Washington DC, USA — SmartThings, the creator of the free-to-download home control app for smartphones, has been acquired by South Korea-based Samsung and will operate as an independent company within Samsung’s Open Innovation Center group. Now, as Jeremy Cowan reports, SmartThings’ CEO is responding to mixed views about the sale.
The SmartThings app is designed to be easy-to-use, turning iOS or Android smartphones into a remote to control all of the smart devices in your home, including home security, heating and lighting. SmartThings began as a Kickstarter project in 2012. Terms of the deal have not been officially disclosed but TechCrunch put the sale price at around US$200 million.
Making the announcement, SmartThings founder Alex Hawkinson, wrote in his blog: “It has always been our goal to create a totally open smart home platform that brings together third-party developers, device makers, and consumers. We’re thrilled that Samsung fully supports this vision. We will continue to run SmartThings the way we always have: by embracing our community of customers, developers, and device makers and championing the creation of the leading open platform for the smart home. Our growing team will remain fully intact and will relocate to a new headquarters in Palo Alto, California. In short: SmartThings will remain SmartThings.
He went on to say: “We believe that there is an enormous opportunity to leverage Samsung’s global scale to help us realise our long-term vision. While we will remain operationally independent, joining forces with Samsung will enable us to support all of the leading smartphone vendors, devices, and applications; expand our base of developers and enhance the tools and programs that they rely on; and help many more people around the world easily control and monitor their homes using SmartThings.”
Hawkinson added: “We’re tremendously excited about the possibilities ahead, and owe a heartfelt thank you to the people who have helped us get here: our amazing customers and supporters.”
The company will relocate soon to Palo Alto, CA and is now hiring. SmartThings is now advertising numerous engineering, developer and management vacancies in the San Francisco Bay Area and Minneapolis, USA.
There has been a mixed reaction to the news from SmartThing’s supporters. While many offered congratulations on the sale, there was a strong thread of mistrust suggesting that Samsung products were not of sufficient quality or originality, and questioning the consumer electronics giant’s commitments to an open platform.
One recent customer said: “Just waiting for Samsung to stop allowing improvements for Apple devices.” To which Hawkinson replied: “We are 100% open and there will be no slowdown in support for iOS, our plans for HomeKit, and so much more. Can’t wait to show you what is coming.”
Samsung will have representatives on the board of directors, but SmartThings will continue to operate as an independent unit under Hawkinson’s leadership.