Amazon, which recently raised its Amazon Prime subscription price, is spending $1.7 billion to buy iRobot, the maker of the Roomba lineup (opens in new tab) of robot vacuum cleaners. This is Amazon’s fourth-largest deal to acquire top brands offering popular consumer products. The iRobot purchase, pending shareholder approval at iRobot, follows the recent $3.9 billion acquisition of One Medical, a boutique primary care provider that directs Amazon deeper into the medical field. Amazon also spent $13.7 billion when it bought Whole Foods in 2017 and $8.45 billion buying MGM studios.
What does this mean for you? Just that the dots from famous brand names you know continue to connect to one name-brand owner: Amazon. And Amazon would like to make even more of your everyday and big-ticket purchases through Amazon Prime, not just on Amazon Prime Day. (If Amazon going deeper is a turnoff, you can always step away from the online giant and seek alternatives to Amazon Prime.)
To recap: Amazon owns a big player in the grocery business, Whole Foods. Amazon owns a big piece of Hollywood, MGM studios, plus its own Amazon Studios as well as IMDB, the internet movie database that’s also a streaming video service. Amazon continues to go deep in healthcare with its purchase of One Medical. It’s got your home covered with Ring doorbells and security products and devices, and now Roomba, which as it scurries about cleaning can map your home and feed information into Amazon’s databases. Want to turn that off? That’s within your control (opens in new tab).
So what will Amazon do with Roomba, which has been in the home floor cleaning business for a decade? Wedge its way deeper into the electronics home goods e-commerce space with a well-known, high quality product. Not that Amazon wasn’t already there … sort of. Amazon has its own home robot, although for security monitoring, not cleaning, in its Astro Smart Home Robot (opens in new tab) – yes, you’re getting the “Jetsons” references – described by The Verge as a mashup of Amazon’s proprietary Echo Show and Roomba’s robot tech. Critics don't like the Astro... maybe buying Roomba will improve the Amazon offerings?
Bob is a Senior Online Editor at Kiplinger.com. He has more than 40 years of experience in online, print and visual journalism. Bob has worked as an award-winning writer and editor in the Washington, D.C., market as well as at news organizations in New York, Michigan and California. Bob joined Kiplinger in 2016, bringing a wealth of expertise covering retail, entertainment, and money-saving trends and topics. He was one of the first journalists at a daily news organization to aggressively cover retail as a specialty, and has been lauded in the retail industry for his expertise. Bob has also been an adjunct and associate professor of print, online and visual journalism at Syracuse University and Ithaca College. He has a master’s degree from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and a bachelor’s degree in communications and theater from Hope College.
State "Stimulus Checks" Are a Thing in 2022 – Will You Get One?
To help counter high inflation, pandemic woes and other financial hardships, some states are sending tax rebate "stimulus" checks or other payments to residents.
By Rocky Mengle • Published
How Young People Can Own Their Financial Future Authentically
It starts with trusting the process. The good news is Gen Zers and younger Millennials are on their way, a new study says.
By Margaret Franklin, CFA • Published
Watch Out for Flood-Damaged Cars from Hurricane Ian
Buying & Leasing a Car In the wake of Hurricane Ian, more flood-damaged cars may hit the market. Car prices may rise further because of increased demand as well.
By Bob Niedt • Published
What You Need to Know About Life Insurance Settlements
life insurance If your life insurance payments don’t seem worth it anymore, consider these options for keeping the value.
By David Rodeck • Published
The Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards
credit cards Business road warriors and leisure travelers alike can use a travel reward card to turn miles logged into other things – including more travel.
By Lisa Gerstner • Published
How Much Does Amazon Prime Cost for a Membership 2022?
Amazon Prime With the price of Amazon Prime rising 17% in 2022, the question remains: Is it worth it? We’ll run you through what you get (and ways you might pay less).
By Bob Niedt • Published
What Is an APR?
credit & debt Even for those who pay off their credit card balances every month, knowing your APR is part of keeping good credit habits.
By Rivan V. Stinson • Published
How Big Will the Fed Rate Hike Be? Wall Street's Top Minds Weigh In
interest rates The Fed rate hike announcement is due out Wednesday afternoon, and markets are anticipating another monster increase.
By Dan Burrows • Published
Amazon Early Prime Access Sale Is a Prime Day Redux
Amazon Prime Prime Day: So nice they had to try it twice. A fall event will follow the model of blowout sales over two days. But it will come with a different name.
By Bob Niedt • Last updated
The Best Cash-Back Credit Cards
Smart Buying Not interested in miles, points or other perks from your credit card? For those who want money back with a minimum of games, these cash-back cards are the way to go.
By Lisa Gerstner • Published