Google X is a well known research group within Google that works on special projects directly overseen by co-founder Sergey Brin. Two popular projects include Google Glass and the Google driverless car. A new report claims Microsoft has formed a similar group inside Microsoft dubbed “Special Projects Group in Microsoft Research (MSR).”  The group’s mission is specifically to work on “disruptive technologies that could benefit the company and society.” In addition the new group will address “hard and interesting problems” in the areas of systems, networking, distributed computing, UX design, devices, cloud, mobility, machine learning/artifical intelligence, big data and datacenter technologies. According to the report, the new MSR Special Projects team boss is Norman Whitaker. Whitaker was previously Deputy Director of the Information Innovation Office at DARPA, the U.S. Department of Defense’s research arm and Program Manager for the DARPA Urban Challenge program. DARPA has had close ties to Google in the past and funded projects ...

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At the Build conference, last week, once piece of technology that we heard very little about was Windows RT (not to be confused with WinRT). Many were left wondering if Microsoft was still committed to Windows RT especially given the new leadership. All OEMs with the exceptions of Microsoft (and Nokia) had abandoned the ARM hardware. The most prominent Windows ARM tablets are the Surface RT, Surface 2, and Nokia 2520.  The Surface mini is also rumored to be based on ARM hardware.  I still maintain that ARM is the future of Windows and the desktop will die, but that is a minority opinion and a lengthier philosophical discussion for another time. Mary-Jo Foley got a chance to interview Terry Myerson who commented, among other things, about Windows RT: ZDNET: What about Windows RT — not WinRT, the API (application programming interface) — but Windows RT, the Windows flavor on ARM? ...

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