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The rumors of Microsoft’s acquisition of MicroVision (MVIS), a laser scanning and 3d sensing tech firm, are finally a reality. The official news of the MicroVision acquisition is set to be announced Tuesday May 12th.
Microsoft’s decision to acquire MicroVision follows a tumultuous week, after their stock price skyrocketed over 300% to $1.75 amid rumors of the Microsoft takeover, then tumbled over 65% in the following days after the tech firms earnings call came and went without news of a Microsoft buyout.
Microsoft’s Decision to Acquire MicroVision
Many analysts have speculated that Microsoft’s acquisition of MicroVision could make a lot of sense, noting MEMs based laser scanning technology and intellectual property is embedded in its soon to be released augmented reality display called the Hololens 2.
With a growing list of ex-Microvision employees now working for Microsoft, rumors were popping up all over the internet of a Microsoft buyout for months.
Increasing pressure to Acquire MicroVision
In a press release announced they were considering “strategic alternatives” and fielding acquisition offers from giants in the industry by the likes of General Motors, Tesla TSLA, and Lockheed Martin LMT.
With so many of the country’s top tech companies investment in technology reportedly competing to buy it, the bidding war heated up placing added pressure on Microsoft to purchase it before another company swooped in and bought it out from under them.
Microsoft faced the very real possibility of losing out on owning it’s intellectual property, reportedly playing a large role in their decision to acquire the laser scanning and 3D sensing tech firm.
Intellectual Property Primary Reason for Microsoft’s Acquisition
Many investors speculated for months that Microvision’s intellectual property is where their real value lies and not in their earnings. Analysts noted that their intellectual property can not only improve Microsoft’s Hololens 2, but their patented LIDAR, 3D sensing and efficient industry technology.
It could also further Microsoft’s efforts to compete in the lucrative race to develop and produce an autonomous self driving car. Microsoft’s acquisition of it has the potential to catapult them into the divers seat (pun intended) in the autonomous car space, making Microsoft’s acquisition of them more of a “need” than a “want”.
Patent Linked Microsoft to MicroVision an Early Clue
It is listed as the inventor and owns the patent for the “Scanned Image Projection System” used in Microsoft’s Hololens 2, documented in the patent referenced above. Patent information is readily available to the public and can easily be found on the official website for the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The MEMs based technology is not only integral in Hololens, it is the very foundation of it.
Alex Kipman noted in a Ted Talk he gave about the Hololens, that one of the primary challenges Microsoft initially had to overcome with the Hololens 2 was having an image mounted so close to the users eye while still being able to focus on it. The MEMs based laser light technology called the scanned image projection system, essentially solved this problem helping Microsoft overcome one of it’s biggest hurdles.
As you can see in the magnified images produced by kguttag.com below, the technology is heavily integrated throughout early versions of the Hololens. This essentially laid the foundation for Microsoft’s acquisition, eventually setting the process to acquire them in motion.
MicroVision Patents Essential to Microsoft
It has been extensively documented online that owns the patents for a few essential pieces of technology that Microsoft requires for their Hololens 2 augmented reality display. In addition to this IP, and also developed and patented an extensive library of LIDAR and 3D sensing proprietary technology.
Microsoft likely plans to use the cutting edge LIDAR and 3D laser scanning capability to accelerate their research and development to produce an autonomous vehicle before the competition. The combination of these well known patents as well as undisclosed proprietary intellectual property are reportedly one of the main reasons Microsoft chose to acquire Micro Vision.
MicroVision’s Financial Advisor Craig-Hallum expects the officially acquisition announcement sometime after hours on Tuesday May 12th. Microsoft’s acquisition of it is expected to be officially signed, sealed, and delivered by late August.