This article from the NY Times is worth reading. Basically it points out something I've said repeatedly in the past: some corporations think that they can substitute university-funded research for what used to get done in big industrial research labs (like Bell Labs, IBM, Xerox, GM, Westinghouse, Ford Scientific, RCA, etc.). I think that there's definitely a place for corporate funding of university research, provided the company goes into this with their eyes open and conscious of the realities of academic work. However, I don't think university research projects will ever be able to approach the total intellectual effort that IBM or Bell could bring to bear on an important problem. If Bell decided that some piece of solid state physics was important, they could put 35 PhDs onto the problem. There just isn't that kind of concentration of expertise at a university - we're all working on different areas, for the most part.