PARC's research

Yesterday in the NYT, a pertinent article about PARC strategy. It basically describes PARC's path to move from being a in-house research lab to a subsidiary form. The article shows on-going projects but more interestingly critiques the fact that PARC is a "lab of missed opportunities":

Early in the decade, a struggling Xerox Corporation was trying to sell off a stake in its Palo Alto Research Center, which it could no longer afford to support. But with the technology bubble bursting, the price that investors were willing to pay for a piece of PARC, as the center is known, kept going down.

So in 2002, Xerox switched to Plan B: it spun off the center into an independent subsidiary and sought to prove that it could sustain itself by licensing technology and forming partnerships with outside companies. On Friday, PARC is announcing a deal that underscores that strategy. It is licensing a broad portfolio of patents and technology

“There’s no way anyone can top what they did in the past in terms of dramatic research developments,” said the futurist Paul Saffo, a fellow at the Institute for the Future. But Mr. Saffo praised PARC for finding a business model that has allowed it to survive at a time when many research groups at American corporations are being cut.

“This is an organization that has done well at keeping researchers, and spinning out a steady stream of little products,” Mr. Saffo said. “PARC has been a very quiet success.”