Amazon has signed an agreement to buy Eero, a San Francisco-based maker of home Wi-Fi hardware, the companies announced Monday.
Eero makesthat people can plug in around their homes. An is meant to provide more reliable Wi-Fi in every nook and cranny of a home, providing better coverage than a single Wi-Fi router.
The deal offers another clear indication of Amazon's ambitions to control as many aspects of the connected home as it can. It already makes Echo smart speakers -- which dominate the US market -- as well as Fire TV streamers and even an Alexa-connected microwave. With Eero, it's pushing into Wi-Fi networking equipment, too. That equipment has likely become even more important for Amazon, since Wi-Fi is the foundation for all the smart-home gear Amazon is selling.
The Eero acquisition also points to Amazon's work to keep building itsfeature, which is intended to make setting up new smart-home devices easier. Right now, most users need to go through a tedious process of downloading a new app, going through a lengthy setup and pairing new hardware with their voice assistant. Wi-Fi Simple Setup should help cut out a lot of those steps, allowing folks to plug in a new device and have it start working immediately.
While this hassle clearly falls into the category of First World problems, it's a point of friction that prevents more mainstream customers from hooking up their homes with Wi-Fi-connected lights and appliances.
"We have a shared vision that the smart-home experience can get even easier, and we're committed to continue innovating on behalf of customers," Amazon's hardware chief Dave Limp said in a statement Monday.
The deal raised concerns about Eero users' internet data privacy, as the startup will be joining a tech giant that already takes in a lot of user data through its Amazon Web Services cloud-computing business and its other smart-home devices.
Looking to allay those worries, Eero confirmed on Twitter that it doesn't track customers' internet activity and that policy won't change after the acquisition.
Based on its $90 million in funding, the Eero deal appears to be smaller than Amazon's last notable smart-home acquisition. In April last year, the, a maker of video doorbells and other security equipment, for $839 million. Ring had raised $209 million prior to the acquisition, according to Crunchbase.
Amazon previously worked to promote Eero in 2015, when it started itslanding page for products made by startups. Eero gained a leading spot on the page, helping bring the young company attention from Amazon's huge customer base.
Amazon is expanding it smart-home tech principally through its Alexa voice assistant. The company said in January there are now more than 28,000 smart home devices from more than 4,500 brands that work with Alexa. That's up from over 20,000 and 3,500, since September. Also, more than 150 products now have Alexa built in, including headphones, thermostats, PCs, cars and light switches.
First published at 2:04 p.m. PT.
Update at 2:44 p.m. PT: Adds more details throughout.
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