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Amazon is buying Roomba vacuum maker iRobot for $1.7 billion


Ecommerce giant Amazon has announced it is acquiring iRobot, the maker of Roomba vacuum cleaner robots for $1.7 billion.

The all-cash deal is set at $61 per share and will strengthen Amazon’s standing in the consumer robotics market. Last year, Amazon introduced the Astro home robot, a device retailing at $1,449 that’s equipped with the company’s digital assistant, Alexa. The robot is able to take instructions and can follow consumers around their homes.

Dave Limp, Amazon’s head of hardware said, “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.”

This acquisition of iRobot becomes amazon’s fourth-largest after purchasing grocery chain Whole Foods for $13.4 billion in 2017, movie studio MGM for $8.45 billion last year and health aggregator One Medical last month for $3.9 billion.

iRobot was founded in 1990 and the Roomba vacuum cleaner released in 2002 is one of the company’s most popular products. It is able to clean floors on its own.

In the new arrangement, iRobot CEO Colin Engle will continue to lead the company.

iRobot has had financial challenges and on Friday announced that revenue fell by 30%, mainly due to order reductions and delays. It also announced it was laying off 10% of its workforce.

Among the early changes expected from the deal is the integration of Amazon’s speech services into the robots.

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Simon W Nderitu

Simon is a tech enthusiast who keeps a close eye on emerging technologies, startups and the general business environment. You will often catch him totally immersed and drooling over Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, IoT and just about any other tech that promises to revolutionize the way we live. Send tips to snderitu@techtrendske.co.ke

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