Microsoft’s Research division has created a new Special Projects Group assigned to create disruptive technologies that could benefit both the company and society. The whole outfit is similar to Google X by design according to sources as reported by ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley.
The publication points to a recent job listing that suggests candidates will focus specifically on hard and interesting problems in areas like networking, systems, distributed computing, devices, UX design, cloud, mobility, machine learning / artificial intelligence, data center technologies and big data.
The division is said to be led by Norman Whitaker, former deputy director of the Information innovation office at DARPA. While with the government, he worked on self-driving vehicles and other automated bots so odds are, he’s certainly qualified for the Microsoft job.
A spokesperson for Microsoft declined to comment on the matter.
Google’s not-so-secret lab is well-known for coming up with several “moonshot” projects including Google Glass, self-driving cars and Project Loon. Despite the fact that Microsoft already has a research arm, it doesn’t traditionally work on the types of projects that Google X does.
And it’s no secret the Redmond-based company is a bit envious of the search giant. During a press briefing with reporters last year, longtime Microsoft executive Craig Mundie noted that it was frustrating at times to see the publicity that Google X sometimes receives. Perhaps this new Special Projects Group will be a bit more forthcoming with its research?