Blake Krikorian, the former CEO of Slingbox maker Sling Media, has joined Microsoft as a corporate vice president in the company’s Interactive Entertainment Business, home of the Xbox, following Microsoft’s acquisition of his latest startup.

Microsoft announced Krikorian’s appointment this morning and confirmed the acquisition of his home-automation technology startup, id8 R2 Studios. The news, which had been rumored but not officially announced, reflects the continued evolution of the Xbox to become a broader device for entertainment in the home, not just for video games.

He will report to Marc Whitten, chief product officer for the group, who praised Krikorian’s track record of creating “simple, elegant products that have transformed the way people engage with and consume content.”

“I am excited to join Microsoft and be a part of the Xbox team. As a 10-year Xbox LIVE subscriber, I have seen firsthand how Xbox has delighted us by reinventing how consumers experience games and entertainment,” Krikorian said in a press release announcing the news. “I look forward to helping the team define the future of entertainment and contribute to the next decade of continued innovation.”

Krikorian’s startup kept a low profile, but as GeekWire reported last week, R2 Studios acquired more than two dozen patents and patent applications last year covering a wide range of automation technologies in the home. One of them is a broad patent for using a central server in conjunction with a portable remote as a master control for everything in the home — including televisions, computers, stereos, lights, ovens, alarm clocks and more.

Krikorian had been serving as an board member but resigned from that post after news of the acquisition of his startup surfaced.

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  • guest

    Since they apparently can’t develop much interesting internally, it makes sense to buy innovation from others. Hopefully they don’t end up killing it like they have so many others.

    • Srinivas Vasudevan

      Clueless like most comments about “innovation”.

      • guest

        Yeah, you really showed me with your content less ad hominem rebuttal. The fact is that MS has had an exceedingly low return on its industry leading R&D budget. So instead of making excuses for that lack of success and continuing to do what clearly isn’t working, it makes more sense to let others take the upfront risk and then buy the few innovations which emerge that have potential. And of course don’t kill them after buying them, as MS has in dozens of cases.

        • Srinivas Vasudevan

          Not an ad hominem attack… an attack on your comment; no need to get upset at me :). And it’s not just Microsoft; most large businesses do both talent and product acquisitions. Look at Google, Oracle, and others in the industry.

          To name a few Microsoft innovations off the top of my head, Surface, XBOX Live, Kinect, and Windows 8. I am not making “excuses”. Given Microsoft has a good balance sheet, it makes sense that Microsoft spend its cash to grow and develop new products. Microsoft also needs to do in-house innovation and research and development to retain and develop new high-quality talent.

  • Mark Taylor

    It’s a very efficient way to do R&D. Why do you think some big companies invest in education programs and run/sponsor competitions in their technology area’s? To kindle innovation that may come back to them one day.

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