Samsung, Apple fight to build "coolest" Silicon Valley headquarters

March 20, 2013 5:21:47 PM PDT
A new war has broken out in Silicon Valley involving two tech giants. But instead of devices, the fight is over who will build the "coolest" headquarters building.

"I think it's a really, deliberate decision by Samsung to go and project a strong image here in Silicon Valley," San Jose Planning Director Joseph Horwedel said.

Horwedel is talking about the new, $300 million, 10-story building that Samsung is planning for the corner of North First Street and Tasman Drive, replacing these existing structures.

Samsung is taking its rivalry with Apple to a new level. Yes, they are engaged in battle over smartphone dominance. But now, it's competition for the best looking headquarters in the valley.

"These two companies hate each other, so pretty much everything they do in close proximity has something to do with doing damage to the other party," said technology analyst Rob Enderle. "So it's revved up about as high as it's gonna go."

Apple is working on a signature round building in Cupertino. Samsung's could be equally futuristic. These are drawings that appeared on the website of "Architecture News."

"It's a really unique design in that it has open spaces like green roofs on it in the middle of the building," Horwedel said. "Instead of being a normal office building that's solid glass, it actually has open floors in it that are intended to be like plazas that allow their employees to meet in kinda organic impromptu spaces."

The coolness factor may be a deliberate strategy to attract talent. Samsung is expanding in Silicon Valley, indicating it will be hiring thousands. Besides the new San Jose headquarters, it just took out permits in Palo Alto to turn the historic Varsity Theatre on University Avenue into a startup incubator; a place where fledgling entrepreneurs can work and develop ideas for Samsung.

So there will be competition to hire engineers, and hiring them away from Apple is fair game. The Apple-Samsung battle isn't lost on high tech workers.

"Yeah it is great for the job market," San Jose technology employee Sri Paladugu said. "More jobs in the U.S., right?"

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