Immersion names former Apple exec as CEO

Immersion Corp. on Thursday announced that they have appointed former Apple executive Clent Richardson to the position of President and CEO. Richardson starts today, and is expected to be appointed to Immersion’s Board of Directors at its next board meeting.

Immersion develops haptics technology used in gaming and simulation products. They’re best known for developing the force-feedback or rumble technology often found in joysticks and gamepads. Immersion’s haptics technology goes far beyond that, however: It’s also used for surgeon training, industrial controls, mobile electronics and in automobiles.

Back in 2002, Immersion and Apple enabled force feedback game controller support in Mac OS X. Immersion’s technology is broadly licensed to manufacturers of game controllers. The company has fought long and hard to protect its intellectual property, ultimately forging settlements with game console manufacturers like Microsoft and Sony, who licensed Immersion’s technology for the controllers developed for their own systems.

Richardson replaces Vic Viegas, who will remain as the Immersion’s chairman. Richardson — once head of Apple’s “evangelism” group — worked at Apple as Vice President of Worldwide Developer Relations, where he reported to Steve Jobs. After leaving Apple he held stints at T-Mobile U.K., Nortel Networks and TiVo.

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