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Amazon vacuums up iRobot for $1.7 billion

Amazon will buy iRobot for $1.7 billion. The deal, which the companies announced on Friday morning, will make the popular Roomba line of robot vacuums part of the Amazon family and fast-track a deeper integration with Amazon's smart assistant Alexa and the company's smarthome ecosystem.

Founded in 1990 by MIT roboticists Colin Angle and Helen Greiner, the company struggled for most of the 1990s, attempting to break into the toy game with an all-too-real and creepy robotic My Real Baby Doll (opens in new tab). iRobot, however, struck gold when it moved away from anthropomorphic bots and into the utility robot space, introducing its first Roomba robot vacuum in 2002.

The line has grown from that initial, round, $199 robot, to an entire line of Roombas with most of them looking quite similar to the original automated home helper. iRobot eventually branched out into robot gutter cleaners ...

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