Sonos criticizes Google, Amazon, and Apple at Senate antitrust hearing

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 29
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,252member
    Rayz2016 said:
    Apple wasn't alone as far as interoperability criticism. For example, Lazarus said that Google "demanded as a condition of Google Assistant in our products that we never allow concurrency with another general voice assistant."

    Is this actually true? So what he’s saying is that if you support Google Assistant in your product then you cannot support another voice assistant? Not sure this is correct  

    In the UK, it’s illegal to put up barriers to market entry like this. 

    I think the issue is “concurrency”. So, a Sonos device can be set up to use GA OR Alexa, but not both at the same time. There’s no “Alexa, what’s the weather?” immediately followed by, “Hey Google, what is the status of my thermostat?”

    If you’re using a Sonos speaker with GA and inexplicably decide you want to use Alexa instead, I guess you’ll have to factory reset and make the switch during setup. 
    Thanks for the explanation!

    That sent me on a search for the topic, and this is surfaced from a couple of years ago. After reading thru the article it now makes sense why users would benefit from having more than a single voice assistant actively available on their device. 
    https://www.theverge.com/2019/9/24/20881321/amazon-voice-interoperability-initiative-alexa-microsoft-baidu-intel-qualcomm-spotify-assistants

    I would agree that it does make sense for both Apple and Google to open up to allowing concurrent voice assistants. 
    muthuk_vanalingambaconstang
  • Reply 22 of 29
    carthusiacarthusia Posts: 577member
    I may be in the minority here, but I hated my Sonos and returned it a few days after getting it. The sound quality was not as freat as I had read. More importantly, I hated needing to use the Sonos app to play my Apple Music tracks-and I hated the Sonos UI.

    If Sonos is so upset about the lack of interoperability, why did they not allow the Apple Music app to control the Sonos speaker? Why? They wanted to lock out Apple from the music player experience. Am I missing something here?

    These companies are whiny whiners who think companies that make large investments in innovative technologies for themselves should just give it away. That thinking will do more to harm to innovation than otherwise.

    Where is the motivation to spend resources to develop technologies that differentiate you from competitors if you are forced to share those technologies with your competitors?
    williamlondonbaconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 23 of 29
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,772member
    dewme said:
    Pathetic.

    I could be wrong, but I don’t seem to recall Steve Jobs and Apple getting up in front of congressional committee in the circa 2003-2007 time frame and whining like a baby about how Nokia, Blackberry, and Motorola weren’t “playing fair” in the mobile phone market.

    Does anyone have a video of that having happened, or maybe a transcript of Apple’s whine fest in front of Congress? 

    Or perhaps I missed the part about Congress granting Apple some sort of special protections that allowed Apple to enter the mobile phone market with its own phone that was so “outrageously overpriced” that the giant mobile phone makers of the day could laugh in Steve Jobs’ face about his audacity of swinging and whiffing so blatantly in a market that they so thoroughly dominated.

    Did I miss those news stories too?

    Congratulations Sonos, you’ve just earned yourself a Participation Trophy.

    Yay.

    I'm really at a loss at the stupidity of our elected leaders.  If they're going to go after Apple and force them to open their proprietary product to competitors, then better be ready to apply that dumb-logic to countless other retail operations as well.
    williamlondonbaconstang
  • Reply 24 of 29
    pairof9pairof9 Posts: 49member
    Thank goodness...nothing worse than watching Empire Strikes Back at "...no, Luke, I am..." then a Verizon ad pops up.
  • Reply 25 of 29
    avon b7 said:

    ...
    The Sonos chief legal officer also took aim at Matter, a new standard for smart home connectivity backed by Apple, Google, and other tech giants.

    "One could imagine, furthermore, a Trojan Horse aspect to all this. Those who control the standard and its evolution effectively control the nature and pace of innovation, including the innovations dreamed up by their competitors. The standard Matter is working on, as I understand it, is basically a creature of Google and Apple code. That is hardly a formula for fair competition or more creative invention. It's a formula for further entrenching the dominance of the very few," Lazarus said.
    ...
    I don't doubt that Apple/Google/Amazon will have major influence on how Matter develops, but it doesn't appear the Sonos guy understands correctly:

    1. Matter is an open standard to promote inter-operability, with many other companies participating.
    2. The big companies didn't make up Matter on their own, from scratch -- it is "built on proven technologies and guided by the Connectivity Standards Alliance (formerly Zigbee Alliance)."
    3. Getting these big guys to agree on any standard is a very positive development that should benefit consumers.
    4. Any company -- including Sonos -- is free to join Matter and participate in its development.
    This isn't what you seem to think it is.

    The EU is also looking at the Matter state if play and had also raised concerns which it is investigating.

    It highlighted the costs involved and especially certification, which can be hugely expensive. 
    So are you saying Matter is not an open standard? That's what I think it is...

    However, I realize "open" doesn't mean "free." Certification and/or licensing fees are part of other standards. I can think of one example: HDMI -- a physical connector and data signal format "standard" that costs something ($5K-$10/yr I think) for each implementer to use, not counting whatever other testing, etc required.

    I searched a little bit to try to find out the costs involved with implementation or certification of Matter, but came up blank. Do you have any idea what this might be or what specific concerns the EU have?

    One thing that my search did come up with is interesting testimony to the U.S. senate by Jonathan L. Zittrain that discusses IoT, anti-trust, and a brief mention of Matter (although I have to wonder if his testimony went over the heads of his audience):

    https://www.justsecurity.org/76936/the-internet-of-things-moment-my-testimony-before-the-senate-judiciary-committee/

    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 26 of 29
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,164member
    Dos anyone know if it is actually true that HomeKit requires HomePod, or is it in the context of speaker software? As in, integrate HomeKit in your speakers, it must also work if one was to add a HomePod? 

    I am struggling to work out what the Sonos guy meant. If you must have a HomePod, well that sucks. Particularly as hardly anyone bought it because of its price, and Apple has discontinued it.
  • Reply 27 of 29
    entropys said:
    Dos anyone know if it is actually true that HomeKit requires HomePod, or is it in the context of speaker software? As in, integrate HomeKit in your speakers, it must also work if one was to add a HomePod? 

    I am struggling to work out what the Sonos guy meant. If you must have a HomePod, well that sucks. Particularly as hardly anyone bought it because of its price, and Apple has discontinued it.
    From apple.com on the iOS 15 All New Features page: "Siri-enabled accessories

    HomeKit developers will be able to enable Siri in their products through HomePod. You can easily and securely ask Siri to send a message, set a reminder, or broadcast an Intercom message to the family from more devices in your home."

    Link: https://www.apple.com/ios/ios-15-preview/features/

    To be clear, when Apple says "HomePod" that includes HomePod mini, a lot of people don't seem to understand that.


    williamlondon
  • Reply 28 of 29
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,933member
    avon b7 said:

    ...
    The Sonos chief legal officer also took aim at Matter, a new standard for smart home connectivity backed by Apple, Google, and other tech giants.

    "One could imagine, furthermore, a Trojan Horse aspect to all this. Those who control the standard and its evolution effectively control the nature and pace of innovation, including the innovations dreamed up by their competitors. The standard Matter is working on, as I understand it, is basically a creature of Google and Apple code. That is hardly a formula for fair competition or more creative invention. It's a formula for further entrenching the dominance of the very few," Lazarus said.
    ...
    I don't doubt that Apple/Google/Amazon will have major influence on how Matter develops, but it doesn't appear the Sonos guy understands correctly:

    1. Matter is an open standard to promote inter-operability, with many other companies participating.
    2. The big companies didn't make up Matter on their own, from scratch -- it is "built on proven technologies and guided by the Connectivity Standards Alliance (formerly Zigbee Alliance)."
    3. Getting these big guys to agree on any standard is a very positive development that should benefit consumers.
    4. Any company -- including Sonos -- is free to join Matter and participate in its development.
    This isn't what you seem to think it is.

    The EU is also looking at the Matter state if play and had also raised concerns which it is investigating.

    It highlighted the costs involved and especially certification, which can be hugely expensive. 
    So are you saying Matter is not an open standard? That's what I think it is...

    However, I realize "open" doesn't mean "free." Certification and/or licensing fees are part of other standards. I can think of one example: HDMI -- a physical connector and data signal format "standard" that costs something ($5K-$10/yr I think) for each implementer to use, not counting whatever other testing, etc required.

    I searched a little bit to try to find out the costs involved with implementation or certification of Matter, but came up blank. Do you have any idea what this might be or what specific concerns the EU have?

    One thing that my search did come up with is interesting testimony to the U.S. senate by Jonathan L. Zittrain that discusses IoT, anti-trust, and a brief mention of Matter (although I have to wonder if his testimony went over the heads of his audience):

    https://www.justsecurity.org/76936/the-internet-of-things-moment-my-testimony-before-the-senate-judiciary-committee/

    The information I mentioned was from the EU's preliminary report on IoT. Matter was mentioned in the context I pointed out.

    That means the EU will look at its use in context and taking into account the responses of 200 industry players (mostly larger players btw).

    The cost of certification may well prove to be a deterrent to access and/or innovation.

    As things stand, it's clear that being 'open' probably won't be enough to let so called 'gatekeepers' have an easy ride here. Being 'open' doesn't mean issues cease to exist. 
    edited June 16 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 29 of 29
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    gatorguy said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    Apple wasn't alone as far as interoperability criticism. For example, Lazarus said that Google "demanded as a condition of Google Assistant in our products that we never allow concurrency with another general voice assistant."

    Is this actually true? So what he’s saying is that if you support Google Assistant in your product then you cannot support another voice assistant? Not sure this is correct  

    In the UK, it’s illegal to put up barriers to market entry like this. 

    I think the issue is “concurrency”. So, a Sonos device can be set up to use GA OR Alexa, but not both at the same time. There’s no “Alexa, what’s the weather?” immediately followed by, “Hey Google, what is the status of my thermostat?”

    If you’re using a Sonos speaker with GA and inexplicably decide you want to use Alexa instead, I guess you’ll have to factory reset and make the switch during setup. 
    Thanks for the explanation!

    That sent me on a search for the topic, and this is surfaced from a couple of years ago. After reading thru the article it now makes sense why users would benefit from having more than a single voice assistant actively available on their device. 
    https://www.theverge.com/2019/9/24/20881321/amazon-voice-interoperability-initiative-alexa-microsoft-baidu-intel-qualcomm-spotify-assistants

    I would agree that it does make sense for both Apple and Google to open up to allowing concurrent voice assistants. 
    Heh. Of course Amazon wants this. They have virtually no presence on smartphones. 

    Still, here’s something that hints that Google might be reluctant to share the space, but offers no  evidence that they’re writing it into licensing agreements. 


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