UK firm wins £2.5m Microsoft hologram deal

A UK firm has won a £2.5 million deal that will enable Microsoft to put holographic images on CD-ROMs to protect against software pirates.

The company is 3dcd, a joint venture between Newcastle-Upon-Tyne-based Applied Holographics and south Wales-based Nimbus CD International.

The deal gives Microsoft exclusive rights to use the ground-breaking technology on CD-ROMs or other optical media for one year. Applied Holographics holograms were used in packaging on DOS 6.0, Windows 3.1 and Windows 95 but this is thought to be the first time that holographic images have been applied to discs. The company has patents on technology for putting holograms on the inner band of CD format media - the portion licensed to Microsoft - as well as edge-to-edge.

"The closer you get the hologram to the product, the safer it is," said David Tidmarsh, Applied Holographics chief executive. "Our technology supports any design and identity marks and can hold both overt and covert information. It doesn't stop people stealing dics but it shows buyers when discs are counterfeit and enables Microsoft's legal people to easily identify pirated discs."

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