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Microsoft announces buyout of touch-display experts Perceptive Pixel

Microsoft slipped another new acquisition into the stream of announcements emanating from the opening day of its Worldwide Partners Conference (WPC) in Canada yesterday, revealing that it is purchasing large-scale touch display maker Perceptive Pixel (PPI).

PPI currently develops 27in, 55in, and 82in LCD screens that boast touch image manipulation and come interactive stylus-ready, two features likely of considerable interest to the Redmond, WA-based behemoth as its gears up for the October rollout of its latest generational OS update, Windows 8.

"This is an epic year," chief executive Steve Ballmer told the 16,000 attendees in Toronto. "It's a year of unparalleled opportunity."

The deal enhances Microsoft's enterprise credentials ahead of the autumn launch and will allow it to market the large-scale displays as a collaborative element closely linked to the new version of Office.

Kurt DelBene, president of Microsoft's Office Division, was particularly bullish.

"It's going to be the hottest tech item in Christmas," he said. "Steve's got one on the wall in hius office and he's using it all the time."

Six-year-old PPI was founded in 2006 by Jeff Han, often described as a pioneer of multi-touch tech. Adoption by international broadcaster CNN followed shortly thereafter, and in 2009 the Smithsoinian awarded the company its National Design Award in the inaugural Interaction Design category.

Terms of the buyout were not disclosed at the WPC yesterday.

Stay tuned to ITProPortal for the latest news and best analysis as Microsoft gears up for what looks likely to be the most important series of refreshes in its decorated history. Recent features have included expert insight on the convergence of mobile and desktop operating systems and exclusive live reports from TechEd Europe 2012, not to mention the range of useful tutorials penned by bona fide tech gurus that can be found on our dedicated Office 365 microsite.