Microsoft spends more than $8 billion per year on research and development -- much of which is devoted to competing with Google -- yet despite this, the software giant has a steady reputation of being
an also-ran in the Web business. The Financial Times
reports that Microsoft is tweaking its R&D unit by appointing Gary Flake, the former head of research at Yahoo, as head of the company's new
research group, Live Labs. The unit's task is to experiment with moneymaking ideas that break the traditional molds of doing business.
Its latest product, Photosynth, is set to be released
today. Photosynth allows users to create 3D collages of their digital images using high-performance recognition technology that matches similar pictures. The technology identifies patterns in images
and then matches them with related photos to produce collages that users can navigate inside a browser.FT
says the service is more about grabbing attention than making money for
Microsoft. In the past, the software giant might have charged for such a service. Flake says the idea could unlock a new market by letting consumers navigate virtual stores before making purchases.
Read the whole story at Financial Times »