If you can’t beat them, join them. That appears to be Sonos’ new philosophy when it comes to competing against Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Last fall, the company announced plans to integrate its existing speakers with Amazon Alexa, which is currently being tested with a subset of users.
But according to a recent Variety interview with CEO Patrick Spence, the company also plans to build Amazon Alexa into future Sonos speakers and hopefully one day, Google Home as well. “I’m very confident that we can deliver multiple voice systems to our customers… I’d love to be supporting not only Echo and Dot, but also Google Home,” said Spence in the interview. Sonos has taken a beating due to the recent rise in popularity of smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home. Although Sonos does not report its sale figures, a round of layoffs last March furthered speculation that the company was in decline.
Integrating with Both Amazon Alexa and Google Home?
Integrating with both Amazon Alexa and Google Home could be difficult, as the companies have fought in the past to establish themselves on emerging platforms. For instance, Amazon stopped selling Google’s Chromecast in October 2015. Variety reports that last year, Google executives told consumer electronics partners “that they couldn’t run Google’s assistant and competing services like Amazon’s Alexa on the same device.”
This makes sense as both companies are competing to be consumer’s go-to voice assistant. And integration with Sonos devices could be a potential differentiator for consumers looking to buy either a Google Home or Amazon Echo. For instance I bought my dad (a Sonos fan) an Amazon Echo Dot for Christmas because I knew a Sonos-Alexa integration was already in the works. If it had been the other way around, my dad would be using a Google Home.
This is why it is so important for these two companies to integrate their voice assistant software into other devices as quickly as possible – brand loyalty and market share are at stake. By aligning themselves with other established brands and devices, Amazon and Google can acquire their consumers and gain their loyalty. It’s just a matter of getting to them first.