Tuesday, February 12, 2019 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Amazon Acquires Eero

Chris Welch (MacRumors, Hacker News):

Amazon has announced that it’s acquiring Eero, the maker of mesh home routers. Amazon says buying Eero will allow the company to “help customers better connect smart home devices.” It will certainly make Alexa-compatible gadgets easier to set up if Amazon also controls the router technology. Financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed.

Nilay Patel:

Eero was one of the few major (and necessary) tech products you could buy that was 1. terrific 2. made by a well-run, personable company 3. not made by one of the giants

Dieter Bohn:

Maybe Eero’s mesh network could be built-in to future Echoes. Maybe future Eeros could get microphones built into them. Maybe Amazon will hug Eero so tightly it will die or maybe Amazon will let it live as an independent unit, much like Ring. Maybe Eero Plus — which includes a VPN and anti-malware and even a subscription to a password manager — would get bundled for free into an Amazon Prime subscription.

[…]

But this time, the surprise might be on Amazon. The first reaction from people who know and love Eero wasn’t speculating on any of those possibilities. Instead, the overwhelming reactions were consternation, concern, and exhaustion.

Dan Masters:

I remember when I thought Apple would integrate the AirPort Express into the Apple TV. #waste

Dave:

I thought the same thing.

Before the ‘reinvented’ 4th gen Apple TV came out, it was supposed to be a console/Steam competitor, a cable TV killer, home Siri, and Wi-Fi - all in one.

It got basically none of that right.

Instead, we go an awful remote and apps no one uses.

Jon Gales:

I still find it really weird that Apple got out of the wireless networking game. Amazon and Google clearly see value in it.

Joe Cieplinski:

At some point, Apple is going to have to ask itself: If we care about privacy, should we be providing our customers with a means to protect themselves at all points of their internet connections?

See also: Rene Ritchie.

Previously:

Update (2019-02-13): John Gruber:

I know Amazon wants to keep its options open and isn’t going to commit to anything today, but that “at this time” is painful to read.

Rene Ritchie:

Google, Amazon, Facebook are massive data harvesting companies with service/device front ends critical to facilitate that harvesting. It makes any/unlimited numbers categories business-necessities.

Apple doesn’t need to make routers. We need them to because of the above. :(

Spencer Callaghan:

right but as a market strategy, would keeping that data from competitors not be a good move? Also, they are clearly interested in the smart home space, embedded routers in HomeKit devices just makes so much sense, particularly from a company that values minimalism.

Nut Button:

The only companies that feel like there’s a market in routers are the ones that do it for data collection. If Apple really wants to walk the walk they’d be making routers. I hope that if they aren’t already that this is a wake up call.

Robert Walter:

I know Apple believes in security but if they were really serious about it, they’d offer 1. Safe router, 2. VPN and 3. upgrade iCloud Keych/Apple Wallet to a full function p/w mgr..

Apple originally sold Airports because so few good routers. Should do now because few safe ones

JFMartin:

The iDevice could have played the role of the HomeKit bridge and respond to Siri requests from the wireless speakers (just like the Siri Remote is able to send requests wirelessly to the Apple TV). The combinaison of all these features could have become an ecosystem by itself, a new platform. Configuration would have been done via the Home.app (or a seperate app for more advanced feature configuration like firewall rules or internet content filtering.

What name could Apple give to this fabulous new product? The HomePod. Now that would have made sense. Boom.

See also: Accidental Tech Podcast.

Update (2019-02-14): Rosyna Keller:

I’m personally mode terrified Amazon will start requiring an Amazon account to do anything with an eero.

Google Wi-Fi already requires a Google account.

Update (2019-04-09): Rachel Kraus (via Hacker News):

It revealed that the final sale price was $97 million. Crunchbase reports that Eero took $90 million in venture capital (the Wall Street Journal put the number at $100 million). PitchBook, a highly accurate source of VC information, claimed a final $40 million Series D fundraising round from December 2017 brought that number up to $138 million. Eero declined to comment, instead pointing to a March 12 blog post confirming the sale.

An additional $10 million debt line Eero took out brings the total money put into the company at $148 million — 150 percent of the Amazon sale price.

[…]

The documents state that after transaction costs and debt, the actual price will be closer to $54.6 million. That means that Amazon is covering around $40 million of the debt that Eero owes. Ex-employees believe the debt to be from hardware manufacturing costs, since they said that Eero took on corporate financing to actually manufacture the products.

3 Comments

@Robert is wrong about there not being safe ones. That's just ridiculous. I have a small side gig picking routers that are third party firmware safe and installing said firmware. Works fine. But even if I stick to first party firmware, there's a nice selection out there.

Also, @Rosyna, Apple started the trend of stupidly unnecessary tie ins just to use their routers, Google and perhaps now Amazon are simply continuing the trend. I will not, I repeat, will not purchase a router that requires an app for management or any kind of online account. Apple failed at the former, many "easy to use" models fail at one or both of those points.

@Nathan Apple didn’t require an account, just a Mac or iOS device.

I know. That's why I attempted to draw a distinction between the two. Let's be honest, the app requirement was simply a way for Apple to have control of the ecosystem. There was very little value added. I don't think either should be required. Making a proper web interface isn't exactly hard. A good app should add value not be a requirement. Same for any kind of account access.

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