A catfight between Google and Sonos broke smart homes for Pixel phones


Google is definitely an orange cat. Mariya Ilmaz / Shutterstock.com (Modified)

It’s been half a year since Sonos won a patent infringement lawsuit against Google, but the companies are still bickering. In a community blog post, Google says some Pixel phones can’t set up new or recently disconnected smart home devices due to “an outage caused by Sonos.”

These types of blog posts are preferred by Google to allay customer anger. It’s the same thing we saw during Google’s dispute with Roku: blaming the other company for a problem and implying that some users can get free replacement products.

Google has not offered an actual explanation for this problem, which it calls “temporary”. But in a statement to 9to5Googlesays Sonos continually uses the legal system “in a way that deliberately creates problems” for users.

“Our support teams are available to troubleshoot any issues, and if needed, we’ll ship replacement devices or offer a Google store credit. Over the years, we’ve worked hard to make sure our shared customers have a positive experience and we are disappointed that Sonos continues to use the legal system in a way that deliberately creates problems for these users.”

Here’s the thing; the FTC ruled that Google infringed Sonos’ patents. Even if Sonos is intentionally turning Pixel owners’ range into a trump card, it’s operating within the law. You know, what Google didn’t do when it stole Sonos technology.

And while you should question everything Google and Sonos say about this situation, it sounds like Google could just pay to license Sonos’ technology and be done with it. At least, that’s what a Sonos representative says. android hub.

“Google’s Pixel discontinuation is a direct result of its decision to infringe on Sonos’ patents rather than license them, as the International Trade Commission ruled.”

“It is entirely up to Google to inflict more harm on its customers rather than behave responsibly, and it is the height of arrogance to try to blame the company whose innovations it is misappropriating.”

We do not know the full details behind this case. Perhaps Sonos is trying to charge a lot of money for these licenses or enforce stipulations that won’t work for Google. Either way, customers shouldn’t have to deal with these types of issues.

If this seems like a new trend, it’s because cloud-connected devices are becoming more ubiquitous. Corporations can remove the functionality of these products at any time or even break the devices without alerting customers.

And that puts us in an interesting bind. Before products were connected to the cloud, a patent infringement case would not affect items that customers have already purchased. Should court cases like the one with Google and Sonos have an impact on things we’ve already bought, or should it only apply to new items?

Source: Google via Android Authority