In some non-CES related news, Sonos has announced it is suing Google. The company claims that Google stole its multiroom speaker technology, after it got access to it through a partnership that started in 2013.
Sonos has filed two lawsuits, which cover five patents on its wireless speaker design. The company is looking for financial damages as well as asking for a sales ban on Google’s laptops phones and speakers in the US.
Sonos pioneered multiroom audio, then Google added it to Assistant
Sonos has been around for nearly two decades now, and it pioneered multiroom audio. Allowing you to listen to the same thing on multiple speakers in multiple rooms in your home or office.
It was one of Sonos’ unique selling features. As such, it has a number of patents in that space. So Sonos does have a right to go after Google for stealing the technology, if that is indeed what happened here. Right now, we’re only hearing Sonos’ side of the story, and likely won’t hear Google’s until the court case is started or the case is settled.
Sonos started a partnership with Google back in 2013. This partnership would allow Google Play Music to play on Sonos speakers – remember Sonos uses WiFi instead of Bluetooth, so it’s not as simple as connecting your phone to Bluetooth and playing music.
Google used the patented designs in its Chromecast Audio product (which is now discontinued), and then used the same designs in the Google Home smart speakers, which are now under the Nest brand. Google also used it in the Pixel product lineup. Which includes both phones and Pixel Chromebook laptops/tablets. Hence why Sonos is seeking a sales ban on laptops, phones and speakers from Google.
But what about Amazon and the Echo family?
Yes, Amazon also violated Sonos’ patents, according to the company. But according to The New York Times, who broke the story, Sonos decided against “battling two tech giants in court at once.” So Sonos is settling for just going after Google for now. That doesn’t mean that it won’t go after Amazon later on.
Amazon built-in multiroom audio into its Echo devices a couple of years ago. And it works across non-Echo devices that have Alexa built-in as well. Making it a much more useful feature than on Sonos products – since it only works on Sonos products.
It’s likely that Google will settle with Sonos out of court. But Google does have a lot more lawyers and money then Sonos has, but we’ll have to wait and see.