Here is a bit of interesting job salary and levels information about Microsoft Research (MSR). First, MSR's strategy is focusing on academic impact instead of product impact,
especially for young researchers.
As far as the internal job level goes, L63-L65 are called researcher, L66 is senior researcher, and L67-L69 is principal researcher. You need to transform to "Distinguished Engineer" to be L70. Researcher has a different job ladder
than software engineers, where L63-L64 are called senior software engineers, L65-L67 are called principal software engineer, and > L68 are called partner software engineer if you keep in IC role.
In the past, Microsoft had built Live Labs Research to have a team of researchers, research engineers, and engineers there to have more product impact. But then since both MSR and other product teams didn't like its existence, so Live Labs got dismissed in 2009/2010.
Learn more salary research tips and websites, please take a look at these Salary Research
For an update to date survey about the Microsoft salary, you can check out the following chart.
1. JC 2011-09-14 23:23
In recent fiscal year, Microsoft's revenue per employee is around $774,000. So that means on average, you get paid a salary of $100k+ and the return is 7 fold to Microsoft.
2. JC 2011-09-17 17:35
Microsoft senior software engineer (L64) in Seattle is said to have a salary base of 140k and bonus 20%.
Meanwhile same level in Microsoft California gets $170k as base, bonus target 15%.