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Microsoft scoops up home automation company before Apple

post #1 of 94
Thread Starter 
While Apple showed interest in buying home automation company R2 Studios, it was rival Microsoft who made the eventual acquisition.

R2


Microsoft's purchase of id8 Group R2 Studios was revealed by The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter. The acquisition is said to bolster the company's Xbox division, which is expected to introduce a next-generation game console later this year.

Microsoft and Apple were originally named as potential buyers last month, along with Google. The company was created in 2011 by entrepreneur Blake Krikorian, who founded Sling Media Inc., maker of the Slingbox home TV streaming device.

The price Microsoft allegedly paid for R2 Studios is unknown, but the new acquisition does not yet have any products on the market, aside from an Android application that can control heating and lighting systems.

Apple has shown interest in the home automation market through patent applications, but has not yet released any such products. Instead, Apple has used its popular chain of retail stores to highlight third-party home automation technology that integrates with its iOS platform for the iPhone and iPad.

Apple's stores are the exclusive home of the Philips hue app-controlled lightbulbs. The wireless bulbs communicate with a base station and can have their brightness and color adjusted from a compatible iOS application.

Apple's stores also carry the Nest Learning Thermostat, a device that intelligently reduces users' power bills and connects to iOS devices with an accompanying application available on the App Store. The Nest was also designed by Tony Fadell, a former Apple executive credited with the creation of the original iPod click-wheel interface.
post #2 of 94
So what?

If they end up making it good product... great. But it probably will go the Skype way.

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Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

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post #3 of 94
It's logical. Microsoft is unable to innovate, so they have no choice but to buy companies. Apple, OTOH, is clearly able to innovate, so they don't NEED to buy companies for ideas.

Who do you think is going to win the bidding wars when both companies are involved?
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post #4 of 94
R.I.P.
post #5 of 94
I'd like to see Tony's group expand to more products. Apple might want to consider taking them inside Apple and throwing resources at them. My Nest is fabulous and oozes Apple's level of quality. As for R2, it is a sad day for them IMHO, doomed to oblivion now.

On a side note, how long before a home system running on Windows or Win Mobile is hacked and actually becomes a security nightmare?
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post #6 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

It's logical. Microsoft is unable to innovate, so they have no choice but to buy companies. Apple, OTOH, is clearly able to innovate, so they don't NEED to buy companies for ideas.
Who do you think is going to win the bidding wars when both companies are involved?

Apple doesn't need to buy companies? Where did multitouch and Siri come from?

Microsoft is unable to innovate? What are all their patents for?

Without question, Apple has bettered MS in launching innovative products and revolutionizing product categories. But absolute statements like MS not being able to innovate and Apple not needing acquisitions are destined to be absolutely wrong.
post #7 of 94
If Apple is serious about home automation, it should just buy Nest. A company that has a shipping product and funders who worked for Apple.
post #8 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

Apple doesn't need to buy companies? Where did multitouch and Siri come from?
Microsoft is unable to innovate? What are all their patents for?
Without question, Apple has bettered MS in launching innovative products and revolutionizing product categories. But absolute statements like MS not being able to innovate and Apple not needing acquisitions are destined to be absolutely wrong.

I agree about Apple making intelligent acquisitions but MS innovating successfully? Microsoft haven't innovated 'successfully' in their entire existence. They have ripped off successfully but innovated successfully, not ever IMHO. Patents don't a product make.
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post #9 of 94
hopefully it won't be the next of Kin, but you can never doubt the incompetence of Balmer.
post #10 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by winstein2010 View Post

If Apple is serious about home automation, it should just buy Nest. A company that has a shipping product and funders who worked for Apple.

Agreed (as I already posted) . I think it would be a great fit.
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post #11 of 94
Those $60 coloured lightbulbs from Philips are a joke. Hardly a real product at all. They're certainly not worth mentioning in the same context as real home automation system.
post #12 of 94
So Microsoft bought the company that Apple was RUMORED might be interested in because they have one patents.

When in fact, perhaps they were it interested. But hey why ruin good hit folder

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post #13 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

I'd like to see Tony's group expand to more products. Apple might want to consider taking them inside Apple and throwing resources at them.

Why?

Right now they are in the perfect spot, reward but little to no risk. Why change that.

Sure they could, they have the cash. But where is the business sense in such a move. Apple isn't about the little accessory gadgets, never really has been. Hell they even dropped their Bluetooth earpiece.

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(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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post #14 of 94

Apple needs a home automation infrastructure, but it isn't clear if Nest would provide that. Apple has Bonjour to connect devices, but I think it needs some improvements to work across routers.

post #15 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

Apple doesn't need to buy companies? Where did multitouch and Siri come from?
Microsoft is unable to innovate? What are all their patents for?
Without question, Apple has bettered MS in launching innovative products and revolutionizing product categories. But absolute statements like MS not being able to innovate and Apple not needing acquisitions are destined to be absolutely wrong.
First time reading the drivel from jrag, huh?

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post #16 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

Apple doesn't need to buy companies? Where did multitouch and Siri come from?

 

Or iTunes or half their pro software products or PA Semi or...

 

Apple does indeed buy. That comment about MS vs. Apple was silly.

 

Granted, Apple seems to be capable of doing more with their acquisitions.

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post #17 of 94
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Originally Posted by ifij775 View Post

Apple needs a home automation infrastructure...

 

I find myself wondering why.

 

I used to think, a long time ago, that home automation was going to be the next amazing thing. But I'm trying to figure out what I would use it for.

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post #18 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

Apple doesn't need to buy companies? Where did multitouch and Siri come from?
Microsoft is unable to innovate? What are all their patents for?
Without question, Apple has bettered MS in launching innovative products and revolutionizing product categories. But absolute statements like MS not being able to innovate and Apple not needing acquisitions are destined to be absolutely wrong.

Well, Microsoft isn't an innovator. What major innovations have they come up with? Can you name a couple? Patents aren't innovations, they're just patents. Ball Labs considered an innovation to be the totality of research, engineering, design, AND bringing it out to the market where it would become popular, and sustaining, replacing what went before.

So what has Microsoft ever come out with something like that? DOS was bought from Seattle Computer. Windows was a poor copy of Apple's System software. The XBox was just another console. Their phones weren't original. In fact, anything innovative has been killed by management because of infighting, and the fact that the Windows and Office people have control over the company. His has certainly been well documented. One of the more innovative of their later possible products, the clamshell Courier tablet (and the tablet, a real tablet, isn't a Microsoft innovation either) was killed by Sinofsky because it didn't use Windows.
post #19 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post

I find myself wondering why.

I used to think, a long time ago, that home automation was going to be the next amazing thing. But I'm trying to figure out what I would use it for.

The problem with home automation, as exemplified by the now ancient X10 system is that it's an add-on to the home. That means its a real pain to install and set up. Even if it does plug into a socket or replaces a light switch. It will become successful when home builders agree to serious standards, and build them into new homes and apartment buildings.

This is something that really needs to be part of the infrastructure of a building. WiFi and Bluetooth are great, and all that, but not really what is needed.

Once this is done, then Apple, and others , can hook into it for their own take. Otherwise, I believe it will always be something for the few. Some people here have mentioned the thermostat. But that's a basic device, mostly useful for just heating and cooling. It doesn't even come close to home automation. And it's pretty expensive. How many people here have one? I can afford it, but it's not really that much better than what I have now, and installed a few years ago. Cooler, yes. I suppose I could brag about having one, which I actually think is part of the sales appeal for the product.
post #20 of 94
New strategy for Apple to relieve competitors of excess cash and saddle them with dead weight: sniff around myriad companies that appear to have something of value to offer until they are snapped up out of fear.
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post #21 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post

 

I find myself wondering why.

 

I used to think, a long time ago, that home automation was going to be the next amazing thing. But I'm trying to figure out what I would use it for.

Connected devices will become ubiquitous now that they don't need to be physcially connected. These include sensors for recording information, control devices, and media devices. These include printers/scanners, stereos, tv's, security cameras, lighting, temperature control, access control, audio/video communication, exercise equipment, etc.

post #22 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post


The problem with home automation, as exemplified by the now ancient X10 system is that it's an add-on to the home. That means its a real pain to install and set up. Even if it does plug into a socket or replaces a light switch. It will become successful when home builders agree to serious standards, and build them into new homes and apartment buildings.
This is something that really needs to be part of the infrastructure of a building. WiFi and Bluetooth are great, and all that, but not really what is needed.
Once this is done, then Apple, and others , can hook into it for their own take. Otherwise, I believe it will always be something for the few. Some people here have mentioned the thermostat. But that's a basic device, mostly useful for just heating and cooling. It doesn't even come close to home automation. And it's pretty expensive. How many people here have one? I can afford it, but it's not really that much better than what I have now, and installed a few years ago. Cooler, yes. I suppose I could brag about having one, which I actually think is part of the sales appeal for the product.

 

But that doesn't really answer the more basic question: Why?

 

Setting aside the thermostat (having programmable thermostats her likely been a great improvement.) Why would I want home automation? What do I  want to automate and control in this way?

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post #23 of 94
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Originally Posted by ifij775 View Post

Connected devices will become ubiquitous now that they don't need to be physcially connected. These include sensors for recording information, control devices, and media devices. These include printers/scanners, stereos, tv's, security cameras, lighting, temperature control, access control, audio/video communication, exercise equipment, etc.

 

You're still not answering why.

 

I'm getting answers for what and how, but little for why.

 

Why do I want this? What does it do for me? What do I gain from it? How is my life better because of it?

 

It seems like home automation is a solution looking for a problem (that doesn't exist.)

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post #24 of 94

Too Late MSFT

And this article is BS

Read below:

 

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been awarded a patent for an Intelligent power-enabled communications port, which provides a new way to power homes. The new power supply method essentially makes it easier to plug in devices that operate on a direct current without the need for an AC-DC adapter. The port could also be used for data purposes like an Internet connection or local network

post #25 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

Apple doesn't need to buy companies? Where did multitouch and Siri come from?
Microsoft is unable to innovate? What are all their patents for?
Without question, Apple has bettered MS in launching innovative products and revolutionizing product categories. But absolute statements like MS not being able to innovate and Apple not needing acquisitions are destined to be absolutely wrong.

No one said that Apple doesn't buy companies. The difference is that Apple buys companies as frameworks and builds on them - and creates innovative products using that technology. Apple is also quite capable of creating innovative products on their own.

Microsoft? Not so much. In fact, not at all.
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post #26 of 94

deleted


Edited by MacRulez - 5/16/13 at 12:09pm
post #27 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRulez View Post

Careful there, Mel.  Some of the regulars here like to cite the number of patents Apple files as a measure of innovation, which have included such notable achievements as a rectangular packaging box and a glass staircase.

Now here is a comment that's a textbook example of a cheap shot.
post #28 of 94

deleted


Edited by MacRulez - 5/16/13 at 12:09pm
post #29 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by ifij775 View Post

Apple needs a home automation infrastructure...

Why? They can do that by license, like AirPlay. Look what B&O did with that license:

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post #30 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRulez View Post

Careful there, Mel.  Some of the regulars here like to cite the number of patents Apple files as a measure of innovation, which have included such notable achievements as a rectangular packaging box and a glass staircase.

 

Interesting point. 

 

But did Apple patent the glass staircase, or did they patent the process used to make the glass staircase? Apple's obsession with building strong structures out of glass is probably because they can transfer this knowledge into making strong, lightweight screens for the their mobile devices.

post #31 of 94
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Originally Posted by Rayz View Post

Apple's obsession with building strong structures out of glass is probably because they can transfer this knowledge into making strong, lightweight screens for the their mobile devices.

That would be a first: they outsource their current screens for mobile devices.
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post #32 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post

 

You're still not answering why.

 

I'm getting answers for what and how, but little for why.

 

Why do I want this? What does it do for me? What do I gain from it? How is my life better because of it?

 

It seems like home automation is a solution looking for a problem (that doesn't exist.)

Why is a good question re home automation.  I have Indigo and a bunch of Insteon devices (formerly X10).  It offers some convenience and security by controlling lights, but is it worth it?  I have spent, over the last 10 years, probably a couple of grand on this stuff.  And yes I use it all the time, but I could have just as easily not installed it and would be none the worse for wear.  Not to mention that all these devices are vampire power suckers 24/7.  So even if we built homes from the ground up to be automated and adhered to a standard, what good is it really doing in the grand scheme of things?  For me it's a hobby and a minor convenience feature.  Beyond that I don't see much value.

post #33 of 94
Yes, Apple buys Nest and Tony Fadell heads up Apple's fledgling new home automation division. That just sounds right! Apple's deep pockets and name recognition, together with Tony and other innovative engineers, I think could make a real impact upon that industry.

But WelshDog and MJ1970 do have a point in that is it something people really want? Same goes for smart TV's too (the so-called next big thing). But the iPad created an industry all by itself where there really wasn't a need, and look how successful that's been...you never know..?
Edited by 1983 - 1/3/13 at 9:10am
post #34 of 94

The Nest has a really nice interface for programming (especially remote programming), but we've had to disable the learning function. With more than one set of preferences about temperature in a household with several members, in and out on a regular but complex schedule, it couldn't figure it out. 

 

If you live alone or otherwise dominate the thermostat in your household, it probably works well.

post #35 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1983 View Post

Yes, Apple buys Nest and Tony Fadell heads up Apple's fledgling new home automation division. That just sounds right! Apple's deep pockets and name recognition, together with Tony and other innovative engineers, I think could make a real impact upon that industry.

 

While I don't necessarily expect such a move from Apple, I don't think Tony Fadell as Apple's next CEO is completely out of the realm of possibilities. I could see this even 10 years out (sooner if Tim Cook stumbles.)

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post #36 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

It's logical. Microsoft is unable to innovate, so they have no choice but to buy companies. Apple, OTOH, is clearly able to innovate, so they don't NEED to buy companies for ideas.
Who do you think is going to win the bidding wars when both companies are involved?

Waze

Siri

post #37 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

So Microsoft bought the company that Apple was RUMORED might be interested in...

I wonder where the rumour came from. R2 studios perhaps, It'd increase the interest from the "also ran" companies.

post #38 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evilution View Post

I wonder where the rumour came from. R2 studios perhaps, It'd increase the interest from the "also ran" companies.

 

Well, what better way to maximize the offer from Microsoft than to have a rumor current that Apple and Google are also trying to buy you.

post #39 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

I agree about Apple making intelligent acquisitions but MS innovating successfully? Microsoft haven't innovated 'successfully' in their entire existence. They have ripped off successfully but innovated successfully, not ever IMHO. Patents don't a product make.

Indeed, patents are not products. But patents are a measure of innovation far far more than products. Those who claim that innovation must include productization are shamelessly narrowing their definition to inflate the merits of their argument. Shamelessly but futilely.
post #40 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

Those $60 coloured lightbulbs from Philips are a joke. Hardly a real product at all. They're certainly not worth mentioning in the same context as real home automation system.

 

Who said anything about real home automation system? This company has an Android App that talks to Crestron equipment. Crestron is the real automation provider here and the App is just an App. These guys would have to have one hell of a product line under development to be of any real value beyond buying application developers. 

 

Kudos to Microsoft :)

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