Microsoft Opens R&D Lab In NYC

Sucking the life out of Yahoo, Microsoft has hired away 15 of its researchers to open an R&D lab in New York City.

Along with Duncan Watts, the well-known social network researcher, “That includes algorithmic economist David Pennock -- who will oversee day-to-day lab operations -- and machine-learning expert John Langford,” AllThingsD reports.

That Yahoo’s leading minds are exiting isn’t a surprise considering the company’s flagging fortunes. Just last month, Yahoo laid off about 2,000 employees across the board, including its research staff, CNet recalls.

Microsoft, meanwhile, isn’t without its problems, but the software is clearly preparing for a fight on the key fronts of innovation and product development. Indeed, “The new Microsoft recruits will join a global network of more than of more than 850 Ph.D. researchers who collaborate openly with leading academic, governmental, and industry researchers,” CNet adds.

“So why join Microsoft instead of, say, Google, which has a large and growing presence in New York?,” asks The New York Times’ Bits blog. According to Dr. Pennock: “Microsoft is a fantastic place for research because it balances the academic and the product-impact sides.”

“Based in Manhattan, the [new] lab will focus on a variety of research including computational and experimental social science, algorithmic economics, and machine learning,” The Verge notes.

Adds Bits: “The group’s research focuses in large part on the application of advanced computing tools to the social sciences. It is a fast-growing field fueled by the vast new data sources of the Web, social-network communications and from sensor-equipped devices like smartphones. The potential is enormous, as Google and Facebook prove. But Microsoft has trailed so far.”

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