Sonos CEO says he’s on a different mission than Apple

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Smart speakers
HomePod and Sonos are totally different monsters.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Sonos shares made moderate gains today during the company’s first day of trading on the Nasdaq. Investors don’t seem too worried that the smart speaker maker faces tough competition from the likes of Apple and Google.

After ringing in the bell today at the New York Stock Exchange, Sonos CEO Patrick Spence said he views his company’s business model as quite different from most competitors. Why? Because Sonos is building and selling a system instead of just individual products.

Sonos was founded in 2002 and quickly started making smart speaker systems that provided multiroom support before anyone else.

Sonos partnered with other companies like Spotify, iHeartRadio and Amazon Music to offer their streaming services to its speakers. And Sonos also worked with Amazon, Google and Apple to get Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri voice controls on its speakers.

As a result of these moves, Sonos created a unique position in the market.

Sonos versus Apple

On the day of the Sonos IPO, Spence addressed Apple’s recent entry into the smart speaker world. Asked how he feels about the HomePod, Spence told Axios that the two companies’ goals and methods couldn’t be more different.

“It’s different because of strategic intent,” said Spence. “I don’t see them building a set of products that fulfills what everyone needs. HomePod is good, but you also need iPod and Apple Music. To me that’s supporting a different strategic agenda, which is how to sell more iPhones.”

Unlike its competitors, Sonos doesn’t offer its own services, although Spence says he’s open to the idea. But his first aim is to build on Sonos’ loyal base of 7 million homes and attract even more customers.