Other Microsoft products we’ll have to wait a while for include a Twitter competitor. “We are experimenting,” he said, “in a corporate setting.” He said it was a big challenge to bring microblogging functionality into the business setting, where younger employees are avid boosters for the concept but older workers (who are sticking around longer due to the recession), “aren’t even comfortable with e-mail.”

Despite its apparent slow pace at adopting Web concepts in its products, Elop said Microsoft continues to invest in new technologies. “The only way through this economy is improving productivity. During tough times, we have to power through. That’s why we have $9 billion in R&D. We have to continue to innovate.”

It seems hard to believe that Microsoft could not do within 1 year what Yammer already did within a few months, which is to hammer out a copycat version of Twitter to offer for corporate/intranet-type settings. Proves that complexity in large organizations make them the opposite of nimble.

(Wrote about this a while back here:
http://businessmindhacks.com/post/microsoft-and-complexity )

The bigger shocker is that second to last sentence: $9 BILLION DOLLARS in R&D spending. And, one could argue, preciously little in terms of true, disruptive innovation to show for it.

Now before you flame me as an Apple fanboy, etc., I will say that I have been a Microsoft customer for many, many years. So in a sense I am always simply wishing they would do more with all of the money that we have given them over the years.

It just makes you somewhat wistful to know that their R&D budget is almost equal to the total 2008 Venture Capital ($11 Billion) for all those nimble, often incredibly creative technology start-ups combined…