The Microsoft Research Techfest may be in for a troubled future, but for 2009 it is going strong.  One of Bill Gates’ favourite projects in the company he started was Microsoft Research, in which highly paid PhDs were able to experiment and develop to their hearts content.  Much good has come out of those projects, but in the current economic trend it is a little too expensive to gamble on spending a lot of money in an investment with a small chance at a big return; especially when you consider who is going to be able to buy a totally new product.  With Bill gone, a lot of those PhDs may find themselves moved to an area in Microsoft with a guaranteed return, or perhaps figuring out how to make a Microsoft Store work.  For now though, you can look through a long list of the concepts and prototypes that Ars Technica saw at this years Research Techfest.

“Microsoft Research’s TechFest, not to be confused with the yearly TechFest event that occurs in India, is an annual showcase of the various technologies that the company’s researchers have been working on. The 2009 event that took place last week (February 24-26) featured a few prototypes that we’ve already seen before, like WorldWide Telescope and Microsoft Songsmith, but there were also many that have only started to emerge out of Microsoft’s research labs around the world, including those in China, India, the UK, and the US.

The gathering of hundreds of researchers, as well as the broader group of Microsoft employees and product managers, happens at the company’s headquarters in Redmond and creates a sort of forum for these colleagues to exchange ideas, show off their latest innovations, and form partnerships that lead to the creation of shipping products.”

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