Amazon 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 ways that make customers’ lives easier and more enjoyable,” said Dave Limp, SVP of Amazon Devices. It’s not immediately clear how iRobot will be integrated into Amazon once the deal is finalized and approved by regulators, but Amazon intends to keep Colin Angle as CEO of iRobot.
iRobot has been designing robot vacuums since 2002 and has sold millions of its popular Roomba vacuums. Earlier this year iRobot launched its latest operating system iRobot, an AI-powered platform for its vacuum and mop robots. The iRobot operating system is designed to differentiate Roomba products from competitors with additional features and software capabilities as the robot cleaning space becomes increasingly competitive.
Although Amazon doesn’t detail its plans for iRobot, the synergies with its other smart home products are clear. Amazon launched its $999 Astro smart home robot last year, which Verge’s associate editor Dan Seifert described as “the love child between a Roomba and an Echo Show smart display.”
The long-talked-about home assistant robot can map floor plans, listen for commands to move between rooms, and even recognize faces. Much like an Alexa-powered device, it can answer questions, play music, and show you things like the weather. iRobot’s latest operating system may not have an Alexa on wheels, but it is just as ambitiouswith the aim of understanding a home better through AI and smart features, and then expanding to other areas of the smart home.
The combination of Roomba, Alexa, Ring doorbells and Amazon’s other smart home products gives the company an incredible amount of data in a modern smart home. This will naturally lead to even more questions about Amazon’s privacy and control over the smart home market.