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Apple buys augmented-reality firm

German company creates virtual showrooms for IKEA, others

IT Business, Mergers and acquisitions, Augmented reality, Microsoft Corporation

Apple has bought German augmented reality company Metaio for an undisclosed sum, Reuters reported.

GALLERY: Microsoft's HoloLens

Metaio concentrates on creating videos that mesh computer-generated footage with real-world environments for the retail and industrial sectors.

Current applications of Metaio's tech include virtual showrooms for car dealerships and retailers, such as home-furnishing giant IKEA.

Speculation has already begun as to how Apple will merge Metaio's technology into its own. Cupertino, while confirming the acquisition, was characteristically tight-lipped on future projects.

"Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not comment on our purpose or plans," the company said in a statement.

GALLERY: Microsoft's HoloLens

Augmented reality is also getting the attention of Apple's long-time rival Microsoft, which developed the prototype HoloLens to take advantage of new UI capabilities planned for Windows 10.