Amazon to Acquire Roomba Robot Vacuum Maker iRobot for $1.7 Billion

Tom Warren, reporting for The Verge:

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

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

We’ve had a Roomba for our main living floor for a few years. We like it enough that we bought another one for upstairs. It’s such early days for robot vacuum cleaners that you kind of need one for each floor you want cleaned, because they can’t climb stairs.

It’s very clear to me that we’re going to get helpful household robots soon, and we’ll wonder how we ever lived without them. Something like a cross between C-3PO and R2-D2 — speaks to you like Threepio, but rolls around and serves more practical purposes like Artoo. Amazon, clearly, sees the same inevitable product category I do. “Roomba, I need you to clean up a mess in the kitchen. And bring me a fizzy water when you’re done. Thanks.

(I like saying thanks to my AI assistants. My wife thinks I’m nuts. But I worry we, collectively, are going to be dreadfully rude to them by the time they’re essential elements of our daily lives.)

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