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SoftBank acquiring Boston Dynamics as Alphabet finally sells off robotics group

Over a year after reports first emerged that Alphabet was going to sell Boston Dynamics, a deal has finally been announced. SoftBank will be acquiring the robotics company, though exact details of the transaction have not been revealed.

SoftBank Group is purchasing Boston Dynamics as part of investments in “paradigm-shifting technologies” and to be a part of “the next wave of smart robotics.” Masayoshi Son, the Chairman & CEO of SoftBank Group Corp., said:

“Today, there are many issues we still cannot solve by ourselves with human capabilities. 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.”

The terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but the parent company of Sprint also agreed to acquire Japanese bipedal robotics company Schaft. Boston Dynamics CEO and founder Marc Raibert appears to be staying on as part of the deal.

Last March, rumors emerged that Alphabet was going to sell Boston Dynamics due to the lack of a “marketable product” in the next few years. Despite being acquired in 2013, the company never merged with the Replicant division where the rest of Google’s robotic acquisitions ended up.

At the time, Amazon and Toyota Research Institute were cited as possible front-runners. Since then, Boston Dynamics has continued to demo a number of animal-like robots.

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: