In the high-tech R&D arms race, the company formerly known as Google continues to set the pace.

Corporate parent Alphabet today filed its latest quarterly earnings report with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Among the interesting data tucked in there were the stats on just much the company is now spending on research and development.

In the most recent quarter, the company spent $3.596 billion on R&D, up from $3.230 in Q3 2015. For the first nine months of this year. Googlephabet spent $10.326 billion, up from $8.772 for the same period a year ago. At that rate, Alphoogle should reach about $14 billion in R&D spending for the year.

The company also notes that over the past year, it has made a 20 percent increase in its R&D headcount, which was the prime driver of that accelerated spending.

By way of comparison, rival Apple has also been ramping up its investment in R&D but has still just cracked $10 billion for its entire fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. That was way up from Apple’s $6 billion in 2014, however. Meanwhile, Microsoft R&D spent $12 billion in its most recent fiscal year.

Of course, this research spending is no guarantee of success. After all, Apple developed breakthrough products like the iPhone and iPad while spending just a fraction of what it now spends on R&D.

But clearly, the race to the future is getting more intense — and more expensive — as these giants fight for biggest brains.


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