Microsoft buys Surface Pro 3 stylus technology

Microsoft has bought Israeli company N-Trig for $30M

Surface Pro 3 stylus pen

The stylus is important to Microsoft as it plans to incorporate handwriting recognition as a standard feature in applications like Outlook and Office.

Credit: Mark Hachman

Microsoft has bought the stylus and display interface technology for the Surface Pro 3 from the company that made it.

Microsoft on Friday confirmed it bought the technology from Israel-based N-Trig. According to media reports, Microsoft bought the technology for $30 million.

Microsoft already had a 6% minority stake in N-Trig, but apparently had been in negotiations to acquire the company for months. In February, Israel's Haaretz newspaper said N-Trig was valued at less than $10 million, while Calcalist -- which originally broke the story of Microsoft's looking to acquire the company -- reported that Microsoft would pay at least $200 million.

Lenovo, Hewlett-Packard, Acer and others are among the who's who of PC makers that turned to N-Trig for touchscreen and digitizer technology in Windows tablets and PCs. N-Trig developed a controller chip and drivers for the Windows OS that drive its touch and stylus technology.

The stylus is important to Microsoft as it looks to incorporate handwriting recognition as a standard feature in applications like Outlook and Office. Microsoft believes that natural interaction is an important way to make PCs and tablets more useful.

Microsoft next week will start shipping its Surface 3 tablet, which also has the N-Trig stylus and controller.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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