Microsoft has once again proved its worth in R& D with 3,094 patents this year alone according to the IFI Claims Patent Services; it came third with IBM and Samsung taking the lead. IBM had a total of 5896 patents and Samsung with 4551 patents. Microsoft maintains its standing second year in a row, while IBM headed the league for the 18th year in a row. Google and Apple are nowhere in the same league with apple having just 563 patents. This year, patents awarded are up by a whopping 31 % creating a new record. A major reason behind Microsoft’s reach is stated to be the massive amount it spends on R&D and acquisitions cited to be nearly 9 Billion Dollars.
Most of patents were awarded in the fields of solid state devices and transistors, semiconductors and data processing systems.
However, market reports suggest that despite having such high number of patents in comparison to say Apple, it still lagged far behind in bringing innovation to the market. Apple with just 563 patents flooded 2010 with devices like the iPad and iPhone 3gs and 4G compared to Xbox Kinect that Microsoft Launched. It can clearly be seen that Apple has been doing a lot of out of the box research and thinking so as to carve a niche in the market base. However, it largely appears Microsoft is only spending money on research and not actually converting it into products. Microsoft is spending insane amounts of money just to protect its own market and not moving on into newer pastures compared to The Innovative Steve Jobs led Apple Inc. It could also be an anticipatory measure on Microsoft’s part to avoid Law suits by other companies.
Microsoft should now concentrate on bringing the research into the market with finished products; it should pick up from where it left off with the Xbox Kinect and should also learn how to market its products, case in mind Zune in comparison to iPod.
The recent Novell deal is also a clear indicator on how Microsoft is keen on getting its hands on as many patents it can. Steve Ballmer should also keep in mind that though its products cater to a large marketbase but other companies are slowly stealing the market with new innovations. Especially after the flop of Windows Vista and the success of Windows 7 and Windows Phone 7, Microsoft should step off the beaten track and make new movement towards more innovations. It should also market the Windows Phone 7 with intense vigor to enjoy its success. More work on the app market for the windows Phone 7 and maintaining its hold on the gamers market with new releases from the Xbox family is a must at this moment to continue with the momentum gathered in the previous year. It should realize it’s not quantity but quality that matters in the race for the top position.