Harman buys Cambridge music tech firm to take on Sonos

Harman buys Cambridge music tech firm to take on Sonos

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Harman has acquired high quality music aggregation, connectivity and streaming technology developer Roon in Cambridge in a bid to compete with Sonos in the high end consumer audio market.

Hardware and software developer Roon will continue to operate as a standalone business in Cambridge, UK, under Harman, which is a subsidiary of Samsung. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Roon spun off from UK audio hardware firm Meridian in 2015.

Roon is a server-based music player platform for music enthusiasts, which features a rich interface for browsing and discovering music, compatibility with a wide range of audio devices from over 160 brands and a playback engine designed to deliver the best possible sound. It links to high quality services such as Tidal but does not support lower quality services such as Spotify, Apple Music or Youtube.

Roon is available for all popular operating systems and manufactures a line of hardware server appliances called Nucleus.

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“At Harman we take great pride in our ability to create exceptional audio experiences for our partners and consumers around the world,” said Dave Rogers, President of the Lifestyle Division at  Harman. “The team at Roon shares our passion in bringing exceptional sound and connectivity to music lovers as they browse, discover, and listen at home and on the go.”

All Roon operations will stay in place for its growing community of device partners, which includes over 160 other audio brands and delivering audio to more than 1000 high-performance devices. Roon’s loyal community and its UI/UX design expertise are key to the acquisition says Harman.

“By combining forces with Harman, Roon gains the incredible scale, resources, and reach of a global technology leader, while maintaining our independence to invest in the business’s growth and future,” said Enno Vandermeer, CEO of Roon. “We look forward to continuing to bring our advanced data management, SaaS expertise, and consumer engagement capabilities to our broad ecosystem of partners, as we join forces with HARMAN to deliver even greater audio experiences to our customers.”

Earlier this month Samsung reorganised its senior team to set up a ‘Future Business Planning Group’ as a vice-president-level organization to discover new businesses that are not an extension of the existing businesses.



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