Cadence will use the agreement to build systems using Microsoft research and development, and Redmond will use the agreement to further its moves in the hardware device market.
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Microsoft said the two companies' exchange and implementation of patented technologies will span many areas and give both firms greater freedom to innovate.
Since 2003, when Microsoft said it was "open for business" on IP (intellectual property), Microsoft has signed cross-licensing agreements with Cisco Systems, LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics, NEC, Seiko Epson, Siemens, SAP and Toshiba.