Salesforce surprised the tech world this week with its agreement to acquire Tableau Software for $15.7 billion — although maybe it shouldn’t have been a surprise, after the Seattle-based data visualization company was listed among the cloud giant’s acquisition targets in a leaked internal slide deck a few years ago.

The acquisition would be the largest in Salesforce history, and the company’s co-CEO, Marc Benioff, hinted at larger ambitions when he declared that Seattle would become Salesforce “HQ2” as a result of the Tableau deal. It was a none-too-subtle jab at Amazon, which coined that term for its second headquarters search, but it was also the latest indication that the West Coast is increasingly becoming a larger tech hub encompassing San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Seattle.

More than 100 out-of-town tech companies, many of them based in the Bay Area, have established engineering centers in Seattle, with the pace of new offices accelerating in recent years. This was already blurring the lines between the two tech hubs, but Benioff took it to a new level this week. 

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Editor's note: Video on nationwide expansion of Salesforce originally aired in October 2018