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Microsoft is planning a massive Atlanta campus

Microsoft will build a new campus in Atlanta, Georgia, and a new datacenter region in the metro area's Douglas and Fulton counties as part of a massive investment in the region.


The 90-acre tract of land purchased for the upcoming campus will eventually become the company's third-largest hub, after its Seattle and Silicon Valley facilities, according to Brad Smith's announcement post. Microsoft purchased the land, located in one of Atlanta's historically Black neighborhoods, for $127 million in September. The company will also open a new 523,000 square foot facility in downtown Atlanta later this year, where it plans to have 2,500 jobs between the new location and existing sales facilities in the region.

The announcement has been in the works for a while. "They bought a huge tract of unbuilt land that's in a historically Black neighborhood and community that's been underserved for decades," Katie Kirkpatrick, president of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, told Protocol earlier this year about the Quarry Yards purchase. "That investment shocked us because they could have a real substantial impact on the Black community and Black neighborhood that is there."

Over the last decade, Atlanta has earned a reputation as a burgeoning tech capital, home to startups like MailChimp and LeaseQuery. The region has also been cited as an important place to invest for companies interested in diversifying their workforces, as more Black engineers graduate from nearby colleges than anywhere else in the country.

Microsoft has committed to dedicating at least 25% of the 90-acre Quarry Hills land for affordable housing and other community services, according to Smith's announcement. Tech campuses that incorporate affordable housing and community services have become more popular than traditional "enclosed" design models like Apple Park over the last few years; Google's ongoing San Jose and Mountain View campus developments both incorporate a similar philosophy.

People

Making the economy work for Black entrepreneurs

Funding for Black-owned startups needs to grow. That's just the start.

"There is no quick fix to close the racial wealth and opportunity gaps, but there are many ways companies can help," said Mastercard's Michael Froman.

Photo: DigitalVision/Getty Images

Michael Froman is the vice chairman and president of Strategic Growth for Mastercard.

When Tanya Van Court's daughter shared her 9th birthday wish list — a bike and an investment account — Tanya had a moment of inspiration. She wondered whether helping more kids get excited about saving for goals and learning simple financial principles could help them build a pathway to financial security. With a goal of reaching every kid in America, she founded Goalsetter, a savings and financial literacy app for kids. Last month, Tanya brought in backers including NBA stars Kevin Durant and Chris Paul, raising $3.9 million in seed funding.

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Michael Froman
Michael Froman serves as vice chairman and president, Strategic Growth for Mastercard. He and his team drive inclusive growth efforts and partner across public and private sectors to address major societal and economic issues. From 2013 to 2017, Mike served as the U.S. trade representative, President Barack Obama’s principal adviser and negotiator on international trade and investment issues. He is a distinguished fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the board of directors of The Walt Disney Company.
Sponsored Content

Building better relationships in the age of all-remote work

How Stripe, Xero and ModSquad work with external partners and customers in Slack channels to build stronger, lasting relationships.

Image: Original by Damian Zaleski

Every business leader knows you can learn the most about your customers and partners by meeting them face-to-face. But in the wake of Covid-19, the kinds of conversations that were taking place over coffee, meals and in company halls are now relegated to video conferences—which can be less effective for nurturing relationships—and email.

Email inboxes, with hard-to-search threads and siloed messages, not only slow down communication but are also an easy target for scammers. Earlier this year, Google reported more than 18 million daily malware and phishing emails related to Covid-19 scams in just one week and more than 240 million daily spam messages.

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Policy

Here are Big Tech’s biggest threats from states

The states are moving much quicker than Congress on privacy, taxes and content moderation.

Virginia is expected to be the second state to pass a comprehensive privacy law.

Photo: Ron Cogswell/Flickr

When critics say that Virginia's new privacy bill is "industry-approved," they're not totally wrong, said David Marsden, the state senator who has been working for months to shepherd the law through the state legislature.

It was an Amazon lobbyist who originally presented Marsden with the text of the bill, which hews closely to the failed Washington Privacy Act, versions of which have been pushed by Microsoft across the country.

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Emily Birnbaum

Emily Birnbaum ( @birnbaum_e) is a tech policy reporter with Protocol. Her coverage focuses on the U.S. government's attempts to regulate one of the most powerful industries in the world, with a focus on antitrust, privacy and politics. Previously, she worked as a tech policy reporter with The Hill after spending several months as a breaking news reporter. She is a Bethesda, Maryland native and proud Kenyon College alumna.

Transforming 2021

Blockchain, QR codes and your phone: the race to build vaccine passports

Digital verification systems could give people the freedom to work and travel. Here's how they could actually happen.

One day, you might not need to carry that physical passport around, either.

Photo: CommonPass

There will come a time, hopefully in the near future, when you'll feel comfortable getting on a plane again. You might even stop at the lounge at the airport, head to the regional office when you land and maybe even see a concert that evening. This seemingly distant reality will depend upon vaccine rollouts continuing on schedule, an open-sourced digital verification system and, amazingly, the blockchain.

Several countries around the world have begun to prepare for what comes after vaccinations. Swaths of the population will be vaccinated before others, but that hasn't stopped industries decimated by the pandemic from pioneering ways to get some people back to work and play. One of the most promising efforts is the idea of a "vaccine passport," which would allow individuals to show proof that they've been vaccinated against COVID-19 in a way that could be verified by businesses to allow them to travel, work or relax in public without a great fear of spreading the virus.

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Mike Murphy

Mike Murphy ( @mcwm) is the director of special projects at Protocol, focusing on the industries being rapidly upended by technology and the companies disrupting incumbents. Previously, Mike was the technology editor at Quartz, where he frequently wrote on robotics, artificial intelligence, and consumer electronics.

People

Airbnb will build a new tech hub in Atlanta

Airbnb needed an East Coast home. Today, it announced that it has chosen Atlanta for its deep, diverse talent pool.

Airbnb chose Atlanta for the company's new East Coast tech hub after a search process that entailed a detailed rubric with a series of requirements for the location, including a long history of creative culture and a wide network of colleges and universities that could provide a talent pool.

Photo: Dustin Chambers/Bloomberg via Getty Images

While the Tesla gigafactory goes up near Austin and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez lures lone venture capitalists to the beach, Airbnb will build a new tech hub in a less-hyped city: Atlanta.

The company chose Atlanta for its future growth for one explicit reason: In order to meet its hiring goals for technical teams with a diverse range of perspectives, the company needed a location that produces diverse and creative talent and would continue to attract more. No other city could surpass Atlanta's potential to do that, Chris Lehane, Airbnb's senior vice president for global policy and communications, told Protocol.

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Anna Kramer

Anna Kramer is a reporter at Protocol (@ anna_c_kramer), where she helps write and produce Source Code, Protocol's daily newsletter. Prior to joining the team, she covered tech and small business for the San Francisco Chronicle and privacy for Bloomberg Law. She is a recent graduate of Brown University, where she studied International Relations and Arabic and wrote her senior thesis about surveillance tools and technological development in the Middle East.

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