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Microsoft Research Head Rick Rashid

Boot Camp feature for Thursday, October 12, 2006

The state of basic research. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Time was …when if you talked about basic research in the United States….the names Bell Labs….and IBM were in the forefront. Today… Bell Labs…which developed the transistor and the laser…is a shell of what it once was. It is part of Lucent…which is being acquired by Alcatel based in France. IBM Research….is more than sixty years old….and continues to employ three thousand people….who are developing things like the technology to translate Arabic broadcasts into English almost instantly. Microsoft Research, in comparison…is just 15 years old. It was started by Rick Rashid…..who still heads the effort….

"When I started Microsoft Research we basically had me and we quickly had a few additional people. Now we are one of the largest basic research groups in computer science in the world. So we've grown to be over 700 researchers."

Today the research budget(Microsoft overall) is more than six billion dollars a year. While some critics have knocked Microsoft over the years….saying the company doesn't innovate, Rashid says it simply isn't so…

"Microsoft is driving a huge amount of innovation in terms of its basic information worker and office software. We're probably the main company doing that type of work."

Microsoft's head of research, Rick Rashid. You can find more information at research.micorosoft.com. You can find us at Bootcamp.com. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.