Google and Microsoft collaborating?

Media reports today (LA Times) claim that Google and Microsoft are collaborating on a new lab in UC Berkeley.

According to the news:

"The lab already has created something highly unusual: a bond between Google and Microsoft. The two are fierce rivals in the online search market, and their behind-the-scenes rancor has been publicly aired in a Washington state court battle triggered by Google's recent raids on Microsoft's workforce."

While this may look interesting at first sight, what is really happening here is far from true collaboration. It seems that three companies involved in the project (Sun, Google, and MS) have no other relationaship rather than funding the lab.

In my view, this looks more as competition than collaboration. It is clear to me that have a position a major lab in a major CS department is important for any company that wants to become dominant. From this point of view, the three companies are just giving money to be able to "control" (in some sense) a piece of the lab. They also don't want to level the plain field, without letting a single company to have access to what is gonna be developed in that lab.

In other words: what some people read as collaboration between google and MS can also be read as another sign of fierce competition between the two companies.

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