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Microsoft transfers RoundTable camera to Polycom

Software maker says that it will stop selling the Microsoft Research-developed panoramic video camera and instead license the technology to Polycom.

Microsoft's RoundTable has found a white knight.

The software maker will stop selling the Microsoft Research-developed panoramic video camera. Instead, Microsoft said this week, it will license the Webcam technology to teleconference gear maker Polycom, which will take over sales of the device.

Microsoft plans to stop selling its RoundTable Webcam. Instead, Microsoft will transfer the technology to Polycom, which will sell the product under its brand. Microsoft

It's unclear whether Microsoft will get a lump sum payment or receive per-unit royalties. It's also unclear how it will be compensated for the technology.

"Microsoft and Polycom are not discussing the financial terms of the deal, but profit is not the focus for Microsoft in distributing the RoundTable device," the company said in a statement to CNET News. "Microsoft RoundTable was developed by Microsoft Research over five years ago and broadening the availability of the product, and the relevant IP, has always been a part of Microsoft's (Unified Communications) strategy for the device. With a global leader such as Polycom, RoundTable will now be available to more people in more countries with strong support options."

Originally developed as RingCam, the panoramic Webcam made frequent appearances in Microsoft Research demonstrations. Microsoft launched RoundTable commercially in October 2007, but will stop selling it next month, once Polycom starts selling its version, dubbed the Polycom CX5000. It will carry a list price of $4,300 in the U.S. and be sold in 27 countries, the companies said. Microsoft will support the devices it has sold, while Polycom will provide front-line support for the units it sells.

While Microsoft is not making major changes to its businesses, the company has been trimming its product lines at the edges. Among the changes announced in recent weeks, Microsoft is planning to shutter Encarta and is scrapping plans for a Web analytics program that had been in beta. The company is also discontinuing a standalone business intelligence product and is halting its paid Windows Live OneCare antivirus program.