Searching for research

Re$earch Infosource’s annual list of Top 100 Canadian Corporate R&D Spenders is out, and here’s the shortlist for fiscal 2003:

  1. Nortel Networks ($2.8 billion)
  2. Bell Canada ($1 billion)
  3. Magna International ($630 million)
  4. Pratt and Whitney ($423 million)
  5. ATI Technologies ($328 million)

Nortel is the champ for the third year in a row, and most of the others have been in the top ten. The unusual guy in the lineup is Bell Canada, who in FY2000 was ranked 95 on the same list. They’ve rocketed up the list since then, and now no other telecommunications company comes close: Telus sits at #41 with $47 million, and Rogers Wireless is #82 with only $20 million on research. Are they more adverse to research and development, or are they having a hard time tracking it?

The Toronto Star remarked that Canadian R&D seems to be down 1.5% overall, although some of it can be explained away by lab outsourcing. Regardless, if you’re not competing on innovative features then you have to be content in competing with price, which tends to be not as much fun.

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