Eero will be run independently inside Amazon
Amazon’s deal to acquire mesh Wi-Fi router company Eero has officially closed, expanding the retail giant’s stable of consumer hardware offerings. Amazon hasn’t yet said how much it paid for Eero, and both Amazon SVP of devices and services Dave Limp and Eero CEO Nick Weaver declined to disclose the amount in a short conversation with me and Verge executive editor Dieter Bohn.
“The company’s doing well,” Limp said. “Nick and his team are doing well. The roadmap is great, their customer service is great, their engineering is great. We’re just going to keep the team intact.” That approach would mirror the one Amazon’s taken with video doorbell and alarm company Ring, which the company acquired last year and which has more or less run independently since. (Ring CEO Jamie Siminoff told me last October that his company works in an “autonomous zone” inside Amazon.)
But doorbells and routers are very different products, and concerns that Amazon would somehow make expanded use of Eero network data have been growing ever since the deal was announced — obviously, your Wi-Fi router can see all your network traffic, and Eero’s system in particular relies on a cloud service for network optimization and other features. But Eero is committed to keeping that data private, said Weaver, who also published a blog post this morning that explicitly promises Eero will never read any actual network traffic.
“If anything, we’re just going to strengthen our commitment to both privacy and security,” Weaver told us. “We’ve got some pretty clear privacy principles that we’ve used for developing all of our products, that are the really the underpinnings of everything. Those aren’t going to change.”
Those three principles, as laid out in the blog post, are that customers have a “right to privacy” that includes transparency around what data is being collected and control over that data; that network diagnostic information will only be collected to improve performance, security, and reliability; and that Eero will “actively minimize” the amount of data it can access, while treating the data it does collect with “the utmost security.”
“I’m an Eero customer,” Limp told us. “One of the reasons I used these products, even before this [deal], is that I was really impressed by and admired their commitment to privacy.”
“People are inviting us into their homes,” added Weaver. “I take that really seriously.”
Limp said that Amazon approached Eero about a deal six months ago when Amazon launched “frustration-free setup” for smart home devices in the Alexa ecosystem, which allows Echo products to automatically set up things like smart outlets and Fire TV devices when they’re simply plugged in. Eero was one of the company’s launch partners, and working together made Limp realize that buying Eero could speed up Amazon’s internal smart home efforts, too.
“There are a lot of things we can do with Eero to make the smart home even easier,” said Limp. “Our job over the next six to 12 months is to start showing you proof points of what we can do.”
Amazon is discounting Eero bundles by $100 today to celebrate the deal closing, so there’s already at least one example of what being owned by one of the richest retailers in the world can do.
Date: March 13, 2019
Source: The Verge