Why haven't SONOS been acquired by Apple?


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I don't have any particular insight to offer hence my question.

If you understand the dynamics at play, please post up.

The people I polled replied with arguments ranging from SONOS are not interested in being acquired to Apple don't need SONOS.

The recent WWDC obviously revived this curiosity of mine.

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16 replies

A question for Apple to answer, surely. Wrong forum to be asking it!
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I called and spoke to Tim Cook on this and he offered three reasons.(He actually shortened the list from 3,276,345 reasons)
1. He is not in the mood yet
2. Sonos have a NO in their name and they spell it in caps
3. He thinks he can wing it going alone

I cut the call after #3
Wappinghigh? Is that you?

On a serious note, from an anthropological point of view, I find the few days after an Apple announcement to be utterly fascinating.
LOL.
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I have asked the same question on several forums, including the ones dedicated to Apple. Others are participating.

For those wondering, Wappinghigh seems to be a school in the UK.
At least I learned one thing....

On a serious note, from an anthropological point of view, I find the SONOS forums a few days after an Apple announcement to be utterly fascinating.
Userlevel 7
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Why do you think Apple should acquire Sonos? Why do you think Sonos should sell to Apple? Why not Amazon, Google, or Microsoft?

Without give some sort of reason why you think it could or should happen, it's just random.
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Why do you think Apple should acquire Sonos? Why do you think Sonos should sell to Apple? Why not Amazon, Google, or Microsoft?

Without give some sort of reason why you think it could or should happen, it's just random.


It seems like such a natural fit, but that'll be a start:

1) SONOS went through some changes which seemed to indicate doubt and raise questions about their future while management went into a defensive public press campaign to assuage everyone's fears.
New CEO, layoffs and a lot of noise surrounding their missing the train for Voice Commands with no guarantee it won't be too little too late now that the landscape and marketplace have evolved further. Apple takes a jab at SONOS and shows a Play"3 when mentioning "dumb" speakers on stage during WWDC. The last time I saw them do that, it was for the Palm Treo during their presentation for the iPhone if I recall correctly.

2) They public positioning sends the message that they are all about music. Steve Jobs set up his company to sit at the intersection of Liberal Arts and Tech. I see common ground in the design, pursuit of excellent and valuable lifestyle brands both companies have become. Their respective clientele mesh very well IMO.

3) I am told SONOS is doing very well from a financial standpoint. However having deeper pockets will pay for R&D, marketing and talent on a whole different level. In other words what are the growth plans for SONOS if nothing changes?

4) Apple could have saved time and benefited from SONOS expertise.


If anyone has seen any numbers, please share: what's the iOS marketshare amongst SONOS owners?
Userlevel 7
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#1 doesn't really sound like a reason, just drama.

#2 I agree that there is some similarities, but Sonos would also share them Amazon and Google. Microsoft could look into it so that they could 'get there'.

#3 That won't help Sonos because they won't exist if they get bought out.

#4 Agreed. But Apply is also pretty far along with their own AirPlay stuff, so I don't know if incorporating Sonos would be step forward or backward.

I would guess the iOS marketshare is probably the same for Sonos owners as it is in general. Although I would not think that iPhone owners are going to start buying Sonos if it got an apple logo. Not a huge jump anyway. And some customers would be turned off by the Apple Logo.

We also do not know how Sonos business partners would fair if Sonos were bought out.

I also think there are good reasons not to sell right now. I'm no market analysis, but I bet there was a spike in companies that sell smarthome products when the Echo came on the market. The market is in flux right now, so it's very possible these companies could be worth more (or less) when things shake out.

I personally would not want this to happen from my customer perspective. Let apple develop their own stuff, competition will drive innovation and price. I also don't want to be pushed solely into one companies ecosystem. I'd rather keep my android phone, Amazon echo and fire tvs, and Sonos speakers....then pushed to go all Apple.
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@Kumar was right:

https://www.theverge.com/2017/2/14/14596904/sonos-ceo-alexa-smart-home-outdoor-speakers-patrick-spence-interview
Current SONOS CEO Patrick Spence was asked the one question I am interested in:


Has anyone offered to buy Sonos?

No.
Userlevel 7
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Good article. I'm sure you noticed as well that Sonos is employee owned. Assuming then that employees have a say in acquisitions, it could make Sonos a lot harder to buy. If being bought out potentially means layoffs.

But I am purely speculating.
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@melvimbe

Very good points. Apple does have a history of "absorbing" their acquisitions and often of shutting them down.
SONOS products ( I think they'd keep using the name because it's so valuable) would then perhaps not be called that but the hardware would survive.

For someone like me, if it were all Apple I wouldn't mind. I love the Apple ecosystem (both hardware and software).
And this is after I used and tried everything out there.

Amazon I like and is different from Google. You can use Alexa right in the Amazon app. They just want to be everywhere and apparently in a growing number of industries. The goal is to sell more things and they don't mind building hardware and software to achieve that goal.

Personally I don't care for Voice product right now. In 5-10 years, it will be a different story because you'll be able to engage in a conversation and learn something when the systems can reuse the reply they just gave you for context and keep track of a topic as you go along. Turn off my lights and set a timer? I don't mind doing that right now. The current state is however extremely important to people with reduced or limited mobility and I am so glad this tech exists for them.


No I wasn't aware it is employees-owned.
They'd be happy/ get paid - even if laid off.
The hardest hit would then be the mere employees without a stake.
And it's hard to speculate on the cultural fit but the small start-up feel would evaporate for sure and that usually upsets people.
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Sonos are heterogeneous in their support of 3rd parties: they work with ~55 music services, and produce Controller apps for multiple platforms. They also keep their hardware working for decades via updates.

Apple are none of these things. They certainly don't want to support~54 of those music services, or produce Controllers for other platforms. And they want to force hardware updates every 2 years.

It would be terrible news, for all of us who are not 100% Apple ecosystem users.
Do you think Apple is going to apply a 2 year lifecycle to Homepods? I can't see them going that route for that type of product.
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Amazon may not be after the Sonos market. The echo dot is a good example of a product that works with other third party speakers (I don't own one but assume that those who bought such products do vouch for them).
There is a market for Sonos in a niche where they coexist with the likes of the Echo. Apple may compete and win a part but I am assuming they will expand the market as well so those who would not want to buy into the Amazon may buy Apple. Remember Apple has better privacy than amazon who will read your instructions and customize the screens and ads to your lifestyle. Not sure where Sonos fits in there. Ultimately there are wall garden ecosystems which will cost more like Apple that will thrive. And there there are cheaper options like Amazon that will not pretend to provide secrecy/security.
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Do you think Apple is going to apply a 2 year lifecycle to Homepods? I can't see them going that route for that type of product.

Should be similar to the Apple TV cycle whatever that is.
It seems that Apple is pretty careful and deliberate about whom they acquire and whether they need the tech or the market. With a company like Beats they kept the brand since that was what they were buying. I'm not sure what they would be buying with Sonos exactly.

I have a product called Apple HiFi, which came out maybe 10 years ago. It's a big portable speaker that they sold for $349. I've always liked mine and it's still in use, ironically now being fed by a Sonos Connect. I would put it's quality somewhere between a Play1 and a Play3. I'm interested to hear a Home Hub, but it's not on my Christmas list.

I have my feet solidly in both the Apple and the Sonos ecosystems, and if Sonos were to be acquired I would rather they be acquired by Apple than by Google or Amazon (Nest was ruined by Google), but I hope they aren't acquired at all. I like them the way they are.