Canesta announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to have its products, technology, intellectual property, customer contracts, and other resources acquired by the Microsoft.
No details of the agreement have been disclosed. The acquisition is expected to be completed before the end of this year.
Canesta has about 70 employees and has raised approximately $70 million. It has 44 patents granted to date and dozens more on file. There is a nice company fact sheet here.
Canesta team complements 3DV team acquired by Microsoft in June 2009. This shows that Microsoft internal R&D efforts continue to be concentrated on ToF technology. So, it looks like it's going to be a nice competition between the internally designed ToF sensor and Primesense's structured light - active stereo approach.
Primesense won over 3DV in the first generation Kinect. Do the combined 3DV and Canesta efforts give them a win in the next turn? - only time can tell.
Updates: The Street says it got an email confirmation of the deal from Microsoft saying "Microsoft has long pursued a vision of natural user interface. Canesta has developed some interesting technology for sensing gestures that complements advances already underway at Microsoft."
NYT quotes Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, discussing the company’s plans to advance the gesture technology "well beyond video games".