Top 100 R&D Spenders

Who's up, who's down, and a look inside the numbers for 2002

5 min read

Captains of industry know the competitive advantage that a healthy research and development operation provides. Last fall, Microsoft Corp.'s chairman, Bill Gates, loudly trumpeted Microsoft's plans to boost R&D spending by 20 percent this year, even though his company cut R&D spending by 1.6 percent in 2002. Chairman and CEO Jeffrey R. Immelt of General Electric Co. (ranked 40 among the top 100 in total R&D expenditure in 2002) has stated simply that GE's growth depends on increases in R&D spending. Putting the company's money where his mouth is, Immelt boosted GE's R&D spending in fiscal year 2002 (FY '02) by a healthy 12 percent, or US $235 million.

With a company's future at stake, it's no wonder that investors, corporate managers, and other decision-makers keep close tabs on the R&D spending of companies they're involved with and of their competitors. R&D watchers need look no further than the IEEE Spectrum list of the Top 100 R&D Spenders in 2002 [PDF download] to gauge the possible trajectory of future technological innovation for these companies.

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