Amazon has signed an agreement to acquire iRobot, makers of Roomba robotic vacuum cleaners. The deal is valued at about $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,” says Dave Limp, SVP of Amazon Devices. It’s not immediately clear how iRobot will integrate with Amazon once the deal is finalized and cleared by regulators, but Amazon plans to keep Colin Angle as iRobot’s CEO.
iRobot has been designing robot vacuums since 2002 and has sold millions of its popular Roomba vacuums. Earlier this year iRobot released its latest iRobot OS, an artificial intelligence platform for robotic vacuums and mops. iRobot OS is designed to differentiate Roomba products from competitors with additional features and software capabilities as the robot cleaning space becomes increasingly competitive.
While Amazon isn’t detailing its plans for iRobot, the synergies with its other smart home products are clear. Amazon released its $999 Astro smart home robot last year, which Verge deputy editor Dan Seifert described as “the love child between a Roomba smart display and an Echo Show.”
The long-rumored robot can map floor plans, listen to commands to move between rooms, and even recognize faces. As an Alexa-enabled device, it can answer questions, play music, and show you things like the weather. iRobot’s latest operating system may not be mounted on an Alexa on wheels, but it’s just as ambitious, aiming to better understand a home through artificial intelligence and smart functions, and then expand into other areas of the smart home.
The combination of Roomba, Alexa, Ring doorbells and other Amazon smart home products gives the company an incredible amount of data in a modern smart home. This of course will lead to even more questions about privacy and Amazon’s control over the smart home market.