By Maria Armental
Amazon.com Inc. on Monday disclosed its latest bet to control the so-called smart home, adding to its fold a company that offers a Wi-Fi system that ditches the traditional router.
Seattle-based Amazon and fellow tech giants Alphabet Inc.'s Google and others have been racing to use voice assistants to control everyday devices to promote their services -- and glean valuable consumer data.
By buying Eero -- a company that promises no Wi-Fi dead zones by deploying a customizable armada of small wireless routers around the house -- Amazon will go head-to-head against Google's OnHub. Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed.
Like OnHub and Luma, in which Amazon had invested earlier, Eero offers what is known as mesh Wi-Fi networks, with access points installed around the house or an office that allow devices to connect with the closest wireless access-point without changing networks.
The Eero device plugs into a modem. Users can then customize the system, adding additional devices that plug into outlets, based on the size -- and shape -- of the house.
"From the beginning, eero's mission has been to make the technology in homes just work," Nick Weaver, Eero's chief executive and one of its founders, said in a statement. "We started with WiFi because it's the foundation of the modern home."
Mr. Weaver said working with Amazon could help it bring more Eero systems to customers around the world.
Asked on Twitter about privacy and security, given Amazon's disclosure last year that one of its Echo home speakers had mistakenly recorded a private conversation and sent it to a person in the owners' contact list, Eero said that it "does not track customers' internet activity and this policy will not change with the acquisition." The company added that its devices don't have microphones. An Amazon representative couldn't immediately be reached for comment.
Eero was founded in 2014 in San Francisco. Amazon said Eero's products and services have garnered favorable ratings with customers on the Amazon website.
"We are incredibly impressed with the eero team and how quickly they invented a WiFi solution that makes connected devices just work," said Dave Limp, who oversees the company's Alexa business as senior vice president of Amazon devices.
Amazon has been investing heavily in its Alexa virtual assistant and the Echo devices it powers. Speaking at The Wall Street Journal's WSJ Tech D.Live conference in November, Mr. Limp said the company had more than doubled the number of workers dedicated to Alexa and Echo devices since fall 2017.
--Stephen Nakrosis contributed to this article.
Write to Maria Armental at email@example.com