Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe

Speaker Maker Sonos Cuts Jobs as Amazon Steps Up Competition

  • Company says it's refocusing on voice controls and streaming
  • Spokesman declined to say how many jobs would be eliminated

Sonos Inc., the wireless speaker maker, is cutting staff as it refocuses on voice-controlled features and improving the way it works with music streaming services.

Pete Pedersen, a spokesman for Sonos, declined to say how many employees would be affected. The Santa Barbara, California-based company makes speakers and other sound equipment controlled by a smartphone application, which can access streaming services from providers including Apple Inc., Spotify Ltd. and Pandora Media Inc. Pedersen said the company has no plans to develop its own streaming service.

Amazon.com Inc. recently said its voice-controlled Echo speaker is the retailer’s third-best-selling electronics product. Last week, the company began taking orders for new versions of the Echo, which will begin shipping to customers later this month. John MacFarlane, the chief executive officer of Sonos, has expressed admiration for the product. However, Sonos doesn’t currently offer a speaker compatible with voice commands.

“Building a company capable of sustained innovation, steady growth and future vitality requires that we run the business profitably,” MacFarlane wrote in a company blog post. “We’re not chasing short-term gains or answering to impatient investors. Rather, we’re making a decision to substantially and confidently increase our investment in the future of music.”

Private technology companies face a tougher fundraising environment as venture capitalists push for startups to lower costs, prompting headcount reductions.

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