Microsoft Peddles Unused R&D To Eager Startups

from the beg-and-borrow dept

It sure has a magnanimous ring to it: Microsoft wants to license its “spare” technology to startups that can develop them fully into products. At least that the BBC’s spin (which happens to be not that far from Microsoft’s spin). But you have to wonder, why would someone want the leftover technologies that Microsoft doesn’t want to develop itself? And who are these startups begging for Microsoft’s table scraps? Indeed, it seems any deal to license these technologies would keep you securely on Microsoft’s leash (complete with an ownership stake, royalties, or both). Perhaps some dogs are just happy to get taken home from the pound, regardless of what they’re being fed.

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Comments on “Microsoft Peddles Unused R&D To Eager Startups”

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tra1a1a says:

Broken RSS feed

It seems that this post is breaking the rss feed. This is what firefox is showing me:
XML Parsing Error: not well-formed
Line Number 61, Column 38: Microsoft Peddles Unused R&D To Eager Startups
If the line wrapping breaks it the pointer is directed to the space right after “R&D”.

Director Mitch (user link) says:

Other Industries do It

Actually, Mike, this is common in other industries, and one in particular, oil exploration, is a good way to make money.

Let’s take ExxonMobile. Let’s say they have a domestic an exploration budget of $500M that will let them drill 500 domestic wells (just picking round numbers out of my hat). But they have oil leases for 600 wells that will expire this year – meaning that is if they don’t drill on them, the leases just expire worthless.

So ExxonMobile does what is called a “farm out” of those extra 100 wells. They give the oil location and data to another oil company who drills it and then get a part of the return if the other company finds oil. This seems somewhat similar to what is being proposed here.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Other Industries do It

Mitch, I didn’t write the post, but point taken… Still this is a bit different than 100 extra “wells”. This is entirely separate research that they decided wasn’t worth commercializing. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, but any startup that goes in for it, needs to realize they’re not getting the cream of the crop here.

nonuser says:

could be interesting if done the right way

There’s lots of technologies that make great demos, but they seem at least 5 years away from mass market, and even then the market pioneer isn’t necessarily going to be the big winner. For example, pen computing was that way in 1990. Anyway, Microsoft isn’t set up to capitalize on many of the inventions coming out of their research labs that can’t be moved directly into Windows, Office, Xbox, or some other major product.

This could be a swift move on Microsoft’s part if they make it interesting enough for the entrepreneurs, and don’t insist on hogging most of the upside for themselves. Imagine if Xerox had done something like this in the ’70s.

danrus says:

I hope microsoft does give up some of it's R&D

So the beast of redmond finally chokes on some of the smaller projects it swallowed up. There used to be a great add on for IE called e-quill which allowed you to make and share annotations, and freehand drawings on top of web pages. M$ bought the project out and shut the servers down – no sign of that technology being integrated into IE

I still miss the program and it was over 5 years ago it shut down

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