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Microsoft Buys Touchscreen Tech Company

Microsoft announced Monday that it is acquiring Perceptive Pixel Inc., a provider of large-scale, multi-touch technology, for an undisclosed amount.

The acquisition was announced during the kickoff keynote of Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference, taking place this week in Toronto, Canada.

New York-based Perceptive Pixel jumped into the national spotlight in 2008, when major news networks including CNN used its wall-sized touch displays to cover the presidential elections. The company, which was founded in 2006, manufactures "projected capacitive" touch displays ranging from a 27-inch personal workstation to a massive 82-inch screen -- touted by the company as the "the world's largest projected capacitive, optically bonded multi-touch display."

"The acquisition of PPI allows us to draw on our complementary strengths, and we're excited to accelerate this market evolution," said Kurt DelBene, president of Microsoft's Office Division, in a prepared statement. "PPI's large touch displays, when combined with hardware from our OEMs, will become powerful Windows 8-based PCs and open new possibilities for productivity and collaboration."

Perceptive Pixel founder and CTO Jeff Han was on hand during the WPC keynote to give a brief demonstration of his company's technology. In front of an audience of roughly 16,000 Microsoft partners, Han showed how a large-scale Perceptive Pixel screen can work with Windows 8's touch capabilities, including the ability to manipulate images on the screen using his hand and a stylus simultaneously.

"By joining Microsoft, we will be able to take advantage of the tremendous momentum of the Microsoft Office Division, tightly interoperate with its products, and deliver this technology to a very broad set of customers," Han said in a statement.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said during the keynote that because Perceptive Pixel's touch displays retail for as much as $80,000, "our challenge is to make that technology more affordable."

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the site editor of RCPmag.com.

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