Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 23rd Dec 2010 00:10 UTC, submitted by poundsmack
Microsoft "From its inception in 1991, Microsoft Research has hewed to a remarkably unwavering mission. Its tenets are threefold: to invest in basic research to advance the state of the art in computer science, to transfer technologies into Microsoft products when appropriate, and to collaborate openly with the scientific community. The year 2010 has not varied from this established, successful tradition. But unlike 1991, when Microsoft Research was in its nascent stage, the organization is now fully mature, has grown into a worldwide presence, and has gained eminence as that modern-day rarity: an industrial research unit dedicated to pursuing pure research, in dozens of areas, that is helping to transform the future. Such a track record, naturally, has its own rewards. It's little surprise, then, that a review of Microsoft Research's 2010 highlights are bookended by a pair of illustrious awards, with others - including the biggest - sprinkled throughout the year."
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Congrats
by leos on Thu 23rd Dec 2010 05:32 UTC
leos
Member since:
2005-09-21

Say what you want about Microsoft, but they've really got one of the last real independent research labs.

I've read quite a few papers coming out of their research department, and it is surprising how completely impractical most of the stuff is that they work on; and I mean that as a compliment. The research is not focused by what we can turn around and sell, it is focused on just research to explore problems that are unexplored. It doesn't seem to matter that the problem might be entirely irrelevant to Microsoft's business.

Good work! That's what a research organization should be like.

Edited 2010-12-23 05:33 UTC

Reply Score: 7

RE: Congrats
by Neolander on Thu 23rd Dec 2010 09:08 UTC in reply to "Congrats"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Most big companies and political organizations can afford to do this, though. Whether they do it or not... it's a matter of policy.

Still, thanks to Microsoft for having a relatively open mind as far as research is concerned.

Reply Score: 5

v Company's benefits
by Nth_Man on Thu 23rd Dec 2010 09:47 UTC
RE: Company's benefits
by Thom_Holwerda on Thu 23rd Dec 2010 09:57 UTC in reply to "Company's benefits"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

We have to stop lying to ourselves. Microsoft's research target is to bring the maximum of money at long term.


and yet, we still benefit in the long term. Many of these Research projects become available for free, some even with source code available (such as Singularity). The past year alone Microsoft produced like 5 research operating systems with richly detailed papers on how they work - knowledge we can all benefit from.

Reply Score: 4

v RE[2]: Company's benefits
by Nth_Man on Thu 23rd Dec 2010 10:02 UTC in reply to "RE: Company's benefits"
RE: Company's benefits
by lucas_maximus on Thu 23rd Dec 2010 10:31 UTC in reply to "Company's benefits"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

We have to stop lying to ourselves. Microsoft's research target is to bring the maximum of money at long term. If that conflicts with the long term benefits for people... you know what will be the result.


This is how it works,

Microsoft do some research, they release it. Academics and other professional such as professors, phd students etc. etc. study the research.

If it is relevant these academics and professionals then can expand on top of the work that Microsoft have already done. Everyone benefits ... including Microsoft ... however doesn't mean they are evil ... it is just pro-active.

This anti-microsoft trolling on every Microsoft article posted here is quite sad. I only clicked on the comments to see how long it took for someone to make a Anti-Microsoft post.

Edited 2010-12-23 10:32 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Company's benefits
by flanque on Thu 23rd Dec 2010 10:49 UTC in reply to "RE: Company's benefits"
flanque Member since:
2005-12-15

I only clicked on the comments to see how long it took for someone to make a Anti-Microsoft post.

Haha. Same with myself.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Company's benefits
by dvhh on Thu 23rd Dec 2010 14:08 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Company's benefits"
dvhh Member since:
2006-03-20

I do the same with Apple ones, but I'm less successful somehow.

Reply Score: 2

v RE[2]: Company's benefits
by Nth_Man on Thu 23rd Dec 2010 11:35 UTC in reply to "RE: Company's benefits"
RE[3]: Company's benefits
by lucas_maximus on Thu 23rd Dec 2010 13:33 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Company's benefits"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

None of this has anything to do with what their research department does, other than you decided to latch onto one sentence that is a bit of marketing spiel.

The full quote,

Its tenets are threefold: to invest in basic research to advance the state of the art in computer science, to transfer technologies into Microsoft products when appropriate, and to collaborate openly with the scientific community.


Microsoft even admit they perform this research for their own advantage ... it is here just in case you have missed it.

to transfer technologies into Microsoft products when appropriate


So you take the quote out of context and then spin it about how they are Evil, with a link to something which fundamentally isn't about the article at all.

I say you are trolling.

Edited 2010-12-23 13:39 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Company's benefits
by Nth_Man on Thu 23rd Dec 2010 15:54 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Company's benefits"
Nth_Man Member since:
2010-05-16

None of this has anything to do with what their research department


If you bothered to read the given links, like
http://antitrust.slated.org/www.iowaconsumercase.org/011607/2000/PX...
you would have read the order that Bill Gates gave: "make sure that Office very well depends on PROPRIETARY IE capabilities", that is, a research is asked... a research to cause problems to others. That is an example of what Microsoft is researching.

A lot of links were also given, but there's no worse blind than the one that doesn't want to see.

Reply Score: 0

RE[5]: Company's benefits
by lucas_maximus on Thu 23rd Dec 2010 16:57 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Company's benefits"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

You obviously don't understand what "scope" means.

Bill Gates left Microsoft in 2008 (almost 2 1/2 years ago now), this article is about 2010.

Your first post is not in the scope of what should be discussed about the article linked here. So therefore your links are irrelevant to the topic.

Reply Score: 2

v RE[6]: Company's benefits
by Nth_Man on Thu 23rd Dec 2010 17:13 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Company's benefits"
RE[2]: Company's benefits
by xaeropower on Thu 23rd Dec 2010 16:33 UTC in reply to "RE: Company's benefits"
xaeropower Member since:
2005-12-16
RE[2]: Company's benefits
by Valhalla on Sat 25th Dec 2010 05:11 UTC in reply to "RE: Company's benefits"
Valhalla Member since:
2006-01-24



This is how it works,

Microsoft do some research, they release it. Academics and other professional such as professors, phd students etc. etc. study the research.

If it is relevant these academics and professionals then can expand on top of the work that Microsoft have already done.

Can they? Aren't the research code released under Microsofts 'Shared Source' licence (like for Singularity) which means they can only be modified in an academic setting (sometimes not even that is allowed) and certainly not in any kind of commercial capacity.

So academics can study and improve on the code but only Microsoft can actually use these improvements in any way outside academics. Also, by studying/modifying these sources you might be 'tainted' if you were to work on similar code in the future outside academia. I'm sorry but the whole 'everyone benefits' seems very much like 'Microsoft benefits' to me.

I do find some value in shared source though, which is when applied to finished products where if you want to write a complementary program you can study the shared source to see how best to interoperate with it, but that's about it.

edit: Oh, and merry christmas everyone!

Edited 2010-12-25 05:11 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE: Company's benefits
by superstoned on Thu 23rd Dec 2010 10:48 UTC in reply to "Company's benefits"
superstoned Member since:
2005-07-07

While MS does wrong or stupid things pretty much everywhere else, I think their research labs are one of the few area's with little or no 'evil' attached. They just try to advance computing - and of course they'll be on top of whatever comes out, but at least they share their progress. It's not really a money making business, I'm quite sure of that. Maybe they try to make up a bit for all the following others that they usually do - MS and innovation aren't exactly close ;)

Reply Score: 3

RE: Company's benefits
by Neolander on Fri 24th Dec 2010 16:48 UTC in reply to "Company's benefits"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

We have to stop lying to ourselves. Microsoft's research target is to bring the maximum of money at long term. If that conflicts with the long term benefits for people... you know what will be the result.

Yeah, and... ?

If I get in private research once I'm done with studies, I wouldn't ask my boss to have the well-being of mankind in mind. This is the goal of public research, in my opinion ;) The primary goal of a private research lab is to make money, like the rest of the company it belongs to. It's just into longer-term thinking than the rest of the company.

A good private lab is in my opinion one that thinks long-term, has an open mind, and makes its results public. The interests of such a lab generally happen to coincide with the interests of (part of) the rest of the world. And since the results are public, anyone can benefit from them.

Edited 2010-12-24 16:51 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Company's benefits
by Nth_Man on Sat 25th Dec 2010 03:35 UTC in reply to "RE: Company's benefits"
Nth_Man Member since:
2010-05-16

"We have to stop lying to ourselves. Microsoft's research target is to bring the maximum of money at long term. If that conflicts with the long term benefits for people... you know what will be the result.

Yeah, and... ?
"
The answer to the question you asked is that, in that case, their research will go against you, me, and all. I hope you mind about some of us.

If I get in private research once I'm done with studies, I wouldn't ask my boss to have the well-being of mankind in mind.

Mmm... a lot of researchers have worked against mankind, but you already know it.

And since the results are public, anyone can benefit from them.

For example: playing chess and seeing your enemy allowing you to eat a piece of him... makes you wonder if it's an error of him, an obscure trap or whatever. Chess players understand me.
Similarly, thinking in a competitive, money making world, makes company leaders not to trust rivals.

The results are public

We only see declarations of a company, that doesn't mean they have published their inner report of the results. For example, If I was a long-term money-sucker monopolist I would not publish the true results of my research, but a mix of:
- Suboptimal and misleading ideas that I found while researching, ideas that some of my rivals will believe and investigate (just to lose time at the end, when they realize the truth) or worse still, get as true and so their inner workings get suboptimal or damaged. In my position I would not be paid for "working for them".
- Some true new ideas that I found; to make not clear what I am really doing. Those true ideas would be the ones that were going to be discovered, anyway, but if I am the first saying those, that would give me a "good reputation".
- Some things that public may not know but companies already knew, but told in different, subtle ways so I get a good reputation.

So I would get a good reputation and mislead my rivals, for free. And people would thank me! That would be priceless. I would be so "good"!

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Company's benefits
by Nth_Man on Sat 25th Dec 2010 03:40 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Company's benefits"
Nth_Man Member since:
2010-05-16

All warfare is based on deception.
-- Sun Tzu

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Company's benefits
by Neolander on Sat 25th Dec 2010 10:44 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Company's benefits"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Well, welcome to the prisoner's dilemma.

Let's take two labs, and examine the possible options :
-> Both labs disclose their results : optimal profit for everyone
-> A discloses its results, B cheats : B benefits from A's research, A wins nothing
-> Both labs keep their results secret : sub-optimal profit for everyone

Each lab has to make a choice without knowing what the other lab is going to do.

Cooperation is the best way for everyone... But it's an unstable equilibrium, as the temptation to cheat and make additional profit at the expense of the other guy is big.
On the other hand, if you do that, the other will probably end up hiding his own research, and you'll all end up making a small profit instead of the bigger benefit of cooperation.
Should it happen, getting the other one's trust back would be harder. If you continue to cheat, he has no reason to suddenly start to cooperate. If you cooperate, he'll probably want some revenge and keep cheating on his side, making big profit at your expense.

So it really boils down to a thing : will you stay a miserable rat all your life, making small profit from meprisable actions ? Or will you aim at something bigger and realize that you need the others' help for that ?

Maybe Microsoft have finally understood that isolated rats lose facing united people. Some of their recent actions sound at least like a step in the right direction.

Edited 2010-12-25 10:45 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Company's benefits
by Nth_Man on Sat 25th Dec 2010 19:30 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Company's benefits"
Nth_Man Member since:
2010-05-16

Well, welcome to the prisoner's dilemma.

Mmm... in the commented situation "If I was a long-term money-sucker monopolist" I would not a prisoner, but a monopolist, having a dominant position in the market. It would be me who keeps winning if things do not change. This fact is so important in those arguments.

Let's take two labs, and examine the possible options :
-> Both labs disclose their results : optimal profit for everyone

No, not optimal profit for everyone. In the commented situation changes in the market would not be good for me. A sale from my rivals would be a lost sale for me. A monopoly would be the wished situation: people paying more and receiving less (what alternative would they have? A monopoly is about a lack of *real* choices).

Should it happen, getting the other one's trust back would be harder. If you continue to cheat, he has no reason to suddenly start to cooperate. If you cooperate, he'll probably want some revenge and keep cheating on his side

Of course, my rivals would not trust me and not cooperate with me, their revenge is something that they would have tried long ago, and I would not mind, since I would be the monopolist, the main rival of the other companies. Even my "rivals" would buy some of my products!

making big profit at your expense.

As a monopolist, it would be me who made the big profits, that is what monopolies are for.
People playing the "Monopoly" game, when there's a real monopoly in the table, understand me.

Or will you aim at something bigger and realize that you need the others' help for that ?

Something bigger than a monopoly? I would not ask the help of my rivals to get what I actually have.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Company's benefits
by Neolander on Sat 25th Dec 2010 10:57 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Company's benefits"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

We only see declarations of a company, that doesn't mean they have published their inner report of the results. For example, If I was a long-term money-sucker monopolist I would not publish the true results of my research, but a mix of:
- Suboptimal and misleading ideas that I found while researching, ideas that some of my rivals will believe and investigate (just to lose time at the end, when they realize the truth) or worse still, get as true and so their inner workings get suboptimal or damaged. In my position I would not be paid for "working for them".

Don't you think that after you are caught doing that once, researchers from other companies will examine what you publish carefully before using it and find that those reports are strangely lacking ?

- Some true new ideas that I found; to make not clear what I am really doing. Those true ideas would be the ones that were going to be discovered, anyway, but if I am the first saying those, that would give me a "good reputation".

Any research is "going to be discovered anyway". The problem is that if no one publishes his results, anyone will end up reinventing the wheel of someone else on his side, and research will be going at a snail pace.

- Some things that public may not know but companies already knew, but told in different, subtle ways so I get a good reputation.

It's vague. If you're an ultra-big monopoly, how come all your competitors, who are basically the rest of the world, know about these things, but the public couldn't ? You know, secrets only work when very few people are hiding them.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Company's benefits
by Nth_Man on Sat 25th Dec 2010 20:01 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Company's benefits"
Nth_Man Member since:
2010-05-16

Don't you think that after you are caught doing that once, researchers from other companies will examine what you publish carefully before using it and find that those reports are strangely lacking ?

The more experienced of my enemies already would know the "All warfare is based on deception" quote from "The Art Of War" and do not expect favors from the monopolist.

The less experienced ones would think that I was giving them important information and that, this way, in the end, they could progress and finally sell more.

Any research is "going to be discovered anyway". The problem is that if no one publishes his results, anyone will end up reinventing the wheel of someone else on his side, and research will be going at a snail pace.

In that situation, I would not want that the research of my rivals go fast. The actual situation would be a monopoly, already my ideal situation.

If you're an ultra-big monopoly, how come all your competitors, who are basically the rest of the world, know about these things, but the public couldn't ?

I said "that public may not know". Also some of my rivals would know something, some others would not. Also some people do not know that they don't know about some subjects.

You know, secrets only work when very few people are hiding them.

You're right. In theory only a few people received this mail
http://antitrust.slated.org/www.iowaconsumercase.org/011607/2000/PX...
about "make sure that Office very well depends on PROPRIETARY IE capabilities" but at the end that sabotage (*) was known by the public.

(*) "Sabotage is a deliberate action aimed at weakening another entity through subversion, obstruction, disruption, or destruction."

Reply Score: 1

Good news...
by raid996 on Thu 23rd Dec 2010 15:18 UTC
raid996
Member since:
2010-03-02

I'm happy to see that part of that richness is given to open minded and even anti economic researchs... something good and also practical will definitely come out of this.

Anyways, did you check how many times Danah Boyd is mentioned...??? I tought she must be one of those ugly glassy geniuses with pony tails... (kinda like me only I have short hair, an ugly beard and I'm not a genius)
And I was twice wrong: http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/people/dmb/

:D

Reply Score: 1

Innominandum
Member since:
2005-11-18

Select René Guénon commentary on the modern West, materialism vs. intellectual endeavours:

"Intelligence [becomes] nothing but a means of acting on matter and turning it to a practical ends, and for whom science, in their limited understanding of it, is above all important in so far as it may be applied to industrial purposes.."

"Extraordinary too, and also complementary to this illusion, is the belief in 'progress,' considered no less absolutely, and naturally identified, at heart, with this material development which absorbs the entire activity of the modern West."

Reply Score: 2

It's wrong to make a profit
by th3rmite on Fri 24th Dec 2010 04:22 UTC
th3rmite
Member since:
2006-01-08

For some reason it absolutely infuriates some readers to read anything about MS. It seems that more and more often it is "evil" to be a successful (profitable) company, especially an American company.

Reply Score: 1

Nth_Man Member since:
2010-05-16

It seems that more and more often it is "evil" to be a successful (profitable) company, especially an American company.

The words "It seems that" are no good argument, it's better if we see Microsoft trials, where Microsoft has been found guilty of illegal, obscure tactics to abuse computer users and companies, to get money at long term using any way. Yes, that is where the evil is more clearly seen.

For more information, we can look for "European Union Microsoft competition case", "United States v. Microsoft", Stac Electronics, Caldera trial, Spyglass, etc.

Reply Score: 1

RE: It's wrong to make a profit
by frytvm on Sat 25th Dec 2010 05:37 UTC in reply to "It's wrong to make a profit"
frytvm Member since:
2009-11-11

Many Americans suffer from a strange and inexplicable belief that doing good for society must always be independent of making money. Hence corporations are inherently evil and all "good" forms of work must be done for free: pick up a little trash around the neighbourhood and everybody will appreciate it, but nobody would every think of paying you...

Reply Score: 2