Google buys Nest Labs, maker of smart thermostat, for $3.2 billion in cash

The company everyone assumed Apple would one day buy, Nest Labs, the maker of the smart thermostat, has been bought by Google instead. And the price is an eye opener: $3.2 billion in cash.

nest_thermostat-lgGoogle announced the move this afternoon on its investor blog.

“Nest’s founders, Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers, have built a tremendous team that we are excited to welcome into the Google family,” Larry Page, CEO of Google, said. “They’re already delivering amazing products you can buy right now–thermostats that save energy and smoke/CO alarms that can help keep your family safe. We are excited to bring great experiences to more homes in more countries and fulfill their dreams!”

“We’re thrilled to join Google. With their support, Nest will be even better placed to build simple, thoughtful devices that make life easier at home, and that have a positive impact on the world,” Tony Fadell, CEO of Nest, said.

The sales price clearly is not a reflection of the revenue levels attained by the new company, but an incredible endorsement of the company’s initiative to bring smart technology to the home, improving mundane, often overlooked products.

The move though, is sure to be brought up during Apple’s earning conference call later this month. With its enormous cash reserves, why didn’t Apple pick up Nest? Was the price tag too much, or did Google simply step in a beat Apple to the punch?

Other questions that come with this purchase naturally involve Google, the company that wants to know everything. How much information will now flow from Nest products to Google? etc. Knowing this, Nest immediately posted a Q&A on their website blog to try and answer questions like “will Nest continue to support iOS devices?” (yes) and “Will Nest customer data be shared with Google?” (they didn’t say “no” but said they have “always taken privacy seriously and this will not change.”)

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