Microsoft R&D. Paul Andrews wonders if Microsoft can point to a “single successful original product to emerge from R&D expenditure”.
I’d nominate the DirectX game api on Windows. Highly original work. The core of which was done in the company. A huge amount of economic activity stimulated above the interface (games) and below the interface (video and audio and controller hardware). The single most successful API set introduced on Windows in the last decade.
The Plug and Play work first in Win95 merits a mention as well.