Feeds

Microsoft downsizes Seadragon and Photosynth brains

Hip to be square in a down economy

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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.'" ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then
It CANNA do it, captain.They DON'T have the POWER!
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Post-Microsoft, post-PC programming: The portable REVOLUTION
Code jockeys: count up and grab your fabulous tablets
Twitter App Graph exposes smartphone spyware feature
You don't want everyone to compile app lists from your fondleware? BAD LUCK
Microsoft adds video offering to Office 365. Oh NOES, you'll need Adobe Flash
Lovely presentations... but not on your Flash-hating mobe
prev story

Whitepapers

Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.