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Online giants eye Oregon: eBay, Cisco, Facebook, SalesForce, Google

By Oregon Small Business Associationportland
eBay is enlarging its footprint in downtown Portland, where it established a mobile development operation when it bought Critical Path Software in 2010. It has added dozens of employees since then and lists additional jobs on its website. eBay will occupy a third floor of its building near Portland State University, increasing its office space by 50 percent to make room for more software developers.

The Portland office is in charge of eBay’s mobile software development, building apps and websites tailored for smartphones and iPads. eBay’s mobile suite includes fashion apps, an app that finds parts for your car, and an iPad app that finds merchandise from the show you’re watching. This year, mobile transactions, the company’s fastest-growing audience, will be 17 times what they were just three years ago.

Ebay is one of a handful of big technology companies that have bought into Oregon in the past two years, seeking people rather than products. “Talent acquisitions,” sometimes called “acqui-hires,” are a way of life in the Silicon Valley, where the competition for skilled software engineers is so fierce that sometimes the best way to acquire a skilled team is to buy a whole company.
Google, Dell and Walmart Labs all established Portland offices through similar deals.

Cisco buys ClearAccess

Earlier this year, telecommunications equipment giant Cisco Systems bought Vancouver-based ClearAccess. Twenty-two employees, including ClearAccess founders Ken Hood and Joel Pennington, moved to a Cisco office in Lake Oswego and integrated their software into Cisco products. The ClearAccess hardware team formed a new company, SmartRG, in Vancouver.

Founded seven years ago, ClearAccess created software to help Internet service providers manage residential users’ Web access. It designed technology to accommodate the increasingly complex wireless networks inside homes. Cisco said that ClearAccess’ software will improve the equipment that Cisco provides to large telecommunications clients. When an Internet subscriber runs into network trouble, the software is designed to give the telecom company the tools to offer a faster, cheaper fix remotely.
SmartRG, the new Vancouver hardware company emerging from the deal, will license ClearAccess’ software for its home gateways.

Rumors of Salesforce.com location in Portland area

San Francisco-based Salesforce.com, a customer management software firm, said it will establish a Portland-area office and plans to hire hundreds of people in coming years. They’re likely to be relatively high-paid jobs across an array of corporate specialties including software design, information technology, finance, customer support and human resources. It has not indicated exactly where that office would be, but the lack of specifics hasn’t curbed speculation and rumors.
Colliers International, in its third quarter office report for 2012, suggested Salesforce.com is reportedly in negotiations to lease 80,000 square feet in Lake Oswego’s Kruse Way submarket. If the Kruse Way rumor proves true, it would be a sign that one of the region’s most-battered submarkets is on the mend.

As one of the area’s busiest office markets, vacancies jumped to about 30 percent due to the recession’s impact on the mortgage brokers, title companies and other real estate-related firms that called it home.
Salesforce.com could be the tenant to finally activate Kruse Oaks III, a long-vacant building that has become a suburban poster child for the recession’s impact on commercial real estate. It is the only building where Shorenstein Properties, which controls 2.3 million square feet in the Kruse Way area, could easily accommodate a tenant that large.

Facebook taps Portland firm Weiden &  Kennedy

The Portland-based advertising agency of Widen+Kennedy was named as Facebook’s agency of record. One billion people are now actively using Facebook each month, and to celebrate, Facebook hired Widen+Kennedy to produce a brand campaign, a 90-second video titled, “The Things That Connect Us.”

See ad here.