Feeds

Microsoft downsizes Seadragon and Photosynth brains

Hip to be square in a down economy

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Hip project names and cool logos have their price it seems, and Microsoft's Live Labs - incubator to Seadragon, Photosynth, Deepfish, and Volta - is too expensive for this economy.

The company is reported to have moved people from Live Labs and distributed them among product groups within the company, reducing the facility's size.

Some of the creative brains that birthed those Live Labs projects won't be getting assimilated by Microsoft's product groups, though.

Design group director Don Lindsay, who also helped craft the iPhone's interface during his time at Apple before Microsoft, has joined Blackberry maker Research in Motion as vice president of user "experience."

Microsoft denied an earlier report that Live Labs has actually been closed for good.

Live Labs was started just three years back by Microsoft to showcase new thinking and demonstrate to the world it remained a place of innovation as Google and Web 2.0 startups set the pace not just around online services, widgets, and mash ups but also meme-ish names and logos.

Seadragon and Photosynth were perhaps the labs' biggest successes. Seadragon provided Deep Zoom technology for graphics in Silverlight 2, which has continued to wow audiences at conferences. Photosynth was a 3-D photo stitching application folded into Microsoft MSN business.

Other projects fared less well: Deepfish, a mobile web browser, was killed last September while the cloud-programming competitor to Google's Web Tool Kit Volta disappeared from the Live Labs site after a Community Technology Preview (CTP), although Microsoft denied it had been killed. It's not clear what happened to projects called Listas or Entity Extraction.

Not only was Live Labs fresh thinking, it was fresh branding in the era of Bebo and Facebook from a company whose branding Stalinists are infamous for burying creativity beneath lengthy product names and meaningless version numbers.

It seems Live Labs is a victim of Microsoft's overall layoffs and cut backs. A company spokesperson reportedly said economic conditions had imposed constraints that challenged the original Live Labs model by: "Diminishing the group's ability to transfer innovations to business groups who're understandably giving priority to 'needs' vs. 'opportunities.'" ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed
Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
Red Hat to ship RHEL 7 release candidate with a taste of container tech
Grab 'near-final' version of next Enterprise Linux next week
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.