Softbank Acquires Boston Dynamics- Is This The End of Google’s Robotic Dreams?

The 25-year old lab, Boston Dynamics, is the most promising robotics company the world has seen. It is a company spun out of the famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The way this MIT spinout has developed robots and its work in the area of robotic engineering makes us wonder if it will be the one to usher into a new age of robotics. Some of its robots like the Atlas and Handle are truly a piece of enigma. Today, the biggest news in the tech world is the acquisition of Boston Dynamics by SoftBank, a tech and telecommunications company of Japan. So what will happen next is the question on every tech person’s mind.

handle robot boston dynamics

Boston Dynamics’ Robot- Handle (Picture Credits- Boston Dynamics)

Boston Dynamics in the Hands of SoftBank


Google’s Andy Rubin, the co-founder of Android, was heading the acquisitions of a handful of robotic firms during his tenure at the company. He was a prominent name in the Boston Dynamic’s acquisition. The Verge reports that this division was internally known as Replicant and it went haywire after the departure of Rubin. This left the future of robotic companies under Alphabet in a flux. Back in March 2016, there was also news that Alphabet planned to sell the 25-year old Boston Dynamics. After which, it is recently acquired by SoftBank. However, the terms of the deal is undisclosed.

boston dynamics robot atlas

Boston Dynamics’ Robot- Atlas (Picture Credits- Boston Dynamics)

Boston Dynamics has seen financial help from the U.S. government itself. The ‘Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’has financially helped this company. The robotics company has also pioneered breakthrough robots that can change and adapt to real-world situations and terrain changes. Handle is a jumping robot that can even perform aerial acts and avoid obstacles easily.

Why Alphabet Took the Decision

atlast robot boston dynamics

Boston Dynamics’ Robot- Atlas (Picture Credits- Boston Dynamics)

Notably, there are no problems with the robotics company that was once owned by Alphabet. In fact, it is advancing by leaps and bounds, and no other robotics startup can match up to the level of tech that comes out of it. But it seems that Alphabet was clueless about what to do with its robotic company and ambitions.

Even more, Alphabet’s CFO, Ruth Porat had set a cost-saving and re-structuring strategy last year. According to this strategy, the company did take some significant measures to cut down on its ‘experimental’ projects and continue to rule in the ‘moonshot’ projects, reports The Verge. It also reports that prior to this strategy and the hiring of Porat; Alphabet was already incurring loss as its robotic ambitions never took off.

handle boston dynamics

Boston Dynamics’ Robot- Handle (Picture Credits- Boston Dynamics)

Alphabet is a big name, probably enough big to fuel the robotics ambitions. But it seems that it does not want to spend more time and resources on the future. Rather, it is concentrating on its already established projects. If the robotics firm makes a breakthrough innovation under the leadership of SoftBank, there will certainly be a sense of loss or regret in Alphabet. But we think it is ready to leave its robotics dreams in the hands of the Japanese firm, SoftBank.

Boston Dynamics Excited to Work with SoftBank

atlas boston dynamics

Boston Dynamics’ Robot- Atlas (Picture Credits- Boston Dynamics)

Marc Raibert, the CEO and founder of the robotics company mentioned his views in a statement. He said that they are excited to be a part of the bold vision and the position of SoftBank that creates tech revolution. Raibert said that they share the belief of SoftBank that technological advances should be done for benefitting humanity.

It seems that the robotics company which was once at cross with Alphabet has now found a suitable owner.

Well, Alphabet it is really a huge loss and farewell to an ambition and SoftBank we would like to heartily congratulate you. Also, we await the amazing innovations this merger will bring to us in the future.

Christy Gren
Christy Gren is an Industry Specialist Reporter at Industry Leaders Magazine she enjoys writing about Unicorns, Silicon Valley, Startups, Business Leaders and Innovators. Her articles provide an insight about the Power Players in the field of Technology, Auto, Manufacturing, and F&B.

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