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By Jason Snell for Macworld
Sonos needs voice control, and not just Alexa
I’ve been a fan of whole-home digital music systems for a long time. When the platform I had invested years in gave up the ghost-thanks for buying and killing the Squeezebox, by the way, Logitech-I decided it was time to try the speakers my colleague Chris Breen had been raving about for years. And Chris was right-the Sonos stuff sounds great.
Then, all of a sudden, I largely stopped using the Sonos speakers and started using something far more inferior to play my music. That was the day the Amazon Echo came into our kitchen. The Echo is inferior in sound to the Sonos (even the ultra-small Play:1 speaker) in every way but one: you can talk to the Echo, but the Sonos speakers require that you use an app to tell it what to play.
Apparently my family weren’t the only ones wooed by the convenience and voice control of the Echo: lots of people did the same. Sonos responded with layoffs and an embrace of Alexa that led to an announcement that this year Sonos speakers will be controllable by Alexa.
With the news this week that Sonos CEO and cofounder John MacFarlane resigned, there’s been a lot of speculation about the future of Sonos, and rightly so.