Microsoft disbands its Live Labs group

Microsoft disbands its Live Labs group

Summary: Microsoft is disbanding Live Labs -- its showcase group comprised of a mix of Microsoft researchers and MSN team members. Microsoft execs often touted Live Labs as proof that Microsoft is an innovator, not just a follower.

TOPICS: Microsoft, CXO

Microsoft is disbanding Live Labs -- its showcase group comprised of a mix of Microsoft researchers and MSN team members -- has reported.

Update: Microsoft is characterizing the move as a restructuring of the team. Roughly half the team is being moved into other Microsoft product groups, a spokesperson said. The remaining half of the Live Labs team members who remain on the team will focus on search and data retrieval and discovery projects, the spokesperson said.

Microsoft execs often touted Live Labs as proof that Microsoft is an innovator, not just a follower.

But in recent months, some of Microsoft's Live Labs projects were axed and put on hold. The Live Labs managed to find a home for the PhotoSynth group inside the company.

According to PaidContent, Microsoft is citing economic pressures for the disbandment of the group.

I'm wondering what's going to happen to Gary Flake, the former founder of Yahoo's research labs, who is currently head of the Labs. No word back on that question yet from Microsoft. Flake will continue to run the part of the Live Labs team that will continue to exist, the aforementioned spokesperson said.

I also wonder what the closing of Live Labs means for other similar teams inside Microsoft, such as Office Labs, adLabs, Startup Labs, etc.  If and when I hear more, I’ll add to this post. For now, at least, it appears those teams will continue to run as usual.

Update No. 1: Statement from a company spokesperson: "Live Labs is not actually shut down; rather parts of the team have been moved to other product groups at the company.  Live Labs still remains but in smaller form."

Update No. 2:'s Ina Fried is quoting another Microsoft spokesperson as saying Flake will continue to manage the part of Live Labs that continues to exist.

On a related note, former Live Labs design director Don Lindsay has left Microsoft and joined RIM, according to mocoNews.Net.

Topics: Microsoft, CXO


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Will this...

    have any effect on Windows Live Essentials?
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • Effect on Live Essentials

      I'd say no. Live Labs is more of a research group. Live Essentials (though it also has "Live" in the product name) is from the Windows Live team, which is part of the Windows/Windows Live engineering group....

      Live Essentials has nothing to do with Live Labs. MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
      • Thanks!

        I'd hate to see such a wonderful collection of programs get struck down because of this economy...
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • Um...who knew?

    Did anyone outside Microsoft even know about "LiveLabs"? Related to Microsoft's "Live" products? Or what? I mean, really...this company would compete well with the federal government for ability to blow money. The only difference is that MS can afford to.
  • the end is near....

    The days of the beast are numbered...
    Linux Geek
    • Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight

      Sorry if I don't believe you.
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • Don't mind the Lintard..

        He's obviously been dippin' into the hallucinogenics.. Again.
  • The word SYNTH is found in module construction programs

    Synth Edit and SynthMaker are module based software writing programs.If you download and collect software you would see that some of these programs are module based.They appear to be very complex in module connections.(unfathomably complex)If it was ever code for computers the thought would be to simplify code in some way to make software writing easy.
  • No suprises here...

    Microsoft, for all it's wealth, is a weenie. It has no staying power beyond windows and office. It has no patience with anything, doesn't give anything time to mature, and cuts the cord if it doesn't make a quick buck off of it. They have proven themselves unable to truly innovate beyond windows and office (what innovation there really is there) time after time, year after year.

    Sidewinder Controllers
    Networking Products
    Bob (ok that one needed to die LOL)

    And the granddaddy of them all, PlaysForSure and now the Zune fiasco.

    If it wasn't for Windows, Microsoft would have died off years ago.
  • This is surprising to me, as it had

    seemed that Microsoft always wanted to portray itself as a company with nearly unlimited wealth and resources, ready to investigate anything that might make computing better, and money to burn to get the engines started.

    I guess that was just more FUD.

    I also wonder if this announcement/decision was before or after the $388 million decree in Rhode Island.
  • Update, from the Live Labs blog

    The Live Labs blog just posted additional information
  • RE: Microsoft disbands its Live Labs group
  • RE: Microsoft disbands its Live Labs group

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