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.