Microsoft plans to spend US$7.5 billion in research and development in fiscal 2007, a figure that increases the\u00a0R&D spending analysts and industry-watchers previously expected from the company, Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer said Tuesday.Ballmer made the comments at a luncheon event in Madrid, a spokeswoman for Microsoft\u2019s public relations firm confirmed late Tuesday. She added that the latest R&D figure, though higher than one previously given by Ballmer, is in line with predictions from Wall Street analysts.\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nMicrosoft\u2019s BallmerEarlier this year, Ballmer said Microsoft would spend $6.2 billion in R&D, but the company did not put any guarantees or caps on that investment. Ballmer and other executives have said the company is determined to catch up and even surpass rivals Google and Yahoo in online advertising revenue. A good chunk of the investment will go into building out Microsoft\u2019s online services, branded Windows Live, and content on Microsoft\u2019s MSN site, executives have said.Other recent new product investments for the company have been in the online digital media market. Microsoft has said it will launch a rival to Apple Computer\u2019s iPod, the Zune media player, in November, teaming it with an online music sales and subscription service called Zune Marketplace. Microsoft also plans to release media player accessories.Microsoft is scheduled to report its first-quarter earnings for fiscal 2007 on Thursday, Oct. 26. Microsoft\u2019s 2007 fiscal year began on July 1, 2006, and ends on June 30, 2007.-Elizabeth Montalbano, IDG News Service (New York Bureau)Related Links:\n\nMcAfee: Microsoft Not Keeping Vista Security Promises\n\nMicrosoft Zune 30GB to Sell for $250, Songs for $1This article is posted on our Microsoft Informer page.\u00a0For more news on the Redmond, Wash.-based powerhouse, keep checking in.Check out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.