Sonos Nets a Profit and Legal Victory Against Google

As part of its quarterly earnings announcement, Sonos revealed that it has gotten a preliminary injunction against Google for patent infringement in Germany. As you may recall, Sonos sued the search giant for ripping off its wireless smart speaker platform with its Google- and Nest-branded speakers.

“We’re grateful the court has acknowledged Google’s blatant infringement of Sonos’ IP,” Sonos Chief Legal Officer Eddie Lazarus said in a statement. “This decision marks a promising milestone in our ongoing effort to defend our innovations and stand up to the unfair practices of Big Tech.”

The injunction prohibits Google from selling any products based on its cast technology in Germany. But it’s not been made available to the public yet, so the details aren’t clear. Google is expected to appeal the ruling, of course.

Aside from the ruling, Sonos also had an incredible quarter: The firm reports that it earned a net profit of $17.2 million on revenues of $332.9 million, the latter of which is a year-over-year increase of 90 percent. In the year-ago quarter, Sonos posted a loss of $52.3 million.

“We are thrilled to report another record quarter at Sonos, as demand for our products continues to exceed even our heightened expectations,” Sonos CEO Patrick Spence said. “The power of our model is that customers can start with one product and expand to more over time, and our customers continue to prove they do just that. Based on our outstanding second quarter performance, the continued strong demand for our products, and the power and profitability of our unique business model, we are raising our outlook for fiscal 2021 again.”

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Conversation 19 comments

  • ringofvoid

    12 May, 2021 - 5:35 pm

    <p>Does every other company that makes wireless speakers (Apple, Amazon, Sony etc) pay Sonos in order to make a wireless speaker?</p>

    • lvthunder

      Premium Member
      12 May, 2021 - 7:14 pm

      <p>Depends on what’s in the patent I guess.</p>

    • rbwatson0

      Premium Member
      12 May, 2021 - 10:01 pm

      <p>General rule of thumb with patents is: you can patent the ‘how’, but not the ‘what’.</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      13 May, 2021 - 9:37 am

      Amazon and Google stole Sonos’ patented technologies when they created their smart home speakers. That’s why Sonos is suing: They’re not paying, and they are both selling hardware under cost.

      • qaelith2112

        13 May, 2021 - 3:19 pm

        <p>I’m wondering how Apple got around the same patent. Strange case.</p>

        • Paul Thurrott

          Premium Member
          16 May, 2021 - 2:56 pm

          Apple didn’t steal Sonos’s technologies. If you look at the original complaint, Google learned how Sonos worked from the company and then just duplicated it for Chromecast/Google Cast.

  • beckoningeagle

    Premium Member
    12 May, 2021 - 7:08 pm

    <p>I am responsible for 90% of that growth this year. ??</p>

  • ghostrider

    13 May, 2021 - 3:25 am

    <p>Sonos operate at a completely different price point to Google, so I wouldn’t say Google are hurting Sonos sales (as is clear from the earnings report). This is the problem with society these days – if you don’t like it, sue, even if you don’t have a clear case, as you can still do damage to a brand. I have about 4 Chromecast Audio’s in my house, plus Nest Audio, Home mini’s and a Nest Hub. All work seamlessly with streaming audio – it’s a great system, and a lot, lot cheaper than an equivalent Sonos setup. It seems patents only exist these days to allow litigation at some point or for companies to buy them up and act as troll’s just so they can have their day in court.</p>

    • rm

      13 May, 2021 - 7:34 am

      <p>Yes, Google can afford to take a loss for years in order to buy market share before it raises prices once Sonos is out of business. That is how Google and Apple work. They use their billions of dollars to take over a market with low prices that undercut competitors that cannot stay in business at that price point.</p>

      • toukale

        13 May, 2021 - 9:35 am

        <p>Why bring Apple into this? When was the last time Apple and cheap or undercut competitors ever happened? If anything high prices have kept Apple away from owning certain segment of the market. What you just described is exactly what Amazon did with books and last time I checked the government gave them their blessing because it costs consumer less which incidentally drove just about every bookstore out of business. </p>

      • Paul Thurrott

        Premium Member
        13 May, 2021 - 9:37 am

        OK, but Sonos doesn’t have those many billions of dollars like Apple and Google.

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      13 May, 2021 - 9:39 am

      That’s untrue. In addition to stealing from Sonos, these firms sell smart speakers at under cost, which very much does harm Sonos.

      Patents exist to protect companies that innovate, not to protect those that steal.

      • louiem3

        Premium Member
        13 May, 2021 - 5:58 pm

        <p>To Pauls point there’s a reason Amazon has their tech products at discount a lot of the time. </p>

  • rabidgopher

    13 May, 2021 - 11:21 am

    <p>I believe the original issue is that both Amazon and Google are being accused of using wireless audio sync process that Sonos created. They got the information from Sonos as they were working on integrating their respective virtual assistants into the SONOS platform. SONOS is accusing them of using they system they developed without licensing it. They claim they have proof from packet captures. The legal victory is really the big story here is you ask me.</p>

    • qaelith2112

      13 May, 2021 - 3:24 pm

      <p>Thank you for this elaboration. I had wondered above in a separate response how it is that Apple managed to get around the patent. It wasn’t clear to me that the suit was specifically over the audio sync rather than the broader "wireless smart speaker" concept. Maybe Apple either doesn’t bother with audio sync or they developed their own version which doesn’t violate the patent. I’ll need to look further into this. I know virtually nothing about Apple’s product. Thank you anyway for this added information. Very helpful.</p>

  • louiem3

    Premium Member
    13 May, 2021 - 11:49 am

    <p>More detail on the lawsuit. Of course Google will keep fighting but still a good win. – <a href="; target="_blank">Sonos Confident of Victory in Google Patent Lawsuit – CE Pro</a> (<span style="color: rgb(102, 102, 102);">Sonos expects ITC decision in August. Meanwhile, German court ruling stops sales of Google Pixel smartphones, Nest speakers and YouTube music app.) </span></p>

  • spiderman2

    13 May, 2021 - 1:02 pm

    <p>way to go</p>

  • jeffrye

    13 May, 2021 - 4:24 pm

    <p>Love my Sonos and hate how Amazon and Google have kept it from fully working with their voice assistants. Why can’t I tell my Echo to play my music hosted on Plex on my Sonos speakers? </p><p><br></p><p>Go Sonos!</p>

  • NormSohl

    Premium Member
    14 May, 2021 - 3:10 pm

    <p>Hope some of that profit goes into network stability fixes and overall robustness. When I check for help I just see others with similar problems, and the only response is "Have you tried our latest products?"</p>


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