Microsoft to buy multi-touch display pioneer Perceptive Pixel for Windows 8 integration

Apple made popular the use of touchscreen technology, but Jeff Han produced large multi-touch displays long before the iPhone’s mid-2007 launch. Now, Microsoft announced it would buy the company he founded.

According to a press release, Perceptive Pixel’s multi-touch tech, which is capable of detecting up to 100 touch events or 10 simultaneous users simultaneously, first gained recognition in 2008—despite its founding over two years earlier:

In 2008 its technology gained widespread recognition for transforming the way CNN and other broadcasters covered the 2008 U.S. presidential election. In 2009 the Smithsonian awarded the company the National Design Award in the inaugural category of Interaction Design. PPI’s patented technologies are used across a wide variety of industries such as government, defense, broadcast, energy exploration, engineering and higher education, and its expertise in both software and hardware will contribute to success in broad scenarios such as collaboration, meetings and presentations.

Han’s technology is often brought up as “prior art” in the context of Apple’s multi-touch patents. However, as Han said above, the technology has its roots in the 80s and what you do with technology is the thing that counts.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Perceptive Pixel’s 82-inch screens retail at about $80,000 each, according to Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer at a conference in Toronto today, and they are able to run Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 operating system. Microsoft even demonstrated the duo at an event in February (video above).