Barbican office space will house software developers working on interactive digital services
Amazon has announced plans to open a new "digital media innovation" hub in central London.
The office will be in the Barbican area of central London, just a stone’s throw from the Old Street area, where a number of tech start-ups and established international businesses are based. The area is known as Silicon Roundabout and also forms the central location of the government’s Tech City initiative.
The eight-floor building will house Amazon’s software development team as well as user-interface experts and graphic designers. The focus will be on creating interactive digital services for TVs, game consoles, smartphones and PCs. Improving the digital media experience on Amazon’s websites, such as LoveFilm, will also be worked on.
London mayor Boris Johnson welcomed the move, saying it proves the UK can house innovative technology companies.
"For this wildly successful and dynamic company to choose our city to site such an important facility is a splendid feather in our cap," he said. "We know we have the talent, the space and infrastructure to make the most of the digital economy – this will be my prime message during Games-time, as I seek to woo even more companies for the capital, delivering jobs and growth for Londoners. Amazon’s investment propels us well up the league table of global tech cities and we thank them for their vote of confidence."
Paula Byrne, Managing Director of the new innovation centre, added: "London is a hotbed of tech talent and testament to that fact is Amazon choosing the capital as the location for the new global Digital Media Development Centre.
"Innovation is part of the Amazon DNA and we are creating a British centre of excellence to design and develop the next generation of TV and film services for a wide range of digital devices," she added.
Amazon took full control of DVD rental and movie streaming site LoveFilm in January 2011. As well as branching out from its online shopping heritage into content streaming, Amazon has also moved into the hardware market. In 2007 it introduced its Kindle eReader and followed that up in 2001 with the Kindle Fire tablet, designed to compete with Apple’s iPad.
It is also rumoured to be launching its own smartphone.