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Microsoft invests in firm with mobile focus

Microsoft makes an equity investment in Vadem and will work with the company to help speed the development of its CE handheld devices.

    Microsoft today said it has made an equity investment in Vadem and will work with the company to help speed the development of its Windows CE-based handheld devices.

    Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft said it has purchased the rights to Vadem's natural handwriting and ink compression technology, including the company's CalliGrapher software developed by ParaGraph, a Vadem division. San Jose, California-based Vadem develops mobile information appliances and software that simplify getting information via handheld devices.

    Microsoft has been steadily moving on its "any device, anywhere" mission by beefing up its handheld capabilities as it faces hefty competition against 3Com with its flagship Palm Computing handhelds, along with others, such as, Nokia, Motorola, and British-based Psion in the rapidly growing wireless market.

    Financial terms of the equity investment made by the software giant were not disclosed.

    Vadem will continue to support, develop, sell, and market CalliGrapher and its complete line of products and services, including its Windows CE-based Clio mobile device, its PenOffice software suite of handwriting recognition applications for Windows OS, and its MorphInk application that allows users to create "smooth" animations for Web sites, the companies said.

    "Combining the expertise and efforts of Vadem and Microsoft in this area will greatly accelerate development of new breeds of highly portable, affordable, and intuitive mobile products and services," Vadem chief executive John Zhao said in a statement.