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Fancy A Windows Pen? Microsoft Set To Snap Up Stylus Firm

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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N-Trig was the manufacturer of the stylus for the Surface Pro 3

We could be about to see a lot more Windows devices equipped with so-called ‘smart pens’ following Microsoft’s latest foray into the accessory market.

The company is rumoured to be buying Israeli firm N-Trig, the company behind the pressure-sensitive stylus included with the Surface Pro 3, for as much as $200m, according to a report from Israeli publication Calcalist.

Microsoft already owns 6.1 percent of N-Trig, and according to the report is responsible for 79 percent of the company’s revenue, using its hardware for the Surface Pro 3 having used styluses from Wacom for the first two generations of Surface Pro.

n-trig dpenPenned in

N-Trig, which employs around 190 people, who are set to be incorporated into a new research and development centre at Microsoft Israel, has faced numerous financial difficulties over the last few years after the company decided to focus on digital pens in 2011, reportedly suffering heavy losses, and cancelling plans to float on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange last year.

However a buyout by Microsoft would secure the company’s future and potentially set it up to provide styluses for future devices, such as the rumoured Surface Pro 4, as well as for Windows Phones.

Announced in May, the Surface Pro 3 was the fastest and most powerful version of Microsoft’s tablet, described as a ‘major milestone’ by company CEO Satya Nadella.

It could soon face competition from Apple’s heavily-rumoured ‘iPad Pro’ which is also reported to come with a stylus, following a wave of 22 Apple patents relating to a smart pen over the last few years. The supposedly 12.9in device would be Apple’s largest tablet yet, as the company looks to stay in a leading position in what has become an extremely competitive tablet market.

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