Microsoft acquires stylus technology from N-trig for the Surface tabs

By | May 5, 2015

On Friday, Microsoft announced its acquisition of digital stylus technology made by the Israeli company N-Trig, the company behind the Surface Pro 3 and Surface 3 tablets. The financial terms of the deal has not been announced formally but some reports suggest the deal was finalized for $200 million while others report the company paid only $30 million for the deal.


The digital stylus and the writing technology has been the brainchild of the Israeli company N-Trig, founded in 1999. The company mainly makes chips for touchscreens and digital pens. The company has been having a relationship with the Microsoft as the supplier for the pen input technologies that has been used by many more of its OEM partners. Also, Microsoft owns a stake of 6% in the company and has been partners from 2008. This acquisition has brought it in-house for Microsoft that it has used as a marquee feature, as its desktop operating system takes its support for devices like tabs and convertibles.

Microsoft’s Surface tablet has captured an important part of the consumer business that adds up to more than $1 billion in quarterly sales. Annual sales or the overall sales details have not been revealed so far by the company, but it’s quite sure that the revenue has been on steady rise since the launch of Surface Pro 3 last year. In the earlier versions of the Surface Pro, Wascom technologies were applied which has now been taken over by N-trig technology. Initially, the switch did cause a twitch for those who had grown up being used to Surface’s digital drawing capabilities in their workflows, but after working with the latest one, they enjoy the improved version.

The post in the Microsoft’s official blog has clearly reasoned out the reason behind the acquisition which is, “We can’t wait to show you what we will deliver for our Surface Fans in the future. Digital pens have ways to go to be as good as pen and paper on some dimensions, and we’ll get there, But more importantly, adding the ability to capture and share the work you do will a digital pen opens up possibilities that traditional pen and paper just can’t match. Today’s investment is another step that will let us push that innovation forward.”

Microsoft’s move to buy the technology is definitely a very smart decision. The company’s trust and belief in the digital pen has worked perfectly for them as the company has experienced a drastic increase in the usage with the stylus on the Surface Pro 3 and the company has decided to invest the more on the technology. The purchase marks the growing competition for improvements in touch-based devices. Apple is already working on the options to improvise pressure sensitive input for the forthcoming iOS devices. There are some talks and rumors floating that Apple may bring in advanced stylus in the future iPad Pro device.

Other than acquiring the patents and technology, the employees of N-trig would also be transferred to Microsoft as part of the deal. The company so far attracts only the creative bunch, but it claims that over time it would become a necessity for handwriting recognition and transcription. The launch of the Microsoft products are on May 5 and would be available in 26 markets by May 7. With a range of advanced touch-based input devices in store, the stage is all set and waiting for the clash.