Research And Development: Apple Vs Microsoft Vs Sony

The core of any long-standing technology company is research and development. Here's how Apple, Microsoft and Sony's last decade of spending stack up.

Note that the first graph shows research and development as a percentage of revenue (to scale the spending by company, since revenues differ so greatly). This next graphic can help you conceptualise the revenue and R&D gap:

A Few Interesting Notes:

• Now, Microsoft spends about 17 per cent of their revenue on R&D. Sony spends about 8 per cent. Apple spends less than 4 per cent.

• If you were to break down the amount of R&D that goes purely to physical (non-software) products sold by Apple and Sony, Sony would spend about $US11.5 million per product while Apple would spend about $US78.5 million per product. (Of course, that's rolling the cost OS X and iPhone OS development into Macs and the iPhone, which could be seen as inflating their per product spending.)

• Microsoft just spends a lot of money in R&D, period - about $US9 billion this year. In terms of percentage growth over the last decade, Apple's R&D has grown the most (nearly quadrupled) while Sony's has grown the least (not quite doubled).

In light of these bare numbers, is it any surprise that Sony is struggling the most to capture the hearts and minds of a public hungry for gadgets?



Apple Public Relations

Apple Investor Relations

Apple Insider 2004

Apple Insider 2005

Apple Insider 2006

Apple Insider 2008

Mac Observer


Microsoft Investor Relations


Sony Investor Relations

Research by David Chaid

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