Microsoft snaps up Perceptive Pixel, maker of badass multitouch displays

Microsoft’s boss Steve Ballmer just announced during his keynote talk at the Worldwide Partner Conference that Redmond has acquired touchscreen technology company Perceptive Pixel for an undisclosed sum. The company already makes a monstrous 82-inch multitouch surface that runs Windows 8.

We also know Steve Ballmer has an 80-inch Windows 8 tablet of sorts hung on the wall of his office. This acquisition of a hardware vendor that makes Gargantuan multitouch displays is another indication that Microsoft is now becoming a hardware vendor. But there’s more to this acquisition than meets the eye…

The New York-headquartered, privately-held Perceptive Pixel specializes in research, development and production of multitouch interfaces. Its technology is used in broadcast, defense, geo-intelligence, energy exploration, industrial design and medical imaging

What’s really, really interesting about the company is its founder, Jeff Han, who stunned the world with his public demonstration of multitouch technology back in 2006.


CNN used Han’s technology in their coverage of the 2008 US Presidential elections. In 2009, the Smithsonian awarded Perceptive Pixel the National Design Award in the inaugural category of Interaction Design.

Bloomberg has more info.

“It’s just a very big Windows 8 tablet, but people ‘Ooh and ah’ at it,” Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer said at the conference. “Our challenge is to make that technology more affordable.”

The display currently sells for $80,000, but expect the steep price point to work its way down as Microsoft “will work hard to lower the price of Perceptive Pixel products”.

Giovanni Mezgec, a Microsoft general manager, said in an interview:

We want to make this mainstream. We will do anything possible to get the cost down and to get new forms of this out in the market places in any way possible.

With this acquisition, Microsoft just put its hands on arguably the coolest multitouch technology out there. Redmond stressed it intends to help OEMs combine their own Windows 8-based hardware with Perceptive Pixel’s large touch displays.


The development probably won’t agitate Microsoft’s OEM partners as last month’s out-of-the-blue announcement that Microsoft would be releasing its own tablet named Surface, driven by Windows 8 and designed to take on Apple’s iPad on the high-end.

The company will probably offer Perceptive Pixel wall-mounted displays powered by Windows 8 to corporations, financial institutions and big business as the ultimate whiteboard.

Wouldn’t you like to have this monstrosity up your wall?