iRobot and the Frankenstein Complex

metropolisWhen will American’s learn to stop worrying and love robots? That question must be echoing inside consumer robotics company iRobot (IRBT).
The Burlington, Mass., company went public nearly two years ago and its share price has spent much of last year below the $24 offering price. Revenue from consumer products –60% of iRobot’s revenue last year – fell 1% in the first half of 2007 from a year ago.
Some of that decline was tied to waning appeal of iRobot’s flagship consumer product, the Roomba vacuum. But iRobot had some new products up its sleeve, and it announced them last week: a robot to clean out rain gutters, and a mobile robot that can send images of kids, pets or the infirm to remote PCs. The response? iRobot’s stock was down as much as 3.2% Friday, hardly a standing ovation.
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