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PwC acquires product design consultancy Surfaceink

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PwC is acquiring Surfaceink, a California consultancy that helps tech firms design hardware products.

One of Surfaceink’s main specialties is creating blueprints for consumer electronics. The firm, which got its start in 1999, has supported the hardware design efforts of Apple, Microsoft, Dolby, Intel and numerous other tech giants over the past two decades. 

“This acquisition will provide Surfaceink with the resources and capabilities to help our clients go beyond product innovation and into full company reinvention,” remarked Surfaceink founder Eric Bauswell. “Together with PwC, we can now combine our expertise and expanded offerings to accelerate the connected product journey and deliver innovative solutions at scale faster.”

PwC, one of the world’s largest providers of accounting services, is not well known for its hardware engineering expertise. But the Big Four member has long maintained a presence in this market. It not only helps client design new electronics but also assists them with related tasks such as simplifying their product designs and developing commercialization strategies.

Surfaceink will enhance PwC’s engineering practice in two major ways.

First, the deal will give a boost to PwC’s client acquisition efforts. Surfaceink’s impressive customer roster, which includes a sizable percentage of the world’s largest tech firms, is a major asset from a marketing standpoint. Going forward, PwC can point to that customer roster whenever prospective clients why they should choose it over the numerous competitors out there.

The other major asset the Big Four member is gaining through the deal is Surfaceink’s technical expertise. The latter firm claims that the products it helped design have generated more than $200 billion in sales to date, a testament to its engineers’ design know-how.

Surfaceink has built multiple advanced labs to support its staffers’ design work. Those facilities, which support engineering initiatives in areas such as 3D printing and acoustics, will also be moved under the PwC corporate umbrella following the acquisition.