Let’s put on our way-back hats and go all the way back to 2013. Oh how times were different. Google was its own company, Andy Rubin was an executive with the company, they were making a push into the robotics industry… simpler times for sure. Now Google’s parent company — Alphabet — is making some tough decisions and distancing themselves somewhat from that same industry. Bloomberg reports that Alphabet is in the process of selling Boston Dynamics, with several possible suitors already named.
Back in 2013, the acquisition of Boston Dynamics did honestly seem like a bit of a stretch for Google. Sure, there was Google X and some of the other various departments within the company working on robotics, AI, etc. but Boston Dynamics was a bit of a different animal. They took on numerous military contracts (which Google put a stop to once they’d taken over) and didn’t particularly seem to be too worried about making a mass-market product anytime soon. That, along with a reluctance to work with other Google robotics engineers, may be what has ultimately brought Alphabet to try and sell the company.
The beginning of the end probably started back in November when some leaked meeting minutes portrayed a tense relationship between Boston Dynamics and Alphabet’s robotics group, Replicant. From Bloomberg:
The November meeting was run by Jonathan Rosenberg, an adviser to Alphabet Chief Executive Officer Larry Page and former Google senior vice president, who was temporarily in charge of the Replicant group. In the meeting, Rosenberg said, “we as a startup of our size cannot spend 30-plus percent of our resources on things that take ten years,” and that “there’s some time frame that we need to be generating an amount of revenue that covers expenses and (that) needs to be a few years.”
You don’t become a company the size of Google/Alphabet without making money, and while a company of that size can certainly absorb losses or stagnation for a time, it seems in this instance that time was approximately 3 years.
There are reportedly already several potential suitors lined up to purchase the robotics firm, including Amazon and Toyota Research Institute. Amazon has been developing robotic systems to help in their warehouses for years, and more recently they’ve been developing a series of drones meant to assist with deliveries. Toyota Research Institute is a division of Toyota Motor Corp whose initial focus is on assistive technologies including but not limited to robotics.
Just in case you’d forgotten, here’s the most recent example of the robotics breakthroughs coming from Boston Dynamics:
Where would you like to see Boston Dynamics land? Tell us what you think in the comments below or on Facebook, Google+, or Twitter.Source: Bloomberg