🔈 Speaker War: Sonos will testify against Google on Friday

How’s this for a fast feud? Last week, Sonos sued Google, alleging the search giant had stolen its speaker technology designs. Now, Sonos CEO Patrick Spence is scheduled to testify Friday at a House Judiciary Committee hearing regarding antitrust law and Big Tech. 

  • The suit: In 2013, when Google’s world takeover wasn’t quite complete, Sonos partnered with Google to get access to Google Play on its speakers. Not long after, Google launched Chromecast Audio and Google Home speakers. Sonos alleges Google infringed on five of its patents.   

  • Looking at you, too, Amazon:According to The New York Times, Sonos would’ve sued Amazon, too. But executives said it would’ve been difficult to sue two tech giants at once.

Bigger than one piece of litigation

When Google and Sonos first partnered, Google wasn’t in the speaker business. Nor was Amazon. Sonos’s major competitors were companies like Bose. Now it has to deal with tech giants that make billions trying to beat smaller companies, who are dependent on Google and Amazon, in nearly every corner of the market. As Bloomberg’s Brad Stone noted, Sonos still makes a superior speaker, but Amazon and Google win with lower prices and superior marketing and brand recognition.  

  • This domination by Google, as well as Facebook and Amazon, has spurred the House to subpoena tech leaders and hold hearings about tech’s influence in society. Friday’s hearing will be the fifth since June 2018.   

The Verdict 

Regardless of what Congress ends up doing, massive technology companies won’t get away from antitrust concerns anytime soon, from private companies and governments worldwide. India just opened an antitrust investigation into Amazon and Flipkart.