Samsung has acquire Boxee, the set-top box TV service, for $30 million. The South Korean electronics giant will merge Boxee with its own efforts in the TV business and we will slowly see the company fade into the Samsung collection. While Samsung is not well known for acquisitions, this one is for a small but well known US startup, so it has made many question Samsung.
Boxee Dilemma: Funding or Sell?
Boxee was looking for another round of funding, after getting $26.5 seed on their first round. This was expected to step up a notch, possibly to $30 – 40 million. However, with a failed attempt at seed funding, the startup decided to start looking for potential buyers. The $30 million Samsung paid is probably less than Boxee were hoping for, but with Samsung’s huge mass they retained a rather small price.
Boxee has been a little bit of a pickle with new products, like the Boxee TV and Boxee Box, both received mixed reviews and big fans of Boxee switched away. The company has also had pretty hard competition, with Roku, Microsoft and Apple all competing in this set-top-box app centric TV battle.
Another Startup Bites The Dust
This is yet another talented startup with real potential swooped up by a bigger industry shark. We have seen a few of these rather cheap deals for known startups in the past few months, most coming from Yahoo as they continue to build and grab as many developers and technologies as possible.
The problem is Samsung rarely delivers services that users love, they can make nice hardware at times, but normally Samsung’s incredible nature comes from the amount of advertising and availability and price points offered. They simply do more in a small space than any other company.
This does not bode well for the future of TV, with Samsung likely to store all of Boxee’s incredible technology, both hardware and software, away in the “do not use” cupboard. It is more likely we will see a TouchWiz TV before we see any identification they have actually used the Boxee interface for their TV interface.
Samsung will keep half of Boxee’s staff and this will be split across Israel and USA, the two main places Boxee staff work. We believe Samsung was looking for a good Israeli startup and Boxee has a pretty good stance in the country, as Waze did for Google.