Why Did Apple Buy AR Company Metaio In 2015?

Why Did Apple Buy AR Company Metaio In 2015?
February 19, 2017

Apple CEO Tim Cook said last week that augmented reality can be as big as the iPhone


It's not the first time that Cook has talked up Apple's plans in AR, a technology that integrates computer graphics and internet information with the real world — think of a next-generation Google Glass or "Pokémon Go," or the fun face filters on Snapchat. 


Whatever Apple ends up doing in AR, it's likely to include Metaio technology. Apple bought the company in 2015, as one of the first AR companies it purchased in a mini-run of AR acquisitions. 


In fact, Apple may have gotten a deal on Metaio because of its vision for the technology, Bloomberg reports in a longer story about Apple's M&A strategy


From Bloomberg:


That was the case when Apple acquired Metaio in 2015. Bankers appointed by the augmented-reality firm to negotiate weren’t allowed in the room, and while Metaio executives felt the offer was low, Apple’s vision for the technology convinced them to sell, according to a person familiar with the discussions.


This raises the question: What's Apple's vision for the technology, and why did it allow them to get a good price for a company that had been around for over a decade and had active clients, including major companies?


A German document confirming Apple's purchase of the company suggests that Apple paid a euro per share, or roughly 30 million Euros for the company, although that may only have encompassed part of the price of the company.


There are other signs that Metaio could be critical to Apple's AR products or strategy. Metaio's former CEO, Thomas Alt, changed his job title last summer to "Director of Procurement, Strategic Deals Team" at Apple. 


Since the Metaio deal closed, Apple has bought other AR startups including Flyby Media and Indoor.io. Apple has also looked at other AR technologies, but no other deals have yet surfaced. 


Here's a video of what Metaio technology was capable of before it was purchased. What's Apple's vision for this technology?

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