Amazon, Walmart Planning to Add Hundreds of Tech Jobs in San Diego

Xconomy San Diego — 

San Diego has found itself to be the latest front in the ongoing Amazon-Walmart battle.

Walmart made its name with brick-and-mortar stores, but the company has been vocal in recent months about its intent to fight for dominance in the digital landscape, an arena in which Amazon is a native.

Next month about 70 people who work at the North San Diego County office of Walmart Labs—that’s the Bentonville, AR-based retailer’s tech arm—will move into a new 30,000-square-foot office at Make, a trendy tech campus in Carlsbad, CA.

The team will relocate from a space roughly one-third that size, where the group has worked since its establishment about six years ago. The office, led by Claude Jones, who is senior director of engineering, is one of a handful of Labs sites nationwide.

The relocation, announced by Walmart (NYSE: WMT) in August, will precede a wave of hiring that’s anticipated to top 100 new jobs.

Not to be outdone, Seattle e-commerce giant Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) said Sept. 5 it would expand its own presence in town, more than doubling its tech headcount by adding 300 new jobs. San Diego is one of 17 cities outside of Seattle that the company considers its tech hubs. (Others include San Francisco, New York, and Boston.)

The fresh hires, to be added in fields including software development, machine learning, cloud computing, and digital entertainment, will work in a new 85,000-square-foot office the tech giant debuted last week in University Town Center, near UC San Diego.

Nate Wiger, general manager of the new office, said in a prepared statement that the company intends to fill the roles with “local talent.”

Amazon currently employs about 200 people in San Diego; its tech workers impact a slew of its services, including AmazonFresh, Prime Now, and Amazon Web Services, as well as its supply chain and fraud prevention efforts. The company also has a branch of Amazon Game Studios, which is tasked with developing and publishing video games, in San Diego.

While Amazon and Walmart fight to be the destination of choice for shoppers, online and in person, the rivalry extends beyond the retail arena. Earlier this year Amazon snapped up PillPack, an online pharmacy and medication management company based in the Boston area, following reports that Walmart had been in talks to buy the startup.

And in July, Walmart said it would partner with Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), another Amazon rival (on the cloud-computing front), to “accelerate its digital transformation” with five years of access to Microsoft’s cloud services, as well as projects in the artificial intelligence and Internet-of-things realms.