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Microsoft�s Barter Deal With Inrix

The Dust Network is an exciting new traffic prediction service developed by Inrix, a startup company in Kirkland, Washington. A complex algorithm (a mathematical formula for solving a problem) is used to predict traffic flow up to a year ahead of time. They do so by factoring in hundreds of data points, from a freeway�s history of traffic snarls to your neighborhood school�s plan for a half-day of classes.

Admittedly, they can�t predict any auto accidents, but the new technology has major portals excited, including Yahoo, which will be integrating the Dust Network into their map services. Automaker BMW is also going to offer it in upcoming models.

The company that developed Inrix�s technology, spending four years and $20 million, is Microsoft. But rather than develop it commercially, Microsoft licensed it exclusively to Inrix. Interestingly, its CEO Bryan Mistele is a former Microsoft executive.

The Inrix deal is part of Microsoft�s new strategy, which is to spin off research in exchange for royalties and equity in new companies.