Microsoft Licensing Program for Hardware Technologies Sets the Bar
June 04, 2007
U2 licensing program extended to contract manufacturers and outsourced design and manufacturing firms.

TAIPEI, Taiwan — June 5, 2007 — At COMPUTEX TAIPEI 2007, Microsoft Corp. announced that it has completed the second year of its hardware intellectual property (IP) licensing initiative with a 250 percent year-over-year increase in both licensees and licensing deals executed. The Microsoft® IP licensing program encourages shared industry success by allowing licensees to incorporate innovative technologies, including U2, Tilt Wheel and Magnifier, into their products to provide features, made popular by Microsoft, to customers from third-party global suppliers at competitive prices. The program is expanding to allow contract manufacturers (CMs) and outsourced design and manufacturing firms (ODMs) to directly take a U2 license from Microsoft for their U2 product shipments to their third-party end-brand customers and thereby eliminate the need for a separate end-brand U2 license for these shipments.

“As Microsoft Hardware celebrates the second anniversary of its first intellectual property licensing program, a growing number of peripheral industry licensees continue to roll out products with Microsoft innovations. We believe our licensing program promotes global awareness and respect for intellectual property to benefit our industry,” said Rusty Jeffress, general manager of Microsoft Hardware. “Microsoft Hardware is at the forefront of innovation in this category and cooperates with licensees in the industry who share the same respect for IP and the value it brings to their customers.”

Microsoft is the only peripherals supplier with a program of this kind that encourages shared technology success by allowing licensees (including CMs, ODMs and third-party end brands) to incorporate key Microsoft innovations into their products. The IP licensing program today is focused on mice and keyboards with a specific focus on the following technologies found in many third-party hardware devices on desktops around the world:

  • U2 technology. Technology that enables a computer peripheral device (such as a mouse or keyboard) to be connected to a computer using either a PS2 or universal serial bus (USB) autosensing interface

  • Tilt wheel. An innovative hardware component of mice and optional keyboard offering that allows users to tilt the component from side to side and up and down to easily maneuver the cursor

  • Magnifier. A viewing and editing tool used in input devices such as a mouse. It delivers functionality equivalent to holding a sizeable magnifying glass up to a computer screen

The extension of the existing U2 licensing program allows CMs and ODMs to take a U2 license from Microsoft and ship U2 licensed products to their third-party end-brand customers for resale. This eliminates the end brand needing to take a license directly from Microsoft if they source all their U2 products through a licensed CM or ODM. Instead the CM manages the entire royalty reporting process for these U2 licensed shipments and coordinates directly with Microsoft. This process is already in practice today with the popular Tilt Wheel and Magnifier technologies. A full list of licensed CMs can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/mouseandkeyboard/licensing.mspx to make it easier for other end brands to contact and source product from licensed CMs.

“As a multitechnology licensee, including the Tilt Wheel, Magnifier and U2 technologies, we are able to further our goal of providing both our BTC brand customers and OEM customers with great products,” said Jarl Chang, director of sales at Behavior Technology Corp. “We are proud to work with Microsoft as we improve the user experience through innovation via licensing.”

Microsoft is updating its IP licensing portfolio with the Windows Vista™ edition of Magnifier, found on popular Microsoft products such as the Wireless Laser Mouse 8000 and Wireless Notebook Presenter Mouse 8000. This update will be released to existing licensees to coincide with COMPUTEX TAIPEI 2007. Magnifier runs on Windows Vista and Windows® XP operating systems.

About Intellectual Property Licensing

More information about licensing Microsoft Hardware technology can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/mouseandkeyboard/licensing.mspx. Online demonstrations of the technologies available are featured at http://www.microsoft.com/hardware. Inquiries on Microsoft’s intellectual property licensing program can be e-mailed to iplg@microsoft.com.

About Microsoft Hardware

For more than two decades, the Hardware Group has employed innovative engineering, cutting-edge industrial design and extensive usability testing to create products of exceptional quality and durability that enhance the software experience and strengthen the connection between consumers and their PC. Microsoft Hardware leads the industry in ergonomic engineering, industrial design and hardware/software compatibility, offering consumers an easier, more convenient and more enjoyable computing experience. Microsoft IntelliMouse® Explorer, which was launched in 1999, earned a place on PCWorld.com’s December 2005 list of “The 50 Greatest Gadgets of the Past 50 Years” as the first mainstream optical mouse that “brought gunk-free pointing devices” to a broad consumer base. More information about the Hardware Group is available at http://www.microsoft.com/hardware.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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