Ramblings from another nerd on the grid
In the 20 years since it was founded, Microsoft Research has grown from a small group of researchers to approximately 1,000 computer scientists at research labs on four continents. During this growth, the mission of Microsoft Research has remained persistent: to advance the state of the art of computer science and transfer key new technologies into Microsoft products.
In addition to making advances in technologies that can contribute to better products, research at Microsoft also affords an opportunity to use our computer science technologies to help scientists make progress on some of the great problems facing our society. This was the vision for the technical computing initiative we began in 2005, and now we have Microsoft researchers working in collaboration with leading academic researchers throughout the world on a wide range of problems related to health and the environment.
See some stories at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/researchconnections/science/stories/default.aspx.
This is something that make me very happy to work and study MS products. I've grown as a Linux/BSD geek and also Cloud Computing researcher and always the Academic world focus on Open Standards, but I can see Microsoft also starting to focus on open and widespread standards.
And for an IT company research is fundamental. Develop and share state of the art topics is a need in our Computer Science world.