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Roundup of Microsoft Research At TechFest 2009

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the thirty-five-cool-things dept.

Microsoft 123

An anonymous reader writes "Ars Technica has a very thorough post of some of the technologies that Microsoft researchers showed off at TechFest last week. 'The exact number of projects that were demonstrated at TechFest 2009 is not clear, but here's a quick rundown of about 35 research projects that haven't received much coverage, accompanied by links that will let you further explore if your interest is piqued. Remember that these are concepts and prototypes, not finished products, and they may never end up becoming anything significant.'" While Microsoft has been criticized for squandering a fortune on R&D, there can be no doubt that they are showing off some cool tech here.

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123 comments

Good for them (5, Insightful)

mc1138 (718275) | more than 5 years ago | (#27059735)

Some might say that some of what they do is a waste, but there aren't many companies that are able to do such large scale R&D. Yeah its microsoft, but of late it seems they are trying to release sound technology and I for one am all for them being able to continue to do so even in turbulent economic times.

Re:Good for them (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27059843)

Well, Wall Street will say all of what they do is a waste, because it might take longer than next quarter's results.

Here's hoping that more of the R&D ends up in more of their products. I've seen some of their research stuff and their problem isn't a lack of ideas (yeah yeah yeah bear with me a moment) it's executing on those ideas and getting them in (and polished) into products.

Re:Good for them (5, Insightful)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | more than 5 years ago | (#27060051)

"Well, Wall Street will say all of what they do is a waste, because it might take longer than next quarter's results."

And now you see why we have the Great Economic Tsunami of 2008.

Most Interesting From Conference (3, Interesting)

gravos (912628) | more than 5 years ago | (#27060287)

The most interesting thing I saw is Social Desktop. Admittedly a basic idea, but oh, the power you can leverage off that... For example you could make a universal file system that you can access anywhere on top of that. It's huge.

Re:Most Interesting From Conference (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27060377)

The most interesting thing I saw is Social Desktop. Admittedly a basic idea, but oh, the power you can leverage off that... For example you could make a universal file system that you can access anywhere on top of that. It's huge.

Universal filesystem? We already got one of those. They call it FTP. It's quite nice really. You can use part or all of anyone else's filesystem with standard protocols so that means you don't need to know the details of the filesystem on that person's hard drive. Then there's NFS if you want to worry about the details of the remote filesystem. Did I mention SFTP/SCP?

It's quite rare that someone who is really impressed with a "new" technology (more like a new brand) and thinks it's HUGE and this-and-that is actually talking about something novel. Really rare. It's just trendy these days for anything using the Internet to be "social".

Re:Most Interesting From Conference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27060845)

You didn't even poopoo the right thing.

Re:Most Interesting From Conference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27062893)

I think the idea is, you know, to take the whole mess of setting up an FTP server out of it :/

It's a useful idea in theory (esp. as an imageshack replacement), but it sounds like a security hole just begging to be drilled into. As well as the same issues that come with P2P clients that share everything by default. "Oh, I'll just set my whole pictures folder to share!" "Shit! How'd they get THOSE pictures!?"

Re:Good for them (5, Interesting)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27060163)

it's executing on those ideas and getting them in (and polished) into products.

I don't think so. I'll give them the X-Box, but everything else they've implemented since they started trying to eat everybody else's lunch.

Their search efforts. The SCO fiasco. The desperate grab for yahoo and blatantly paying people off to force Silverlight on everybody. The shit-colored Zune. Vista.

But what did it for me was the recent forcing of social networking horseshit onto Hotmail without a clear, easy, and permanent method to disable it. Say what you want about Hotmail being Microsoft and all, but I had that account for 10 years because Hotmail Just Worked(tm). I just cancelled a 10-year Hotmail account and left to Gmail a few days ago because Microsoft thought that it would be cute to splice their own(poorly-implemented, I might add) version of MySpace into my goddamn e-mail account.

So no, I disagree with you. In fact I believe just about everything they do develop, no matter how ingenious, is always fucked up at the implementation stage.

Re:Good for them (5, Insightful)

guruevi (827432) | more than 5 years ago | (#27060381)

I believe that is because every single product they release commercially, they will try to use as a vehicle for their other stuff (for best or (usually) for worst). Windows 98 was a vehicle for their ad-based "channels" and the MSN network (a non-neutral internet of some sorts), .NET was initially a vehicle for VB and Visual Studio, later morphed being a vehicle for IIS (and subsequently Windows Server). The MSN portal instead of being informative has become a vehicle for all types of things including Microsoft Search, Messenger, Hotmail, MySpace and Facebook knockoffs, ...

Same goes for their desktop software (Office, CRM) and server systems (AD, Communications Server and Sharepoint), they all lead to some type of vendor lock-in or it won't work well. Good for us, bad for them these days others begin to see the need to be open and they missed the train.

Re:Good for them (1)

jamesmcm (1354379) | more than 5 years ago | (#27065169)

I agree, the way they use all their products as vehicles for their other products is wrong, and that's what the EU should focus on, not the browsers so much.

Take DirectX for example, if it was developed by a separate company they would make cross-platform implementations so they can sell their game development tools, etc. to a wider audience, that is the logical move. However, Microsoft just use it to strengthen their Windows monopoly, a move which is illegal under EU law, and should be stopped.

To be honest I think the EU should just force Microsoft to co-operate on producing a cross-platform DirectX implementation (and possibly more of the Windows API like .NET etc.) to stop people being locked-in to Windows. Of course, this would basically kill Windows so MS will resist it at all costs.

Re:Good for them (2, Informative)

DuctTape (101304) | more than 5 years ago | (#27060393)

I just cancelled a 10-year Hotmail account and left to Gmail a few days ago because Microsoft thought that it would be cute to splice their own(poorly-implemented, I might add) version of MySpace into my goddamn e-mail account.

It's not like Hotmail is the only one. Yahoo!'s mail did it, too, with their "Connections," but perhaps it's easier to ignore on Yahoo!.

DT

Re:Good for them (1)

gbarules2999 (1440265) | more than 5 years ago | (#27060475)

I don't have the fastest internet, but Yahoo Mail takes so long to load I don't notice *anything* on that site anymore.

Re:Good for them (1)

Killjoy_NL (719667) | more than 5 years ago | (#27063423)

Yawho again?

Re:Good for them (5, Informative)

Jamie's Nightmare (1410247) | more than 5 years ago | (#27060911)

I just cancelled a 10-year Hotmail account and left to Gmail a few days ago because Microsoft thought that it would be cute to splice their own(poorly-implemented, I might add) version of MySpace into my goddamn e-mail account.

You seem like the kind of hot-headed prick that makes rash (and ignorant) decisions out of anger. Case in point. Did you have to cancel your account? No. You could have done this:

  1. Upper right side of screen, click options.
  2. Select "More Options"
  3. Under "Customize your mail" select "Today page settings"
  4. Select "Skip the Today page and take me straight to my inbox" Done

Blaming Microsoft for your own shortcomings. Classic.

Re:Good for them (4, Interesting)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27061107)

Skipping the today page does not change the fact that the nagging cruft is still there.

And yes, I actually played around with it first. To "add" people requires you to type in your information to confirm that Microsoft permanently owns all content related to your social networking a la Facebook, but since they're polite enough to ask for that, then why not ask me if I wanted all that crap in the first place?!

It's like going to the restroom and unexpectedly finding your longtime neighbor who asks if he can watch you shower and take a dump. Even if he leaves after you tell him no, he shouldn't have been there in the first place. And you're never going to trust him again.

The death of my 10-year old Hotmail account is symbolic. The rebirth will be my gmail accounts accessed via Thunderbird installed on a Dell with pre-loaded Ubuntu that I'm going to buy next week. Hotmail always charged extra for SMTP. You know, I kinda like Microsoft. I like XP, and I want to see Surface succeed, But they're really digging their own grave and even the most diehard of Microsoft apologists know that.

Re:Good for them (0, Troll)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27061573)

It's like going to the restroom and unexpectedly finding your longtime neighbor who asks if he can watch you shower and take a dump. Even if he leaves after you tell him no, he shouldn't have been there in the first place. And you're never going to trust him again.

That's the best analogy of Microsoft I've ever heard.

BTW Google did something like that integrating gtalk into gmail. Like I'd want anyone to know when I'm checking my email. However, once you turn it off, it stays there and you basically never hear about it again unless you want to. Stupid idea, but at least they made the saving throw.

Re:Good for them (1)

ozphx (1061292) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062117)

...permanently owns all content related to your social networking a la facebook...

And everyone else...

This is pretty obviously done because no social networking site wants:

a) Every money grabbing moron suing them for redistributing the valuable IP contained in their "LOL BRB, Taking a dump" status line.
b) Dealing with making sure every piece of random garbage which is attached to every other piece of random garbage is removed when you cancel your account.

They also don't want you as a customer if you just check your email and no more, because you aren't in the demographic of people that click ads and buy ringtones. Sad, but true.

Re:Good for them (1)

Simetrical (1047518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27065253)

...permanently owns all content related to your social networking a la facebook...

And everyone else...

This is pretty obviously done because no social networking site wants:

a) Every money grabbing moron suing them for redistributing the valuable IP contained in their "LOL BRB, Taking a dump" status line. b) Dealing with making sure every piece of random garbage which is attached to every other piece of random garbage is removed when you cancel your account.

This could be averted with an irrevocable (and non-exclusive) license to redistribute the content within certain terms. They don't need to own it.

Re:Good for them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27061417)

So no, I disagree with you. In fact I believe just about everything they do develop, no matter how ingenious, is always fucked up at the implementation stage.

As the original AC, I have to say you were in such a rush to bash MS that you failed to see that that was the point I was trying to make.

They have no lack of the idea phase. It's the implementation phase that they always seem to screw the pooch.

Re:Good for them (4, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062091)

You're right that they've made many fuckups but you've only taking a select set of their products that are fuckups and tried to infer from that that all their products are fuckups.

Visual Studio, .NET and most of their other development stuff is excellent and truly top notch arguably beating out everything else on the market that tries to achieve the same goal. You look at something like ASP.NET MVC which started out as a research project and is now nearly at release stage and it puts a lot of longer running open source web frameworks (such as CakePHP) to absolute shame.

A lot of people don't like the Office 2007 interface because it's different and people don't like different, but in terms of ease of use for beginners and the productivity increases it brings it's a major innovation. The previous style toolbars have been running since the 80s and absolutely were not perfect so they deserve some credit for finally doing something to improve the good old toolbar in a way that does produce real, measureable productivity increases. Some common tasks that used to take an hour can be done in 30 seconds now. Sure the OOXML thing was a farce but that doesn't make the whole product bad when the new UI offers real benefits and you can save in other file formats anyway.

Even their server products aren't that bad anymore since they figured out that stability and security were important. 2008 server is particularly decent and 2003 wasn't too bad.

Also, you include forcing silverlight on everybody as being something that makes it a bad product, now I'll admit I don't know what silverlight is really like but businesses practices aside is it really any worse than Flash for example? The Yahoo thing ended up in Microsofts favour, Yahoo reached a point where it wished it had accepted Microsoft's offer whilst Microsoft ended up thanking the gods it didn't pay what it was offering.

Microsoft has indeed produced some shit through the years- the Zune, IE6, ME, Vista, Sourcesafe etc. but to suggest all their products are fucked up at implementation is ignorant of their numerous successes. I do not believe a company even with a monopoly the size of Micrososft's could continue to survive if everything they did was fucked up at implementation. People say companies buy MS OS' because of the monopoly position which is pretty true, but they hold no monopoly on development tools, office software and so on, they don't bundle this software with the OS, they charge for it and yet people buy it primarily because it's really no worse than the other offerings out there and is in many ways, much better.

I do not see Microsoft any different to other companies in this regard- Apple has it's successes like the iPod, iTunes and so on but look how many flops it's had through the years too. Google has it's search engine, web office tools and so on but again look at the flops it's had and the projects it's scrapped. All companies have succeses as well as failures and Microsoft is really no different in this regard, even if it is popular to hate them for their monopoly. Perhaps the biggest difference with MS is that most it's successes are in the business world whilst most it's failures are often more prominent in the consumer world- the Zune, IE6, ME and as such they struggle more for hearts and minds than say Apple and Google whose successes are prominent more in the consumer world- I mean, everyone remembers Apple for the iPod and no one remembers them for the pile of steaming turd that is MacOS Server whilst everyone remembers Microsoft for the likes of the Zune and Windows ME and no one (apart from developers who work with it) remembers them for Visual Studio.

Re:Good for them (1)

arevos (659374) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062981)

You look at something like ASP.NET MVC which started out as a research project and is now nearly at release stage and it puts a lot of longer running open source web frameworks (such as CakePHP) to absolute shame.

I think you're exaggerating how good ASP.NET MVC is. I've been working on a six month project with ASP.NET MVC, and whilst it's certainly better than straight ASP.NET (though it would be hard to make something worse), it's nowhere near as good as any of the popular Ruby or Python frameworks.

The main benefit to ASP.NET MVC is the ability to use NHibernate, which is a pretty decent ORM, and IMO better than ActiveRecord. But apart from that, there's not a lot going for it, unless you happen to be stuck in .NET land. Given the choice, I think I'd currently prefer to use DataMapper, Haml and Sinatra for a commercial project.

Re:Good for them (2, Interesting)

Fear the Clam (230933) | more than 5 years ago | (#27063021)

A lot of people don't like the Office 2007 interface because it's different and people don't like different, but in terms of ease of use for beginners and the productivity increases it brings it's a major innovation. The previous style toolbars have been running since the 80s and absolutely were not perfect so they deserve some credit for finally doing something to improve the good old toolbar in a way that does produce real, measureable productivity increases. Some common tasks that used to take an hour can be done in 30 seconds now. Sure the OOXML thing was a farce but that doesn't make the whole product bad when the new UI offers real benefits and you can save in other file formats anyway.

That sounds swell, but denying users with nearly two decades of experience selecting commands in the old menu system via muscle memory ("It's over here...") the ability to continue their ways is not just stupid, it's arrogant. In the old days when Excel was trying to take over from Lotus 1-2-3, Excel actually incorporated the option to use the 1-2-3 keystrokes to make transitions easier. The same happened with Word when it included WordPerfect's options. But now that Word rules the roost? No compromise, no need to make things easy.

I worked in a government agency that had been updated to Office 2007 and the entire staff was slowed trying to figure out how to use their old features unless they had memorized the key commands. (And how many workers really learn more key commands than than cut, copy, paste, print, and save?) That's a couple of hundred people wasting taxpayer time trying to figure out stuff like how to do a Save As. You want to explain to them that the reason why they can't get things done is because Microsoft, who has the monopoly on a mature industry, suddenly decided to worry about people who has never used its products and toss everyone else under the bus?

Don't get me wrong, some things about the ribbon were nice. However, denying the ability to have classic menus was an asshole move that alienated a lot of users.

Re:Good for them (1)

Turiko (1259966) | more than 5 years ago | (#27063083)

the office 2007 menu is NOT a good thing. sure, the new users have it a lot easier. All the other users have a hard time adapting and feel like their money was stolen, as they hardly know how to use the new blinky interface. I'm 16, and even I (!) have trouble adapting, since i'lm used to the traditional menus in EVERY program i come across. What people did microsoft aim at? 12 years old? It's a bad thing to replace something that everyone knows with something you basically have to re-learn the whole program.

VS is good? (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#27064447)

Visual Studio [et al.] is excellent and truly top notch

Last I checked, the only way to move the cursor one unit (line or char) to the left/r/u/d is via the arrow keys.

You can formalize a very simple idea using statically optimal search trees, entropy or what have you, but I'm not gonna. Instead I'm gonna state the simple idea:

In order to minimize total cost, the most common operations should be the cheapest.

An implication: what you do quite often is inserting text; probably you're also a touch typist, so your hands are going to rest on "asdfjkl;" (or "aoeuhtns"). I think it's safe to say that the three most common things are insertion, navigation and deletion (combine all three to get "editing").

If your hands are resting on the letter keys, it makes sense to put navigation and deletion commands on the letters keys too.

Note how (x?)emacs got that right (you hold ctrl), and how vi(m?) got that right (you press escape), and how (to my knowledge) Visual Studio still hasn't gotten that right despite having the benefits of two good role models.

(that they're bad role models in other ways is not terribly important; VS ought to imitate the good parts but not the bad parts, which is possible to a large extent).

Just so that I'm not bashing MS only: GNOME has pretty lame text input boxes as well. They try to imitate emacs key bindings, but they suck: ctrl-t doesn't swap adjacent characters, ctrl-q doesn't quote the next character, ctrl-w doesn't cut the marked region, meh! A little similarity is a dangerous thing, if I'm tricked into pressing "dangerous" keys by accidentally bating out my habitual response.

Re:VS is good? (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27064981)

The code window is only really a small part of what's good about Visual Studio though and even then the Intellisense implemented in VS in recent years is truly quite awesome. As an example, if you start typing in a parameter for a function call it wont just match the letters you've typed but the type that the parameters is taking you pretty much instantly to the variable whose name you wish to type first time every time, if not just keep typing- no time lost, but plenty saved each time it gets it right.

But other small things (and many large things) help a lot, many other IDEs have some of the features, but not IDEs have all of the features. Some miss even the most simple things such as right clicking a statement declaring that a class implements an interface and selecting implement interface to dump the bare bones code in through to generation of class diagrams from code and so on.

Re:Good for them (2, Insightful)

Simetrical (1047518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27065303)

Microsoft has indeed produced some shit through the years- the Zune, IE6

IE6 is not a good example. It was actually a top-notch browser in its time -- it's what finally killed Netscape. It's just that after Microsoft dominated the web browser market, it stopped adding useful features and got trounced by others.

Re:Good for them (2, Informative)

Adilor (857925) | more than 5 years ago | (#27060407)

Exactly. Yeah, there's a lot of hate out there for 'em. You can't be a big guy in the market and avoid hate. You have to admit, though, that being said big guy does have its advantages in areas like this. There's a lot of power in this company. No matter how much some of us may dislike Microsoft, they deserve some props for the strokes of genius they occasionally show. I'm impressed, at least.

It's a huge waste because nothing comes from it (3, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27060713)

Some might say that some of what they do is a waste, but there aren't many companies that are able to do such large scale R&D.

But that's why it is a huge waste. Not because they do it, but because they can do all this awesome R&D and yet we (the human race) really see nothing from it.

What it derives from is the fundamental reason why Microsoft funds all this R&D - to keep the people doing the R&D happy in the current-day equivalent of the Holodeck, where they can do anything they want yet nothing they do actually matters. Microsoft doesn't care, as long as what they are doing does not help other companies progress then Microsoft looks like they are not moving as slowly as they are by comparison.

It's easy to see how a situation like this can come to pass when a company has a lot of money, the directive to hire and retain smart people, yet has a corporate culture that makes bringing real products to full delivery almost impossible.

And that in the end, is the greatest crime of all. The opportunity cost of what we all have lost from these people slaving away in the golden tower from which nothing returns.

Re:It's a huge waste because nothing comes from it (1)

gtall (79522) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062655)

Yeah, yer right! No one should have funded all that crap on quantum mechanics back in the early part of the 20th century. No one could see far enough ahead to point to any useful trinkets for you to be blinded by. And they should certainly not have funded any gravitational studies, who the hell would use them to put comm. satellites in orbit or build out a GPS system? And what about those morons in the 50's (the names Crick and Watson ring a bell) who were dorking around with DNA stuff? What a waste of time that was!

And who the hell funded those idiots through the centuries who did work on number theory? That stuff cannot be used for anything except modern cryptography which is surely unneeded in this modern age of networks.

And Decartes, imagine wasting one's time inventing algebraic geometry. That only let to Newton pissing off good money on the Calculus. Hell, we should make Euclid give back all his funding since all he did was enable Decartes. And I think we shouldn't hold the Babelonians innocent for the precursors they allowed Euclid to steal. What were they thinking?

So our research mantra should be henceforth: merely rearrange the current deck chairs a bit to bring forth whizzy things we goggle over. No more stinking theory for us!

Gerry

Re:It's a huge waste because nothing comes from it (1)

1s44c (552956) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062889)

Dude, you totally didn't get what the parent was trying to say. He wasn't against research. He was against big companies buying researchers to prevent what they would have been working on getting into the hands of competitors.

I'm sure all three of us agree on the value of good research.

No you idiot, you utterly miss my point (0, Troll)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27063197)

No one should have funded all that crap on quantum mechanics back in the early part of the 20th century. No one could see far enough ahead to point to any useful trinkets for you to be blinded by.

Read again imbecile. Your whole rant is pointless because YOU AGREE WITH ME.

That is to say, I did not in any way attack R&D. I attacked Microsoft for doing deep R&D that THE HUMAN RACE WILL NEVER REALLY SEE OR USE. It's like the R&D tree falling in a forest, there is no sound nor other effect as far as humanity is concerned. All those cool things you read about might as well be in an SF story because, being within Microsoft R&D I can say wth certainty I'll never see them applied to anything I or anyone else outside Microsoft would use.

What if all the Quantum research had been done at Micrsoft? You wouldn't know of it to tout. If Descarte had been a Microsoft Fellow you could kiss your beloved coordinate syste goody.

I only savage you with ad-hominem attacks because you are so dangerously wrong, and seemingly seek to imperil that which you admire most. If Microsoft were the model for "real R&D" the human race would be screwed out of true advancement. Microsoft is engaging in the purest form of masturbatory R&D, instead of birthing new ideas and products which is much harder because it involves adding a dash of practicality into the bubbling cauldron of whimsical R&D.

Compare and contrast these cool things from Microsoft against something like Chrome from google which is actually shipping.

P.S. my apologies to SF (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27063221)

I realize in re-reading my post that I offered a terrible slight to Science Fiction, in saying that Microsoft R&D might as well be SF stories I of course ignored the very useful things that have come from people seeking to make ideas in SF stories a reality. WIth Microsoft there is in fact the exact opposite effect, because anyone who thinks something Microsoft R&D is doing is cool has the exact opposite motivation - who would be crazy enough to work on something that (A) Microsoft might deliver as a product, and (B) has probably patented out the wazoo?

Another reason to really overhaul software patents as far as I'm concerned so that we have the ability to make something of these ideas.

Re:No you idiot, you utterly miss my point (2, Interesting)

gtall (79522) | more than 5 years ago | (#27063635)

Great arguing style, you've got there.

What you are ignoring is that MS researchers publish in journals and conference proceedings accessible to any library and frequently they are on-line for anyone. How is this then mysteriously lost?

What you are objecting to is MS development (not research) never seeing the light of day. I doubt that, I'll bet most of their development goes into small things that go into their OS and other associated malware. It probably won't fix the stinking blob that is Windows, or what their marketing dept. has delivered.

I don't believe you understand research. I think that you think of the fruits of research as being big paradigm changing widgets. Most research, regardless of where its done, is not.

1s44c does have a point that MS seems to buy researchers to keep them away from other companies. However, I think that is mitigated somewhat by them publishing in journals and conference proceedings. MS must believe they get some secret sauce by owning them, but if that were the case, they wouldn't be encouraged to publish.

Gerry

Re:No you idiot, you utterly miss my point (1)

DevStar (943486) | more than 5 years ago | (#27063705)

This is just absurd. Tons of people can see and use the R&D that Microsoft produces. Go into virtually any CS conference, from PLDI to SIGGRAPH, and you'll see tons of papers that build on and cite research published by Microsoft. And where was some of the most important research on quantum computing done... well another industry lab, Bell Labs. BTW, Microsoft has also done some great work in quantum computing as well. Here's an example of some of their interesting work in topological quantum computing: http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/0802/0802.0279v2.pdf [arxiv.org]

Now what you probably mean is why can't I just copy their research and sell it as my own product. Well like many colleges and universities (and other research groups like HP, IBM, and Sun's) Microsoft will patent ideas that they think have commercial viability. That is really no different than the hundred+ patents that MIT or Caltech does each year. Or the 500+ patents done by the UC system.

I get that slashdot people are supposed to be gung ho about "freedom", but don't be naive about how the real world works.

Re:No you idiot, you utterly miss my point (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27063745)

They publish extensively. That is quite at odds with your 'never see'.

I suppose you would be better off writing individually to anyone who works there, explaining hoe they are wasting their efforts.

Re:Good for them (0, Troll)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 5 years ago | (#27060883)

Yeah its microsoft, but of late it seems they are trying to release sound technology

Actually, the last item on the list - just below "Profiling the Performance of Distributed Systems" is very relevant to their main source of revenue.

"Closing Thoughts"; how very appropriate.

Re:Good for them (5, Interesting)

rampant mac (561036) | more than 5 years ago | (#27061153)

"Some might say that some of what they do is a waste, but there aren't many companies that are able to do such large scale R&D."

Steve Ballmer, Feb 2009: Microsoft asked some of its employees to read various company annual reports from 1927 through 1938. The goal, he said, was to find out who had done a good job handling the Great Depression," Lane reports. "'RCA, god rest them in peace, RCA become our role model,' Ballmer said. 'They actually kept investing in R&D through the Depression period, and in the post-Depression they dominated TV technology because they were really the only guys who had invested.'" (http://www.cio-today.com/story.xhtml?story_id=12000B3128U0)

Steve Jobs, March 2008: We've had one of these before, when the dot-com bubble burst. What I told our company was that we were just going to invest our way through the downturn, that we weren't going to lay off people, that we'd taken a tremendous amount of effort to get them into Apple in the first place -- the last thing we were going to do is lay them off. And we were going to keep funding. In fact we were going to up our R&D budget so that we would be ahead of our competitors when the downturn was over. And that's exactly what we did. And it worked. And that's exactly what we'll do this time. (http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2008/fortune/0803/gallery.jobsqna.fortune/15.html) R&D is HUGE. Without it, I'd doubt the iPod would have made such a big splash, or if we'd see any of the amazing processor iterations that we're currently seeing.

Re:Good for them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27062809)

... and I for one am all for them being able to begin to do so even in turbulent economic times.

There. FTFY!

Yeah, but... (1)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 5 years ago | (#27059753)

Yeah, but can they make something as cool as Windows Mojave?

Re:Yeah, but... (1)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | more than 5 years ago | (#27060365)

Yes they already did. It is called Windows 7.

RC1 is expected to arrive on April 10th. Should be going Gold really soon.

http://www.techtree.com/India/News/Windows_7_RC_Gets_36_Changes/551-99470-643.html [techtree.com]

Re:Yeah, but... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27060953)

Yes they already did. It is called Windows 7.

Lol @ shill flogging a polished turd.

Missing (4, Funny)

Divebus (860563) | more than 5 years ago | (#27059755)

I don't see bug fixes in that list.

Re:Missing (2, Funny)

Slumdog (1460213) | more than 5 years ago | (#27060945)

I don't see bug fixes in that list.

Not fixes, just new bugs and R&D is working out some really complex ones.

Here's hoping ... (5, Insightful)

genmax (990012) | more than 5 years ago | (#27059761)

... that some of this research actually helps Microsoft in turning in to a company that derives its revenues from the fruits of its innovations rather than monopoly-based marketing hacks, and lock-ins into poorly written code.

Say what you will about Microsoft's software, Steve Ballmer, etc. - Microsoft Research does some really cool work, and its track record of supporting fundamental math/cs research (and researchers) is quite commendable.

Re:Here's hoping ... (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 5 years ago | (#27059865)

Here's hoping ... ... that some of this research actually helps Microsoft in turning in to a company that derives its revenues from the fruits of its innovations rather than monopoly-based marketing hacks, and lock-ins into poorly written code.

To steal a line form Dilbert: I respectfully decline your kind offer to join your delusion.

Re:Here's hoping ... (2, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#27059951)

Microsoft ... poorly written code

How do you know its poorly written, if it is proprietary?

Re:Here's hoping ... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27060027)

Microsoft ... poorly written code

How do you know its poorly written, if it is proprietary?

Lots of ways he could have. He may be an ex-employee. He may have an academic license to view their code. He may have been offered a job by them and given a chance to see the code first (I know someone who had this happen to them). He may have looked at leaked code. He may have looked at code they released (especially after there was a bug in it and MS wanted to show the cause to the IT community at large). He may know second-hand.

Re:Here's hoping ... (1)

TheSeer2 (949925) | more than 5 years ago | (#27061345)

Or it's just baseless conjecture.

Re:Here's hoping ... (1)

icannotthinkofaname (1480543) | more than 5 years ago | (#27060057)

Excellent question. I guess if we want to be perfectly honest, we really can't say for sure, without access to the source code.

However, we tend to infer the instability of Microsoft code from the number of times Internet Explorer crashes in a 24-hour period, and how many BSODs we get in a month.

Clearly, it's broken from an end-user perspective, no matter how efficient the source code looks.

Re:Here's hoping ... (1)

Jamie's Nightmare (1410247) | more than 5 years ago | (#27060803)

...how many BSODs we get in a month.

Clearly, it's broken from an end-user perspective, no matter how efficient the source code looks.

You couldn't be more wrong. Blue Screens have two main culprits. Faulty hardware or Buggy Drivers. I've been using Vista since September of 2007 for both Business and Personal use. I have not had a single blue screen. Prior to that, using Windows XP I might have had 1, but I had used that machine so long I can't even remember when I put it into service. I experienced a hardware failure on a second drive and changed video cards. Number of times Windows was installed? Only once.

Bottom line is, you are wrong, or you're trolling/lying.

Re:Here's hoping ... (1)

icannotthinkofaname (1480543) | more than 5 years ago | (#27060887)

I'll admit, I was always lucky with Windows. I was never an idiot with what I tried to install on the system, and I was generally careful with my hardware, so I experienced very few problems, hardware- or software-wise over maybe a decade and a half of Windows usage.

I was just going for common examples of stereotypical Windows problems in my previous post. I think I can count on one hand (without using binary) the number of times I've seen a BSOD. I just never got it through my head that BSODs are hardware problems. Thanks for the reminder.

By the way, does your post mean that we are agreed on my point about IE?

Re:Here's hoping ... (1)

nachoboy (107025) | more than 5 years ago | (#27061503)

By the way, does your post mean that we are agreed on my point about IE?

In my experience, IE crashes are almost always the fault of non-IE code, and an overwhelming majority of that is due to Flash. Try running in no-addon mode sometime and you may be surprised just how stable the browser itself is.

You might also be interested in this post [msdn.com] from the IE team, which highlights where the most common crashes initiate (for IE8 on Win7 beta, anyway). Their analysis indicates well over half of IE crashes are actually due to 3rd-party components.

So.... (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#27065361)

However, we tend to infer the instability of Microsoft code from the number of times Internet Explorer crashes in a 24-hour period, and how many BSODs we get in a month

So, if we are to judge Linux by the same standard, would it be fair to rip how often people have to hit CTRL-ALT-BACKSPACE to kill their super stable X session. Can we rip that brand by all the terrible things that happen when ever ubuntu pushes out a kernel update to Hardy Heron when you have nVidia drivers? That desktop gets blown away back to 800x600 ever time I download an update. What a crock.

I like Linux in some ways more than I like Windows, but, Vista is way more consumer stable than even my mighty Ubuntu. It just is.

Re:Here's hoping ... (1)

Higaran (835598) | more than 5 years ago | (#27060253)

That's easy, BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH. If the code was really good, then you would almost never see it. I do admit, I have yet to see it with vista, hvae been using it for about 6 months, and rarely see it anymore in pc's with XP.

Re:Here's hoping ... (4, Insightful)

tsa (15680) | more than 5 years ago | (#27060469)

I haven't seen a BSOD on my computer for many years, at work where I use Windows exclusively as well as at home, where my Mac is often tortured by running Windows on it for playing games. XP is very stable.

Re:Here's hoping ... (2, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 5 years ago | (#27061401)

I haven't seen a BSOD on my computer for many years

Nobody has (almost).

Microsoft did bit of brilliant market engineering by switching the default setting from BSOD to automatic reboot for XP. It meant all their evangelists could legitimately (if misleadingly) claim that XP was so stable it never BSOD'd, while not requiring any actual expensive coding to fix bugs.

To get your pretty blue screens back, change the recovery settings to disable automatic rebooting:

  1. Right-click My Computer, and then click Properties.
  2. Click the Advanced tab.
  3. Under Startup and Recovery, click Settings to open the Startup and Recovery dialog box.
  4. Clear the Automatically restart check box, and click OK the necessary number of times.
  5. Restart your computer for the settings to take effect.

Enjoy your cheery BSOD messages!

Re:Here's hoping ... (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 5 years ago | (#27061931)

You left out my remark that XP is very stable. I almost never have problems with XP, neither at work nor at home. I've never experienced an automatic reboot as far as I can remember.

Re:Here's hoping ... (0, Troll)

1s44c (552956) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062821)

I've never experienced an automatic reboot as far as I can remember

In which case you are not applying critical patches and your machine is dangerously insecure.

Re:Here's hoping ... (1)

Killjoy_NL (719667) | more than 5 years ago | (#27063707)

My machines are up to date and I also VERY rarely enjoy an automatic reboot or BSOD.
And the one time I did have a persistent BSOD/reboot cycle, it was because of faulty hardware.

Re:Here's hoping ... (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 5 years ago | (#27064379)

You'd like that wouldn't you? Some people have too much faith in MS as the Devil.

Re:Here's hoping ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27062039)

This is fugly FUD, It is true that I had some automatic reboots where there would have been blue screens, but they always were traceable to faulty hardware and drivers, unlike in Windows 9x where all bugs were due to using Windows at all.

I don't use Windows anymore, but KDE 4.2 dies far more often on me than Windows XP ever did. A bug in a X driver triggered by a 3D game locked the computer completely under Linux. I don't care if the kernel is still running if I cannot do anything with it.

In OpenBSD the problem only destroyed X, leaving the system alive, and I was able to trace the bug and code a workaround locally until the actual fix came out.

So at best, Linux is equal to Windows regarding instability. Hardly very impressive.

Re:Here's hoping ... (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062685)

I agree [to a degree] with the parent post statement that the GP is spreading FUD about Microsoft Windows. The reality is that faulty drivers and hardware are more than 90% of the reason of XP reboots or BSOD. It is not the fault of the OS that Logitec makes craptastic drivers for their cameras... however in some sense the OS should just kill the driver and forget about it.

In OpenBSD the problem only destroyed X, leaving the system alive, and I was able to trace the bug and code a workaround locally until the actual fix came out.

I see a problem with "only destroying X" in current Linux distributions for the desktop. Basically, when X is restarted, all the applications with a graphical interface are closed.

I am sure this could be prevented in some way, leaving the applications running (but not displaying anything) and updating the interface if X is started again. There should exist something like that if we consider the client - server architecture of X11

Re:Here's hoping ... (2, Informative)

JimboFBX (1097277) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062735)

A lot of Windows 9x crashing was due to faulty drivers and such as well. The difference was that in windows xp the hardware abstraction layer can cause most hardware related things/peripherals to gracefully die while in windows 9x they all ran directly off the hardware. The only windows 9x crashing I can think of that can be blamed on the OS is that windows 98 couldn't run for more than 28 consecutive days or so before the the internal timer (since boot-up) on it looped over and crashed the system.

Thinking about it, most BSOD issues you had back in those days was either from your printer drivers, your network drivers, your graphic drivers, or a bug in your game which ends up tieing up the hardware.

And the only reason windows 9x allowed games to crash your system was because the game companies needed as much speed as possible and a HAL slows things down.

Re:Here's hoping ... (1)

LaminatorX (410794) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062983)

I will cherish forever the memory of the BSOD during the lighting of the Olympic flame in China last year, especially knowing that Gates was in the stadium at the time. I hope he had a good view.

Re:Here's hoping ... (1)

PuritySyrup (1066910) | more than 5 years ago | (#27063429)

Others have already pointed out that this is just spreading FUD. I haven't had the "Automatically restart" check box selected for 11 months. I haven't had a single BSOD. Yes, I used to have scads of them. XP has in fact gotten better. I'm no Microsoft apologist. I use XP when my employers make me, and so far, those decisions have made complete sense. At home, I don't use Windows (except in emulation, sometimes).

Re:Here's hoping ... (1)

glennpratt (1230636) | more than 5 years ago | (#27064053)

Even with Automatic Reboot on you can see the BSOD, if just briefly.

If you aren't at your desk, you will probably be logged out and when you do log in you'll get a Crash Recovery dialog. If you're on a server product, you'll be asked directly why the computer restarted. Frankly they've hidden nothing and in fact improved the product.

For most situations, sitting on a BSOD indefinitely was the wrong thing to do.

Re:Here's hoping ... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27064361)

I regularly get weeks of uptime (which end when I intentionally reboot...). I think a lot of it is that the initiatives to improve driver quality have actually worked.

To get blue screens back, run $ sysctl ... ? (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#27064641)

To get your pretty blue screens back, change the recovery settings to disable automatic rebooting: [list of steps]

Couldn't you just have posted a command I can copy-paste into my shell? Clicking around seems like a waste of time...

(no, I'm not blaming you for the faults of windows; or rather, only ironically) ;-)

Re:Here's hoping ... (1)

ozphx (1061292) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062157)

99% of the BSODs I have seen have been PAGE_FAULT_IN_NON_PAGED_AREA, usually in either an nvidia or realtek driver. This is a clear bug in driver code. The error is using a pointer to a page which isn't locked and subsequently gets paged to disk from within a ring0 level. So you get a page fault, and everyone is sad.

Re:Here's hoping ... (0, Troll)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 5 years ago | (#27060821)

How do you know its poorly written, if it is proprietary?

Reading things like this [ericvasilik.com] should give you a hint.

Re:Here's hoping ... (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#27065273)

Reading things like this [ericvasilik.com] should give you a hint.

Uh, Netscape?

Re:Here's hoping ... (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 5 years ago | (#27059997)

two problems with MSFT is that the research products almost never make it to real products that people can use, and once they are approved MSFT marketing sink their teeth into them until the cool products gets squirted out like a brown zune.

I don't think there is any engineer at MSFT who isn't smart or clever. after all they keep windows going that has got to require massive amount of creative hacking.

Re:Here's hoping ... (4, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 5 years ago | (#27060061)

the research products almost never make it to real products that people can use

You could say the same for just about any real research. I'm still grateful that it's being done. Far too many companies are content to focus on the next quarter while leaving the research to academia.

Re:Here's hoping ... (1)

1s44c (552956) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062839)

Far too many companies are content to focus on the next quarter while leaving the research to academia.

Academia is where research belongs. Few companies are capable of doing quality research, Microsoft isn't one of them. Companies apply research, they don't create research.

Re:Here's hoping ... (1)

dido (9125) | more than 5 years ago | (#27060307)

I doubt that'll ever happen. Microsoft is a large, publicly traded company, and what you want to see is a nearly 180-degree shift in the character of the company that would entail a lot of risk. Any moves to this effect will most likely be opposed by many members of the board of directors tooth and nail. They have all of the resources necessary to become a force to be reckoned with once again, a massive war chest that dwarfs the resources available to some small sovereign countries, a research arm that employs the best computer scientists in the world, all they lack is the balls to do it. Investing in bringing their innovations to market rather than depending on their old standbys of Windows and Office for revenue entails a lot of risk, and I doubt their board of directors has the balls to make it happen. Being a convicted monopolist also means that they may need to tread carefully if they tried to make such fundamental changes, but admittedly the payoff could be huge. It could actually bring them back into serious relevance again [paulgraham.com] , and turn them into a company more resembling, um, Google...

I'm not holding my breath though.

Re:Here's hoping ... (1)

DuctTape (101304) | more than 5 years ago | (#27060403)

[Here's hoping] ... that some of this research actually helps Microsoft in turning in to a company that derives its revenues from the fruits of its innovations rather than monopoly-based marketing hacks, and lock-ins into poorly written code.

(okay, here it comes...)

You must be new here.

DT

Woah (3, Funny)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27059837)

Did we /. arstechnica? I cannot get to it.

Recognizing Characters Written in the Air ? (1)

Saija (1114681) | more than 5 years ago | (#27059923)

Microsoft Research Asia
Researchers: Lei Ma, Qiang Huo, and Frank Soong

What's up with this asian guys trying to write some weirds characters up in the air?

Re:Recognizing Characters Written in the Air ? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27060453)

Apparently you didn't even read the summary right under the video. It can be used in education via webcam, where the user may not be familier with a keyboard, but still needs to input words. This could spill over to places like kiosks or embedded systems, where a keyboard is a liability towards being broken, or simply a cuttable expense. It could also work with other niches, such as providing feedback on teaching sign language, or letting a player use hand signals to communicate in squad-based shooting games.

Re:Recognizing Characters Written in the Air ? (1)

Logic Worshiper (1480539) | more than 5 years ago | (#27060993)

Keyboards are less of a liability than any newfangled input device would be, and will be for a long time, however replacing the keyboard would help many users with disabilities.

Re:Recognizing Characters Written in the Air ? (1)

Saija (1114681) | more than 5 years ago | (#27063579)

Apparently you didn't even read the summary right under the video

wtf? this is slashdot!! no one reads the summary neither the tfa !

hello (-1, Offtopic)

nbalike (1491499) | more than 5 years ago | (#27059937)

Hello, welcome to my blog !my blog is about Cheap Air Jordan [cheap-air-jordan.cn] ;Nike Dunk [dunk2u.com] and Silver Tiffany [silver-tiffany.com] . could you give me some suggestion? i shold thank you very much.

Grieving for *BSD (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27060037)

Of course you mourn the demise of *BSD. It's only natural. Dealing with the death of an operating system close to you can be one of the most traumatic experiences of your life, and you're bound to go through a range of emotions. While you may be able to work through those feelings on your own, it's often helpful to talk to a friend, a family member, or a counselor. You might also seek out a support group for people who are grieving.

Grieving is a process, and it's totally normal to go through feelings of shock, sadness, anger even guilt. The healing process is different for everyone. It might take you six weeks to move on, or it might take you six years. Don't beat yourself up because you're not "over it" yet. It takes time to heal wounds.

So what else can you do to feel better? It might sound corny, but try writing a letter, making a collage, or planting a tree in memory of the operating system you've lost. Remembering and celebrating all the good things *BSD brought to your life might help give you some closure, and having a keepsake to honor *BSD may help you get through some tough times in the future when you'll be missing it.

It's true that life won't be the same without *BSD around. It may seem like you'll never feel better, but eventually you will. Take some comfort in the old saying, "Time heals all wounds," and remember that *BSD will always be with you in your heart.

Re:Grieving for *BSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27060247)

Nope; my artificial heart runs Windows CE.

What about Bob? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27060067)

Bob 2.0 is a speech-enabled, touch sensitive Social Networking hypervisor powered by Cloud Computing.

And may I have your attention to the mobile phone over here - *this* isn't your father's Clippy.

Imitation (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#27060395)

The problem with most of Microsoft's research is, it ends up (usually poorly) imitating a competitor that is obvious in the eyes of a consumer. Someone looks at the Zune and can immediately compare it to the iPod, Live Search to Google, MSN to AIM (or IRC, etc), and the XBox to the PS2. The flaws in all of these products were A) A late deployment (minus the case of MSN), B) No real way to make money on it (the Xbox devision only recently turned a profit), C) In-Your-Face marketing, just compare the commercials for "I'm a PC..." to Apple's recent commercials, Apple's were cleaner, simpler and got the point across, Microsoft's commercials basically stated "Hey, we are still a monopoly!", D) Bundling. Having Windows Messenger (on XP, it was the precursor to MSN messenger) pop up every single time I started Windows didn't exactly persuade me to get MSN anytime soon, neither does the fact that Windows is required for a Zune and all the other MS DRM is Windows only basically alienates me as a Linux (and sometimes OS X) user from spending money on Microsoft hardware.

I'm sure we would all be singing a different tune if MS had launched the Zune back in 2000, or if Live/MSN search had the clean, easy to use, and optimized search engine before Google, but MS didn't launch them so to most customers they look about as appealing as buying a Wal-Mart branded MP3 player when a name-brand iPod costs only a few bucks more. Sure, some will buy them, but they will see them as the "off-brand" something that I don't think MS quite realizes. The MS brand means nothing to consumers, the days where it was considered name-brand are long gone.

Re:Imitation (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27060553)

Thinking the public cares about innovation is a big diversion from the real issues. Tell me the last time that someone selected a product because it was an original. If this was really the way the public was thinking than the iPod would be a bargain bin music player and the PS2 would live in the shadows of much older console blockbusting companies.

The whole monopoly thing is not only false but it's also a strawman to get the OSS cult to stomp it's feet.

And I'm seriously amazed through all of this bitching and moaning about lack of innovation, DRM, forced software and lock in you turn around and talk about running Apple. Where's the logic in that?

Just more anti-Microsoft FUD.

Re:Imitation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27061019)

Don't confuse Microsoft's products with Microsoft Research's innovations. It is often hard to believe they are part of the same company.

Re:Imitation (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062705)

This is a very insightful statement. Grand Parent goes bashing Zune, Live search, MSN, XBox etc.

But the reality is that such PRODUCTS were the result of using a very small subset of the MS Research features.

These features were selected by the MS marketoids because they are "trendy" and thus may be profitable. That is the reason why we see Just Another Copy Of X, when looking at a new Microsoft Product.

If you want to see what MS Research is about you better look at the peer reviewed papers from them. They have really interesting and innovative stuff which you may not see until someone outside Microsoft creates a product and opens a new profitable market segment.

Re:Imitation (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062211)

The problem with most of Microsoft's research is, it ends up (usually poorly) imitating a competitor that is obvious in the eyes of a consumer. Someone looks at the Zune and can immediately compare it to the iPod, Live Search to Google, MSN to AIM (or IRC, etc), and the XBox to the PS2.

MS' business model, in general, is to be the fast follower. They let someone else test the waters with a new idea; and if it looks like it will be successful MS jumps in to grab marketshare. They have been quite successful with that model, even with a few flops.

Their cash and market strength plays well with such a model.

R&D give them things they can incorporate in existing products as well as some new ones; but in general MS is not a company that seeks to be first to market with a new idea.

Cool (1)

His Shadow (689816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27060561)

Lets start a pool on which of these technologies will be cooler than the SPOT watch. Provided any ever see the light of day as an honest to god product. Or will we just keep hearing about how cool they will be Any Day Now, like a certain table-with-a-projector-and-a-PC-in-it?

R&D in pharmacogenetics (1)

unifyingtheory (1357069) | more than 5 years ago | (#27060799)

Microsoft has given my university a grant to help develop software in the field of phamacogenetics. It's for developing a program that will identify interactions between a person's individual genetics and the medications they are prescribed. It's supposed to revolutionize the field of pharmacy. I just hope it doesn't have to reboot after every patient.

Re:R&D in pharmacogenetics (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27061189)

I just hope it doesn't have to reboot after every patient.

I just hope it doesn't reboot every patient... giving new meaning to BSOD.

BiZnat3h (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27060985)

transfer, Netscape at this point iirecoverable

Forget fancy technobabel (1)

deanston (1252868) | more than 5 years ago | (#27061511)

or Kumo or whatever R&D into how or whoever is going to change our lives. I'll settled for just decent help documentation and semi-usable help search, from any software vendor. Please.

MSR's reputation (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27061729)

While MS gets heavily criticized, the same can't be said about MSR, which is a highly prestigious industrial research group that harkens to the culture brought about from the early days of Xerox PARC Research. When it comes to research, MSR publishes consistently in extremely competitive and top-rated conferences and journals (e.g., ACM Siggraph, SOSP, OSDI, etc). While these outcomes do not have a tangible "dollar" amount attached to them, they do allow MSR to attract and bring together a tremendous amount of talent coming out of top computer science schools. Increasingly, very few companies out there are willing to commit the resources to research like MS does or truly focus on "pure" research without being tied down to a product group. Some examples would be IBM, Intel, HP Labs, etc. The reality is: research that truly has an impact cannot be tied to product cycles.

As a CS PhD student myself at a "competitive" CS graduate school, many of my peers who are considering academic positions also intend to apply to MSR after graduation. And it's not easy to get in. The interview process is nearly as rigorous as one would undergo if applying for assistant professorship at a top CS school. So, MSR only hires top-rate people, and I think MS's decision to fund MSR will and continue to pay off in the future.

Re:MSR's reputation (1)

AppleTwoGuru (830505) | more than 5 years ago | (#27063409)

The reality is: research that truly has an impact cannot be tied to product cycles.

I guess that is why some of the greatest things that exist only in MSR never come out as a product, because Microsoft upper management is only looking at the money, and how to completely own the technology so that they control the entire product. Not "give it away" or (some of it away), and let people interact and contribute to it. What good does technology and new ideas do for people if they are not given access to it? In the Microsoft model, we as consumers have to COMPLETELY DEPEND on Microsoft. That is how they maximize profit. They do a pretty good job at doing that. The balance of the situation between MS leadership and consumers is off. That is why MSR is not tied to product cycles. And since MS leadership only looks to the importance of the product cycle (capitalizing on upgrades), things in MSR hardly ever get out. You can have one, but not the other.

MSR only exists for the sole purpose of feeding MS management ideas, and giving them exclusive opportunity to make a profit. MS management does not share their new knowledge. And they don't share to the point that they are fat and rich. There is another way however, but Microsoft is resistive to the change it needs to continue as a business working with others in a democracy that is made "for the people", rich or poor.

Kdawson Microsoft PR strikes again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27062605)

...said it in the subject line.

Why? (0, Flamebait)

1s44c (552956) | more than 5 years ago | (#27062799)

Microsoft are a big money company, not a knowledge organization. Big money companies can't do research, it's against their nature and a huge waste of cash.

If they care about research they should just give university scholarships to bright researchers and leave them to get on with it.

What do they do with it? (1)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#27063341)

As far as I can recall, precisely zero of the Microsoft Research projects I've thought were cool ever got into Windows.

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