123map Signs Patent Licensing Agreement With Microsoft to Enhance Digital Mapping Technology

The German-based company will use licensed patented technology to provide faster, low-cost vector-based maps to their customers.

REDMOND, Wash. and HANOVER, Germany, Feb. 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Microsoft Corp. and 123map GmbH & Co. KG, a supplier of high-quality geographical services, today announced a patent licensing agreement that will enhance 123map's ability to bring digital point-of-interest mapping technology to its customers.

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123map delivers mapping services across multiple devices, including mobile phones, that allow for optimal data compression without compromising the quality of the data. The intellectual property (IP) licensing agreement with Microsoft will enable 123map to use Microsoft's patented innovation to overlay information on a map image corresponding to a place of interest, enriching the geographical information on the maps.

"Our company is focused on saving customers time and money while providing them with detailed maps across multiple devices," said Detlev Reiners, CEO at 123map. "Licensing IP in this economic environment makes good business sense. The IP license with Microsoft will enhance our digital mapping tools and will enable us to deploy this technology as we develop new mapping solutions for our customers."

123map focuses on data that is transmitted as vectors -- data with x-y coordinates included -- which offers advantages over the traditional raster image maps. Vector data takes less bandwidth to send but does not suffer any loss of detail, translating to more cost-effective transactions for customers sending maps. Despite their smaller size, vector maps can be easily manipulated by users on the Web or a cell phone.

"123map came to us a few months ago with thoughts on how we could work together. It recognizes, like so many technology companies across Europe, that a way to spur growth in our industry is to license patented technology for mutual benefit," said David Kaefer, general manager of Intellectual Property Licensing at Microsoft. "One way out of the tough economic climate we all face is by creating value together and finding new ways to bring it to market, particularly high-growth markets like the one surrounding mapping and navigation."

123map will be accessing Microsoft's patented technology and developing its own innovations to allow the technology to be used in new and extended ways. 123map's products are developed with a diverse mix of proprietary and open source software, and this business agreement is a testament to the importance of mutual respect for IP, regardless of development models.

Microsoft's Commitment to Licensing Technology

This agreement is another example of the important role IP licensing 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 patent licensing agreements and continues to develop programs that make it possible for customers, partners and competitors to access its robust and high-quality IP portfolio. The program was developed to open access to Microsoft's significant research and development investments and its growing and broad patent and IP portfolio.

Over the past few years, Microsoft has entered into IP licensing agreements related to mapping and navigation technologies, including a licensing agreement with Inrix Inc., a Seattle-based startup that has grown into a leading provider of predictive traffic information in North America and Europe. Microsoft has also recently entered into patent cross-licensing agreements for car navigation technologies with major consumer electronics companies, including Alpine Electronics of America Inc., Kenwood Corp. and Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc.

More information about Microsoft's licensing programs is available at http://www.microsoft.com/iplicensing.

About 123map GmbH & Co.

123map GmbH & Co. is a supplier of high quality geographical services founded in Hanover, Germany in September 2004. The company's product portfolio is fundamentally concentrated on digital details for maps and surroundings information for use on the web and mobile applications. For more information, please visit http://www.123map.de/en/index.html.

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.

Web site: http://www.microsoft.com/

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