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Google R&D: Not So Much

By - December 19, 2007

Google has long argued that its approach to R&D includes the “20 % time” its engineers are encouraged to take for side projects. Gary has a list of top R&D spenders this year, and Google makes the list, but is way down on it (#79), lower than Valley middle fry like Sun and NEC.

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3 thoughts on “Google R&D: Not So Much

  1. Lucas Persona says:

    Given the size of each company listed there, the 20% practice is not enough to make a difference on the list, unless you consider the R&D Expenditures per Employee.
    That makes Google reach the 6th position, and I believe it’s where the “20% practice” really impacts Google’s R&D expenses.
    Top 10 then are:
    1. Broadcom Corp., U.S.
    2. Amgen Inc., U.S.
    3. Genentech U.S.
    4. Qualcomm Inc., U.s.
    5. Electronic Arts U.S.
    6. Google U.S.
    7. Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., Japan
    8. Astellas Pharma Japan
    9. Daiichi Sankyo Co., Japan
    10. Microsoft Corp., U.S.

  2. JG says:

    How much of the 20% time is actually used? How many employees have a consistent, weekly period in which they really do put everything else on hold to work on some side project? I am not asking about what Google encourages or discourages. I am not asking about either incentives or disincentives around putting your 80% time on hold, in order to use the 20% time. I am simply asking, per employee, how much of that 20% time actually gets used. Anyone?

  3. And this listing from gives some insights into technology company R&D. The first 10 make about 70% of the total.

    Technology’s Top R&D Spenders

    1 MICROSOFT Software $6,584
    2 IBM Computers $6,107
    3 INTEL Semiconductors $5,873
    4 CISCO SYSTEMS Communications $4,067
    5 HEWLETT PACKARD Computers $3,591
    6 TEXAS INSTRUMENTS Semiconductors $2,195
    7 SUN MICROSYSTEMS Computers $2,046
    8 ORACLE Software $1,872
    9 SAP Software $1,781
    10 EMC Storage $1,245
    11 GOOGLE Software $1,228
    12 ADVANCED MICRO DEVICES Semiconductors $1,205
    13 BROADCOM Semiconductors $1,117
    14 SYMANTEC Software $950
    15 YAHOO Internet Services $833
    16 SEAGATE Storage $805
    17 CA Software $715
    18 APPLE Consumer $715
    19 MICRON TECHNOLOGY Semiconductors $656
    20 NVIDIA* Semiconductors $554