Google Inc. and
Microsoft Corp. are setting aside their bitter animosity
to back a new Internet research laboratory aimed at helping
entrepreneurs introduce more groundbreaking ideas to a
Inc. also is joining the $7.5 million US project at
the University of California, Berkeley. The Reliable,
Adaptive and Distributed Systems, or RAD, lab was scheduled
to open Thursday and will dole out $1.5 million US annually
over five years, with each company contributing equally.
by six UC Berkeley faculty members and 10 computer science
graduates, the lab plans to develop an array of Web-based
software services that will be given away to anyone who
lab's services could help launch another revolutionary
company like online auctioneer eBay Inc. or even Google,
which has emerged as one of the world's most valuable
companies just seven years after its inception in a Silicon
to have Google as one of the founding investors because
one of the big questions (the RAD lab is trying to address)
is, 'How do you get the next Google out there?'"
said Greg Papadopoulos, Sun's chief technology officer.
The lab already
has created something highly unusual -- a bond between
Google, the maker of the Internet's most popular search
engine, and Microsoft, the world's largest software maker.
The two are fierce
rivals in search, and their behind-the-scenes rancor
has been publicly aired in a recent Washington state court
battle triggered by Google's recent raids on Microsoft's
a UC Berkeley professor who will be the lab's director,
said he was initially was worried about the friction,
but "everybody was pretty mature about it."
researcher James Larus said the collaboration on RAD
shouldn't be seen as a truce.
"We are not
going into this with the idea that we are going to be
collaborating with Google or that they will be collaborating
with us," said Larus, who will be Microsoft's primary
liaison with the RAD lab.
In a statement,
Google said it's excited to be involved in the lab and
looks "forward to the exciting ideas and technology
that will be developed there."
Santa Clara, Calif.-based
Sun Microsystems also has had a prickly relationship with
Microsoft, although they have been getting along better
since Microsoft last year paid Sun $1.6 billion to settle
antitrust and patent infringement lawsuits.
Sun and Google
are highly collegial. In October, they formed a partnership
to develop more software tools that might pose a threat
to Microsoft's dominant Office suite of word processing
and spreadsheet applications.
UC Berkeley and
other universities increasingly are turning to the
private sector to help offset declines in spending by
the federal government. Earlier this year, UC Berkeley
stuck a deal with Internet powerhouse Yahoo Inc. to open
a research laboratory devoted to online search.
have a huge incentive to help make up for lost government
funding, said Larus, who got his doctorate from UC Berkeley.
if research isn't being done in university laboratories,"
he said, "then the pipeline of ideas and computer
science graduates coming into our companies eventually
is going to dry up."