Microsoft invests billions in R&D and now wants to seed the market of startups and small businesses by licensing its intellectual property. Microsoft has been licensing IP to larger firms, but the new Johnny Appleseed (no reference to Apple intended other than this is a good idea for Apple R&D as well) brings the company benefits in several dimensions. If a licensee does something worthy, Microsoft could benefit from royalties or an equity stake, buy the fledgling company or bury it by duplicating the efforts of the licensee. Patent king IBM, with 40,000 patents worldwide and $1.2 billion in annual revenue from licensing the IP. Among the patented code available for licensing are algorithms for correcting a digital audio stream to compensate for speaker driver characteristics, tamper resistant ID cards with biometric information, counterfeit-resistant optical fiber technology, face detection and tracking technology, intelligent mobile browsing of large images, a modeling tool for determining the lowest cost arrangement of physical building materials, online community technology and alternative text input and device navigation technology.
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