It was another big, busy year in tech around the Seattle region, whether it involved the largest companies or the scrappiest startups.
GeekWire was there to cover the innovation and ideas, conduct the interviews, watch new office buildings take shape and old ones fall to rubble. Opposing sides battled politically, and a tech-backed soccer team battled its way to another championship for the city.
Dreams of the next big thing had companies and workers setting their sights as close as South Lake Union’s bustling tech hub, on the cloud floating above it all or as far away as the moon and deep space.
Keep scrolling for some of the stories of 2019 that captured our attention — and images we used to try to help capture yours. We look forward to sharing more in 2020.
At home in Seattle and on the other side of the country, Amazon dominated a variety of news cycles. The tech giant cancelled plans to build part of its so-called HQ2 in New York’s Long Island City neighborhood, and also announced it was moving a key division and thousands of employees out of Seattle and across Lake Washington to Bellevue. CEO Jeff Bezos even made big news on the personal front as he and his wife MacKenzie Bezos announced they were divorcing after 25 years.
Microsoft’s resurgence in 2019 began with a look back, as it knocked over a historic part of its Redmond, Wash., campus to make way for a major new redevelopment that will position the tech giant for its future on the Eastside. GeekWire sat down with CEO Satya Nadella and President Brad Smith to get more insight into where the company is headed.
Related: GeekWire founders Todd Bishop and John Cook also recapped the extraordinary year for technology and innovation emerging from and impacting Seattle and the Pacific Northwest during the latest GeekWire Podcast. Listen for their insights here:
While President Trump continued to poke at Amazon and Jeff Bezos on Twitter, Democratic candidates looking to replace Trump came to Seattle to seek supporters and fire up crowds. And Seattle politics were again an interesting show to watch, especially as it related to Amazon’s attempts to upend the City Council and oust Councilmember Kshama Sawant.
Movers and shakers were definitely moving and shaking up the Seattle region’s real estate scene. Online travel giant Expedia ditched Bellevue and moved across Lake Washington to take over and redevelop a huge campus on the Seattle waterfront. Tech giants such as Google and Apple wanted their own bigger piece of Amazon’s prime South Lake Union surroundings. And F5 Networks bucked the campus trend by moving on up, into a gleaming new skyscraper at the southern end of the city.
Space and science
The race for space showed no signs of slowing down in 2019. Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin unveiled a lunar lander and the moon itself showed off during a much-photographed red-hued eclipse. Read aerospace and science editor Alan’s Boyle’s complete recap of the Year in Science.
Startups and stops
A pizza robot plopped pepperoni on a pie right before our eyes, but other high-profile startups failed to rise beyond initial expectations. We saw the closure of high-tech football helmet maker Vicis, high-priced headphone creator Human, scientific wellness startup Arivale, and online beauty brand Julep, among others.
With an ownership group rooted in tech, the Seattle Sounders FC maintain a strong connection to that community, and they rewarded their fanbase with another MLS Cup title when they topped Toronto in November. The Seattle Seahawks paid tribute to late owner Paul Allen by making him the 12th inductee in the team’s Ring of Honor. And Seattle’s baseball stadium took on a new name and hue as T-Mobile Park became the home of the Mariners and magenta made a splash.
At GeekWire events throughout the year, we welcomed some of the biggest names in tech and innovation to share their stories around a broad base of subjects. Startup founders, scientists, sports heroes, unicorn creators and more joined us at the GeekWire Bash, GeekWire Cloud Summit, GeekWire Awards, GeekWire Sounders Day, GeekWire Summit and other happenings around Seattle.
Bill Gates stood in line for a Dick’s burger in Seattle before he sat down for a GeekWire interview and we were intrigued by both circumstances. Melinda Gates also joined us to talk about her new book and her insights around tech and philanthropy. Other geeks and entrepreneurs wowed us with robots and their own intriguing projects.
More fun stuff
We geeked out over nature’s flashes over Seattle during a rare lightning storm as well as the man-made flashes from New Year’s fireworks booming off of the Space Needle. The Red Arrows of the UK’s Royal Air Force also did a colorful fly-by, and north of Seattle in Everett, Wash., we got ready to fly out of a new passenger terminal at Paine Field. It was just some of the stuff that wasn’t strictly tech, but that deserved a second geeky look.
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