Leap Motion passed on multiple $50M acquisition efforts by Apple because of founders' atti...

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 2018
Apple was close to acquiring augmented reality startup Leap Motion earlier this year, its second attempt to buy the firm, but a report claims the deal fell through days before it was due to close, with the company's co-founders' opinions of Apple likely to have caused the purchase to fail.

The Leap Motion controller allowed gesture controls of a Mac using an extra peripheral
The Leap Motion controller allowed gesture controls of a Mac using an extra peripheral


Apple was allegedly close to acquiring Leap Motion, creators of a gesture-based controller, for somewhere between $30 million and $50 million in the spring of 2018. Apple is said to have talked to the startup's human resources department and had dispatched official offer letters at the time, shortly before the offer fell through.

While it is unknown exactly what caused the failure, multiple anonymous employees told Business Insider the collapse may have been caused by "swirling negatives" around the firm. The negativity was blamed by the staff on co-founders Michael Buckwald and David Holz, with the latter's activity in an earlier acquisition attempt likely to have been an influence on Apple's decision.

The initial attempt from 2013 involved a meeting between the cofounders and Apple, but the meeting apparently went poorly. CTO Holz is said to have been disinterested in the offer to buy both the team and the intellectual property, but was also reportedly insulting, accusing Apple of not being innovative, that it's technology "sucked," and praised Android.

A report source who worked at the time claims Holz was spouting off comments like "I'm never going to work for those guys, they're the devil."

Apple continued to show interest in acquiring the company, even though Holz' opinion of Apple worked against such a purchase.

The most recent attempt to buy the firm is far below what the company was worth previously, with Series B funding in late 2013 valuing the firm at approximately $306 million. Despite a secondary funding round in 2017 worth $50 million and a shift of focus to augmented reality, Leap Motion's continued existence has apparently not gone to plan.

Sources advised of poor management decisions plaguing the firm, such as spending funds on offices in the expensive SoMa area of San Francisco, before moving out and relocating to the cheaper Financial District.

It is likely that Apple's interest in the firm is due to its work in augmented reality, a field Apple has joined with ARKit for iOS, as well as rumors of an AR headset or "smart glasses" in development. Leap Motion also has over 100 patents and applications, which could be attractive for Apple to acquire.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    Removing my comment because I misread the name of the company. I thought this was about Magic Leap (headslap)!
    edited October 2018 repressthistmayrazorpitleavingthebigglolliver
  • Reply 2 of 17
    Leap Motion was made by the devil.Its technology is not innovative too.
    magman1979
  • Reply 3 of 17
    Leap Motion was made by the devil.Its technology is not innovative too.
    “...too.” ??
    razorpit
  • Reply 4 of 17
    ???
  • Reply 5 of 17
    Leap Motion anagrams into Lame Option.
    d_2magman1979chiaSpamSandwichiqatedololliver
  • Reply 6 of 17
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,228member
    If true, this speaks volumes of Leap's confidence in their IP protection and their ability to defend that in a court. If Apple really is interested in this technology, Leap would be showing up to a gunfight with a knife. 

    If true, very foolish of Leap.
    edited October 2018 Gabylolliver
  • Reply 7 of 17
    magman1979magman1979 Posts: 1,108member
    Well, that explains why their technology sucks donkey balls, because they're co-founder is a dick head who praises the real junk technology, Android!

    I tried their devices, and they were HORRIBLE, glad I never got suckered into giving these idiots any of my money!
    lolliver
  • Reply 8 of 17
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,770member
    Pouch Leap's talent and Leap has no value.
  • Reply 9 of 17
    My guess is that Apple was interested in the IP and didn't want to be seen firing the staff. Leap probably has a few patents that could easily be used to sue anybody who copied what Apple wants to do. I doubt that the makers of a hardware dongle are really at the point where they're making anything fantastic.
  • Reply 10 of 17
    Removing my comment because I misread the name of the company. I thought this was about Magic Leap (headslap)!
    I read Magic Leap too. Not until I saw your comment did I realize my error. Yikes!
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 11 of 17
    Removing my comment because I misread the name of the company. I thought this was about Magic Leap (headslap)!
    I read Magic Leap too. Not until I saw your comment did I realize my error. Yikes!
    Too many 'Leaps'!
    lolliver
  • Reply 12 of 17
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,090member
    Glad the purchase didn't go through. The co-founders' sound like shit-heads, and this company will fade into irrelevance soon. Passing Apple's offer was probably the biggest mistake they've ever made, and I'm sure they'll regret it in the future. If they truly say/think those thinks, it means they don't have even the most fundamental understanding of what people want in technology, what innovation is, and therefore their future looks bleak. 
    lolliver
  • Reply 13 of 17
    Jobs took the same attitude when approached by IBM, Sun-Micro and some others back in the dark days.

    Rejecting a suitor isn't always a bad thing, even if the suitor is Apple.
    viclauyycbeowulfschmidtgatorguyleavingthebigg
  • Reply 14 of 17
    It’s hilarious to read someone say how Apple isn’t innovative and Android is great while being not even remotely close to as successful or innovative as either.
    lolliverleavingthebigg
  • Reply 15 of 17
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 2,302member
    Pretty sure half these comments are talking about the Magic Leap AR glasses. Completely unrelated. 

    These guys deal with gesture controls, like waving your fingers around and swiping in the air to navigate your Mac. Apple has a lot of patents in this area and are definitely looking at finger position-aware keyboards as well, so this is not necessarily a bad match by any measure if they have some solid fundamentals in this area.
    iqatedo
  • Reply 16 of 17
    I was fooling around with a Leap Motion device at some point in time. It seemed to be a nice combination with Quartz Composer - I've also heard of people using Leap Motion with Pure Data. I should probably give it another try.

    Am finding the "they're the devil" argument a bit perplexing though, but I guess people are entitled to their opinions. Interesting to note that while people have left Leap Motion, some of them now work at Apple. 
  • Reply 17 of 17
    Well maybe they should talk to these guys instead. If they can do eye tracking without cameras maybe they could expand to hand gestures as well.
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