UPDATE: A Microsoft spokesperson said:
The phrase R&D has been misinterpreted and Microsoft’s R&D is not moving from South Korea. Last month, after evaluations that the company regularly does, Microsoft made adjustments to its Office workforce in South Korea. With work completed in a particular product area, some roles have been redeployed to Office in their Redmond headquarters, consolidating with the Office team there. Some roles moved to other areas within Microsoft. Some employees chose to accept severance packages and leave the company. None of this, however, involved positions in R&D or Microsoft Research or China.
The company announced last year that its Asia-Pacific R&D Center will be headquartered in Beijing, which represents Microsoft’s largest R&D investment outside of the U.S. The company plans to leverage the facility to develop China-based talent and research as a “core contributor” to its global portfolio of products and services.Microsoft Research Asia in Beijing now has more than 230 researchers, as well as more than 250 visiting scientists and students.
According to its Web site, it “conducts basic research in natural user interfaces, next-generation multimedia, data-intensive computing, search and online advertising, and computer science fundamentals.” The center includes the Microsoft Advanced Technology Center (ATC), which was founded back in 2003.
Ten Seoul-based R&D employees were asked to work at Microsoft’s Redmond, Washington headquarters, while 11 others have the option to transfer to another department in Seoul.