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Sonos buys startup Snips to improve its voice controls


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Sonos wants to get smarter with its voice controls, and has acquired French startup Snips for $37.5m to do it.

Snips describes itself as “an AI voice platform for connected devices” that helps clients “create a Private by Design voice assistant that runs on the edge”. Which might lead you to believe that Sonos is preparing to build its own voice assistant for its smart speakers – a step on from supporting Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri. However, there’s nuance to the company’s strategy: in an interview with Variety, CEO Patrick Spence said “we are not building an ask-anything assistant” but rather planning (in Variety’s words) ‘something a lot more music-specific’.

The acquisition news came as Sonos published its latest quarterly financial results, for Q4 of its fiscal year (which thus means it also published its latest annual figures). Sonos sold more than 1.5m products in the last quarter (its Q4 but calendar Q3), up 38% year-on-year. Meanwhile, for its last full year, Sonos sold 6.1m units, up 21%. The company says that it ended September with more than nine million homes globally using Sonos products, having added nearly 1.7m households over the past year. As for the topline financials, Sonos’ quarterly revenues were up by 7.8% year-on-year to $294.2m, although its net loss grew from $1.7m a year ago to $29.6m last quarter.

Stuart Dredge

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