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3/27/2007
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Microsoft-Backed Startup Offers A Zoom Lens For Mobile Apps

The company, ZenZui, has developed a software interface that lets mobile users easily zoom in on and enlarge content on their favorite Web sites.

Microsoft said Tuesday that it's backing the launch of a startup company that promises to revolutionize the way people view Web content on mobile devices such as cell phones and PDAs.

The company, ZenZui, has developed a software interface that lets mobile users easily zoom in on and enlarge content on their favorite Web sites. To accomplish that, ZenZui uses what it calls its Zooming User Interface, technology that was developed and patented by Microsoft.

Using a touch-enabled screen, ZenZui users can zoom in on specially formatted content provided by a number of partners, including OTOLabs, which distributes a mobile-friendly version of Fox's The Family Guy. Other partners include Avenue A|Razorfish and Traffic.com.

The technology is designed to solve mobile Web browsing's most vexing problem: the limited amount of space on which content can be displayed.

Microsoft is backing ZenZui through its Microsoft IP Ventures arm, which helps seed startups through funding and access to Microsoft technologies. ZenZui is headed by CEO Eric Hertz, who most recently was chief operating officer at Western Wireless.

The launch is seen as another effort by Microsoft to expand its influence in the mobile content market. Its most recent high-profile effort to that end -- the launch of the Zune MP3 player -- has been greeted with mixed reviews.

Microsoft officials weren't available for further comment.

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