At the end of December we reported that Apple, along with Microsoft and Google, was in talks to acquire R2 Studios, the home automation firm, but now it looks like Microsoft beat Apple to the punch in acquiring the home entertainment technology startup.
id8 Group R2 Studios Inc. was created in 2011 by entrepreneur Blake Krikorian, who will be joining the Redmond, Wash., software giant with a small team. Microsoft has also acquired some patents owned by the startup company as part of the deal, which relate to controlling electronic devices. The price of the deal is unknown at the moment.
R2 Studies has been working on expanding its technology in distributing and displaying media on TVs, which is something a lot of technology giants have been interested in lately. Microsoft has spent much of the last year expanding its Xbox from a video game machine to a system that connects traditional TV with Web video, making deals with Netflix, HBO, and YouTube, Comcast, and Time Warner for on-demand and Web videos. Subscribers to the Xbox Live service can watch on-demand TV programming or Web video on TV sets that are hooked up with an Xbox.
Apple has also been rumored to be interested in breaking into the television market beyond the Apple TV. Progress has been slow due to difficulties in negotiations with content providers, but Apple is rumored to be working on developing a new set-top box as well as an Internet-connected television.
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