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 Bell Labs Out of the Basic Research Business 
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Chibi-Czar
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Post Bell Labs Out of the Basic Research Business
Product R & D, not physics

Wonder what that'll do to their long-term profits?

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Mon Sep 01, 2008 7:40 pm
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Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Post Re: Bell Labs Out of the Basic Research Business
As sad as this is, I'm thinking it will be a positive thing in their profits. Long term lab-work is not really a cash cow anymore and can easily be outsourced for dirt cheap. Especially to countries with intelligent, eager scholars that aren't expecting giant salaries and tenure.

India anyone?

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Mon Sep 01, 2008 10:10 pm
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Chibi-Czar
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Post Re: Bell Labs Out of the Basic Research Business
The problem is, in the old days, Bell Labs would let a researcher play - follow his hunches, check out something interesting he noticed while doing something else - and charge it off as "basic research." Granted, you might not get anything useful nine cases out of ten, and the tenth case might take ten years to get a payoff... but the payoff was usually fandamntastic. (The classic example was the transistor.)

It's kind of hard to outsource that kind of play. Outsourcing usually goes as a directed task, rather than a broad mandate. If the researcher gets a hunch or sees something interesting, it might or might not get followed up.

I understand why it happened. In the "investor" economy, you don't get to do long-term strategic planning, much less take a loss leader for long-term research projects. In today's market, if you don't show a constant uptick on your quarterly earnings statements, you're out on your ass at the next shareholders' meeting, if not sooner.

Oh, well. I'm sure we'll get to the stars anyway. Might have to learn Mandarin, Japanese, or Hindustani, but we'll get there...

There may not be intelligent life in Washington DC or Manhattan, but there is intelligent life in Beijing, Tokyo, and New Delhi. (w/ apologies to Robert A. Heinlein)

_________________
"Charlie was a policeman, Nick-san. If you steal, you disgrace him. And me. And yourself..."

"Tough times don't last. Tough people do."

"You have the rest of your life to solve your problems. How long you live depends on how well you do it."

Token Reactionary S.O.B.


Tue Sep 02, 2008 5:53 pm
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