Microsoft Acquires Pacific Microsonics Inc.

Software giant Microsoft Corporation has acquired Pacific Microsonics, Inc. (PMI), developer of High Definition Compatible Digital (HDCD) technology. The deal was announced in a joint press release issued September 18. Financial details were not disclosed.

The acquisition of Union City, California–based PMI is part of an ongoing strategy by Microsoft to bring promising entertainment technologies under its umbrella. Microsoft's intention is to "incorporate PMI's pioneering technology into future offerings for the PC and will make it available to a wide range of consumer devices," according to the announcement.

HDCD is a patented digital signal-processing technology that improves the apparent resolution and detail of standard compact discs. PMI licenses the HDCD decoder and filter technology to most of the world's leading manufacturers of audio integrated circuits. More than 100 recording studios worldwide are now equipped for HDCD encoding. The technology has been used in the production of more than 5000 CD titles, including more than 225 Billboard Top 200 recordings. More than 300 million HDCD discs have been sold, the announcement stated.

"PMI has done amazing work to improve the sound quality of audio CDs with HDCD, which has been embraced by the recording industry," said Will Poole, VP of Microsoft's Digital Media Division. "Their wealth of experience and innovative technology will be a tremendous addition to our industry-leading audio technology."

"Joining Microsoft means we can continue to innovate for our existing customers while expanding our efforts to include a whole new range of customers," said PMI chief Bennet Goldberg. "We look forward to working with the great talent at Microsoft working on digital media technology, and continuing to create exciting new innovations for the industry."

Janice Mancuso, of audiophile record label Reference Recordings, said in an e-mail that her company is not likely to be affected by the acquisition. "This announcement does not directly impact Reference Recordings," she wrote. "But it does mean that Keith O. Johnson, RR partner, engineer/wizard, now does some work for Bill Gates!"