Yesterday was the start of this year’s TechFest where the staff at Microsoft Research shows off their latest efforts:
March 6, 2007 — Whether it’s helping people discover distant planets online, share their favorite digital photos with relatives, or show young kids how fun it can be to program computers, Microsoft Research speeds the way to a richer computing experience. Today the doors opened to Microsoft Research TechFest 2007, the company’s annual showcase of research projects, unveiling more than 100 innovations. At TechFest, researchers and product teams form close and lasting ties to jointly advance the frontiers of computing for the industry and customers.
Speaking today at TechFest before an audience of customers, industry and government leaders and independent software vendors, Microsoft Research Senior Vice President Rick Rashid said, “TechFest is one-stop shopping to see and experience the breadth of software innovations we’re pursuing that will allow people to explore their interests more deeply and share the things they care about more easily.”
Rashid moderated demonstrations of a number of key research projects, including World-Wide Telescope, which allows people to peer deep into the heavens on their PCs; Mix: Search-Based Authoring, a new way to build and share digital content at home and work; and Boku, an innovative way of using Xbox® to teach kids how exciting and rewarding computer programming can be.
There are more details by following the link and at the TechFest Demo site , but while interesting in an intellectual way, there really didn’t seem to be anything particularly earthshaking. Also bear in mind that the real audience is within Microsoft itself with the objective of getting these projects incorporated within a real product, the perennial quest of all corporate research arms:
Microsoft Research TechFest provides a strategic forum for Microsoft researchers to connect with the broader group of Microsoft employees. Hundreds of researchers from Microsoft’s worldwide labs in China, England, India and the United States gather for the annual event at the company’s corporate headquarters in Redmond, Wash. They come together to exchange ideas with colleagues, show off their latest innovations, and shine a light into the future of computing. In many cases, the partnerships formed at TechFest between researchers and product teams allow innovations to begin making their way into game-changing products for Microsoft customers.
From the AP:
Microsoft Corp. said after the bell Thursday that Chairman Bill Gates will transition out of a day-to-day role in the company to spend more time on his global health and education work at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The company announced a two-year transition process to ensure that there is a smooth and orderly transfer of Gates’ daily responsibilities, and said that after July 2008 Gates would continue to serve as the company’s chairman and an adviser on key development projects.
More by following the link including Ray Ozzie named Chief Software Architect and Craig Mundie named as Chief Research and Strategy Officer.
Back in January we had mentioned rumblings that Gates had lost his “edge” and was more interested in his charity efforts.
Update: The official press release is here.
Update 2: Microsoft’s Don Dodge has more:
There will be other organizational changes over time. Some changes were announced today. they include…
* Rick Rashid will report to Craig Mundie
* David Vaskevitch, our CTO, will report to Ray Ozzie.
Update 3: CNET”s Scott Ard who attended the press conference reports that Gates made the announcement himself:
Gates explained that he has been working part-time for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and full-time for a company that has made him the richest man in the word, and he wished to reverse those priorities.