Microsoft sees little changes to R&D budget

Microsoft sees little changes to R&D budget

Singapore: Microsoft Corp, the world’s largest software company, will not make big changes to its research and development budget for next year from more than $9 billion it committed this year, a senior executive said.

Craig Mundie, Microsoft’s chief research and strategy officer said the company sees some greenfield opportunities in healthcare, education, and energy, where information technologies could help address problems.

“The company remains very committed with R&D... I think it will be nominally the same, I’m not expecting any big changes," Mundie said on Thursday in Microsoft’s office in Singapore, overlooking the Marina Bay business district.

“We have been putting, incrementalling more research and development money into some of these completely new business, not just the extension of the old businesses," he added.

Research and development spending in the global technology sector, a critical component in an industry where innovation is king, is expected to hold up well this year despite slumping sales and deep cost-cuts, analysts say.

For Intel Corp, Microsoft, Oracle Corp, Texas Instruments and other technology heavyweights grappling with sliding revenue, R&D expense is making up a larger percentage of sales than last year.

Technology companies are choosing to slash spending on areas such as marketing or staff.

Mundie, a 17-year Microsoft veteran, was one of two people who filled the role of Bill Gates when Microsoft’s co-founder left the company to concentrate on philanthropy.

Mundie focuses on the long-range technological direction of Microsoft.

He said he expects the company’s upcoming Microsoft Office 2010 application to have a “good" take up rate once the firm introduces it next year to replace the 2007 version.

“If you have no interest in communication and collaboration, if you have no interest in mobile or doing anything different than the documents you have always wrote and read in the past, you might say there doesn’t seem to be compelling change."

“But in the world we living in today all of these things appear to be in high demand and since it did not exist in the prior version then I expect there will be pretty substantial uptake of them," Mundie said.