Amazon buys army of robots

From CNN: “Amazon is buying Kiva Systems, a manufacturer of bright orange robots that scuttle around warehouses filling orders, for $775 million.

The all-cash deal, which is expected to close in the second quarter, will be Amazon’s (AMZN, Fortune 500) biggest acquisition since its purchase of Zappos in 2009.

Kiva, which was founded in 2002, makes robots that scoot around warehouse floors and pick up items from shelves to help fulfill customer orders. Amazon is already a customer, along with other major retailers including Staples (SPLS, Fortune 500), The Gap and CrateandBarrel.com.

Snagging those customers wasn’t easy, Kiva CEO and founder Mick Mountz told CNNMoney in November.

“Fulfillment is the core of these operations, so when we were pitching them, they were hearing ‘heart-lung transplant,'” Mountz said.

The orange Kiva fleet doesn’t come cheap. A “startup kit” of robots costs $1 million to $2 million, and a large warehouse operation with 1,000 robots costs $15 million to $20 million.” See full article and video at CNN

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