Apple logo 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)
Apple has acquired Israeli start-up PrimeSense, the tech giant confirmed to tech
blog AllThingsD on Monday.
PrimeSense confirmed the sale, which was
reportedly for about $360 million, but refused to comment on it
PrimeSense technology uses cameras to calculate what a user is
doing in 3-D, allowing the user to interact with a device without touching it.
It is a technology that could help transform touch screens to touchless
For anyone familiar with Apple’s ubiquitous products, the
synergy is clear.
However, there may be some awkward conflicts, as one of
PrimeSense’s most high-profile customers was Microsoft, which used the
technology in early versions of its Kinect sensors. This technology helped power
Microsoft’s popular gaming platform X-Box.
On Monday, Microsoft’s head of
devices, Julie Larson- Green, told the UBS Global Technology Conference that
Kinect was the device that would set it apart from Apple, going forward,
according to PCPro.
“That’s why you’ve seen us doing things with Kinect,
with gesture,” she said. “You see us doing things with voice. There’s one
coming. And all the things have to come together.”
PrimeSense was founded
in 2005 by Aviad Maizels, Alexander Shpunt, Ophir Sharon, Tamir Berliner and
Dima Rais, and employs some 150 people.
“The idea is that the consumer
can use machines and appliances that understand them seamlessly,” Maizels told
The Jerusalem Post
in a 2010 interview. “Our vision is that in the future you
will see a natural interface that is being adopted everywhere and to every
aspect of life.”
PrimeSense is Apple’s second acquisition in Israel
following its $400 million purchase of Anobit, a company that produced flash
memory controllers, in December 2011.
The purchase is rounding out a
red-letter year for Israeli start-up acquisitions. In the first half of the year
alone, outside companies spent over $5 billion to snatch up Israeli start-ups.
Google’s purchase of Waze, IBM’s purchase of Trusteer, Facebook’s purchase of
Onavo and Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway’s purchase of the remaining shares
of Iscar were the most high-profile of these.