5 points on the Google/Luxottica partnership
Google and Luxottica have partnered to “design, develop and distribute a new breed of eyewear for [Google] Glass.” Here’s why I find this partnership a bit surprising (see also side notes):
- About a year ago, Google was rumored to be partnering with Luxottica competitor/disruptor Warby Parker to design more fashionable frames. That seems to have fallen through.
- Oakley, owned by Luxottica, was working on its own smart-glasses in 2012.
- This partnership comes at a time in which Google is on the defensive about Glass. A few days ago, it released a list of “myths” about Google Glass (bad PR it wants to go away). Robert Scoble, one of Glass’s biggest early fans, recently came out saying that “Glass is doomed” and just a few days ago, asked whether Google is really committed to Glass, since neither Larry Page nor Sergey Brin were wearing the product at TED.
- In the press release announcing the partnership, Luxottica fielded its CEO, Andrea Guerra. Google had Astro Teller, a very impressive individual who heads Google X and reports directly to Sergey Brin, but who is not in Google’s top management.
- Google reportedly wants to open its first retail location in Soho, New York. It’s not entirely clear what the store will be for but it’s conceivable it could be a showroom for Google’s first collection of Glass frames, which it designed in-house and released earlier this year. If that is the case, it will be just 8 blocks away from Luxottica’s LensCrafters West Village location.
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