Microsoft Offers U2 Licensing

    March 30, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

Hardware licenses for technologies developed by Microsoft provide third-party firms the opportunity to build devices based on those innovations.

Robbie Bach, president of the Entertainment and Devices Division at Microsoft, commented in a statement how Microsoft has been more than a software company for some time. “We’ve been a leading hardware innovator and supplier to the desktop peripherals industry for over 20 years,” he said.

Now Microsoft has announced a new intellectual property licensing initiative that permits outside developers to create new hardware based on Microsoft’s work.

Microsoft made three technologies available for licensing to start the program:

U2 technology enables a computer peripheral device (such as a mouse or keyboard) to be connected to a computer using either a PS2 or USB auto-sensing interface.

The Tilt Wheel is an innovative hardware component of mice and optional keyboard offerings that allows users to tilt the component from side to side and up and down to easily maneuver the cursor.

The Magnifier is a viewing and editing tool used with input devices such as a mouse. It delivers functionality equivalent to holding a magnifying glass up to a computer screen.

Hardware that uses the U2 technology can detect whether it has been plugged in to a PS2 or USB interface, and function without requiring the user to manually tweak settings. The Tilt Wheel and Magnifier work with computer mice; Microsoft provides demonstrations of them on its Hardware website.

It looks like a smart move by Microsoft. Unlike its massive cash generators Office and Windows, hardware doesn’t have the same impact on the bottom line. Offering these licenses can provide a small boost to the company’s revenue without cutting into the essential part of the business.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.