Blake Krikorian, the hardware entrepreneur, quit Amazon’s board of directors on Monday to join a mysterious competitor. We now know its name: Microsoft.Microsoft reportedly bought Krikorian’s latest startup, a home-automation company called id8 Group R2 Studios.
Krikorian is best known as the guy behind Sling Media and the Slingbox, a device which rebroadcast signals from a TV in your living room to a laptop or smartphone.
When Krikorian gave notice that he was leaving Amazon, Amazon said it was due to the sale of his startup and that he was taking a role with the company that bought it. But it didn’t reveal who the mysterious buyer was.
Wall Street Journal reporters Jessica Lessin and Shira Ovide are now reporting that Microsoft bought R2 Studios for an undisclosed sum. In addition to getting Krikorian to join Microsoft, Redmond is also getting some patents. R2 Studios was working on some super secret tech around displaying digital content on TVs and doing mobile home automation.
Last year, it released an app that let Android phones control home lightiing and heating, the Wall Street Journal reports.
R2 Studios also reportedly had lots of suitors besides Microsoft, including Google and Apple.
Home automation is becoming a hot area for tech companies. For instance, former Apple executive Tony Fadell made waves with his startup, Nest Labs. Nest produces a smart thermostat controlled with a mobile phone.