Amazon agrees to buy Roomba maker iRobot for $1.7 billion

Amazon announced that it has agreed to acquire vacuum cleaner maker iRobot for about $1.7 billion, amid broader concerns about its market power for another company in the smart home appliances portfolio. Prepared to add. Agreed to read.

iRobot sells its products worldwide and is best known for the circular Roomba vacuum, which is equipped with various smart home systems.
The acquisition, announced Friday, is Amazon’s bid to own part of the home space through services and accelerate its growth beyond retail, said Neil Sanders, managing director of Global Data Retail. is part of

The appliance will join voice assistant Alexa, Astro Robot and Ring security cameras, and others in the innovative home features offered by the Seattle-based e-commerce and tech giant.
So far, Amazon hasn’t had much success with home robots. The company’s Astro robot, which helps with tasks like setting alarms, went public last year at an introductory price of $1,000. But its rollout has been limited and received an inadequate response.
However, the acquisition of iRobot, and the company’s strong market reputation, give Amazon a “massive foothold in the consumer robot market” that will give Amazon the Echo line of smart speakers, said Lian Jay Su, the robotics industry analyst at ABI Research. Can help replicate success.
Su said it also underscores the shortcomings of consumer robotics vendors like iRobot, which have struggled to move beyond a niche product and “race to the top” with Korean and Chinese manufacturers offering cheaper versions of robotic vacuums. Bottom” were in competition.

iRobot’s quarterly results, which were released on Friday, showed that revenue fell 30 percent, primarily due to order declines and delays. The company also announced that it is laying off 10 percent of its workforce.

Amazon said 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 deal is subject to approval by shareholders and regulators. Following the completion, iRobot’s CEO, Colin Engle, will remain in his position.

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

The iRobot deal comes as antitrust lawyers continue to raise concerns about Amazon’s growing dominance. The purchase is Amazon’s fourth-largest acquisition, led by its $13.7 billion deal to buy Whole Foods in 2017. Last month, the company said it would buy primary care provider One Medical in a deal worth about $3.9 billion, a move that expanded. Its greater access to health care.

On Friday, groups advocating for stricter antitrust regulations called on regulators to block the iRobot merger, arguing that it gives Amazon more access to consumers’ lives and its dominance in the smart home market. Extends dominance further.

The Roomba device, for example, allows users to map entire rooms in their homes and store the maps in the iRobot app for future use. Users can then schedule regular cleanings remotely or manually initiate cleaning tasks for specific rooms directly from the app.

“The last thing Americans and the world need is Amazon emptying more of our personal information,” said Robert Weissman, president of the progressive consumer rights advocacy group Public Citizen.

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

Historic antitrust legislation targeting Amazon and other big tech companies has been hanging in Congress for months as the prospect of a full Senate or House vote has dimmed.

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