Microsoft may regret not buying Apple’s PrimeSense for itself

“On Monday, Apple said it was buying PrimeSense, an Israel-based company that develops gesturing technology, for $350 million,” Therese Poletti writes for MarketWatch. “Apple, as it typically does whenever it makes an acquisition, declined to comment further on its plans for PrimeSense within Apple.”

“Paul Saffo, managing director of foresight at Discern Inc., said that instead of trying to figure out how Apple is using the technology, this news should be looked at with a bigger picture of where this technology is heading,” Poletti writes. “‘Devices are getting too small to fit a keyboard and they are becoming too much a part of our lives for us to stop and touch them,’ Saffo said. ‘We can either converse with them or gesture at them.’ he said. Gesturing, like voice, is going to become a ‘foundational technology,’ going forward, he said. ‘Gesture is the next mouse.’ While wearable computing is still in its early days, voice recognition has made broad advances and Apple’s Siri is used by many iPhone owners for Internet searching or to get directions.”

“Microsoft, too, has been touting the potential of gesturing and voice. One of its executives pointed to its Kinect technology in a presentation to investors on Monday at a UBS Global Technology Conference, as something that will differentiate the company from Apple,” Poletti writes. “The software giant, which is now developing its own technology for the Kinect, might regret that it did not buy PrimeSense itself, opening the door for rivals like Apple to step in.”

Full article here.

Related articles:
Kinecting the dots: Why Apple bought PrimeSense – November 26, 2013
Apple, late to the gesture game, tries to catch up with PrimeSense acquisition – November 25, 2013
Analyst: Apple’s PrimeSense acquisition sets stage for future Apple television products – November 25, 2013
For what will Apple use PrimeSense’s 3-D motion sensing tech? – November 25, 2013
Apple confirms acquisition of Israel’s PrimeSense, company behind Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect, for $350 million – November 25, 2013
Why is Apple buying the company that invented Microsoft’s Kinect? – November 18, 2013
Apple in talks to acquire PrimeSense – November 18, 2013
Apple in talks to buy Israel-based PrimeSense, company behind Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect, for $200 million – July 16, 2013
Apple’s latest patent is a game-changer for iPad – August 20, 2013
Apple partners with TV industry on ‘grand vision’ – July 18, 2013
Report: Apple could have obtained Kinect technology before Microsoft – November 5, 2010


  1. Maybe Microsoft decided to do their own thing here. Besides, you obviously look at where a technology is going.

    Market Watch serves people who can’t read a balance sheet.

  2. Just remember where the Power PC processor was before apple and Motorola, no one knew about it, it was just a server processor, but after Apple got into the design of that CPU, the RISC architecture took of on non pro markets, Arm was born, Motorola licensed the Core, Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony started using the Power PC in their consoles.
    Remember where the Gorilla glass was before apple got its hans onto it?
    Remember where ARM was before apple started using the Arm architecture in the iPhone?
    Now, you won’t remember where Prime Sense was before Apple.. but i’m sure you will enjoy where its going to be.

  3. Jeez. Didn’t Microsoft just buy Nokia? I doubt they need PrimeSense because they already have the Kinect for their Xbox One needs. At one time, there was a lot going on with projects of what to do with Kinect technology but it seemed to come to a dead end. Microsoft definitely needs to focus on mobile before anything else.

    1. So, are you now obsessing about MSFT shares and how their moves affect the stock price? When did you buy in? You seem to have become an equal opportunity hand-wringer. Or is this Freudian transference? You have the ideal profile for a stock analyst. Lots of theories, salted by lots of angst. Just lose the soul-searching timidity, and you could fit in with the Enderle Group.

  4. I don’t know the full story, but for some reason Microsoft I think uses its own stuff for the Xbox One. Did they steal PrimeSense technology and run with it or what? Not sure why they switched, would be interesting to know the full story!

    1. PrimeSense’s main IP is a processor that takes various sensory information and builds a 3 dimensional image in real time. Once you have this, you can use it determine presence, motion, and distance of objects in the environment.

      Microsoft worked with PrimeSense to build the original Kinnect device, which is mostly comprised of off the shelf components; cameras, microphones, IR sensors, etc. More than likely, Microsoft may have wanted something that was more specialized and tailored towards gaming, which is why they bought two other companies; both of which were smaller competitors of PrimeSense.

  5. Microsoft no longer uses PrimeSense technology in Kinect. They had no need for the company.

    It will help Apple and if TouchID is any example, they’ll take a pedestrian technology and make it exemplary and usable.

  6. Gesture is no “next mouse”.

    Keyboard, mouse, stylus, finger are only sustainable as input method because there is possibility to somehow accommodate the had to have some rest. With spatial gestures, this is not the case, so such method could only be as additional one.

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