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It seems as if Microsoft is doubling down on its stylus for the future of the Surface line, as reports out of Israel say that it’s acquired N-trig, the maker of the Surface Pen. If the report is accurate, Microsoft has dropped $200 million on N-Trig.

The report out of Israeli business publication Globes offers up some more details, saying that N-trig had already owned a 79 percent stake in the digital pen company – and, more tellingly, that it was recently in dire financial straits, having failed to “meet the financial conditions of a loan that it took.”

The report elaborates:

“As of June 2014, N-trig had lost $117 million and it had a negative cash flow of $4.4 million from ongoing operations in the first half of 2014. The company had less than $5 million in cash and equity of just $12 million.”

So if the company failed to do good business and got itself swamped with debt, what would motivate Microsoft to take it on?

For starters, Microsoft has made a lot of noise about the fact that its Surface line of tablet-PC hybrids come packed with high-quality styluses. Say what you will about the differences between Windows and Mac, the fact that Apple computers don’t come packed with a touch-capable stylus is a majorly missed opportunity, particularly because its products are so popular in the creative community. Microsoft is clearly betting big on the Surface line, and the stylus is a big part of that.

However, why continue along with N-trig if it’s doing so poorly? Microsoft must see something in the firm and its technology that has motivated it to keep the company going. Maybe N-trig was just poorly managed, leading to the financial troubles. Or, maybe Microsoft is the company’s biggest – or only – customer, betting big on styluses while other computer makers aren’t bothering.

Either way, this seems to seal the deal in terms of seeing more Surface Pens show up in future iterations of the device line.

[Source: Globes]

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