Microsoft's Ozzie Triples Down On Social Computing Lab

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The new venture, called Future Social Experiences (FUSE), begins its mission to "explore new social, realtime and media-rich applications and services that add value to existing products, or could be released on their own" with 82 researchers spread out between Microsoft's Redmond, Wash., headquarters and the company's Startup Labs in Cambridge, Mass.

To create FUSE, Cheng's group in Redmond will be merged with two under the direction of Ozzie -- Redmond-based Rich Media Labs and Startup Labs, Microsoft said in a statement.

"By combining these teams under a single leader and mission, Ray believes FUSE Labs can achieve greater impact through tighter focus and a more holistic approach," the company said. Ozzie himself e-mailed Microsoft staff at the groups merging to become FUSE, a communication that was obtained by several media outlets.

"The three groups being combined have concrete skills and code in areas where 'social' meets sharing; where 'social' meets realtime; where 'social' meets media; where 'social' meets search; where 'social' meets the cloud plus three screens and a world of devices," Ozzie's e-mail reads in part.

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"FUSE Labs will bring more coherence and capability to those advanced development projects where they're already actively collaborating with product groups to help them succeed with 'leapfrog' efforts."