What do Amazon and your mom in 2013 have in common? They both wanted a Roomba.
What happened: Amazon is buying iRobot, the maker of the Roomba vacuum and other home robots, for US$1.7 billion.
- iRobot products surged in popularity early in the pandemic as more people looked to keep their places tidy while trapped inside, but sales have dropped since.
Why it’s happening: The acquisition is a major step in Amazon’s goal of dominating home robotics (read: Alexa voice software, Echo smart speakers, and Ring doorbells).
- Just like Apple locks you into their ecosystem with tech that works seamlessly together, Amazon is striving to do the same with the things in your home—think of your Roomba starting to vacuum when your Ring detects you’ve left the house.
- Amazon’s own household robot assistant Astro, despite being very cute and able to get you a beer, hasn’t taken off yet. iRobot’s products are kind of like a backup plan.
Why it matters: Amazon is expanding the range of products that can collect your data. The Roomba, with its array of sensors and cameras that maps every inch of your house, will add to that arsenal of information.