SoftBank to buy Boston Dynamics from Alphabet

The Japanese conglomerate will acquire the Google-owned robotics company for an undisclosed sum.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

SoftBank has announced that it has reached an agreement with Alphabet to purchase Boston Dynamics, and will also snap up Japanese bipedal robotics company Schaft.

Details of the deal are scant, with the sale price not disclosed and the transaction pending regulatory approval.

"There are many issues we still cannot solve by ourselves with human capabilities," SoftBank Group CEO Masayoshi Son said. "Smart robotics are going to be a key driver of the next stage of the information revolution, and ... Boston Dynamics are the clear technology leaders in advanced dynamic robots."

Over a year ago, it was reported Google mothership Alphabet had put Boston Dynamics up for sale. The robotics company was purchased by Google for $500 million in 2013. Schaft was also purchased by Google in the same year.

SoftBank is far from a stranger to the realm of robots, with its Pepper robot selling out in under a minute when it was first offered to the market in 2015.

Pepper is set to be used as a social robotics research platform at the Queensland University of Technology.

Earlier this year, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said robots should be taxed at the same level as the people they replace to help fund better social services and education.

"Right now, if a human worker does $50,000 worth of work in a factory, that income is taxed. If a robot comes in to do the same thing, you'd think we'd tax the robot at a similar level," he said.

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