Microsoft finalizes Perceptive Pixel purchase

Microsoft finalizes Perceptive Pixel purchase

Summary: Multitouch-display maker Perceptive Pixel is now officially part of the Office family. And making meetings better is a big reason behind Microsoft's latest acquisition.


That didn't take long: Just weeks after announcing its intention to purchase Perceptive Pixel, Microsoft officials said they've finalized the deal.

On July 30, via a post on "The Official Microsoft Blog," Microsoft officials said that all conditions for the acquisition of Perceptive Pixel have been met and "the deal is completed." Perceptive Pixel Founder Jeff Han is now a General Manager reporting to Microsoft Office President Kurt DelBene.

Microsoft announced intentions to buy the six-year-old high-performance multi-touch display maker Perceptive Pixel on July 9. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Perceptive Pixel's hardware currently sells in the $80,000 range. Microsoft officials said earlier this month they are exploring ways to make the displays more affordable, and that they are considering whether to use OEMs to produce the devices or whether to add these kinds of displays to the increasingly longer list of Microsoft-branded hardware.

Microsoft had been working on table-sized multitouch tables -- formerly known as Surface, but now known as PixelSense -- for the past few years. The latest version of those table/kiosk-size devices are made by Samsung.

If you're wondering why Perceptive Pixel is being folded into the Office division instead of one of Microsoft's hardware units, the answer is in the word "meetings."

Back in early 2011, when discussing Office futures with members of the press, DelBene noted that Microsoft had "a major investment around making meetings great." He said at that time that Microsoft has done work on every phase of meetings -- from Outlook invitations, to notetaking (with OneNote), to broadcasting (using PowerPoint).

In early July at the Worldwide Partner Conference where the Perceptive Pixel acquisition was announced, officials from Perceptive Pixel demonstrated a Windows 8-based demonstration of OneNote, Microsoft's electronic note-taking app, on a large screen on stage. They also showed off an ad-hoc collaboration called Storyboard on the large multitouch screen. Officials emphasized Skype and Lync also would be good applications to show off on the new hardware.

CEO Steve Ballmer has been using a Perceptive Pixel display in his office at Microsoft since February 2012, Han told me at the show.

Topics: Microsoft, Collaboration, Enterprise Software, Hardware


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Anyone know what patents are involved here?

    Happy to see MSFT innovate. Must have been forced to do it tho.
    • What does that matter? Oh, like the patents that Google and Apple purchased

      You know, the ones they can sue everyone else over for?
      Though I had to laugh at your use of "innovative"- did Google find some innovative ways to purchase patents?

      Or are you talking about Googl'es innovative way of copying Apple's iOS?

      William Farrel
    • Microsoft already have all the patents for Surface/PixelSense

      Like 10 years ago from Microsoft Research?

      They actually predates both Perceptive Pixel and Apple for multitouch screens and projectors developement.

      Yes, that predates Minority Report too.
    • Probably some pretty significant ones

      Perceptive Pixel had incredible multitouch devices back in 2007. Most people don't know much about them because their stuff typically sells for thousands and thousands of dollars

      They were selling products with multi-touch and gesture based interactions before anybody else I know of, and I find it hard to believe that they wouldn't patent their innovations.
  • 80" Perceptive Pixel at Emerging Technologies Exhibit at SIGGRAPH 2013

    If you want to get the chance to see Perspective Pixel technology up close and are attending Siggraph 2013, there will be interactive installation which runs on an 80” Microsoft Perceptive Pixel touch screen located at the entrance of the Emerging Technologies pavilion. The software powering the visuals is Ventuz. The agency who built is is stereolize.

    Every exhibitor has their own 'page' with company details and info on the technology they are demoing. The interface is like a tunnel which you fly through to select the company of interest.