Microsoft Spins Off ZenZui
Microsoft this week announced the launch of ZenZui
an independent company partially funded by Microsoft created to market ZenZui's
Zooming User Interface, which was patented by
Microsoft and was first developed in the Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft
The company was started under the auspices of Microsoft's IP Ventures, which
"helps startups and growing companies speed their time to market through
access to Microsoft innovations," according to a Microsoft statement. ZenZui partnered with IP Ventures to help secure the
venture capital funding needed to launch the company.
According to a Microsoft press release, "ZenZui's
high-frame rate Zooming User Interface employs up to 36 individual 'tiles' that
are selected and customized by users to reflect their interests and lifestyle
with relevant content, interactive communications and fresh data." ZenZui's founders are convinced that this modular tile
interface will let users sync, surf, and share digital content "quickly,
easily and in a distinctly new way."
Companies who will participate in the initial trial of the service include
Kayak.com, OTOlabs, Avenue A/Razorfish
Microsoft launched the IP Ventures program in May 2005 "to expedite the
commercialization of new innovations the company's significant R&D
investment," the statement said.
Eric Hertz, chief executive officer of ZenZui,
came on board from Western Wireless, where he was COO. Vice president of
products and services and co-founder John SanGiovanni
came from Microsoft Research,
Benjamin Bederson, vice president of client
technologies and another co-founder, is an associate professor of computer
science at the University of Maryland, College
Park. Meanwhile, a third co-founder, Jim Cooley, who
serves as the vice president of engineering, came from 11 years on Microsoft
product development and had worked for IP Ventures prior to found ZenZui.
Meanwhile, Cindy Spodek Dickey, vice president of
marketing, spent more than ten years in consumer product marketing at
Microsoft, and worked on Xbox and Xbox 360, Xbox Live, MSN Direct, MSN.com and
multiple consumer software titles.
Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.