March 20, 2006 9:36 AM PST
Microsoft to buy remote sensor firm
In a statement on Monday, Microsoft said the pending deal will help it with its efforts "to deliver a dynamic immersive digital representation of the real world that provides the best local search and mapping experience."
"Vexcel's people products and services will play a key role in helping Microsoft deliver on this vision," the software maker said. Vexcel makes a digital aerial camera known as the UltraCam as well as remote sensor and satellite tools.
Aerial photography has become a hotbed of competition, with Google Earth and Microsoft's Virtual Earth racing to map the globe and beyond as part of their local search services. Google recently started mapping Mars as well.
Microsoft said in a statement that it has "entered into an agreement with Vexcel" to acquire the company, but did not offer any financial details of the transaction. Microsoft said the deal still requires approval from regulators in both the United States and in several European countries.
The deal was noted last week by the Daily Camera, Vexcel's hometown newspaper in Bolder, Colo. The paper reported that the 21-year-old company has 130 employees.