Google’s secretive R&D lab Google X gets lots of attention for testing and developing moonshot ideas, even though its work has touched few consumers. Fast Company took readers for a detailed behind-the-scenes look inside the Google X operations in April—a world of driverless cars, high-flying Wi-Fi balloons, and even space elevators.
The search giant’s rival Microsoft—a company that could use some disruptive ideas as it struggles to gain major new revenue streams in the shifting computing market—is now taking a cue from its competitor and launching a “Special Projects” group, headed by former deputy director at DARPA Norman A. Whitaker and under the umbrella of Microsoft Research, the company’s sprawling university-like research division.
At a lab office ribbon cutting in New York City, Co.Exist spoke with Microsoft Research chief Peter Lee, who last summer stepped up to oversee his division’s 1,150 scientists and engineers. His comments provide a glimpse into how the $65 billion company is changing the way it thinks about innovation.