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October 9, 2009

Microsoft opens new social media lab

Reorganises around rich media potential

By CBR Staff Writer

Microsoft is to formalise it efforts to explore the impact of social media on computing with the setting up of a new research laboratory at its Redmond HQ.

The 80-strong Future Social Experiences (FUSE) unit is to be headed up by Lili Cheng, who was once the director of user experience for Microsoft Windows, where she oversaw design and user research for Windows Vista. A trained architect, she was once at Apple.

Microsoft said FUSE will put its energy behind software and services that are centred on social connectivity, real-time experiences and rich media and which might add value to existing products, or could be released on their own.

The company’s chief software architect Ray Ozzie is behind the move, which includes the reorganisation of three existing research groups.

He said that FUSE Labs will “bring more coherence and capability to those advanced development projects where they’re already actively collaborating with product groups to help them succeed with ‘leapfrog’ efforts.” 

Ozzie noted that many factors have begun to transform all that which is social, “the ever-present, high-bandwidth internet both wired and wireless; the ease of connecting people; the dramatic rise in digital cameras, camera phones and ‘app-capable’ phones; net-connected game consoles and TVs; and so on.” 

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