This puts Sonos in an unbeatable position, both to fight in court against Google and to fight stronger competition in the smart speaker market. Sonos did not have to compete in the lower market to be successful, but neither did it face such strong challenges from reputable competitors.
A licensing agreement earlier this week between Sonos and digital infrastructure company Legrand could foreshadow what Sonos hopes to achieve with its processes. Legrand now pays to license Sonos’ patents for its own multi-camera audio solutions. If the company managed to get a similar deal from Amazon and Google, it would certainly support Sonos’ bottom line and make the competition easier to resist.
“We believe in a fair market where companies compete on a level playing field and contribute their own innovations and experiences,” said Eddie Lazarus, Sonos’ legal director, in a statement earlier this week. “We are delighted to see more companies like Legrand recognizing the power and value of our IP and providing adequate compensation.” It’s not hard to read this as a message to Google and Amazon.
Given how long it can take to resolve a complicated legal battle, it will probably be months or more before we find out if Sonos can solve its problems either through a solution or a court decision. Sonos has not commented on its ongoing litigation
In the meantime, Sonos is likely to stick to its existing strategy – but if this new wave of smart speakers does a bit in its business, a $ 100 Sonos speaker could become a reality. This would not be the first time Sonos has embraced a technology it had previously rejected. The company launched its first portable Bluetooth speaker in 2019, an extension to a part of the speaker segment where it previously did not compete.
To be clear, I don’t think Sonos will go anywhere soon – the company has millions of devoted users, and its share price has risen largely since 2020, after falling at the beginning of the year. But, it would not surprise me to see the company diversify its offers in the next year, in order to compete better against the less expensive offers of Amazon, Google and Apple. If those companies can produce small speakers that sound great, Sonos should be able to take years of experience to let go while the big boys move on the lawn.