Apple snaps up Israeli 3D chip firm PrimeSense

Oliver Smith
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APPLE has bought Israel-based PrimeSense, a developer of 3D motion detection technology, the company said yesterday.

An Apple spokesman confirmed the purchase but declined to say how much it spent. Israeli media reported that the figure was about $350m (£216.7m).

“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” an Apple spokesperson said.

PrimeSense is best known for its licensing of the hardware design and chip used in Microsoft’s Kinect for the Xbox 360, which added motion-sensing capabilities to the games console in 2010.

It is the second acquisition of an Israeli company by Apple in less than two years. The tech giant bought flash storage chip maker Anobit in January 2012.

Apple’s interest in PrimeSense was first reported in July by Israeli financial newspaper Calcalist.

The paper also reported last week that PrimeSense has raised $85m from some of its investors such as Israeli and US venture capital funds Canaan Partners Global, Gemini Israel and Genesis Partners.

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

Very few of Apple’s acquisitions are made public, but some key companies bought by the technology giant over the past few years include Siri in 2010 (the company behind the iPhone personal assistant application of the same) and AuthenTec last year (the firm behind the TouchID fingerprint sensor on the iPhone 5s).

During Apple’s 2013 financial year the company completed 15 strategic acquisitions – one every three to four weeks – chief executive Tim Cook revealed during last month’s fourth quarter results call.

Apple’s share price rose $3.94, or 0.76 per cent, last night to close at $523.74 a share.