It's been an up-and-down (but more down than up) year for iRobot
1. Does iRobot need government spending?
A major part of iRobot's winter wipeout was a decline in heavy-duty battle-bots for the government. Growth continues to be driven by sales of consumer bots, but the company's bottom lines have been erratic -- free cash flow especially so.
Military preferences have shifted toward unmanned aerial vehicles, leaving less room for iRobot's ground-and-pound bots, which were built in part under contract to Boeing
2. Can iRobot branch out?
There are four robots in the iRobot home lineup, and they all clean a different surface. Tasks beyond a simple "go here and scrub this" can quickly ratchet up consumer costs, but why not devise a lawn-mowing bot? Honda
Other alternatives may include wider industrial uses. Amazon.com
3. Can iRobot succeed against stiffer competition?
My colleague Rich Duprey points out a laundry list of potential competition that includes not only Honda and Amazon, but Google
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