Briefing

Alphabet ventures north, tries North on for size

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Google’s parent company snatched up the smart-glasses maker in a deal worth a reported US$180 million. The company has “built a strong technology foundation, and we’re excited to have North join us in our broader efforts to build helpful devices and services,” said Google senior vice-president Rick Osterloh, adding that the North will stay put in Kitchener-Waterloo. The Globe and Mail was first to report Alphabet’s interest last week. (The Globe and Mail, The Logic)

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Talking point: Named the fastest-growing Canadian tech firm in 2019, North nevertheless struggled to capitalize on its hype. Focals by North, which paired a user’s smartphone to give a head-up information display in its right lens, were cumbersome, buggy and had little appeal to customers, according to an internal memo obtained by The Logic. Last year, North was beset by staff layoffs and the halting of a $24-million job-creation investment. Google’s purchase means North won’t ship its Focals 2.0 as earlier planned.