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Microsoft Bought This Startup To Improve Its HoloLens Augmented Reality Tech

Jan 17, 2017

Microsoft is getting some help in the 3D animation space.

The business technology giant said Tuesday that it bought a small, Swedish startup called Simplygon for an undisclosed amount. Microsoft plans to incorporate Simplygon’s technology into its lineup of products geared toward professional users who create and edit 3D animated media like video games or photos.

Kudo Tsunoda, a Microsoft corporate vice president, said on Twitter that those Simplygon workers who join Microsoft would also work on its HoloLens augmented reality headset.

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Unlike virtual reality headsets like Facebook’s (fb) Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive, Microsoft’s HoloLens overlays 3D graphics onto the real world instead of enveloping users in artificial 3D environments. Microsoft (msft) debuted the HoloLens to developers and businesses in February 2016 for $3,000.

Simplygon’s technology is used by video game studios like Blizzard, Nintendo, and Bethseda to more efficiently create games with heavy-duty 3D graphics.

Simplygon CEO Matt Connors told the VR tech publication UploadVR in July how his startup targeted VR developers with its products. He also explained how Simplygon’s technology could also be used for the Microsoft HoloLens to help coders create augmented reality apps that don’t hog system resources.

At the time, Connors also said that Microsoft was one of Simplygon’s “biggest customers on the game side” (Microsoft makes the Xbox gaming console) and that the startup could be “quite relevant to their Universal Windows Platform.”

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Microsoft has pitched its Universal Windows Platform as the underlying software that powers the company’s family of devices like the Xbox, HoloLens, and Surface tablets as well as third-party personal computers and devices sold by companies like HP Inc. (hpq) and Dell Technologies.

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