New Technologies in the

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2006-01-12 Print this article Print

Pipeline"> So the second part of the second mission is whether we can come up with new products, new designs, new services that do not exist yet. That is the incubation of new products. You mentioned technology in the pipeline, can you talk about any of that?
Ongoing, I can point out MSN. We are looking into things to help users do shopping. And that technology will be coming from us when it is all released.
Another good example thats even closer to announcement is Microsofts Ad Center. So the advertisements, the platform, a lot of that technology is from this lab here. So the whole push toward a Live! focus for the company that Ray Ozzie is leading, are you guys playing a part in that? I just had a meeting with Ray last week. The company is very fortunate to have Ray with us. And you can be assured that we will be very much involved and will contribute a lot of key technology to the company. In an interview with eWEEK, Steve Ballmer said going forward Microsoft will be into the services model, subscriptions, advertisement driven content, and its traditional license sales. But its very early…. A: When you think about this business model thing … Microsoft has been so successful in the licensed software business for so long. And now all of a sudden we see a lot of change and a lot of challenges. First we have this open-source thing. Now you have the subscription model. Then you have this new thing called the advertised model. So as a company, Steve is certainly the authority to say whats going on. My personal view is this. I think these different models will have to coexist for awhile. And, after all, Windows brings so much money and the model works. And of course were looking at how we can continue and grow that business. But its probably going to be slow, realistically. Then you have this new advertised model. And for Microsoft we havent even really gotten seriously involved yet. We have MSN working very successfully so far, but we should grab for even more. So the company now realizes that we have this Windows model—the base OS underneath, the licensed software model. On top of that we have something Ray Ozzie and Bill Gates call Live, Windows Live! that you can add as a service there with a user participating in that space. Now you go there and we can give you free services, funded by advertisement. So were trying to find this boundary where we can continue to sell licensed software, where we can get new business with advertisement. So were still figuring it out. Ray Ozzie is heading that up. I just had an hour meeting with him … and I see him again in February. He will visit us early next spring. MSR will no doubt be in the center of the action. What is unique about the research situation here in Beijing? Mostly, we are part of Microsoft Research so we do very similar things to Microsoft Research in Redmond, where I began my research career 10 years ago. But we do have some special and unique characteristics in the lab here, and its mostly because of the people. The situation here is very, very different. When we started this seven years ago, and even today, its very hard to attract senior people to move to Beijing. And being a very good company man, I got this job so I just moved. But its very hard to attract, whether its American, Canadian or Chinese, to move to Beijing with a family. So out of necessity we built a team with not too many senior leaders in academic research, but with lots of young, energetic and passionate researchers we found here in China. So it turns out to be a pretty good combination. Microsoft challenges Linuxs legacy claims. Click here to read more. And since the lab is relatively young and passionate about technology, we believe we can do a lot of things within the company, deliver innovation to our customers and really change the world. We have done a number of things over the last seven years and a couple of things I feel particularly proud of. One is how quickly we have built this first-class research team. You can see the evidence in the first class publication of research papers in scientific journals and conference papers. The second thing, and I really feel very proud about this, is the number of technology transfers we have done with the company. We have delivered technology into Windows, Office, MSN, Xbox, mobile phones. The last time we counted we had about 120 technologies to come out of this lab and find their way into Microsoft products, from Xbox to soon-to-be-released Windows Vista. And we have more than 40 technologies in the pipeline ready to be transferred. I just talked to the head of Yahoo research in Mountain View. He was saying he can really appreciate how difficult it is to do technology transfers, and especially this large number of technology transfers that we have done. The third thing that I think is really unique about this lab is how much we have contributed to the higher education system here in China. A very good example is the number of interns who have gone through training in our lab. The last time we counted we already had more than 2,000—graduate students mostly—that have gone through our internship program. We need more and more talented engineers and scientists, not just in China, but the whole world. We need more talented, smart kids getting into computer science, electrical engineering and Internet software. Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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