The Good. Last quarter report proves that Roombas are selling well, year over year growth is strong at 20%, that's high growth business territory deserving much higher multiple. Healthy sales of home robots continues to prove the concept, people are exited about home automation and perfectly willing to buy imperfect, early stage product. Roomba is becoming a status appliance in countries like Japan, Russia, France, etc, assuring further market expansion. The Bad. Lack of real product innovation, boring and dull design, slow introduction of even minor innovations and improvements. Since Apple demonstrated how great design practically creates new product categories many consumer companies devote more attention to design, not IROBOT. No strategy to leverage home robots success into various small office/institutional/industrial cleaning/maintenance applications. The Ugly. Management lacks clear strategic vision. Uninspiring leadership. Inarticulate management without any sign of spark and enthusiasm for excellence and innovation.
That's pretty much the definition of most american companies since they got into the outsourcing business and shortsightedness of short term profits over a long term plan. America companies started to lose their creativity once they got into this cutting cost mentality over keeping a steady workforce and team approach for the long term well being of the company.
Too easy to steal as well.. An unattended lawn-bot is pretty juicy target. The trick is to find a job that can be robotized cheap enough -- without huge R&D. I think Irbt's mgmt is doing just fine with the upgrades to packbot/sugv and the much improved Roomba and Scooba, and the foray into hospitals and the...
There is a lot going on at IRBT.
I was expecting G+I to be > 50% in sales if not in profit... nice the Roomba is selling so well in the new markets.
I am a little miffed that SUGV isn't getting deployed in the thousands. I personally believe that they would save a lot of (our troops) lives.
I agree with your assessment. That is why I just keep IRBT confined to the lower half of my portfolio. At least Colin Angle is not nearly as creepy as Larry Page and the three amigos at Google. I will give Colin an extra point for being a descent human being.
Could not agree with you more on the the G/B/U assessments. The company does not show a lot of urgency in either pushing out new products or new designs, etc. The robotic market is at the cusp of mass opportunities, yet IRBT is still in this ivory tower mentality, simply content with the flooring robots (look at how they spend the marketing money recently), instead of pushing hard on the exciting new categories. I think, a new highly motivated, visionary leadership team is truly needed to replace the current one, or be acquired by a deep pocketed company so the IPs and talents can be leveraged fully.