There's one less competitor in the robot vacuum world. Neato Robotics is shutting down as the company hasn't reached its "self-defined economic goals" for years, parent company Vorwerk Group tells TechHive. The firm's sales haven't met expectations, in other words. Vorwerk is promising cloud and repair support to Neato customers for "at least" five years, so your robovac should continue to run for a while longer.
The move will affect 98 jobs, Vorwerk says. Users started worrying weeks ago, when users noticed a broken customer sign-in page. Neato's Facebook and Twitter accounts vanished, and support staff fell silent. Vorwerk is fixing the login issues and says they're not connected to the shutdown.
Neato emerged in 2005 and soon became one of the main competitors to iRobot's Roomba series. It stood out by pushing the limits of robot vacuum technology, such as by adding WiFi in 2011 and LiDAR mapping in 2020. Vorwerk bought Neato in 2017, but continued to run the brand independently. Neato ran into trouble, and restructuring efforts didn't turn the company around.
The closure isn't surprising. iRobot has long dominated robovacs, and claimed 46 percent of the market in 2020 according to Statista. Neato, by comparison, had roughly 3 percent in preceding years and was already fading away by 2020. Competitors like Anker's Eufy brand, Roborock and Shark have entered the field and sometimes undercut Neato on price.
A shutdown may not be good news for iRobot, though. American politicians are already concerned about the potential harm of Amazon's proposed iRobot acquisition to the competitive landscape, and European regulators are reportedly close behind. Neato's demise further reduces that competition, even if it hasn't been a heavyweight for a while.