Apple has reportedly acquired Israeli tech firm PrimeSense for approximately $345 million.
That report came from Israeli publication Calcalist; other news sources, including The Wall Street Journal, indicate that talks are still underway. Per its longstanding policy in such situations, Apple is unlikely to offer any official comment whether the deal goes forward or not; often confirmation comes from the acquired company, especially when the acquisition forces it to do something drastic such as shutting down its homepage.
Anonymous investors speaking to the Journal expressed disappointment with that $345 million figure, which isn’t a massive multiple over PrimeSense’s $250 million valuation. Emulating Apple’s Code of Silence, PrimeSense only offered a cryptic statement in response to queries about its ownership status: “We do not comment on what any of our partners, customers or potential customers are doing and we do not relate to rumors or re-cycled rumors.”
PrimeSense built the motion-sensing technology that went into the first generation of Microsoft’s Kinect device, which allows players to control onscreen action via gestures. While Microsoft chose to use its own technology for the next-generation Kinect due to be released with the upcoming Xbox One, PrimeSense continued to evolve its portfolio; its Capri 1.25, for example, is suited for embedding in tablets, televisions, and other devices.
What would Apple want from a firm specializing in motion-sensing technology? Quite a bit, if you consider the next-generation devices supposedly under development in Cupertino. An Apple TV, for example, could benefit greatly from motion control, as could future generations of tablets or smartphones. Purchasing companies such as PrimeSense also removes them from the market before rivals such as Google or Sony can move in—a strategic use of Apple’s massive cash horde. But it could be years before Apple’s plans for the technology become clear.