Basic research performed in industrial laboratories is declining — is the focus on profitability to the detriment of furthering scientific knowledge?
Do read this interesting article by A. Michael Noll (Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California) in Nature Materials.
In metallurgy and materials science, many great researchers started their career at industrial labs. John W. Cahn (at General Electric) and Hubert Aaronson (at Ford) come to mind immediately. Of course, they both left for academia eventually.