PTC CEO Jim Heppelmann

PTC to acquire augmented reality company Vuforia

Computer software company PTC has announced a $65m (£42m) purchase of virtual reality business Vuforia.

Vuforia, currently owned by mobile processor vendor Qualcomm, produces an augmented reality software development kit that allows developers to track real objects with a camera and apply a 3D overlay of virtual objects.

PTC says the acquisition will help to bolster their portfolio and ‘accelerate PTC’s strategy as a leading provider of technologies and solutions that blend the digital and physical worlds’.

The company plans to continue to invest in the Vuforia platform and maintain support of its ecosystem which is currently supported by developers in 130 countries, and has powered more than 20,000 apps with more than 200 million installs worldwide.

PTC plans to integrate Vulforia’s augmented reality knowledge with its own work on the Internet of Things (IoT) to create new ways to monitor and control products.

“PTC continues to pursue a strategy of providing an incredibly innovative technology platform that customers can use to capitalize on the emerging Internet of Things,” said PTC CEO Jim Heppelmann (above).

“Because of what IoT is enabling, more and more products are now a mixture of digital and part physical content. So, naturally, the ways in which we interact with these products will evolve toward a mixed-reality model that blends physical and digital interactions."

Vuforia currently supports multiple developer tools, including Eclipse, xCode, and Unity and runs on numerous operating systems and devices, including iOS and Android phones, tablets, and selected mobile eyewear.

“Vuforia will accelerate our leadership position helping companies to fundamentally change the way their products are created, operated, and serviced,” added Heppelmann. “We are excited about leveraging Vuforia’s technology leadership in the consumer market while unleashing [its] capabilities into the enterprise.”

The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of calendar year 2015 and is not the first time the company has launched an acquisition this year.

In May PTC also bought data analytics company Coldlight for $105m which was the latest in half a billion dollars-worth of acquisitions to expand its products in the IoT market.

Qualcomm spent £1.6bn on British chipmaker CSR at the end of 2014 hijacking rival Microchip Technology’s earlier bid for the firm. Since then however, the company has faced difficulties with its widely criticised Snapdragon 810 chipset, which struggled with overheating issues, and a bout of employee layoffs in July.

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