The Real Reason Microsoft Moved Jobs To Canada - A Manager`s Convenience
July 26, 2007, 07:30 PM
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In the wake of the defeat of the Senate's "Comprehensive {~Insert Chorus of Laughter Here~}Immigration Reform Bill,"Microsoft announcedthat it was going to set up a new facility in Vancouver, B.C.

The reason Microsoft gave for a new shop outside that U.S. is that, this "allows the company to recruit and retain highly skilled people affected by immigration issues in the U.S."

This move generated much media coverage. The media's general reaction was that it, "Highlights Need for Immigration Reform." [VDARE.COM note: Not on VDARE.COM, of course. See Rob Sanchez’s column Has Microsoft Found A �Temporary Worker� Loophole In Canada?]

After the Microsoft announcement, several news organizations asked me for my opinion as to what it meant. My analysis went like this:

  1. In 2002, when the H-1B cheap labor visa quota was triple what it is today, Microsoft was telling its managers to, "Find something to offshore today." So I knew that having effectively unlimited access to foreign labor was not keeping Microsoft in the U.S.
  2. It takes time to decide to set up a new facility and the Senate's bill that would have rewarded Microsoft with unlimited foreign workers in the U.S. was defeated only days earlier. So I knew that this move was not a result of the legislative defeat.
  3. This was confirmed when Microsoft's spokesman, Lou Gellos, said the facility was going to be opened regardless of the Senate action.
  4. Then I thought about the practicable matter of suddenly dropping several hundred newly hired foreign workers into a new remote facility. How do manage that?
  5. Worse yet, Microsoft, "hasn't yet determined what types of software development will take place in the Vancouver office."

Thus, it was clear to me that Microsoft was not setting up a tent in Vancouver because of immigration issues in the U.S.

My experience in the corporate world has been that whenever a company opened an office in a location that made no business sense when you looked under the baloney, the real reason was some senior manager wanted to live in that in the location.

I told every member of the media who asked me about this issue to look for a senior manager in Microsoft who is from Vancouver.

The responses to that opinion were along the lines of, "Why would Microsoft lie about this?" and "Why would a company spend the kind of money it takes to open an office just for the benefit of a manager?"

Not one media outlet printed my opinion.

Last week Microsoft announced that it was appointing Don Mattrick to head its Interactive Entertainment Division.

The Microsoft press release does not mention that Mr. Mattrick was born and reared in the Vancouver area nor does it mention that Mr. Mattrick will continue to live in the Vancouver area.

Does anyone want to bet that the Microsoft Vancouver facility will be in a location that is an easy commute to Mr. Mattrick's house?