Amazon Responds to Sonos Litigation Threat: ‘We Were the First Out With a Connected, Voice-Enabled Speaker’

Amazon Music HD
  • Save

Amazon Music HD
  • Save
Amazon’s higher-end Echo Studio (Photo Credit: Amazon)

Earlier this week, Sonos filed a massive lawsuit against Google for stealing its IP.  Alongside that salvo, they also warned of a pending lawsuit against Amazon.

Sounds pretty serious, though frankly, Amazon doesn’t seem too concerned.  For starters, they aren’t getting sued — just threatened.  But even if Sonos successfully takes down Google (a very big ‘if’), Amazon says they invented everything themselves.

“I’m confident that we did not infringe on their IP,” Dave Limp, Amazon’s devices and services flatly told The Verge.  “We built our solutions from a clean sheet of paper. We were the first person out with a connected, voice-enabled speaker. And that was done from a clean sheet of paper. So I’m as confident as I can be.”

Separately, Google has promised to ‘vigorously defend’ itself against the suit, which it describes as meritless.

“We dispute these claims and will defend them vigorously,” Google stated.

Google further pointed to ongoing discussions related to IP ownership.  But those talks apparently broke down.  “Over the years, we have had numerous ongoing conversations with Sonos about both companies’ IP rights and we are disappointed that Sonos brought these lawsuits instead of continuing negotiations in good faith,” Google continued.

Underneath the litigation is a far bigger problem for Sonos, however.  Over the past few years, Google, Amazon, and other giants have been heavily encroaching on Sonos connected-speaker turf.  And they’re getting beat on almost every business aspect: price, scale, product portfolio, and broader connectivity to personalized platforms.

Indeed, Sonos may be stretching by claiming that its Wifi-connected speakers and technology are ultimately protectable. But the desperate litigation attempt may Sonos’ only hope of long-term survival outside of a massive acquisition (which now seems unlikely).

Meanwhile, Amazon’s Limp offered a strangely upbeat version of the company’s relationship with Sonos.

“They’re is a big partner of ours,” Limp continued.  “We’ve been doing business with them for a long time, we’ve been selling Sonos products for a long time.”

“From my standpoint, I feel good about the partnership.”