacts tech companies in the region.