the panamazopticon expands
Amazon will buy Roomba maker iRobot for $61 a share, or $1.7 billion in total, the companies announced Friday.
According to Reuters, "iRobot's stock rose 19% [on] Friday trading to $59.66," still less than half of its lockdown-era peak, when homebound consumers scrambled to buy Roombas.
"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," said Amazon hardware devices chief Dave Limp. In 2021, Limp said that "[i]n five to 10 years, we believe every home will have at least one robot that will become a core part of your everyday life."
Vice News notes the iRobot deal is not Amazon's first foray into home robotics. Last year, "Amazon revealed the Astro—a little Alexa on wheels" that was intended to map "the interior of a user's homes, even creating heat maps of highly trafficked areas." The $1,500 Astro hasn't sold well, but robot vacuums could provide an alternative way of collecting the same information. In addition to the full line of Roomba models, Amazon is also buying iRobot's trove of data, which includes digital maps of users' homes, Vice reports.