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.

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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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