Peripheral and accessory maker Logitech is looking to diversity its business, and took a major leap today announcing it plans to acquire high-def video conferencing startup LifeSize for $405 million in cash. The Texas-based LifeSize specializes in high-definition video conferencing tools that are priced lower than similar solutions already on the market; LifeSize says it has more than 9,000 customers in 80 countries, ranging from large enterprises to government, educational, and public sector clients.
“We expect this acquisition to enable Logitech to extend our leadership in video communication beyond the desktop,” said Logitech president and CEO Gerald P. Quindlen, in a statement. “Together we can make life-like, HD-quality video communication as mainstream and seamless as a telephone, for meeting participants in the boardroom, at their office desk, in a remote-location meeting room, telecommuting from home, or on the go with a laptop.”
The advantage of high-definition video conferencing is that it enables groups to more easily see small details at the other end of a call: users can easily sketch out an idea on a pad of paper or hold a small image up to the camera and expect it to be clearly visible at the other end of the call. As more businesses tap into broadband Internet, the potential market for Internet-based video conferencing solutions is expanding from government and large enterprise to small and medium-sized businesses; LifeSize’s current conferencing solution, introduced last month, costs under $2,500 and works with Skype.
Logitech says it plans to operating LifeSize as a separate division under founder and current LifeSize CEO Craig Malloy; the companies expect to grow their video conferencing business by leveraging Logitech’s supply chain and manufacturing operations, as well as the company’s R&D and technology expertise.