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Apple Confirms Acquisition of 3-D Sensor Startup PrimeSense

mac_rainbowrocketApple has completed its acquisition of PrimeSense, the Israel-based company focused on 3-D sensor technology, for a price sources said was around $360 million.

Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet confirmed the PrimeSense deal to AllThingsD with the boilerplate comment the company typically provides when news of one of its acquisitions leaks: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

A spokeswoman for PrimeSense said: “We can confirm the deal with Apple. Further than that, we cannot comment at this stage.”

The exit marks the end of months of deliberation between the two companies, finally bringing the semiconductor company responsible for advances in motion and depth capture under Apple’s aegis.

The talks were first reported by Israeli news outlet Calcalist back in July, and news of the acquisition was reported earlier on Sunday by Globes.

PrimeSense became widely known in the sensor technology space for its early work with Microsoft’s Kinect gaming product, which uses cameras and depth sensors to capture players’ motions and incorporate them into Xbox gameplay. (Microsoft now deploys its own homegrown sensor technology for the current generation of Kinect devices, which ship with the recently launched Xbox One.)

In subsequent years, PrimeSense has expanded its product line to include more hardware than the original large, stationary sensor seen in the Kinect, creating new, smaller sensors targeted at more compact devices. The company’s Capri model, for example, seems particularly well suited for the mobile market.

PrimeSense’s technology could be used in any number of Apple’s actual and hypothetical products in development, including the long-rumored Apple television set or an Apple-made smartwatch.

This is not the first Israeli-based acquisition Apple has made. The Cupertino, Calif.-based hardware giant purchased Anobit — a supplier of high-performance flash memory controllers — earlier this year for a reported sum of $500 million.

PrimeSense had raised upward of $80 million in funding from firms such as Silver Lake Sumeru, Canaan Partners, Gemini Israel and Genesis Partners.

Kara Swisher contributed to this report.

Correction: A previous version of this story said that Silver Lake Partners had invested in PrimeSense. The investment was made by Silver Lake Sumeru, the group’s middle-market investment fund.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik