Microsoft licenses an entire division to Irish tech start-up


9 Jun 2009

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An Irish-based technology start-up is to relaunch Microsoft’s Software Licensing and Protection (SLP) Services division as part of the Seattle software giant’s IP Ventures Programme.

The new company is led by former senior managers from notable Irish technology start-ups including Baltimore Technologies and Similarity Systems.

InishTech was created through collaboration with the Microsoft IP Ventures Programme, Enterprise Ireland and successful entrepreneurs Aidan Gallagher, John O’Sullivan and David Smyth.

The chief executive of InishTech Aidan Gallagher told siliconrepublic.com that the venture was made possible when Enterprise Ireland introduced the team to Microsoft.

“We had been looking at different opportunities before this and admired the work that IP Ventures did with Zignals.

“Enterprise Ireland introduced us to the Microsoft team and we made our case from day one about the fact that we had a strong, proven team. Microsoft liked our Irish location and we pushed very hard,” Gallagher said.

InishTech has assumed full responsibility for the existing customer base, acquired all rights to SLP Services, and licensed related intellectual property (IP) from Microsoft. Microsoft will have an ongoing minority interest in the company, and will continue to offer product service and support to customers for an initial period to ensure a smooth transition.

SLP Services enables ISVs and developers to access flexible licensing models aimed at increasing sales, improving development efficiency and providing assurance to customers that their IP is more secure.

In addition to security and protection, InishTech will offer greater flexibility to software publishers relating to licensing models, in order to meet increasingly diverse customer demands.

The Windows eHome Division is among the base of over 120 customers that InishTech will take on board, and InishTech will continue to work with other product groups, business teams and divisions within Microsoft to expand the use of the SLP Services solution.

InishTech is also participating in the Microsoft BizSpark programme and will be actively marketing SLP Services in association with Microsoft.

“We will be focusing on anyone who develops software and encounters issues from code protection, protecting reverse engineering and the need to manage licensing.

“The advent of cloud computing and software as a service has led to massive change in the world’s software environment, and licensing and code protection issues matter more than ever before. The ability to reverse-engineer is more important than ever, as well as protecting and licensing code.”

Gallagher said that worldwide the software industry loses US$40bn a year due to non-compliance with licensing, and Microsoft alone loses an estimated US$1bn in potential revenues.

He explained that the technology on which the SLP division is based was originally developed in Israel and was acquired by Microsoft. “The decision was then taken that this was a technology that would thrive in an outside environment with a Microsoft interest in it.

“Now, we’re ready to launch. We will take over Microsoft’s base of 120 customers and grow the business from there.”

Gallagher said that InishTech will be run on the cloud computing model and will be globally-oriented from day one. “Of the 120 customers, only one is in Ireland. We are engineering SLP to be extremely quick and easy to deploy, as well as easy to manage and use. The tough part is negotiating local laws and encryption policies in territories we plan to operate, as well as selecting affiliates and partners.”

By John Kennedy