Shalom Life | May 02, 2015

Microsoft Acquires Israeli Surface 3 Pen Technology

The computer giant has purchased the pen-sensing technology developed by long-time partner N-trig

By: Daniel Koren

Published: May 1st, 2015 in Business » World

Photo: Microsoft Surface 3 w/pen


During a visit to Israel, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer once stated that Microsoft is almost as Israeli as it is American. The company's acquisitions of two Israeli startups within a 6-week radius last year, of Israeli enterprise security startup Aorato and text analysis company Equivio, stand testament to Ballmer's statement.

Microsoft has continued its loyalty to Israeli hightech even in Ballmer's absence, working in close quarters with Israeli tech outfit N-trig, which developed the pen technology used in Microsoft's Surface 3. Today, in a bid to fully utilize said technology for future generations, the computer giant has confirmed its acquisition of the technology, but not the company itself, as Engadget points out, which means that N-trig's some 190 employees will not be joining the Microsoft family, yet.

According to Tech Crunch, the acquisition, first reported in February, was rumored to cost Microsoft $200 million, though they have yet to disclose a final figure; however, that number was when Microsoft was planning on purchasing the entire company, so it's likely to be considerably less just for the pen-sensing tech and related assets.

Microsoft and N-trig are long-time partners and collaborators, with the latter a key patent-holder for digital stylus and tech specializing in writing recognition. According to an official blog post, Microsoft is very excited about the potential of this Israeli-helmed tech:

We can’t wait to show you what we’ll deliver for our Surface Fans in the future. Digital pens have a ways to go to be as good as pen and paper on some dimensions, and we’ll get there. But more importantly, adding the ability to capture and share the work you do with a digital pen opens up possibilities that traditional pen and paper just can’t match. Today’s investment is another step that will let us push that innovation forward.

While many were unimpressed with the Surface pen at first, its become quite popular with users, especially since N-trig's tech was implemented with the Surface 3.

Many analysts expect the newly acquired tech to be used in the new Windows 10 launch, and likely also for new generations of the Windows smartphone.

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