"Wallop is an interesting case study for corporate research, innovation, and the business realities of bringing new products to market inside a $40B company. The Innovators Dilemma by Clayton Christensen explains why large established companies do not typically introduce new disruptive technologies. Sometimes the disruptive technology competes with existing products, sometimes the new "disruptive" business model is too much of a cultural shift, and sometimes the new technology is interesting but doesn't naturally fit with any existing business unit."
"Wallop is an example of what Microsoft IP Ventures hopes to do with available technology. Microsoft spends over $6B every year on research and development. With all that research there will always be some great stuff that just doesn't fit with our mainstream business. This is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to take advantage of billions in research. "
Greg Linden has some nice links to Microsoft Research papers relating to the Wallop work.