Apple acquires Israeli 3-D sensor start-up PrimeSense in reported $360m. deal

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.

November 26, 2013 01:35
1 minute read.
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Apple logo 311. (photo credit: REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)


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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 further.

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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 screens.

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.

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