As Bloomberg reports, executives at Alphabet, Google's new parent company, are concerned that Boston Dynamics isn't producing enough money-making products and has decided to sell it.
Boston Dynamics, which creates sometimes creepy and poorly-treated robots at their headquarters in Massachusetts, was bought by Google in 2013 for $500m, as part of a drive to increase Google's presence in the world of robotics.
However, leaked internal documents from November 2015 seen by Bloomberg reportedly show that Jonathan Rosenberg, the then-leader of Google's robotics project (named 'Replicant'), was not happy with Boston Dynamics' failure to make money.
He said: “We as a startup of our size cannot spend 30-plus per cent of our resources on things that take ten years.”
He added: “There's some time frame that we need to be generating an amount of revenue that covers expenses and [that] needs to be a few years.”
Boston Dynamics is at the forefront of robotics, and has produced a number of impressive machines over the years - but it appears that Google wanted them to create some actual products in the short-term, rather than focusing on more complex and long-term projects.
Bloomberg also report that Boston Dynamics appeared reluctant to work with other parts of Google's robotics team, citing a source familiar with the company.
Google was also reportedly worried about public perception of Boston Dynamics - one of the emails released in the leak came from Courtney Hohne, Google's director of communications, who said that following the release of Boston Dynamics' latest video in February, her team had seen “some negative threads” about the robots being “terrifying” and ready to “take humans' jobs.”
Despite the sale, there may be a bright future for the company and their stable of ‘bots - Toyota has been developing humanoid 'partner robots' for over a decade, and Amazon already uses fleets of robot workers in its warehouses.
The Independent has contacted Google and Boston Dynamics for a comment.