SoftBank Will Acquire Advanced Robotics Firm Boston Dynamics

SoftBank Will Acquire Advanced Robotics Firm Boston Dynamics
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As part of furthering its vision of placing a robot in every home, Japanese tech-giant, SoftBank Group, announced that it has definitive plans to acquire Boston Dynamics from Google’s parent company, Alphabet, according to a press release published to the company’s website. Additionally, SoftBank will acquire Schaft, another of Alphabet’s more secretive robotics firms, as part of a deal that’s worth an undisclosed sum of money.

“Today, there are many issues we still cannot solve by ourselves with human capabilities,” said Masayoshi Son, chairman and CEO of SoftBank Group Corp. “Smart robotics are going to be a key driver of the next stage of the Information Revolution, and Marc and his team at Boston Dynamics are the clear technology leaders in advanced dynamic robots. I am thrilled to welcome them to the SoftBank family and look forward to supporting them as they continue to advance the field of robotics and explore applications that can help make life easier, safer and more fulfilling.”

As per the terms of the agreement, the entire team at Boston Dynamics — makers of BigDog, Atlas, and a variety of other high-tech robots — will be joining the team at SoftBank Group. See these robots in action below.

“We at Boston Dynamics are excited to be part of SoftBank’s bold vision and its position creating the next technology revolution, and we share SoftBank’s belief that advances in technology should be for the benefit of humanity,” said Marc Raibert, CEO and founder of Boston Dynamics, adding that “We look forward to working with SoftBank in our mission to push the boundaries of what advanced robots can do and to create useful applications in a smarter and more connected world.”

The news comes as rumors had been swirling about Alphabet’s desire to offload its myriad of holdings in the robotics industry, and as a previous acquisition prospect by Japanese auto-giant, Toyota, ultimately fell through last year, according to PCWorld.

Unlike in the U.S., the field of robotics is a huge segment of the booming Japanese tech industry, with the majority of innovation and investment in the field coming from the country and specifically, the multibillion dollar SoftBank Group, whose CEO, Masayoshi Son, recently met with U.S. President Trump over the prospect of investing as much as $50 billion in various U.S. tech and infrastructure projects, according to FOX Business.

SoftBank, in recent years, has been doubling-down on some of its biggest bets in the tech sector, and what it believes will be “the future of computing” — and the acquisition of these robotics firms is certain to help drive that goal home. Meanwhile, for Alphabet, the deal appears to be bringing more relief to the table than anything else, as the California-based company tries to consolidate its vast portfolio and refocus on more profitable efforts.

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