BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Buffalo-based PC tablet maker BAK USA announced a new partnership with software giant Microsoft, Wednesday, that could put Western New York on the high tech map.
For its part in the new venture, BAK is designated an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) for Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system. All of BAK’s new Seal 8 tablets come standard with Windows 10 pre-installed.
BAK USA has been located on Michigan Ave. in Buffalo since 2014, and was founded by J.P. and Ulla Bak, from Denmark, and their son Christian.
The partnership was announced at the Microsoft Store in the Walden Galleria, where J.P. acknowledged the small company’s ties to Microsoft will boost the startup’s fortunes, “In Microsoft, they have very visionary people, they can see that, and we are so happy that this is the result.”
Vanessa Mesler, Microsoft’s Corporate Territory Manager, helped facilitate the deal, and said the new partnership will benefit Micorsoft as well.
“BAK devices will enable more people to enjoy Windows 10, which is off to the greatest start in Windows’ history, with more than 200 million devices running Windows 10 globally.”
BAK USA is unique in that they hire people to assemble their tablets by hand, instead of automated assembly lines that depend on robots, and BAK is the only company that assembles their tablets in the United States.
The company’s workforce of 32 strong is locally grown, employing folks who are unemployed or under employed, and draws from Western New York’s flourishing immigrant community.
For workers like Anita Lucky Lakareber, who fled the civil strife in the African nation of Uganda, it is a chance to live a real life.
“Working here is not like, ‘oh yeah you are unemployed’. There isn’t anything as motivational as having a person who is able to listen to you, and they listen–they listen.”
The Bak family has built plants in other countries and was drawn to New York state by Governor Cuomo’s StartUpNY economic development program, but they homed in on Buffalo because of the city’s openness to immigrants.
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown was among the dignitaries at the announcement, “This partnership between BAK and Microsoft means that Buffalo is BAK.”
Co-founder Christian Bak has started previous Bak ventures in other cities, and other countries, but insists his family business is committed to Buffalo.
“We have ambitions to open up in other locations, but the heart and soul of BAK USA will always be in Buffalo. It is just a part of our DNA now.”
The new Windows 10 enabled Seal 8 tablets are not on the shelves in Microsoft Stores yet, but a spokesperson said they are available online.