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.
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.