The Death of American Innovation.

AT&T Labs vs. Google Labs: not your grandfather's R&D: "There's no doubt that the information economy continues to create a lot of wealth, but I think it's fair to ask if it's also creating enough science to replenish the stock of scientific capital that it's still burning through."

It's not clear that this op-ed piece is anything more than a vain attempt to articulate one guy's vague misgivings about rapid change.

But the point that hit home the most was, " start-ups are being actively locked out of the market by means of patent and trade secrets litigation so that a combination of old and new interests can fight over what's left of the shrinking pie."

This article hints at a possible pattern, a yin-yang of monolithic scientific progress: the beast you fund will create ideas, but the beast will cause problems in it's death throws. Unfortunately we live in the era of those death throws, making it harder, but not impossible, to innovate independantly. The way I figure it, at a minimum, you need a people-savvy MBA, and a crack lawyer, enough money to keep the lights on and the promise of great riches. With that, you can innovate even now.

Business Week has a related article essentially decrying the state of big telco R&D.

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