Monday, January 13, 2014, 01:13 pm PT (04:13 pm ET)
Google buys Nest Labs, maker of smart thermostat, for $3.2 billion [u]Google has reportedly acquired Nest Labs, makers of the Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Protect smoke detector and a company founded by ex-Apple executive Tony Fadell, for $3.2 billion.
Update: In a follow-up to Monday's news, Re/Code has published an interview with Nest cofounder Tony Fadell, who said access to Google's infrastructure will play a key role in future plans.
"The whole goal is not to be totally independent — not just they just funnel us money — this is about something much bigger," Fadell said. He also allayed fears that gathered user data would be shared with Google, saying Nest data will be used exclusively to better Nest products.
According to a report from Re/Code, Google has finalized the purchase of Nest Labs, the smart home company co-founded by former Apple engineers Fadell and Matt Rogers. Prior to the buy, Google Ventures was a major backer of the startup.
In a subsequent press release, Google said the agreement consists of an all cash purchase that is currently pending government regulatory approval.
"We are excited to bring great experiences to more homes in more countries and fulfill their dreams!" - Google CEO Larry Page on Nest acquisition.
"Nest's founders, Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers, have built a tremendous team that we are excited to welcome into the Google family," said Google CEO Larry Page. "They're already delivering amazing products you can buy right now—thermostats that save energy and smoke/CO alarms that can help keep your family safe. We are excited to bring great experiences to more homes in more countries and fulfill their dreams!"
Aside from Fadell, who many consider to be the "grandfather of the iPod," Nest has a number of former Apple-employees on its staff. In 2012, Nest hired Apple's chief patent counsel Richard "Chip" Lutton, Jr., who now serves as the firm's vice president and general counsel. Most recently, Nest named former director of iPod software Bryan James as Vice President of Product Engineering.
"We're thrilled to join Google," Fadell said in a prepared statement. "With their support, Nest will be even better placed to build simple, thoughtful devices that make life easier at home, and that have a positive impact on the world."
Nest's first product, the Nest Learning Thermostat, was originally an exclusive Apple Store product. After launching a second-generation HVAC controller in , the company introduced its second smart home product in the Nest Protect, an Internet-connected smoke and carbon monoxide detector that can be monitored remotely via an iOS app.
According to Google, Nest will continue to operate under its own brand, though the buy may have implications to the ongoing iOS vs. Android fight for mobile dominance. Possible outcomes could be tighter integration with Android's voice-activated features or the inclusion of Nest's patented hardware control technology.
Google's outright acquisition comes as somewhat of a surprise as Nest was closing in on a funding round worth some $150 million, enough to net the company a valuation of more than $2 billion. Sources close to the matter said Google was the only serious bidder and that Apple was "not in the mix."
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