Tuesday, December 21, 2010

R&D Investment

Invest or Decline

Hewlett-Packard (HP) cut their investment in research and development for much of the past decade. The result? A decline in the growth of their patent portfolio. A decline in their market share. A decline in their competitiveness. A decline in their reputation.

Graph of HP internal investment decline over 10 years
From a brief examination of the data over the past decade it is clear that the company has cut R&D spending significantly and it is very possible that this has interfered with the ability of HP engineers to develop products in-house that are now being purchased at steep price tags through acquisitions.

Policy makers in the United States would do well to consider carefully if the same outcomes would attend a decline in national spending on research and development, but for the nation as a whole, and not just one company. And we would be acquiring the technology we need not from other companies, but other countries. The price for that will be steep indeed, and not just in dollars, but also in our competitiveness, our standard of living, our national security.

We must keep investing in our future, especially in cleantech and renewable energy.

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