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Samsung is buying SmartThings, a startup backed by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin that helps connect household devices. Samsung joins Apple and Google in exploring ways to integrate connected household gadgets to begin to exploit the “Internet of Things.”
The TechCrunch blog reported Samsung was set to pay more than $200 million for the two-year-old startup of 55 employees, which has raised $15.5 million in venture capital from Greylock and Russian investor Yuri Milner, among others.
SmartThings, which lets people use a mobile to control connected devices, says it has some 5,000 developers building devices that connect to its open platform. It will continue to operate independently but move its base from Washington DC to Palo Alto, California.
Manufacturers are rolling out Internet-connected burglar alarms, televisions and light switches. But like the early days of video cassette recorders, current smart home products are often incompatible with each other. The largest tech players are now drawing up alliances to create common standards for the next generation of gadgets.
Apple, which strictly controls how other products interact with its own, in June announced HomeKit, which it describes as a framework to communicate with devices in the home.
Google’s Nest has also partnered with companies including Whirlpool to integrate their products.
Samsung, which already makes Internet-connected appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines, has allied with Intel and Dell among others. Qualcomm has forged a rival alliance with Microsoft.