Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Microsoft Scoops Up Home Automation Startup Before Apple

By - Source: The Wall Street Journal | B 17 comments

Microsoft has reportedly acquired id8 Group R2 Studios Inc. to bolster its Xbox division.

Microsoft has reportedly purchased id8 Group R2 Studios Inc., a home entertainment tech startup with no products on the market save for an Android app called R2 Control for Crestron for controlling heating and lighting systems. This acquisition will supposedly bolster the company's Xbox division, sources claim, although the specifics are unclear at this point.

id8 Group R2 Studios was created in 2011 by entrepreneur Blake Krikorian. Prior to the new company, he was founder of Sling Media Inc., the manufacturer of the popular Slingbox home TV streaming device which was eventually sold to EchoStar in 2007 for about $380 million.

Microsoft has yet to make an official announcement about the R2 Studios acquisition, but the Redmond company was named as a potential buyer last month along with rivals Google and Apple. Also unknown at this point is the actual amount Microsoft paid for the newly-acquired home entertainment tech startup.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Microsoft acquired certain patents related to controlling electronic devices as part of the acquisition deal. Prior to the R2 Studios acquisition, Krikorian and his team were working on technology related to distributing and displaying digital media on TVs. Now they will be joining Microsoft possibly to bring this tech to the Xbox Infinity slated for a reveal this June.

Last week Amazon said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that Krikorian had resigned from its board of directors. Krikorian informed the online retail giant of his decision to resign on December 26, effective immediately. No further reason for the move was given, Amazon said (but the move should now be fairly obvious). He originally joined Amazon's board back in 2011.

So far there's only speculation as to what Krikorian and his team will bring to the Xbox table. Microsoft is reportedly launching an Xbox-branded set-top box along with the Xbox Infinity late this year focused on streaming TV, social networking and casual gaming. There's also speculation that the acquisition means that Media Center development may be canned.

 

Contact Us for News Tips, Corrections and Feedback

Display 17 Comments.
This thread is closed for comments
  • -1 Hide
    A Bad Day , January 4, 2013 10:27 PM
    Quote:
    "a home entertainment tech startup with no products on the market save for an Android app called R2 Control for Crestron for controlling heating and lighting systems"


    So, why did MS, Google, and Apple have interest in that company? Is because of the patents?
  • 0 Hide
    falchard , January 4, 2013 10:37 PM
    Microsoft: saving the day from another patent troll attempt.

    My guess is Microsoft is going to make a Windows Phone 8 port for it and maybe use it as leverage to get what they want from Google and Youtube. Most likely Microsoft will pick up alot of popular android app developers to do this.
  • 0 Hide
    infernocy , January 4, 2013 10:38 PM
    so paterns is a legal way to make money now ?
  • 0 Hide
    jupiter optimus maximus , January 4, 2013 10:45 PM
    I wonder, out of the companies Microsoft acquired over the years, how many created a meaningful use and earned a profit over the cost of acquisition?
  • 0 Hide
    jhansonxi , January 4, 2013 11:08 PM
    jupiter optimus maximusI wonder, out of the companies Microsoft acquired over the years, how many created a meaningful use and earned a profit over the cost of acquisition?

    A few did but not always in obvious ways. PowerPoint and Visio were acquisitions. Often companies buy other companies for access to potential customers or their developers, not specific products. They've probably done better with acquisitions than they have with R&D:
    http://news.yahoo.com/microsoft-huge-r-d-budget-useless-best-ideas-194130737.html
  • 0 Hide
    A Bad Day , January 4, 2013 11:14 PM
    infernocyso paterns is a legal way to make money now ?


    Considering the fact that the patent troll industry is pulling an ever increasing revenue from hounding small inventors/entrepreneurs, sadly, yes.
  • 5 Hide
    darkavenger123 , January 5, 2013 12:20 AM
    As long it isn't Apple who gets their hands on it, the world is still safe.
  • 1 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , January 5, 2013 12:54 AM
    can't wait for the XBOX 360's successor. Hope it includes the ability to install a M CableCard and supports Multi-Room DVR. That would hurt the competition.
  • 0 Hide
    jonjonjon , January 5, 2013 1:10 AM
    i hope to god they didn't name the next xbox the xbox infinity. how lame. wtf is wrong with ms? i used to like them.
  • 0 Hide
    largg , January 5, 2013 2:53 AM
    jonjonjoni hope to god they didn't name the next xbox the xbox infinity. how lame. wtf is wrong with ms? i used to like them.


    This is what I want. TiVo combined with XBox/PS4/WiiU in one unit. And a higher end unit with the home automation stuff in it. If it meshed well I would be all over it.
  • 0 Hide
    mas , January 5, 2013 3:49 AM
    "tech startup with no products on the market save for an Android app called R2 Control for Crestron for controlling heating and lighting systems. "

    I certainly hope they have something more compelling than THAT pathetic offering!
  • 0 Hide
    beayn , January 5, 2013 3:52 PM
    jonjonjoni hope to god they didn't name the next xbox the xbox infinity. how lame. wtf is wrong with ms? i used to like them.
    I agree that sounds dumb. Xbox 720 sounds better.
  • -1 Hide
    kellybean , January 5, 2013 5:16 PM
    Like I would want MS software/spyware running my house. One reason I won't buy a Ford besides the UAW.
  • 0 Hide
    falchard , January 5, 2013 5:23 PM
    Uhh you do realize this is not google, its Microsoft right? Google does the spyware and snooping. Microsoft makes private browsing standard and asks permission if you want to send them error reports.
  • -1 Hide
    CaedenV , January 5, 2013 8:00 PM
    kellybeanLike I would want MS software/spyware running my house. One reason I won't buy a Ford besides the UAW.

    MS does not snoop. period. end of story. That is the realm of Google and Apple. Google sells stuff cheap, and makes their money off of data mining the hell out of everything you do (and I say this as a proud Google Chrome user). MS charges more of their stuff, but once you own it, it is yours, and they do not feel the need to track what you are doing.

    As for Ford... ya, they are not that great, but they are not terrible either. I have to respect them for not taking gov't bailouts, or bundling their cars with craptastic tracking systems like OnStar. Their only problem is the UAW, which makes their cars too expensive. But if their cars were a little cheaper I would be all over them.
  • 0 Hide
    twelch82 , January 5, 2013 8:45 PM
    A Bad DaySo, why did MS, Google, and Apple have interest in that company? Is because of the patents?


    Probably. They probably have a patent on the idea of controlling certain devices remotely, even though patents on ideas are not supposed to be legal.
  • 0 Hide
    daglesj , January 6, 2013 2:50 PM
    I can imagine that MS has a plan for the next Xbox to become the 'control centre' if you like for the house.

    It lets you control the media, grocery ordering, set the temperature, close your curtains, adjust the lights when you play a movie etc. etc.

    Log into your Xbox and control your home from the UI.