TechRadar had the opportunity to visit Microsoft's UK Research Labs and saw some amazing new projects. You can check it out over here.
The Microsoft Research project was founded after PC and microprocessor development dwindled in the mid-90s. The company invested $1bn into researching new innovations, which it hoped would allow the company to widen its horizons.
In 1999 the Cambridge arm was founded to tap into worldwide computing talent at the university, and every major area of the globe has its own research centre. Unlike many businesses around the world, Microsoft Research is centrally funded and doesn't report to any area of the business other than the executive. As such, it's not obliged to create anything that is financially viable, so it can focus on good technology, which in many cases goes on to be used on commercial products..