updated 05:21 pm EST, Thu December 20, 2012
Effort could signal major product plans
Apple, Google, and Microsoft are all competing to buy a home automation company called R2 Studios, says the Wall Street Journal. The firm was founded just last year by Blake Krikorian, better known for starting Sling Media, the company responsible for the Slingbox TV streamer. Making the talks unusual is that R2 has yet to actually put any products on sale, except for a single Android app that can control lighting and heating systems.
The move to acquire R2 suggests that all three potential buyers may see home automation as an important frontier market. Apple, though, has generally shown no interest in home automation outside of patent filings about connecting systems to an iPhone via NFC. Some automation hardware is sold in the online Apple store. The company could conceivably want R2's help in the construction of a rumored TV set, which might be able to auto-detect peripherals.
The WSJ comments that the progress and terms of the talks are uncertain. Some negotiations may be preliminary, the paper says, and a deal might not happen at all.