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Smart-speaker startup Whyd pivots to focus on software


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Music Ally first wrote about French startup Whyd back in 2012, when it was a discovery website for people to collect music from YouTube, SoundCloud and other sources in one place. By 2016, the company had pivoted to focus on building its own smart speaker as a rival to Amazon’s Echo. Now it’s shifting again, cancelling the launch and refunding people who pre-ordered the speaker.

“We hit a wall with the approval process for working with music streaming services,” admitted CEO Gilles Poupardin in a blog post. “We had been talking with major streaming services for voice integrations for the past 2 years, but no one was ready to approve an integration with a voice-controlled speaker other than Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Microsoft Cortana speakers.”

Whyd isn’t dead though: it’s pivoting again. “Today, we are announcing that we are focusing on the voice assistant software technology we’ve been building along with the hardware… an open, custom, easy to embed voice-assistant software for app developers and consumer electronics manufacturers,” wrote Poupardin. Its first partnership is with streaming service 8tracks, creating its official Alexa skill.

Stuart Dredge

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