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How Microsoft Plans to Beat Google and Facebook to the Next Tech Breakthrough


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To break down the walls between its research group and the rest of the company, Microsoft reassigned about half of its more than 1,000 research staff in September 2014 to a new group called MSR NExT. Its focus is on projects with greater impact to the company rather than pure research. Meanwhile, the other half of Microsoft Research is getting pushed to find more significant ways it can contribute to the company's products.

Facebook Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer said the cooperation between its research labs and those working on the social network is an effective recruiting tool. "The promise I made to all the artificial intelligence folks that joined us is we're going to be the best place to get your work to a billion people as fast as possible"...

"One potential drawback of this approach is it could encourage scientists to ignore projects that don't have obvious financial potential. Each company is trying to strike a balance to avoid this breed of short-term thinking." 

"Today's geniuses often prefer impact over independence, which is partly why Microsoft is rethinking its approach."

I think that most people would prefer impact over independence but not all people. 

Microsoft Ventures is Microsoft's version of Google Ventures:

http://www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-ventures-gets-into-late-stage-vc-2016-1

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