Apple Acquires Augmented Reality Company Metaio

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Apple has acquired Metaio, an augmented reality startup that launched way back in 2003 as an offshoot of a project at Volkswagen. The company’s site said it stopped taking new customers, and now a legal document shows Apple has bought it. The document confirms a transfer of shares of the startup to Apple on May 21st/22nd.

When asked by TechCrunch, Apple responded with its standard reply it gives as confirmation of acquistions, “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

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The company began showing signs that something was clearly amiss when it canceled its user conference in San Francisco earlier this month and later took down the company’s Twitter accounts. It also posted on its website a couple of days ago that it was ending purchase of products and subscriptions. Email tech support ends June 30th.

Our senior writer Josh Constine went to Metaio’s San Francisco office yesterday to investigate, and a nervous employee refused to speak with him and shut the door in his face.

Notice on Metaio website that it's no longer accepting purchases.

A source told TechCrunch that clients who use Metaio are “flipping out” after seeing the shut down message on the website and not hearing a word from the company about what’s going on…until now.

Metaio hadn’t taken traditional Silicon Valley venture capital, but had raised some money from Atlantic Bridge and Westcott.

The company is well established. Many impressive projects have been produced using its tools including this one of with Ferrari that gives a potential buyer an AR tour of the car (as though the actual car isn’t cool enough):

And this one for travelers in Berlin to see what the scene they are looking at would have looked like when the Berlin Wall was up. The program uses historical footage that you can see by pointing your smartphone or tablet at a particular place.

Metaio boasts a big community of developers with a 1000 customers and 150,000 users worldwide in 30 countries. All of them are wondering what’s up right now.

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Augmented Reality for Sales Performance Support

by Hari Kumar

There’s a lot of hype around innovation: It can turnaround businesses. It differentiates you from your competitors. It is present inside everyone…Blah. Blah. Blah. The constant, all-pervasive, repetitive jargon around the word “innovation” has taken it to a point of banality. Ah, what a paradox!

Renowned market leaders like Intel, Siemens, Motorola, Apple, Google, Sony, General Electric, and so forth have always been ahead of their times. Just consider the fact that the average number of patents filed in America is around 23,000. If one was to identify a common trait among these innovative organizations, it is the use of technology.

Successful organizations are never scared of toying with new ideas, thinking the unthinkable, and bringing to reality what looks too forward-thinking to be true. Much like we are fascinated today by sci-fi movies that show people conjuring computer screens out of thin air, who could have thought that some 20 years ago that touch screens would be common place today?

Bottom line: Constant innovation is inevitable to withstanding competition. An organization that ceases to innovate will quickly lose out sales and market share. For example, consider the story of Kodak: After enjoying unrivalled position in the film-based business for several years, the industry leader lost out to the digital photography revolution (a technology that Kodak actually invented in 1975) simply because it was too complacent to change.

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DAQRI Acquires Augmented Reality Software Pioneer ARToolworks

DAQRI to Offer ARToolKit Free and Open Source to the AR Community
ARToolworks CEO and CTO will Lead DAQRI’s Newly-Created Open Source Division

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–

DAQRI, the leading augmented reality/4D company, today announced the acquisition of ARToolworks, pioneers in the field of augmented reality and creator of ARToolKit, the world’s most popular library for AR application development. DAQRI, already a leader in 4D hardware and software, will make all of the features of ARToolKit’s commercially licensed Pro version, such as the markerless, natural feature tracking libraries, iOS, Android and Unity versions, available free and open source under a LGPL v.3 License, as of today. This includes a commitment to expand ARToolKit, with DAQRI’s state-of-the-art industrial and mobile tracking technologies.

“When ARToolKit was released, it inspired a whole generation of augmented reality development. For over 15 years, when people entered the space, ARToolKit was one of the first things they picked up, and it helped them learn what AR was all about,” said Brian Mullins, founder and CEO, DAQRI. “We believe that it’s important to have free and open source software at the core of an industry. We’re hoping that with this acquisition, and our commitment to developing ARToolKit in the future, we can kick off the next AR revolution and inspire a whole new generation to pick it up and make things that haven’t been imagined yet.”

Founded in 2001, ARToolworks was an early advocate in making cutting-edge AR technology available commercially. As the creators of ARToolKit, the company has continued to develop AR technology and expanded into a robust slate of customized software. ARToolKit is one of the most widely used AR tracking libraries, with close to one million downloads to date and is available on all major operating systems and programming languages. The ARToolworks’ team will join DAQRI, with CEO Ben Vaughan and CTO Philip Lamb leading the newly created open source division.

“My original vision for AR involved a future where this technology was part of our everyday lives, providing a layer of information over everything in the world around us,” said Vaughan. “Now we are on the cusp of that vision becoming a reality. ARToolKit’s existing open source partners created an array of derivative products that helped drive the early growth of the AR industry. With DAQRI, we will be offering the community a host of new features and in-depth support to encourage a second wave of development.”

About DAQRI

DAQRI is the leading augmented reality/4D company focused on transforming the future of work. DAQRI works with the world’s most respected companies, delivering innovative hardware and software products that enable creative play, and technologies that support a lifetime of work. DAQRI is headquartered in Los Angeles with a R&D facility in Sunnyvale, CA and a development center in Dublin, Ireland.

Contact:
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Michelle Kim
310-464-6344
mkim@brewpr.com