With the usual Booz Allen Hamilton caveat that absolute levels of R&D spending offer little or now indication of how innovative a company really is, it is instructive every now and then to check out how much companies in the technology sector are spending on R&D. Recently, CIO Insight reported on the R&D spending patterns of the top 81 companies in the tech sector, pointing out that Microsoft, IBM and Intel are far and away the R&D spending champs. However, keep in mind that just because companies are spending a lot on R&D, it doesn't mean they are planning a lot of cool new product launches in the immediate future:
"The biggest technology companies have been pouring resources into product development, but don't look for a burst of innovative new business applications anytime soon. A lot of the industry's recent R&D spending has been on consumer products—things such as games and Internet services. To the extent that companies are developing business applications, their focus is more on enhancing existing products than introducing new ones."
[chart: CIO Insight]