Amazon Beefing Up in San Francisco, Detroit?

Susan Hall

Apparently Amazon is going after Zynga in San Francisco — and appears to be planning a tech hub in Detroit as well.

The massive e-tailer is recruiting aggressively in San Francisco, Zynga's home turf, according to Business Insider. While the company has listed only a few open positions mentioning games, it has added recruiters with specific experience in hiring game developers. And some of the folks from Rivet Games, a startup that folded earlier this year, have been hired at Amazon.

Zynga's new zCloud offering, which launched last month, competes directly with Amazon Web Services in providing cloud services for game developers. And in offering game-publishing features and social services to developers, it competes with Amazon's GameCircle service for Kindle Fire.

Meanwhile, The Detroit Free Press reported finding a job posting on Amazon's website for a software development engineer based in Detroit, where the company so far has no offices. Another job posting on Twitter sought a software development engineer "to be a part of a unique opportunity to join the seller experience team in building an Amazon Development Center in Detroit." The tweet said the company is planning an interview event on Aug. 6-7.

Ty Rogers, a spokesman for Amazon, told the Free Press in an email, "I don't have anything to offer on this." It's not commenting on the San Francisco recruiting either. And Bloomberg says it is planning an iPhone competitor that will run on Android, a story that again elicited no comment.

It's also hiring in Vancouver, B.C., where it's developing the Silk Web browser for the Kindle Fire, TechVibes says.

But Free Press writer Katherine Yung notes that if Amazon sets up shop in Detroit, it risks having to start charging customers the state's 6 percent sales tax.

The company has been on a wild hiring spree, adding 9,400 employees in the quarter that ended March 31 to reach 65,600 full- and part-time workers worldwide, GeekWire reports. But much of that hiring has been at distribution centers it's adding, using them as rewards for states that don't insist it charge and pay sales taxes.

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