Bloomberg Businessweek

A Housing Start for Microsoft

• The company is increasing its nine-figure, loan-centric pledge to the Seattle area by 50%. There’s still a lot left to do
Kendall Ridge

When Microsoft Corp. unveiled a $500 million pledge last January to tackle the housing crisis in the Seattle area, the event had most of the trappings of a product launch. During a slick presentation, President Brad Smith walked through the numbers: A booming economy had led to a housing shortage that was squeezing everybody whose wages couldn’t match Microsoft-level salaries. His company, then valued at $800 billion, had taken an interest in evening things out. “Every day for 40 years, we at Microsoft have benefited from the support of this community,” Smith said. “We want our success to support the region in return.”

The only thing the launch was missing was a fully fleshed-out product. Microsoft wanted help investing the money.

In the year since,

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