Friday, November 5, 2010

Microsoft Kinect Technology Almost Belonged to Apple

The technology that is being used in Microsoft's Kinect Game Controller almost belonged to Apple, according to CultofMac.

Leander Kahney was on a flight home from Europe to San Francisco in June 2008 when he happened to sit beside Inon Beracha, CEO of Israeli company PrimeSense, the company behind Microsoft's 3D machine vision.

Beracha told Kahney that the technology was developed by engineers in the Israeli army and he had been hired to commercialize it. He had back-to-back meetings at all the big companies in Silicon Valley and had already signed some leading names.

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.

Apple has a history of interface innovation, of course, and had recently introduced the iPhone with its paradigm-shifting multitouch UI. PrimeSense's system went one step further: It was multitouch that you didn’t even have to touch. Apple seemed like a natural fit.

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 is a pain in the ass," he said, smiling.

*thanks iclarified*

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