Apple Talks Buy 3D Sensor Firm

Apple is in early discussions to acquire semiconductor startup PrimeSense, according to Israeli biz newspaper Calcalist

Is Apple trying to borrow a page from long-hated rival Microsoft?

Apple is in early discussions to acquire motion-sensing chip startup PrimeSense, whose technology is used in Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect attachment, according to a published report.

The tech giant is weighing a bid “probably” in the ballpark of $280 million, Israeli business newspaper Calcalist reported Tuesday. Top Apple engineering execs visited Tel Aviv, Israel-based PrimeSense in early July, according to the report.

In a statement, PrimeSense CEO Inon Beracha said the company would not comment on the report.

“PrimeSense is growing the company and currently has by far the leading 3D technology in the market, tier-one prospects, strong revenues and a healthy cash position,” Beracha said. “We are focused on building a prosperous company while bringing 3D sensing and natural interaction to the mass market in a variety of industries. We can’t comment on what any of our partners, customers or potential customers are doing and we’re not commenting on rumors.”

Apple did respond to a request for comment.

PrimeSense, based in Tel Aviv, Israel, has raised about $50 million from investors including Canaan Partners, Silver Lake Sumeru, Gemini Israel Funds and Genesis Partners.

Separately, Apple has been rumored to be talks with pay TV providers, including Time Warner Cable, about providing access to their video services through the Apple TV set-top.

In another more recent rumor, Apple is aiming to put together some kind of service that will let consumers skip TV ads for a premium — and in return, Apple would compensate networks for the lost revenue.

There’s also been long-running speculation that Apple has designs on an integrated HDTV. Apple execs have acknowledged their interest in the TV segment generally, with CEO Tim Cook saying the company has “a very grand vision” for television.

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