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Amazon Key and Ring may become your new smart home BFFs – CNET

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Ring is now part of Amazon’s effort to build its dominance in smart home.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Amazon Key, the e-commerce giant’s in-home delivery service that’s off to a bumpy start, may soon get back-up from one of the hottest smart-home startups around.

Fortunately for Amazon, that startup is now part of the family.

The e-commerce titan on Thursday said it completed its purchase of Ring, a maker of video doorbells and security cameras, after revealing the deal in late February. Now the work starts to figure out how to combine forces, including potentially adding Ring into Key, according to Dave Limp, head of Amazon’s devices and services.

“As it relates to Key, that’s obviously one that we’ll look at pretty closely,” he said Tuesday. “I wouldn’t want to make any commitments at this point in time, but it’s certainly one that’s on the list that we’ll start thinking about.”

Limp’s comments, which were part of an exclusive interview along with Ring CEO Jamie Siminoff, offer a hint to how Ring fits into Amazon’s broader strategy for the smart home. The deal comes as Amazon is working hard to maintain its dominant position in the area, where its Echo devices control 70 percent of the US smart speaker market. Also, its Alexa voice assistant works with thousands of gadgets, including Ring’s products. 

But, with Google, Apple and Samsung all pushing into the same business, Amazon is trying to keep its edge by continually growing its portfolio of devices, from the Fire TV stick to the Cloud Cam security camera to smart doorbells.

Now Playing: Watch this: Amazon buys Ring

1:25

The acquisition also marks a shaky time in Amazon’s relationship with smart thermostat and camera maker Nest, a long-time Alexa partner that’s owned by Alphabet, Google’s parent company. Google in early February merged itself back with Nest so both companies can work more closely together and create a potentially stronger competitor to Amazon. Meanwhile, Amazon has decided not to stock several new Nest devices, including the Nest Hello doorbell that competes against Ring’s products.

“We make assortment decisions all the time, based on a number of factors,” Amazon said about not selling those products.

‘A no-brainer’

Amazon and Ring so far hadn’t said much about the acquisition, so Limp — while in Seattle — and Siminoff — from Ring’s California headquarters — took the opportunity of the deal closing to offer a few more details on their plans and how the deal came together.

Limp said Amazon plans to let Ring continue to run independently, with its headquarters staying in Santa Monica. Amazon also extended employment offers to all of Ring’s workers. Siminoff will report directly to Limp.

The deal was reportedly for $1 billion — making it one of Amazon’s biggest acquisitions yet — but neither Limp nor Siminoff would confirm that amount during the call Tuesday.

“Ring is doing unbelievably well and has been for a long time, and my view is to continue letting them be Ring,” Limp said.

Even though Ring has been succeeding on its own, Siminoff said, he saw an opportunity to reach his goal of making more neighborhoods safer quicker and more effectively under a major tech player like Amazon.

“It was a no-brainer for me,” he added.

Now Playing: Watch this: Ring’s Spotlight Cam watches your yard, keeps the lights…

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As part of that efforts, Amazon announced Thursday that it permanently cut the price on Ring’s original and lowest-price video doorbell from roughly $150 to $100. Siminoff said

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