REDMOND, Wash., – April 11, 2005 – Microsoft today announced IP licensing agreements with a series of high growth companies which 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 Systems, Lexar Media, I-O Data Device, GoVideo/Opta Systems, M-Systems 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 start-ups and other high growth companies expand their businesses.” said David Kaefer, Microsoft’s Director of Business Development, Intellectual Property Group. “This isn’t about licensing a few patents and generating modest income, this is about jump-starting the growth of our partners who can take some of our early ideas and build upon them in a way that maximizes their commercial potential.”
Ascender Corp., founded in February 2004, is a rapidly growing company based in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, that specializes in multilingual and custom font development. Through an IP licensing agreement with Microsoft, Ascender Corp. 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 not available except in Microsoft products. Now, developers can license many Microsoft fonts from Ascender Corp. to enhance their products, provide Windows compatibility and solve multilingual challenges. Ascender Corp. is also making available for the first time Georgia, Tahoma and Verdana in the PostScript Type 1 format, which is 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, President of Ascender Corporation. “The end result of this IP licensing agreement is more flexible and useful customized fonts for our mutual customers.”
Inrix, a brand 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 technologies code-named SmartPhlow, JamBayes and ZoneZoom, Inrix plans to distribute unique 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, real-time traffic information when they need it. Predictive, dynamic guidance for traffic conditions helps drivers better estimate their travel to avoid congestion, wasted time and fuel. Synthesizing a number of relevant 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 users 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 industry – 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 technology provides 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 rollout 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 like D-Link Systems, Lexar Media, I-O Data Device, GoVideo/Opta Systems, M-Systems 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 Systems. “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, Network & Solution Unit General Manager 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. For more information on Microsoft’s IP licensing programs, please visit http://www.microsoft.com/mscorp/ip/.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.