Amazon is taking another big step to be the digital heart of your home.
The company has announced plans to buy iRobot for $1.7 billion. That will put the wildly successful Roomba robotic vacuum in the same family as the Ring doorbells and Alexa.
“We know that saving time matters, and chores take precious time that can be better spent doing something that customers love,” said Dave Limp, SVP of Amazon Devices, in a statement. “Over many years, the iRobot team has proven its ability to reinvent how people clean with products that are incredibly practical and inventive.”
Amazon did not discuss what plans it has for iRobot, but deeper integration with its Echo devices is likely. (Users can already connect the two devices and use voice commands to start their vacuum.)
This is the fourth largest deal in Amazon’s history, trailing the $13.7 billion takeover of Whole Foods, the $8.5 billion it spent on MGM, and last month’s $3.9 billion deal for One Medical.
iRobot carved the path for robotic vacuums in homes, but it has been struggling of late, with a 30% decline in revenue in its second quarter results. The company recently announced plans to cut 10% of its workforce.
While iRobot has largely stuck to vacuums and mops so far, Amazon could see a possible wider reach for the company. One growing area of interest in the robotics field is in the lawnmower space. Husqvarna, Positec Tool Corp. and Toro have all rolled out products or will do so next year.
The market is still nascent in the U.S., but has grown fast in parts of Europe.
“[Buyers were] initially early adopters, which is, I think, where you are in the States today, but now in Sweden, this is mainstream,” Patrik Jagenstedt, director of advanced development at Husqvarna’s Robotics & AI Lab told Fortune. “If you buy a new mower, you would buy a robotic mower…It’s so much more than not having to do the lawnmower, it’s the relief, the peace of mind that you don’t have to think about it.”
Colin Angle, chairman and CEO of iRobot, will continue to lead the company after the deal closes.
“Amazon shares our passion for building thoughtful innovations that empower people to do more at home, and I cannot think of a better place for our team to continue our mission,” he said.
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