Amazon bought cleaning robot maker iRobot for $1.66 billion

Amazon bought cleaning robot maker iRobot for $1.66 billion

In a separate earnings report, iRobot announced that its revenues were down and that it had to lay off 10 percent of its workforce.

Amazon said on Friday it had agreed to buy vacuum cleaner company iRobot for roughly $1.7 billion, luring another company to add to its portfolio of smart home appliances amid broader concerns about its market power.

iRobot sells its products around the world and is best known for the circular Roomba vacuum cleaner that joins the Alexa voice assistant. Akhtar robot and Ring security cameras and other items on the list of smart home features offered by the Seattle-based tech and e-commerce giant.

The move is part of Amazon’s effort to own some of the home space through services and accelerate its growth beyond retail, said Neil Saunders, CEO of GlobalData Retail. A slew of home-cleaning robots add to the company’s tech arsenal, making it more involved in consumers’ lives than static things like voice control.

Amazon’s Astro robot, which helps with tasks like setting alarms, was unveiled last year with a starting price of $1,000. But its supply is limited and has met with a weak response.

Amazon hasn’t had much success with home robots, but the acquisition of iRobot and the company’s strong reputation in the market creates a “massive position in the consumer robot market” that could help Amazon replicate the success of its Echo line of smart speakers, Lian Gee said. slow Sue, robotics industry analyst for ABI Research.

Su said it also shows the shortcomings of consumer robotics vendors such as iRobot, which struggled to expand beyond a niche product and was in a “race to the bottom” with Korean and Chinese manufacturers offering cheaper versions of robotic vacuums.

On Friday, iRobot reported its quarterly results. Revenue fell 30%, mainly due to lower orders and delays, and the company announced it was laying off 10% of its workforce.

Amazon announced that it will acquire iRobot for $61 per share in an all-cash transaction that includes iRobot’s net debt. The company has total current debt of approximately $332.1 million as of July 2. The transaction is subject to approval by shareholders and regulators. Upon completion, iRobot CEO Colin Angle will remain in his role.

Noting that iRobot has been running its robotics platform on Amazon’s cloud services unit AWS for years, Su said the acquisition could lead to further integration of Amazon’s speech recognition and other capabilities into the vacuum.

In midday trading, shares of iRobot rose 19 percent. Amazon fell 1.4 percent.

The deal comes as antitrust advocates continue to raise concerns about Amazon’s growing dominance. The purchase of iRobot is Amazon’s fourth-largest acquisition since its $13.7 billion deal to buy Whole Foods in 2017. Last month, the company announced it would do just that. Shop One Medical Primary Care Provider In a deal valued at approximately $3.9 billion, the move further expanded its reach into the healthcare sector.

On Friday, groups advocating for tougher antitrust regulations urged lawmakers to block the iRobot merger, arguing it would give Amazon more access to consumers’ lives and increase its dominance of the smart home market.

“The last thing America and the world need is for Amazon to vacuum up even more of our personal information,” said Robert Wiseman, president of the progressive consumer rights group Public Citizen.

“It’s not just about selling another device on the Amazon marketplace,” Wiseman said. “It’s about this company getting more details of our lives to gain an unfair market advantage and sell us more stuff.”

High-profile antitrust legislation targeting Amazon and other tech giants has languished in Congress for months as the prospect of a vote by the full Senate or House of Representatives dimmed.

Last month, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, the Democrat who chairs the Senate Judiciary Antitrust Committee, asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate, following other critics who have called for lawmakers to stop buying the medical tub. More than concerns about Amazon’s past behavior and the potential implications for consumer health data. Regulators also have the authority to challenge Amazon’s $8.5 billion purchase of Hollywood studio MGM, which was completed earlier this year.

It was founded in 1990 by three people MIT roboticists, including Engel, iRobot’s early investments led to rovers that could perform military and relief missions after the 9/11 attacks.

Profits from defense contracts allowed iRobot to experiment with other types of robots, producing a major commercial success: the first Roomba, introduced in 2002, which pioneered the automated vacuum cleaner market.

The company spun off its defense robotics division in 2016 to become an almost exclusive seller of vacuum cleaners and some other home robots, such as the Braava robotic mop. Planned that one The robotic lawnmower in 2020, however, retreated. Referring to the problems associated with the epidemic

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