Microsoft confirms acquisition of 3DV

But still won't link camera company to Natal.

Microsoft has finally made its first public, official recognition of its acquisition of Israeli research company 3DV Systems, which owns patents in 3D motion-sensing camera technology.

Israeli business daily Globes reports that Microsoft's Moshe Lichtman mentioned 3DV in a press conference relating to Microsoft's R&D centre in Israel.

"The R&D centre helped Microsoft in buying the intellectual property of 3DV Systems, and in the wake of that dozens of the company's employees were recruited to work at the development centre," Lichtman confirmed. Globes says the Antitrust Authority approved the deal "a few days" ago.

Lichtman refused to comment on any connection between the deal and the Project Natal 3D motion-sensing camera for Xbox 360 that Microsoft revealed at E3. "When there's something to tell, we'll do so," he said.

News of the deal first surfaced when the Wall Stree Journal predicted Natal's unveiling a few weeks before E3.

But Xbox executives Shane Kim and Aaron Greenberg distanced 3DV from Natal in comments during E3 week. "No, we built this in-house," Greenberg told Eurogamer.

"We want to ensure that we have great intellectual property protection," said Kim at the time. "You have to have a strong legal approach, and this is not easy stuff. It has to be all buttoned up, legally."

Some suspect that the company has bought 3DV simply to insure itself against patent infringement lawsuits, which has long been a modus operandi of the Redmond giant.

In recent years, Microsoft and Sony were both involved in a costly patent dispute with haptic technology company Immersion over the use of rumble feedback in their controllers.

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