You can find lots of research information from the Microsoft Research web site. Microsoft funds quite a bit of research, and works with universities a lot. You will want to check out the projects page that lists all the projects they are or have worked on. Some of the research areas include Databases, Software Engineering, Security, Performance and Load Testing, Social Computing, Networking, etc.
Lots of interesting research there, just reading the description of some of the topics is enough to get you thinking let alone the research papers...
You will also want to check out the Multi University Research Lab (murl.microsoft.com). You can watch seminars on this site.
I first found this site a few years ago, and just thought of it again today, they have added several projects since then.
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Microsoft Research was first published on April 23, 2003.