Microsoft to acquire home entertainment tech start-up

By Sooraj Shah
03 Jan 2013 View Comments

Microsoft has acquired a small home entertainment technology start-up called id8 Group R2 Studios, which recently launched a Google Android application enabling users to control home heating and lighting systems from their mobile devices.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Microsoft will use the start-up's technology to enhance its upcoming Xbox 360 successor, rumoured to be codenamed Durango.

Further reading

The start-up was only launched in 2011 by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Blake Krikorian, who had also owned Sling Media, the company that made the Slingbox for watching TV on PCs.

According to the report, he resigned from the board of Amazon just last week and is set to join Microsoft later this year as part of a small team, once the deal is finalised. Financial terms for the deal were not disclosed.

In December 2012, the Wall Street Journal had reported that the start-up was in talks with Google, Apple and Microsoft about a possible deal, citing "people familiar with the matter" as its source. Microsoft looks to have edged out its rivals and as part of the deal could acquire patents owned by id8 relating to controlling electronic devices.

All three technology giants have shown an interest in connecting mobile technology with a home entertainment hub, with Apple releasing AirPlay for Apple TV, Google's efforts with Google TV and Microsoft's attempts at integrating its Xbox with Windows 8 devices. 

Home automation tools like those provided by id8 could prove the next step in the so-called "battle of the living room".

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