After rumors, Microsoft announces purchase of R2 Studios for its Xbox business

R2 Studios chief Blake Krikorian has been appointed Corporate Vice President of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business

Microsoft has acquired id8 Group R2 Studios to boost its Xbox team, in a deal that unnamed sources leaked to some media outlets last week.

The acquired company, better known as R2 Studios, was founded by Blake Krikorian, who has been named corporate vice president of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business, Microsoft said on Thursday.

R2 Studios, which focuses on home automation technology, had reportedly been pursued by other suitors as well, including Apple.

The company's R2 Control for Crestron is an application that lets people control a variety of their house functions -- lighting, thermostats, alarm systems -- from an Android device. It works in conjunction with control processors from Crestron.

Microsoft didn't provide financial details about the deal or say what will happen to current R2 Studios products, technologies and partnerships.

Rumors about the Microsoft deal heated up after Krikorian resigned from his seat on Amazon.com's board of directors in December, and The Wall Street Journal first reported the acquisition on Jan. 2.

Krikorian was the co-founder and CEO of Sling Media, maker of the popular Slingbox "placeshifting" device which streams users' cable or satellite TV programming via the Internet to their PCs, mobile devices or other TV sets. That company is now owned by EchoStar.

At Microsoft, Krikorian will report to Marc Whitten, chief product officer of the entertainment unit, who in a written statement called Krikorian "a proven innovator" whose creations have transformed how people "engage with and consume content."

Krikorian, who said in the statement that he has been an Xbox Live subscriber for 10 years, will be deeply involved in the future development of Xbox's gaming and entertainment content delivery capabilities.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
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