The same Jeff Hann who amazed us all with his dazzling demonstration of multi-touch technology (at TED back in 2006) long before the iPad is now a Microsoft Employee. His company Perceptive Pixel Inc is being acquired by Microsoft. An announcement to this effect was made yesterday by Microsoft saying they “have entered into a definitive agreement under which Microsoft will acquire PPI, a recognized leader in research, development and production of large-scale, multi-touch display solutions.”
This moves makes perfect sense considering Microsoft’s ongoing research with its commercial table-top computing platform Surface, and now more recently tablet of the same name. “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, Office Division for Microsoft. “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 on the other hand has been doing some great work in this space right since its inception in 2006. PPI shipped its first multi-touch workstation and large wall solutions in early 2007. In 2008 its technology gained widespread recognition for transforming the way CNN and other broadcasters covered the 2008 U.S. presidential election. In 2009 the Smithsonian awarded the company the National Design Award in the inaugural category of Interaction Design. PPI’s patented technologies are used across a wide variety of industries such as government, defense, broadcast, energy exploration, engineering and higher education, and its expertise in both software and hardware will contribute to success in broad scenarios such as collaboration, meetings and presentations.
In the official release Jeff Hann had this to say about the acquisition: “We are incredibly excited to be working together on our mutual passion to build technologies that enable people to collaborate and communicate,” Han said. “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.” Terms of the deal have not been disclosed and the deal awaits regulatory approval.