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Microsoft Buys Perceptive Pixel; Confirms Win 8 Dates

It expects PPI’s expertise in both software and hardware to ‘contribute to success in broad’

Microsoft is buying Perceptive Pixel Inc. (PPI), which makes large-scale, multi-touch displays, a new hardware line for the software giant.

Terms were not disclosed. 3M is understood to be an investor in PPI.

Kurt DelBene, president of Microsoft's Office Division, said in a statement Monday that "PPI's large touch displays, when combined with hardware from our OEMs, will become powerful Windows 8-based PCs and open new possibilities for productivity and collaboration."

Microsoft demoed a six-inch by 82-inch screen capable of thousands of multitouch inputs and supporting multiple styluses at the same time at its Worldwide Partners Conference in Toronto. Pre-Microsoft such a thing went for about $80,000, a price Redmond reportedly thinks is too high. There are also 27-inch and 55-inch models.

ZDNet reports that Microsoft told the assemblage in Canada that Windows 8 will be released to manufacturing the first week of August and hit general availability, as previously rumored, in late October. ZDNet said Windows Server 2012 will RTM at the same time. It looks like volume licensees will get the software in August. It wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft actually moves up the schedule and RTMs the stuff in late July.

According to Business Insider users will be able to store Windows 8 on a USB drive so their apps and settings and all can be moved around to different machines, even machines running older versions of Windows, a feature called Windows To Go.

Anyway, Microsoft ticked off the six-year-old New York start-up's pedigree, noting that it shipped its first multi-touch workstation and large wall solutions in early 2007. In 2008 its technology was recognized for transforming the way CNN and other broadcasters covered the 2008 US presidential election. In 2009 the Smithsonian awarded it the National Design Award in the inaugural category of Interaction Design.

It said PPI's patented technologies are used across a variety of industries such as government, defense, broadcast, energy exploration, engineering and higher education.

Microsoft expects PPI's expertise in both software and hardware to "contribute to success in broad scenarios such as collaboration, meetings and presentations."

PPI founder Jeff Han figures to exploit the "tremendous momentum" of the Office Division, "tightly interoperate with its products, and deliver this technology to a very broad set of customers."

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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