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Tech News: Apple Acquires Company Behind Microsoft Kinect


Plus, Elon Musk addresses federal investigation into Tesla Model S fires.

Apple Acquires Firm Behind Microsoft Kinect

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has acquired PrimeSense, a company known for its work in the early development of the Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Kinect motion sensor. All Things D reports Apple paid $360 million for the Tel Aviv-based semiconductor maker, which specializes in 3D sensor technology.

PrimeSense has not only developed large, stationary sensors (like those found in Kinect), but smaller sensors that are aimed for use in mobile devices. It is unknown how Apple plans to use these sensors, although one can imagine they could be featured in iPhones and iPads, or even rumored products like the Apple TV or iWatch.

In other Apple news, the Cupertino, CA-based company just won a US court case against Samsung (OTCMKTS:SSNLF), which is now ordered to pay $290 million in damages to Apple. Samsung was charged with infringing Apple patents on 26 devices.

Playstation 4 and Xbox One Both Sell One Million Consoles

Microsoft announced it sold over one million Xbox One consoles in less than 24 hours after the next-gen device launched this past Friday. VentureBeat figures that at $500 per unit, and $60 for one game, Microsoft made at least $560 million at the retail level. Microsoft's previous system, the Xbox 360, has made billions of dollars for Microsoft since it launched in 2005. Last week, Sony (NYSE:SNE) announced it had sold more than 1 million PlayStation 4s as it debuted in the North American market. Both companies are attempting to breathe life back into the gaming-console market, which shrank 32% to $13.3 billion from 2008 to 2015, reports Bloomberg.

Elon Musk Speaks After Announcement of Federal Investigation

Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO Elon Musk said he is confident that a federal investigation will determine that his company's Model S electric car is safe following two battery fire incidents. In an interview this past Friday with the Associated Press, Musk said the two incidents were extreme cases that occurred because of road debris on freeways: In Seattle, the fire occurred when the Model S hit a truck part; in Tennessee, the car hit a trailer hitch. On Tuesday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced an investigation to determine if there are any safety issues with the Model S design.

In other Tesla news, George Blankenship, the company's VP of Sales, has stepped down from his position, according to the San Jose Mercury News. Blankenship ran the company's retail operations and showroom expansion before leaving to spend more time with his family. Prior to joining Tesla, Blankenship headed the expansion of Apple retail stores.

3D Systems Partners With Motorola

Recently Motorola announced that it was working on a smartphone concept, dubbed Project Ara, that would allow users to mix and match hardware components to create a personal, customized phone. Now the company has partnered with 3D Systems Inc. (NYSE:DDD) to create a 3D printing platform for Ara's parts.

PC World reports the multi-year development agreement between the two companies will see 3D System serving as Motorola's exclusive fulfillment partner in manufacturing Ara products. This is not the first custom printing 3D Systems has struck. It currently has a deal with Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS) where customers can order custom parts that are printed by 3D Systems and picked up in Staples' retail stores.

Sheryl Sandberg Responds to Teen-Flight Fears

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) COO Sheryl Sandberg says the reaction to CFO David Ebersman's comment that the social network has seen teen usership fall has been "blown out of proportion." In an interview published Friday with AllThingsD, Sandberg said a majority of US teens use Facebook every day and use among US teens is stable. Sandberg did say that the social networking site faces new challenges because it has now been in the market for a decade. She said Facebook is now trying to be the most useful product in the marketplace, as opposed to the newest or shiniest.

Software Developers Ask Google for More Leadership on Glass

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) previewed its Google Glass Development Kit (GDK) last week, giving software developers the most access to Glass's programming since the headset launched on a limited scale in February. However, many developers feel the GDK preview is not enough, CNET reports, and that Google is not providing a good idea of what Google Glass will look like after its been finalized for mass production sometime in 2014. App developers have also complained that Google has not explained the business model by which it will implement apps -- this makes launching a Google Glass software start-up difficult. Additional issues among developers include the device's poor battery life.

Follow me on Twitter: @brokawbrokaw
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