Microsoft scoops up home automation company before Apple

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
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.
«1345

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 93
    lightknightlightknight Posts: 2,312member
    So what?

    If they end up making it good product... great. But it probably will go the Skype way.
  • Reply 2 of 93
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    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?
  • Reply 3 of 93
    nw3227nw3227 Posts: 16member
    R.I.P.
  • Reply 4 of 93
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,379member
    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?
  • Reply 5 of 93
    stelligentstelligent Posts: 2,680member
    jragosta wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 93
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 93
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,379member
    stelligent wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 93
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,865member
    hopefully it won't be the next of Kin, but you can never doubt the incompetence of Balmer.
  • Reply 9 of 93
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,379member
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 93
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 93
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,217member
    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
  • Reply 12 of 93
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,217member
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 93
    ifij775ifij775 Posts: 470member


    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.

  • Reply 14 of 93
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member
    stelligent wrote: »
    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?
  • Reply 15 of 93
    mj1970mj1970 Posts: 9,002member

    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.

  • Reply 16 of 93
    mj1970mj1970 Posts: 9,002member

    Quote:

    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.

  • Reply 17 of 93
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,023member
    stelligent wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 93
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,023member
    mj1970 wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 93
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,475member
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 93
    ifij775ifij775 Posts: 470member

    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.

Sign In or Register to comment.