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Microsoft spins out software protection tech

The software maker, which already licenses out its product activation and licensing technology to other firms, is now creating a separate company to handle the task.

Microsoft, which already had a business selling its software licensing technology to other companies, now plans to spin that out into a separate company, known as InishTech. Microsoft

Microsoft said on Tuesday that it is spinning out as a separate business a two year-old effort that licenses its software protection technologies to other companies.

In the past two years, Microsoft has signed up 120 companies to use the software activation and licensing technologies, including its own eHome unit. But it decided creating an independent company was the way to go.

The new venture, dubbed InishTech, will be based in Ireland. Microsoft will retain a stake in the company as well as an observer seat on its board of directors. Microsoft also plans to be a customer of the company.

The effort is the latest example of Microsoft spinning out its technology to a start-up. A number of past efforts, such as Inrix and Zumobi (formerly ZenZui), have come from technologies developed within Microsoft's research labs, while others have come from various product teams.

It's part of a broader effort at the company to license its intellectual property, a push that dates back to late 2003.

Not all of the start-ups have continued with their original business plans, however. Microsoft spun out a social-networking technology, known as Wallop, in 2006. A start-up by that name hoped to launch its own social network based on the technology, but ultimately decided to join, rather than try to beat the likes of Facebook and Bebo. The company now develops applications for social networks.