Microsoft Launches Licensed Contract Manufacturers Marketplace for Hardware Technology

TAIPEI, Taiwan — June 3, 2008 — At COMPUTEX TAIPEI 2008, Microsoft Corp. is announcing the expansion of its intellectual property (IP) licensing program for Microsoft Hardware technologies with the launch of the Licensed Contract Manufacturers Marketplace and the expansion of its IP licensing portfolio with three new technologies — Instant Viewer; Magnetic Recharging Cable; and Video Conferencing Digital Pan, Tilt, Zoom and Face Tracking — to further demonstrate its commitment to shared industry success.

Manufacturers Marketplace

The Manufacturers Marketplace is an online destination for global retail brands looking for licensed suppliers of Microsoft Hardware technologies. This feature newly added to the Microsoft Hardware IP licensing site serves to provide OEMs and global retail brands with access to leading innovations made popular by Microsoft-branded hardware products. This one-stop shop for technologies and licensed suppliers enables third-party brands to easily add popular features to their own products, while providing a hedge against market price erosion. Licensed manufacturers can promote both their company and licensed products on the site, providing OEMs and retail brands with a choice of licensed suppliers. With 30 companies under its license, the program continues to grow with broad adoption by the peripherals industry. The new marketplace can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/mouseandkeyboard/licensing/licensees.mspx.

“As an industry leader in the design and development of computer peripherals and accessories, we are excited to continue the expansion of our IP licensing program with the online Licensed Contract Manufacturers Marketplace,” said Rusty Jeffress, general manager of Microsoft Hardware. “We look forward to seeing the future benefits this site will bring to retail brands as it provides a complete overview of all the innovative technologies offered to licensees.”

Growing IP Licensing Program

Last year, the licensing program for Microsoft Hardware technologies expanded to allow contract manufacturers (CMs) and outsourced design and manufacturing firms (ODMs) to directly take an auto USB-PS/2 sensing (U2) license from Microsoft for their U2 product shipments to their third-party end-brand customers, thereby eliminating the need for a separate end-brand U2 license for those shipments. Now, Microsoft has 13 mouse- and keyboard- industry manufacturers licensed to ship U2-enabled products. In addition, three new retail brand licensees are announced: Acco Brands Corp., Jasco Products Co. (GE brand), and Micro Innovations.

“The computer accessories industry is moving into a new phase of innovation, and technology licensing is one piece of our strategy to continue to deliver innovative products to our consumers,” said Don Angel, vice president of Product Management and Development of Kensington Computer Products, a division of ACCO Brands. “As a result, we are an active participant in Microsoft’s hardware technology licensing program.”

“Jasco Products shares a mutual respect of intellectual property with other Microsoft licensees,” said Cameron Trice, vice president of Product and Marketing at Jasco Products. “We strive to elevate our customer experience through technology and IP licensing and look forward to the benefits of participation in the Microsoft Hardware licensing program.”

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 retail brands) to incorporate key Microsoft innovations — including the U2, Tilt Wheel and Magnifier — into their products. In addition, the licensing program is announcing the expansion of its technology portfolio to include three new innovative Microsoft Hardware technologies found on popular Microsoft-branded mice and webcams today:

  • Instant Viewer. This simple one-click software navigation solution for mice or keyboards is found in Microsoft’s IntelliPoint software shipping with its branded mice. It displays all open windows at once so users can see each project they are working on and easily switch between applications for added productivity. Instant Viewer is compatible with Windows XP and Windows Vista.

  • Magnetic Recharging Cable. An innovative recharging cable found in the Mobile Memory Mouse 8000 features a patent-pending magnetic connector technology that allows users to continue using their wired or wireless input devices while the device is recharging. The cable and connector offer a cost-effective and compact recharging solution as a substitute for traditional docking stations.

  • Video Conferencing Digital Pan, Tilt, Zoom and Face Tracking. This technology found on the Microsoft LifeCam VX-6000 webcam enhances the videoconferencing experience by enabling the webcam lens to digitally pan, tilt and zoom to keep a speaker centered in an image during a videoconference.

“As a multitechnology licensee including the Tilt Wheel, U2 and videoconferencing technologies, delivering innovative products through technology licensing helps us to maintain a competitive edge,” said Roger Lu, executive vice president of Chicony Electronics Co. Ltd. “Chicony is pleased to offer our customers access to Microsoft’s innovations through the hardware licensing program.”

About Microsoft IP Licensing

This licensing program is another example of the important role that IP plays in ensuring a healthy and vibrant IT ecosystem. Since Microsoft launched its IP licensing program in December 2003, the company has entered into more than 500 licensing agreements and continues to develop programs that make it possible for customers, partners and competitors to access its IP portfolio. Microsoft developed its IP licensing programs to open access to Microsoft’s significant research and development investments and its growing, broad patent and IP portfolio.

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 25 years, 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 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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