by Jason Snell
Sonos: Google stole our technology
Jack Nicas and Daisuke Wakabayashi of the New York Times report on Sonos suing Google, alleging that Google (and Amazon!) ripped off its patented technology to launch its own smart speakers:
Google released a small device that could turn an old speaker into a wireless one, much like Sonos’s original product. A year after that, Google released its own wireless speaker, the Google Home. The device, marketed around Google’s talking virtual assistant, quickly began outselling Sonos’s offerings… Sonos bought the Google devices and used a technique called packet sniffing that monitored how the speakers were communicating. They discovered that Google’s devices used Sonos’s approach for solving a variety of technological challenges. Sonos executives said they found Amazon’s Echo speakers had also copied Sonos technology.
I suppose I appreciate Google’s gall in allegedly ripping off Sonos’s tech in order to sell products in Sonos’s category at artificially low prices to prop up other parts of Google’s ecosystem. That’s quite the double play.
As Ian Betteridge put it:
See, the thing is Google will know it has infringed. It probably knew Sonos would find out. It didn’t care, because – like Microsoft in the late 90s – it believed it had so much leverage it was immune. pic.twitter.com/uGrqJUA94B
— Ian Betteridge ðŸ‡ªðŸ‡º (@ianbetteridge) January 7, 2020