Microsoft Licenses Mouse, Keyboard Technology

The hardware licensing initiative, which covers its Tilt Wheel and Magnifier tool, is a first for the company.

Microsoft has made new intellectual property licensing initiatives available for its hardware technologies, a first for the Redmond, Wash., software giant.

The new intellectual property licensing initiatives cover its mouse and keyboard technologies; "U2" technology that enables a computer peripheral device to be connected to a computer using either a PS2 or USB auto-sensing interface; its Tilt Wheel; and the Magnifier viewing and editing tool that is used with input devices such as a mouse.

Online demonstrations of the Tilt Wheel and Magnifier features are available here.

Microsoft will make these technologies broadly available to third-party brands and hardware manufacturers in the mobile and desktop peripherals industry.

"This hardware licensing initiative is a first for Microsoft, and were excited to make our innovations broadly available to others in the industry through licensing. Weve been a hardware innovator and supplier to the desktop peripherals industry for over 20 years," Robbie Bach, the president of Microsofts Entertainment and Devices Division, said in a statement.

The move is part of Microsofts commitment to its December 2003 promise to make its IP portfolio broadly available for licensing to all interested parties, Bach said.

Some of the first licensees have welcomed the move. Steve Peterson, director of Marketing at Fellowes, said that access to the U2 technology took the guesswork out of the equation for suppliers and consumers, and allowed it to further its commitment to enabling people to work with greater productivity.

Microsoft has also moved over the past year to strengthen and broaden the intellectual property protections it offers OEM partners.

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