It's no secret that Sonos and Google aren't best friends right now. The companies are currently involved in several different lawsuits regarding intellectual property theft and copyright infringement, and it doesn't seem like the relationship will improve anytime soon. Sonos's Chief Legal Officer Eddie Lazarus delivered remarks to the Senate Judiciary antitrust committee yesterday, calling for action on a lack of interoperability procedures preventing them from using multiple voice assistants at once.
Lazarus's statement to the Senate yesterday touched on, among other competition-focused issues, the inability to enable interoperability between smart home platforms. Essentially, Sonos wants its customers to actively use Google Assistant, Alexa, Siri as they wish, while the companies behind those services seek ecosystem lock-in. For its part, Google's senior public policy director Wilson White told committee members that interoperability is impossible due to "technical challenges" regarding privacy and security when two voice assistants are active simultaneously.
According to Lazarus, that's a false assertion. As reported by Protocol, Sonos claims it has found a solution to dual services like Assistant and Alexa running at the same time, offering to demonstrate to Google how the technology works. White remarked that he'd personally love to see it in action, referencing his past career as an engineer. Lazarus has already reached out via email, telling Protocol, "If he's serious, we're going to go up there and do it." Oh, to be a fly on the wall in that meeting.
Although Sonos clearly has Google in its crosshairs, it wasn't the only company targeted during the committee hearing on Tuesday. Lazarus also criticized Amazon's Voice Interoperability Initiative as an empty gesture, effectively pushing consumers toward Alexa as Google refuses to participate. Meanwhile, Samsung and Google continue to pursue a partnership between SmartThings and Assistant without any of those technical hurdles in sight.