Microsoft is no stranger to advancing computing technologies, as they’re one of the largest employers of computer science PhDs in the world through their Microsoft Research initiative. Microsoft Research is concerned with evolving today’s technologies to be better, not necessarily inventing new categories. Now, according to All about Microsoft’s Mary Jo Foley, that’s about to change.
Foley reports from her sources that a Microsoft Research Special Projects group has been formed, and it’s headed by former DARPA innovation boss Norman Whitaker. The group is reportedly focused on "disruptive technologies that could benefit the company and society" and it sounds a lot like Google X, which is Google’s advanced research division. That group works on crazy ideas like drones, self-driving cars and balloon-powered internet.
What exactly the group will come up with is not too clear, though Microsoft certainly has the resources – in terms of money and manpower – to make a competitive dent against Google, who is aggressively developing next-generation technologies.
Microsoft themselves have declined comment on the research division, though the term ‘Special Projects group’ is referenced in a recent job description from the company.