Alphabet rumoured to be planning purchase of North, the biggest competitor to Google Glass
According to a report by the Globe and Mail, this deal is rumoured to be valued at up to US$180 million, roughly equal to the total investment funding North has received over its 8-year lifetime. Globe and Mail’s source told them that the company was short on capital, having burnt through money at around US$6 million per month before stopping the manufacture of the 'Focals' glasses, and US$3 million per month as they prepared to release Focal 2.0.
Alphabet already has smart glasses in their portfolio, with the business-orientated Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2. Alphabet could provide the financial backing required to allow North to keep offering consumer-orientated eyewear, but we wouldn’t be surprised if they just integrated North’s features into improving Google Glass. Examples could include the custom face-fitting scans or the laser lens projection setup.
The report describes a fairly bleak outlook for North's financials, so regardless of what Alphabet’s intentions are, if Focals 2.0 aren't a hit then a buyout appears to be the best option for the company.