RealTime IT News

Microsoft Expands IP Program to SMBs

Microsoft is extending its intellectual property and R&D program to smaller companies and startups, the company said today.

The company launched its Microsoft Intellectual Property (IP) Ventures as a complement to its policy of licensing IP to larger corporations and governments.

Executives said Ventures opens up hundreds of internally developed technologies to new businesses and entrepreneurs through the licensing program.

"Our research labs and efforts across the company have created a large portfolio of innovative technologies that extend the reach of personal computing today, with much of it going into Microsoft products," Rick Rashid, a senior vice president with Microsoft Research, said in a statement. "At any given time, there are hundreds of projects under way at Microsoft. IP Ventures provides yet another vehicle for extending this reach and delivering innovations to customers in a variety of areas."

Microsoft did not disclose financial details of its global program, but did say IP Ventures is run as a part of its $6.8 billion R&D division.

While Microsoft is planning on expanding the number and variety of technologies available for licensing, entrepreneurs can now choose from 20 technologies developed by Microsoft, such as artificial intelligence, database visualization tools and counterfeit-resistant optical fiber technology.

A mobile video communications platform, code-named Portrait, is available for licensing and runs on local area networks, dial-up networks and even wireless networks with bandwidths as low as 9.6 Kbps.

Another project available for licensing, code-named Wallop, is an online community technology that includes standard tools for interaction with buddy lists and building blocks to create inferred social networks that automatically identify whom a user interacts with, not just contacts the user has added. The technology also lets users personalize profiles using skins and adding blogs, music and photos.

Also available for licensing is a technology code-named LaunchTile, which lets mobile device users browse information, documents and applications with one hand. The technology relies on what Microsoft calls a dynamic launch tile instead of a static icon.