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Will Microsoft follow Google into the renewable-energy black hole?

Google has announced that it plans to spend "tens of millions" of dollars in R&D to help discover new renewable energy sources. Will Microsoft follow suit? I hope not.

Google has announced that it plans to spend "tens of millions" of dollars in R&D to help discover new renewable energy sources -- based on wind, solar-thermal, geothermal and other "potential breakthrough technologies."

Will Microsoft follow suit? I hope not.

Will Microsoft follow Google into the renewable-energy black hole?
I'm not anti-environment; far from it. I'm all in favor of Microsoft's efforts to make its datacenter technologies greener. (Greenpeace isn't too impressed with the Softies' efforts, but at least Microsoft is making an effort.)

Microsoft tends to ape Google's every move (except in the handful of cases where it actually beats Google to the punch -- as it did with SkyDrive, Microsoft's competitor to Google's still-unannounced GDrive -- but for which it gets no credit.)

Microsoft already is spreading itself awfully thin, with more and more new initiatives in everything from healthcare services, to digital-media players, on top of its core software-development projects. Does Microsoft really need to siphon off more of its R&D talent to work on an area that is so far outside its primary areas of expertise?

Sure, power consumption and power sources are relevant to a company that is building new datacenters all over the world at a breakneck pace. But it seems to me that Microsoft already has too many irons in the fire.

What do you think? Should Microsoft get into the renewable-energy business? Should Google?

(Windmills. Image by chrisvick. CC 2.0)