SoftBank to buy robotics firm from Alphabet
SoftBank said that one of its subsidiaries will buy Alphabet’s Boston Dynamics for an undisclosed amount. Boston Dynamics develops humanoid robots with names like Atlas, Spot and Handle. The intelligent robots have demonstrated agility, dexterity, and perception.
“Smart robotics are going to be a key driver of the next stage of the Information Revolution,” said SoftBank Chairman Masayoshi Son. “Today, there are many issues we still cannot solve by ourselves with human capabilities.”
“We share SoftBank’s belief that advances in technology should be for the benefit of humanity,” said Marc Raibert, CEO and founder of Boston Dynamics. “We at Boston Dynamics are excited to be part of SoftBank’s bold vision and its position creating the next technology revolution.”
The Japanese company has also agreed to acquire bipedal robotics company Schaft. Schaft is a 5-year-old company founded at the JSK Robotics Laboratory at the University of Tokyo.
One of SoftBank’s biggest deals to date is its $32 billion purchase of ARM Holdings, the British company that develops the intellectual property inside the processors that power most smartphones. ARM cores are also found inside the microcontrollers that provide the compute functionality for many internet of things devices.
Masayoshi Son’s biggest deal of all is his $100 billion Vision Fund, created to invest in promising technology startups around the world. The Vision Fund includes investors from Saudi Arabia and Silicon Valley, as well as SoftBank.
SoftBank also owns a majority interest in Sprint, which Son tried unsuccessfully to combine with T-Mobile US in 2014. Son recently said that T-Mobile US remains his “first priority” for a merger, and that the current U.S. administration is likely to be more open to a merger than the Obama administration was.