Microsoft has announced that they will be acquiring Perceptive Pixel Inc., a large-scale multi-touch hardware and software developer. PPI will no doubt help to bolster Microsoft's touch ambitions in Windows 8 and beyond as the company has received several accolades since its inception in 2006.

PPI was founded by renowned multi-touch pioneer Jeff Han. The company shipped their first products in early 2007 and garnered industry recognition by supplying CNN and other broadcasters with large-screen multi-touch monitors to assist in covering the 2008 US presidential election. PPI was awarded the National Design Award by the Smithsonian in 2009.

The company's patents are used across multiple fields including government, defense, broadcast, energy exploration, engineering and higher education.

Steve Ballmer announced the acquisition at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in Los Angeles earlier today. PPI's founder joined Ballmer on stage to demonstrate how their technology can work with Windows 8 on a large-screen display. Han showed those in attendance basic multi-touch gestures in addition to demoing how a stylus is used to mark a document while content can be manipulated with the free hand.

"By joining Microsoft, we will be able to take advantage of the tremendous momentum of the Microsoft Office Division, tightly interoperate with its products, and deliver this technology to a very broad set of customers," Han said.

"The acquisition of PPI allows us to draw on our complementary strengths, and we're excited to accelerate this market evolution," said Kurt DelBene, president of the Office Division at Microsoft. "PPI's large touch displays, when combined with hardware from our OEMs, will become powerful Windows 8-based PCs and open new possibilities for productivity and collaboration."

Terms of the deal were not disclosed and the acquisition is pending customary regulatory approval, although the size and scope of the purchase isn't expected to throw up any red flags.