Microsoft gears up to mass produce large-screen touch displays

Two years after buying Perceptive Pixel, Microsoft is gearing up to start mass-producing large-screen touch devices.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft officials haven't said a whole lot about Perceptive Pixel, the large-screen touch display maker Microsoft bought back in 2012.


But Perceptive Pixel (PPI) may soon get more visibility in the Microsoft product line-up.

Stephen Elop, Microsoft's Executive Vice President of Devices, told attendees of Microsoft's Australian Partner Conference on September 2 that Microsoft was gearing up to "mass produce" PPI displays. That report comes via The Australian, which reported on Elop's remarks at the conference. (One of my Twitter contacts, @walksm8, confirmed Elop's PPI comments.)

Microsoft purchased PPI in July 2012 for an undisclosed amount. PPI's large-screen touch displays originally sold in the $80,000 range. But Microsoft execs said they were exploring ways to make the displays more affordable. (The 55-inch PPI flat-panel display currently sells for about $7,500 via various retailers/resellers.)

At the time Microsoft bought PPI, the team was folded into Microsoft's Office division because of the synergies between the Office team and PPI around improving meetings via technology. Making meetings more effective remains a priority for Microsoft, and specifically the OneNote, combined Skype/Lync and Power BI teams.

As part of Microsoft's July 2013 reorg, the PPI team was moved under the Devices team, now under Elop. But other teams across the company, including the unified Operating Systems Group, are engaged in work around making the touch- and pen-enabled interface on these devices more useful and more in-line with the "One Windows" work happening across the company. Microsoft's intention is to enable developers to write applications that shine on these large-screen devices, while not requiring them to deviate from the increasingly unified cross-device development platform Microsoft is building.

Elop didn't reveal any new details about pricing or distribution during his remarks this week. But the fact he mentioned PPI at all might mean we'll soon hear more about how Microsoft plans to try to capitalize on its big touch-screen devices.

Editorial standards