Apple Looking to Acquire PrimeSense, Israeli Firm Behind Kinect's Original 3D Body Sensing Technology

Israeli business newspaper Calcalist reports [Google translation, via 9to5Mac] that Apple is in early-stage negotiations to acquire 3D body sensing firm PrimeSense, with any deal likely to command a price in the range of $280 million. PrimeSense is the firm that developed the original technology behind Microsoft's Kinect motion sensing and control system.

primesense_sensor
The report indicates that a delegation of senior Apple executives visited PrimeSense earlier this month, after Calcalist had reported [Google translation] that the company was looking to negotiate its sale with Apple, Sony, and Samsung as prospective suitors. Apple is presumably interested in the technology as it makes a more significant push into the living room, with the company rumored to be trying to launch its own television hardware and content delivery services.

Interestingly, Apple's interest in PrimeSense appears to extend back many years, with Cult of Mac's Leander Kahney having related in November 2010 how he sat next to PrimeSense CEO Inon Beracha on a June 2008 flight, where Beracha talked about how his company had viewed Apple as the most natural fit when PrimeSense was shopping its technology around Silicon Valley.

In fact, he’d already had several meetings at Apple. It was the first place he and his engineers thought of. “It was the most natural place for the technology,” he said. [...]

Yet the initial meetings hadn’t gone so well. Obsessed with secrecy, Apple had already asked Beracha to sign a stack of crippling legal agreements and NDAs.

He shook his head. Why didn’t he want to do a deal with Apple? No need. The technology was hot. He could sell it to anyone.

Apple has expressed interest in motion sensing and control in the past, having acquired several patents and patent applications from inventor Timothy Pryor, including filings addressing Kinect-like control of home appliances and vehicles. Apple has also been rumored to be including some motion control functionality in its long-rumored television set project.

Update 6:30 AM: A source at PrimeSense tells TechCrunch that rumors of an Apple acquisition are premature, if not incorrect altogether.

The Calcalist’s report notes that this is based around some meetings between the two companies, and that the price for the deal would be around $280 million. But a source at the company described the report as “BS.”

“Journalist delusion based on unverified and twisted hints,” the source added, also questioning the valuation: “280M? Come on! We’re worth 10 times that. :)”

Update 9:35 AM: Mashable reports that a PrimeSense representative has now officially denied the claim.

A rep for PrimeSense denied the report to Mashable and said the company would release a statement later on Tuesday. Apple did not immediately respond to our request for comment.

Top Rated Comments

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94 months ago

Sad. They copied Android and Jony Ive ruined it by making it pastel now their going straight to the Kinect source to purchase their technology.

Can't innovate my ass, but can turn on the copy machines and keep them running 24/7.


You really have nothing better to do than troll around here all day. I haven't read a single post that actually made any sense from you my entire time here.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
94 months ago

Then you are reading with rose colored glasses. This is nothing more than a blatant rip off of tech if true.

This forum ripped Samsung for their motion sensing smart TV's and now Apple is brilliant for going to the same company that Microsoft used to create some awesome software that puts them ahead of the competition in the gaming market.

The touchless motion control of the SG4 (along with all the other features) were gimmicks. Apple copies the exact same thing and it's suddenly revolutionary for the people that are disabled.

Apple needs it's own "innovation" and something that hasn't been done by 90 other phones or set top boxes. This pattern is really starting to get old.

Even Nikon blew away the media with it's new Camera and this forum just said. Yeah, but it's going to be grainy, stupid to have so many mega pixels.

Give credit when it's due and don't praise for Apple doing nothing but copying the best of the industry while still not listening to their customers and keeping the same small oblong mobile screen that they tried to tell their faithful it was the perfect size.

blah ba blah ba blah. What about the gs4 did apple copy? there see already nonsense. Also this is a rumor. Nobody even knows if this acquisition is fact, actually there's doubt about it expressed in the article. Second, Apple has a way of making things actually useful instead of producing half-assed features nobody wants which is what samsung does.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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94 months ago

This is another example of how Apple's competitors are stupid and naive.

Microsoft worked with this company to produce Kinect, which is a novel and unique way to interact with a TV/Console that other companies do not have. Sony needs a bright orb to work with 3D motion sensing, and Nintendo needs a wand, but Kinect requires no special attachment or device to use. It's something that set Microsoft apart from their competitors.

So why on earth would Microsoft not protect themselves by purchasing this company?

What boggles my mind is that every competitor, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Samsung, they ALL know how litigious Apple is and how much Apple loves to acquire patents. While I cannot blame Apple for seeing an opportunity and taking advantage of it, I simply do not understand how the competition is not protecting themselves more. I guarantee that before the year is over Apple will make a move to either sue competitors that have motion control (i.e. Samsung's hand waiving stuff), or jack up their licensing for use of patents now owned by Apple. Apple may not make a single product that uses motion control, but now gets rich because of other companies making innovative products have to pay them for it.

Someone at Microsoft just woke up this morning and slapped their forehead for being stupid not to protect their Kinect technology better. Even for Microsoft, the few hundred million is a drop in the bucket to ensure their Xbox products continue to have no direct competition in the market.


MS developed their own tech for Kinect 2
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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94 months ago
Of course Israelis would be the one inventing this monitoring device
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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94 months ago
I thought we were sticking with the idea that this was stupid. Right guys!? We cant look stupid and change our minds just because Apple bought them now!
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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94 months ago
Reading Macrumors at the moment is like reading Engadget+1
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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