Saturday, August 20, 2022

Amazon acquires Roomba robot vacuum cleaner iRobot for $1.7 billion

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Amazon has signed an agreement to iRobot . to acquire, makers of Roomba robot vacuums. The deal is valued at approximately $1.7 billion, and Amazon will acquire iRobot for $61 a share in a cash transaction.

“Customers love iRobot products — and I’m excited to work with the iRobot team to create ways that make customers’ lives easier and more enjoyable,” said Dave Limp, SVP of Amazon Devices. It’s not immediately clear how iRobot will integrate into Amazon once the deal is finalized and approved by regulators, but Amazon plans to keep Colin Angle on as iRobot’s CEO.

iRobot has been designing robot vacuums since 2002 and has sold millions of its popular Roomba vacuums. Earlier this year, iRobot launched its latest iRobot OS, an AI-powered platform for its robot vacuums and mops. The iRobot operating system is designed to differentiate Roomba products from competitors with additional software features and capabilities as the robot cleaning space becomes increasingly competitive.

Amazon’s iRobot deal comes less than a year after it launched its own Astro robot.
Photo by Dan Seifert / The Verge

While Amazon isn’t detailing its plans for iRobot, the synergies with its other smart home products are clear. Amazon launched its $999 Astro smart home robot last year, which Verge deputy editor Dan Seifert described as “the love child between a Roomba and an Echo Show smart display.”

The long-rumored home assistant robot can map floor plans, listen for commands to move between rooms, and even recognize faces. Like an Alexa-powered device, it can answer questions, play music and show you things like the weather. iRobot’s latest OS may not be mounted on an Alexa on wheels, but it’s equally ambitious, aiming to gain a better understanding of a home through AI and smart features, then expand to other areas of the smart home. .

The combination of Roomba, Alexa, Ring doorbells and Amazon’s other smart home products gives the company an incredible amount of data in a modern smart home. Of course, that will lead to even more questions around privacy and Amazon’s control of the smart home market.

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