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8 June, 2006 - 08:28 By Staff Reporter

Microsoft grants IP rights to firm pushing ‘alerts’ product

Technology developed by Microsoft Research in Cambridge is being predicted to take the world of business by storm.Technology developed by Microsoft Research in Cambridge is being predicted to take the world of business by storm.

Microsoft has granted London company Skinkers the IP rights to peer-to-peer technology that it has developed in exchange for a 10 per cent equity stake in the company.

Skinkers offers a product that allows companies including the Wall Street Journal and Virgin Atlantic Airways to push a new generation of ultra-smart alerts out to customers.

The Wall Street Journal uses it to allow customers to sign up to be alerted when specified types of breaking news happen. Clicking on the alert, which pops up on a user’s computer screen, opens up the full story.

Skinkers hopes to integrate the Microsoft P-to-P technology into its product so that alerts can be sent from customer to customer rather than only directly from a central source.

This would mean that if one Wall Street Journal customer received an alert and it was delayed reaching another nearby customer due to Internet congestion, the first recipient would automatically send the alert to the second customer. The technology will work without either customer being aware of it.

Skinkers researchers will work with Microsoft developers at Cambridge research facility to further hone the technology. Skinkers will ultimately market the product, and Microsoft may integrate the technology into some of its offerings.

As part of the deal, Andrew Herbert , managing director of the Microsoft Research Cambridge lab, will sit on Skinkers’ board as an observer.

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