REDMOND, Wash. -- April 11, 2005 -- Microsoft Corp. today announced intellectual property (IP) licensing agreements with a series of high-growth companies that will utilize Windows® fonts, a set of traffic-related technologies from Microsoft Research and Windows Connect Now technology to pursue new business opportunities. Information technology companies Ascender Corp., Inrix, D-Link, BridgeCo, Lexar Media Inc., I-O Data Device, GoVideo and SMC Networks are among the many growing businesses that are looking to leverage Microsoft's intellectual property licensing programs to grow their businesses.
"By licensing out the intellectual property generated from our R&D efforts, we're able to help startups and other high-growth companies expand their businesses," said David Kaefer, director of business development in the Intellectual Property and Licensing Group at Microsoft. "This isn't about licensing a few patents and generating modest income; this is about jump-starting the growth of our partners that can take some of our early ideas and build upon them in a way that maximizes their commercial potential."
Ascender, founded in February 2004, is a rapidly growing company based in Elk Grove Village, Ill., that specializes in multilingual and custom font development. Through an IP licensing agreement with Microsoft, Ascender will adapt and provide various Windows fonts, including many multilingual fonts currently supplied by Microsoft, to deliver new solutions to their customers. Microsoft has made a tremendous investment in fonts, but they are generally only available in Microsoft® products. Now developers can license many Microsoft fonts from Ascender to enhance their products, provide Windows compatibility and solve multilingual challenges. Ascender also is making available for the first time Georgia®, Tahoma® and Verdana® in legacy font formats still popular with desktop publishers and designers.
"IP licensing agreements benefit more than just the companies signing the deal. Our customers reap the benefits of this type of collaboration," said Ira Mirochnick, founder and CEO of Ascender. "The end result of this IP licensing agreement is more flexible and useful customized fonts for our mutual customers."
Inrix, a new Pacific Northwest-based technology company, is licensing predictive, real-time traffic technology from Microsoft Research and building its business around the technology that will enable the delivery of the next generation of traffic information services. As the exclusive third-party licensee of Microsoft Research technologies code-named "SmartPhlow," "JamBayes" and "ZoneZoom," Inrix plans to distribute real-time predictive traffic information nationwide to a broad range of service providers, device manufacturers, Web sites and mobile solution providers.
Inrix will save time for the average commuter, consumer and business by providing them with relevant, up-to-the-minute traffic information when they need it. Predictive, dynamic guidance for traffic conditions helps drivers better estimate how they can avoid fighting congestion and wasting time and fuel. Synthesizing a number of variables such as weather conditions, construction schedules, holidays, sporting events and historical traffic patterns, the Microsoft Research technologies use sophisticated Bayesian analysis to provide up-to-the-minute, real-time and predictive travel information. Currently more than 3,000 employees at Microsoft are using this technology as part of a Microsoft Research pilot in the Seattle area.
"We've identified a significant need from the consumer, mobile and automotive industries -- as Americans typically spend 4.5 billion hours in traffic each year -- for a shift in the way traffic information is aggregated," said Bryan Mistele, CEO of Inrix. "Microsoft Research's 'SmartPhlow,' 'JamBayes' and 'ZoneZoom' technologies provide us with a unique value proposition: the ability to literally predict the future and enable answers to questions never before possible, such as identifying when a freeway is going to back up and the specific time you need to leave to get where you are going on time."
Inrix plans to roll out its traffic services built from Microsoft Research technology across the country by the end of this year.
Microsoft is also helping several independent hardware vendors add value to their products by providing access to technology that meets their customers' growing demand for seamless home wireless networking. Through the newly announced Windows Connect Now (WCN) licensing program, high-growth companies such as D-Link, BridgeCo, Lexar Media, I-O Data Device, GoVideo and SMC Networks have licensed intellectual property they can use to improve and simplify the customer experience when adding devices to wireless networks.
"Innovation does not happen in a vacuum," said Keith A. Karlsen, executive vice president of D-Link. "Companies need to collaborate to innovate, and licensing such technologies as WCN helps us maintain our competitive edge in the home connectivity market by making the installation and operation of D-Link digital home devices easier and ultimately more enjoyable for the end-user consumer."
"Licensing WCN technology is an opportunity for our company to grow and our technology to advance," said Yoshihiko Kiriyama, general manager of the Network & Solution Unit of Japanese electronic products company I-O Data Device. "We depend upon such cross-industry collaboration with Microsoft to promote our products to the global consumer and OEM markets."
Microsoft remains committed to licensing its intellectual property to companies of all sizes and maintains a growing worldwide patent portfolio that includes several thousand issued and pending U.S. and international patents. More information on Microsoft's IP licensing programs can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/mscorp/ip.
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"BridgeCo's silicon and firmware platform for media networking will include Microsoft's Windows Connect Now technology. To satisfy consumer demand for multiple networked devices in the home, BridgeCo is committed to using technologies that maximize ease of use when adding new devices to a wireless or wired home network. BridgeCo is working very closely with Microsoft engineers to make sure consumer products with Windows Connect Now are available this year."
"Microsoft Windows Connect Now technology enables our consumers to quickly connect audio and video devices to home networks, playing a key role in GoVideo's next generation of easy-to-use portable products."
"SMC has plans to support the Windows Connect Now standard in its gateway products with USB ports because this standard will assist in and improve the hardware installation process on the network for our customers."