Amazon makes London its base for digital R&D

AMAZON will open an international development centre in London, its latest investment in the city’s growing technology scene, the company announced today.

The web retail giant’s eight-floor Digital Media Development Centre in Glasshouse Yard, Barbican will house teams of engineers working on Amazon’s digital projects, including creating services for internet televisions and smartphones. The centre will open in the coming months.

Boris Johnson called the project a “vote of confidence” in London’s technology scene and a “feather in the cap” for the city. Developers from Amazon’s UK subsidiaries Lovefilm and Pushbutton will be moved into the 47,000 square foot office.

“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,” Johnson said.

“London is a hotbed of tech talent and testament to that fact is Amazon choosing the capital,” the centre’s managing director Paula Byrne said. She added: “We are creating a British centre of excellence to design and develop the next generation of TV and film services.

Amazon acquired Lovefilm, which operates a subscription-based video on demand service in the UK, Germany and Scandinavia, for £200m 18 months ago. Pushbutton, which creates interactive television technology for smart TVs and games consoles, was also bought out last year.

With both firms based in London, Amazon already has teams of developers in the city working on new ways of delivering films and books, as the popularity of online streaming and downloads threatens the company’s traditional delivery model.