Feature Article

May 23, 2013

OtterBox Acquires LifeProof

Smartphones get a lot of use on a daily basis. They also get a lot of abuse during that same day. Smartphones and tablets are susceptible to being dropped, having the screen scratched or even getting wet. Many companies make cases to provide protection against such catastrophes.

On May 22, 2013 OtterBox announced the acquisition of TreeFrog Developments Inc., DBA LifeProof. Both of these companies produce protective cases for smartphones and tablets. According to OtterBox, their cases are dedicated to all the klutzy, spontaneous, chaotic, graceless individuals who have broken a device or valuable due to their active lifestyle.

LifeProof produces drop resistant and waterproof cases and accessories. What makes their products so sturdy? MIL STD 810 F is the standard that addresses a broad range of environmental conditions, with MIL STD 810F-516 being the section of the standard that is specific to functional drop. This standard requires that the item can physically and functionally withstand the relatively infrequent, non-repetitive shocks encountered in handling.

IEL 60529 is the standard for Ingress Protection from water and dust for enclosures. IP-68 is the most rigorous classification in this specification. An enclosure with a characteristic number of 6 can withstand exposure to circulating talcum powder for eight hours. The second characteristic number describes protection against water. An enclosure with a characteristic number of 8 exceeds all other water protection levels and is specified by the manufacturer. LifeProof cases will withstand immersion in water to a depth of just less than seven feet for one hour.

Brian Thomas is the OtterBox CEO. He had this to say about the acquisition: “The joining of OtterBox and LifeProof is a way to combine two great brands and provide customers with even more great products, services and choices for smartphone accessories. Both companies are successful because we foster an environment where everyone takes pride in being part of a culture that knows how to identify opportunities and grow them quickly. Our goal in this acquisition is to create more value for our customers than we ever could have generated while operating individually.”

Thomas continued to say, “Our strategy is to utilize our combined brand momentum and world-class talent to create a great customer experience that generates OtterBox brand ambassadors for life. Our customers and our employees are the ones who have the passion for the brand that allows us to succeed.”

It seems that both of these companies make products that can save the life of your handheld devices from just about anything. The scope of protection ranges from a plastic film to protect your screen to a multi-layered armored case that appears to be able to withstand just about anything.

Combined, these two companies can reach a greater market share. Both are rapidly growing businesses with strong global brands. We do not have financial information or details on the terms of the deal at this time, but we do know that OtterBox will begin to incorporate the LifeProof brand during the next 30 days.

Worldwide, OtterBox has about 650 employees with an additional 250 people employed by LifeProof. While OtterBox is located in Fort Collins, Colo., the LifeProof employees will continue to work out of the San Diego location for now.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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