A Kiva robot in action

Amazon today finished its $775 million purchase of Kiva Systems, the Massachusetts-based maker of automation technology for fulfillment centers — better known as warehouse robots.

The company disclosed the completion of the deal in a (very) brief regulatory filing.

Amazon had announced the acquisition agreement in March. Kiva’s customers include drugstore.com, Gilt Group, Dansko, Gap, Toys R Us, Office Depot, Walgreen’s, GAP and Staples, in addition to Amazon-owned Quidsi, the company behind Diapers.com.

In many cases, those companies compete with Amazon, but the Seattle company said previously that Kiva customers would “continue to receive service and support after the transaction.”

On the company’s earnings conference call last week, Amazon officials were mum on their plans for further integrating the Kiva, except to say that they were excited about the deal.

“We’re very, very excited to be having Kiva and the team as part of the Amazon team,” said Thomas Szkutak, the company’s chief financial officer, on the call. “We’re extremely excited to have that. And in terms of implementations within Amazon, we still have a lot of work to do to figure out how and when we’ll do that. And so those are things that we’ll be working on. But we’re very, very excited about the opportunity to join with Kiva. So we’re excited about it.”

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  • jennifer john

    Amazon officials were mum on their plans for further integrating the Kiva, except to say that they were excited about the deal.

    • excited

      “…very, very excited…We’re extremely excited…But we’re very, very excited… So we’re excited about it.”  

  • adellos

    In my youth I worked in warehouses and then supervised them and I think any effort to replace warehouse jobs with machines deserves praise. Warehouse fulfillment is back-breaking, tedious work and the more that can be done by machines the better. However I do find the idea of machines taking away jobs from people troubling.

    While, we’re still in the early stages, I believe that “basic labor” is going to become a thing of the past. This seems like a prime example of that. I believe IBM’s Watson or something like it will be a big part of this shift as well.What I think the general populace ought be concerned about is what happens when jobs that used to require a person, don’t. 

    One of the main pillars of our socio-economic system is the idea of people performing labor for pay. We each do our job and are rewarded financially. What happens when the jobs still exist but they are (rightfully) given to machines instead of us?

    This is a challenge for this century. I’m not a fan of going backwards or “sidewards”; I think we must go forward. But we need to start thinking about what types of changes have to be made in our society and our culture to accommodate a world where human labor is less essential than it is today.


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