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Apple blew chance at getting Kinect technology

updated 02:10 pm EDT, Fri November 5, 2010

Apple said originally in talks for Kinect hardware

Apple's approach to negotiations may have cost it the technology that powers Microsoft's Kinect, an anecdote revealed today. The CEO of technology creator PrimeSense, Inon Beracha, explained during a flight that he had shopped the motion control technology first to Apple but that the company had asked him to sign 'crippling' legal deals and non-disclosure agreements. With other companies very interested at the time, there was no reason to agree to Apple's terms, Beracha told Cult of Mac's Leander Kahney.

"Apple is a pain in the ass," Beracha claimed.

The deal would have given Apple a camera-based control system that would have allowed simply gesturing in front of a computer or a handheld rather than physical contact. Gaming was the original focus and was a logical option for Microsoft to help combat the then-thriving Nintendo Wii, but Apple might have used it for direct interface features. It might not have been built into computers as even Kinect by itself costs $150, albeit with an included game.

Apple's unintentional sacrifice of the technology may have come from its ad hoc negotiation method which only recently became refined with full-time staff. The lack of a dedicated team, and an absence of pressure to complete a deal, ultimately cost it the acquisition of AdMob. Secrecy has always been present in Apple acquisitions as the targets rarely if ever mention their plans, but Google's presence may have hastened the acquisition of Lala and otherwise given Apple a competitive reason to avoid driving acquisitions like PrimeSense away in the future.

Microsoft has already been consolidating its motion control advantage and just last week bought Canesta.

by MacNN Staff



  1. malax

    Joined: Dec 1969



    It's WAY too soon to know whether this "missed opportunity" has any significance whatsoever. Now if you said that Nintendo missed out on this opportunity to defend their Wii business I would be more receptive to that idea.

  1. Steve Wilkinson

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Agree... Overstated

    This might have been an interesting toy for Apple to experiment with... and ironically, probably way better suited towards interface control than gaming, but I don't think Apple really 'lost out' on it all that much. I don't really see it as a great way to interface with a computer, and it certainly isn't all that great of a way to interface with a video game. I think M$ really made the wrong move on this one. The Move and Wii have MUCH better methods of interacting with games. Most people don't have the space, nor a 'green screen' enough of an environment for the Kinect to work optimally. I predict it will sell a lot this holiday season, until the word gets out that it really doesn't work all that well.

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple wanted it though

    Presumably Apple had in interest here - and in theory gesturing in front of a computer is a legitimate input method - as more app devices get a front facing camera, that is a potential use of it.

    But - the article already states that apple has put together a team to address the problem - you put that kind of attention on it, things probably are better than they were before.

    It's ashame they lost out on something they were interested in for this silly nonsense, but live and learn.

  1. eldarkus

    Joined: Dec 1969



    by the ARs review on it, I hear Kinect is not that great.

  1. cal6n

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The headline needs fixing

    It should read:

    "Microsoft bought white-elephant, believing they were poaching it from Apple."

  1. wrenchy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Kinect is Beautiful.

    Kinect is Revolutionary.
    Kinect is Magical!

  1. Foe Hammer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Kinect *IS* Beautiful ...

    ... and revolutionary and magical - in the traditional Microsoft at-least-five-years-behind-the-curve kinda way.

  1. Foe Hammer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    And Here's A Little More oF That MS Magic

    In part:

    "By far the biggest ruckus was sparked by GameSpot, which noted in a recent story that the Kinect camera had trouble recognizing two "dark-skinned" GameSpot staffers even after multiples tries and calibrations, while "lighter-skinned" users were "consistently" identified with no problems.

    While the employees in question were still able to jump around and play games like every other Kinect tester, the camera only sporadically identified the face of one of the gamers, while Kinect completely failed to ID the other ... a glaring problem, GameSpot said, given that one of the most highly touted features of Kinect is that it's supposed to recognize users and sign them in automatically."

    So once again MS works its magic to beat Apple to technology that helps MS snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Yeah, Apple's got to be upset over this one.

  1. coffeetime

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: And Here's A Little More oF That MS Magic

    Oh my, my. That's really mess up. How F-up is that? This is why Wii still rule because they thought it all through. This is also why Sony PS3 is using light balls controller (even though it's so goofy looking) for the wireless game controlling. Wow, I guess you pay for what you get for $150. Ghost Hunter takes note, this thing might capture white apparition pretty good.

  1. samirsshah

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Just like Yahoo not buying Google

    when there was a chance.

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