Monday, March 22, 2004

AT&T Research

The Newark Star-Ledger has an article about the downfall of AT&T research. Quantum Algorithms has some follow-up quotes by Bjarne Stoustrup.

No doubt that these industrial research labs can produce great ideas and results especially at the scale of AT&T or Bell Labs before the split. But the business model doesn't work; AT&T failed to capitalize on most of the innovations of its labs nor has any corporate labs with an open and unfettered research staff produced valuable intellectual property for that company. If a corporation tries to limit an open and unfettered environment, the best scientists will often leave for other labs or academia.

Bell Labs/AT&T had a lengthy history helped along by a telephone monopoly. But until someone finds the right business model, we will never see a truly self-sustaining industrial basic research lab.

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