Two new announcements by Microsoft today. Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said on Monday that Microsoft would buy Perceptive Pixel, a developer of large touchscreen displays. Seperately, the company confirmed the first computers running on Windows 8 will go on sale in October.
Ballmer did not disclose the terms of the deal at Microsoft's annual Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto, where he announced it.
Perceptive Pixel took to the stage at the Microsoft conference to show off the wall-sized screen, pinching and zooming on maps and swiping between Windows 8 applications.
"The acquisition of PPI allows us to draw on our complementary strengths, and we're excited to accelerate this market evolution," said Kurt DelBene, president, Office Division for Microsoft. "PPI's large touch displays, when combined with hardware from our OEMs, will become powerful Windows 8-based PCs and open new possibilities for productivity and collaboration."
Founded in 2006, PPI shipped its first multi-touch workstation and large wall solutions in early 2007. In 2008 its technology gained widespread recognition for transforming the way CNN and other broadcasters covered the 2008 U.S. presidential election. PPI's patented technologies are used across a wide variety of industries such as government, defense, broadcast, and higher education.
Also at Microsoft's annual Worldwide Partner Conference, Windows Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Financial Officer Tami Reller provided details on Windows 8 availability.
Reller confirmed that Windows 8 is on track to Release to Manufacturing (RTM) the first week of August. For Microsoft's enterprise customers with Software Assurance benefits, they will have full access to Windows 8 bits as early as August. Additionally, she noted that RTM is when Microsoft will be turning on the commerce platform so that developers can start earning money for their apps. Right now with the Windows 8 Release Preview, all apps are still free for people to try.
Reller went on to say that Windows 8 will reach general availability by the end of October. This means that new Windows 8 and Windows RT PCs will be available to buy and upgrades will be available starting in October. She also mentioned that that Windows 8 will be available in 109 languages across 231 markets worldwide.
Finally, Tami announced a new milestone with Windows 7. In her remarks, Tami announced that more than 630 million Windows 7 licenses have been sold to date - and that more than half of enterprise desktops today are running Windows 7.