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High-tech darling Next Window sold to Canadian rival

Tuesday 27th April 2010

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One of New Zealand's fastest-growing technology companies, Next Window, has been sold to Smart Technologies, a Canadian firm that was suing the Auckland developer of computer touch-screens for breach of copyright.

Details of the sale have not been released, although Smart's co-founder and co-chief executive, Nancy Louise Knowlton - was appointed Next Window's sole director on April 21, according to Companies Office records.

Next Window is a leading supplier of touch-screen technology to Dell and Hewlett Packard, riding a wave of emerging demand and offerings that allow PC users to touch commands on-screen rather than type them.  Microsoft chose the firm's Touchsmart hardware to demonstrate the touch-screen capabilities of Window 7 when it was unveiled in 2008.

Next Window has concentrated in the PC market, while a Finnish competitor has stolen a march in touch-screen applications for laptops.  Founded in 2001, Next Window achieved $40 million in sales last year and expected this to rise to $60 million this year.

However, Smart Technologies filed suit for unspecified damages against the New Zealand firm in April last year, alleging violation of its Digital Vision Touch patent technology.

Next Window was largely owned by Kuwaiti investors, having failed to attract New Zealand private equity.

According to the NBR website, Next Window will continue to operate out of Auckland, without staff changes, and with a doubling in overall office space planned in the year ahead.

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