Amazon is venturing into the household robot market. The company has reached an agreement to acquire iRobot, the creator of Roomba robot vacuums. The acquisition is worth $1.7 billion and leaves Colin Angle as CEO of iRobot. The two companies have not said when they expect to close the deal, but that will depend on approval from iRobot shareholders and regulators.
Roomba vacuum cleaners under the fold of Amazon
In the press release, Amazon did not specify the idea behind this acquisition. Amazon Devices senior vice president Dave Limp highlighted iRobot’s ability to “reinvent the way people clean” and said he looks forward to inventing products with his new crew. Mr Angle said Amazon shared iRobot’s “passion” for innovative home products and said the internet giant was a good partner.
A successful merger will end 32 years of independence for iRobot. The company was founded in 1990 by MIT researchers, and initially focused on military robots like PackBot. It wasn’t until 2002 that the company introduced the first Roomba – a robot vacuum that quickly became popular and sold a million units in 2004. After the advent of smartphones thanks to the iPhone, the company expanded its line to include products such as robotic mops (Braava), and sold its military business in 2016.
While generally doing well in recent years, iRobot posted a loss in its last quarter and saw its revenue and cash reserves dwindle. She also warned of weaker growth due to the potential impact of inflation and reduced customer demand following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The company hoped it could return to profitability and even exceed past expectations, but it might not have to worry so much with Amazon’s help.
The Roomba i3152 on sale
If you were looking for a good autonomous vacuum cleaner for your home, know that currently the iRobot Roomba i3152 model is 340 euros instead of 459 euros. It offers 2 multi-surface rubber brushes and is ideal for pets.
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