Microsoft has spent up to $150 million to buy IP assets from Osterhout Design Group aka ODG, a company that develops wearable computing devices. The discussions for this transaction started as early as September 2013 and the deal was closed in November 2013; however, the actual patent transfer started only in January 2014.
The world knows only a little about what ODG has been doing since it maintains a low-profile about its activities and the primary customer for ODG has been the US Government.
ODG’s founder and head, Osterhout, said, “In terms of what we’re doing [at ODG], we don’t make weapons. We make things that can help people do their jobs.”
“The real focus are features that are applicable in the consumer space, too”, he added.
Microsoft has recently acquired 81 patents in total, including 75 patents in progress and 6 issued patents. Among them are see-through near-eye display glasses (similar to Google glasses), video display modification which will depend upon sensor inputs, and more.
There are various speculations on what Microsoft could be doing with the acquired IP assets, augmented reality and head-borne computers. The first assumption is that Microsoft may start developing wearable technology devices to complement its popular Xbox gaming and entertainment device.
There are also chances of Xbox becoming more than a gaming device by letting users access other media using wearable computing devices which Microsoft may make with the help of the acquired patents.
The next is that Microsoft may be doing just what most others do – protect its own technologies and take advantage of possible royalties on their other products.
This is the first time that ODG’s technologies are going to reach the consumer market. It is also said that the company may have contacted companies other than Microsoft to commercialise its technology.