At yesterday’s Microsoft analyst day in Redmond the company’s Craig Mundie put up a figure comparing cumulative R&D investment by major tech companies since 2000. Assuming the figures are correct (I haven’t checked them), it shows a huge gap, with Microsoft outspending most of its competitors, including IBM, and massively out-spending arch-nemesis Google.
Compelling, right? Microsoft’s spending heavily on the Next Big Thing, while its layabout competitors, you know, aren’t.
Well, I’m not so sure. Google has added over a $100-billion in market capitalization during the period, while Microsoft has shed around $30-billion in market cap. Similarly, Apple has added around 30-billion in market cap, while IBM has shed around $20-billion.
If you were of a grouchy frame of mind as a long-suffering shareholder, you could use this slide to argue that Microsoft overspends on R&D and investors would be better off off if it spent way, way less.