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Sonos Whinges About Apple, Google & Amazon To Senate Hearing

Sonos has got their kickers in a twist again this time they are whinging about Apple and the control that the likes of Google and Amazon have in the voice control market.

They have admitted that customers who buy a Sonos product can only have one voice control brand operating on their device.

Last year they accused Google of stealing their networking audio technology this ended up in Sonos suing Google for allegedly copying its patented speaker technology while undercutting Sonos at retailers such as JB Hi Fi and Harvey Norman. … It claims to have repeated the warning in 2018 — after the release of the Google Home Max and Home Mini — and by February 2019, it had accused Google of infringing on 100 Sonos patents.

Sonos legal chief Eddie Lazarus at a US Senate hearing has complained about the dominance of companies like Amazon, Google, and Apple.

The Senate hearing into “Protecting Competition and Innovation in Home Technologies.” heard Sonos take issue with the way that Apple is implementing Siri support for third-party companies.

The iPhone and MAC PC manufacturer recently announced that third-party companies will be able to integrate Siri voice control into their HomeKit devices, but “Hey Siri” commands can only be relayed through a HomePod or HomePod mini, making an Apple device a requirement.

This has got Sonos worried because Apple will only license Siri to companies that utilise the HomePod as a central hub to connect with Siri, this Sonos claims is not fair.

Lazarus also said that while Google, Apple, and other companies are working on interoperability through initiatives like Matter, he’s sceptical that this will lead to consumer choice or foster genuine interoperability between different smart home platforms.

He also warns that because Apple and Google control the standard, they have control over the “pace of innovation.”

Already on the outer with Google who Sonos are basically claiming, stole Sonos IP, the US Company who tried to nobble customers Sonos sound systems in an effort to force them to upgrade to a new system is now on the war path over voice activated systems and the control held by Amazon, Google and Apple in the voice activated market.

These are Companies who working towards a degree of smart home standardisation to facilitate interoperability for manufacturers of sound systems light bulbs, garage door openers, and the like by enabling them to interoperate with any of the three major voice ecosystems.

It’s been claimed that those who control the standard and its evolution effectively control the nature and pace of innovation, including the innovations dreamed up by the likes of Sonos who in their early days did nothing bite rave on about Apple, their OS, and their products.

Sonos claim that the control by these Companies is hardly a formula for fair competition or more creative invention. “It’s a formula for further entrenching the dominance of the very few” the Senate inquiry heard.

Because Amazon and Google dominate the smart speaker market, most of what Lazarus had to say focused on those two companies.

He complained that as a condition of allowing Google Assistant on Sonos speakers, Sonos had to agree to allow just one voice assistant at a time, even though it supports multiple.

Google Nest Mini

Lazarus claimed that Google demanded as a condition of having Google Assistant installed on Sonos products that the sound Company never allow concurrency with another voice assistant brand.

As a result, Sonos customers unlike those using a Denon or JBL speaker have to open an application and manually choose which single voice assistant will be configured on their device.

The Sonos legal chief claimed that this degrades the consumer experience with a Sonos product.

He said that on the other hand this is arguably good for Google, which is betting that most users will choose Google Assistant as the default voice assistant and then stick to the Google ecosystem.

He said that Google and Amazon have a history of taking on competitors by producing copycat products sold at subsidized prices, which is something that Sonos and other smart speaker companies aren’t able to compete with.

Google have now come to control roughly 85% of the Australian smart control voice market.

Lazarus claimed his is terrible for innovative dynamics, because it hamstrings those companies that have better products that cannot be sold at a loss and consumers are the eventual losers.


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