updated 10:42 am EST, Thu January 3, 2013
Deal aborbs R2 team, some patents
Microsoft has won out amongst a group of parties looking to buy up R2 Studios, say sources for the Wall Street Journal. Although the exact value of the deal hasn't been identified, the sources say that R2's founder, Blake Krikorian, will join Microsoft with a small team. Microsoft is also picking up some device control patents.
The buyout is reportedly intended to contribute to Microsoft's Xbox division. Microsoft has been gradually expanding the Xbox 360 beyond gaming to handle a number of media sources, such as Netflix, HBO, YouTube, and cable TV. R2 specializes in home automation technology, and Krikorian is best known for founding Sling Media, the company behind the Slingbox series of TV streamers. Microsoft could be thinking of adding Slingbox-like functionality to the Xbox, and/or integrating the console with home automation systems.
In the competition for R2, Microsoft is said to have beat out both Apple and Google, which were also in talks. Of the latter pair, only Google has expressed a public interest in home automation. Apple may have wanted R2 to help with its rumored TV set.