Power

Sonos was granted an injunction against Google in Germany

The order could force Google to stop the sale of smart speakers, media players and even phones in the country.

Nest Audio speakers

Google may be forced to stop selling its Nest Audio speakers and other products in Germany soon.

Photo: Google

Sonos scored a point in its legal fight against Google: A German court issued a preliminary injunction against an Irish Google subsidiary for violating one of Sonos's patents, the speaker maker revealed Wednesday.

The injunction, which was issued by a Hamburg court at the end of April, prohibits Google from selling its cast technology in Germany. This could force Google to halt sales of its smart speakers, media players and phones in the country for the time being; the company may also be forced to stop distributing the YouTube Music app to German consumers.

The full ruling hasn't been made available in writing yet, making the actual effect it will have on Google's presence in the market uncertain. Google spokesperson José Castañeda said that the company had appealed the ruling.

"We are disappointed that Sonos has made false claims about our partnership and technology," Castañeda said via email. "We have appealed and are still awaiting the reasoning for the Court's ruling. And we will continue to work to ensure that our German customers continue to have the best experience using our products."

"We're grateful the court has acknowledged Google's blatant infringement of Sonos' IP," said Sonos Chief Legal Officer Eddie Lazarus in an emailed statement. "This decision marks a promising milestone in our ongoing effort to defend our innovations and stand up to the unfair practices of Big Tech."

Sonos filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Google at the beginning of last year. Google went on to countersue Sonos, and the conflict between the two companies is also being litigated in front of the International Trade Commission. The two companies have also been fighting with each other in courts in Germany, Canada, France and the Netherlands.

News of the court decision came as Sonos released earnings results for its fiscal Q2. In that quarter, Sonos was able to generate $332.9 million in revenue, which is a 90% increase over the same quarter in 2020. Adjusted earnings per share were $0.31, up from losses of $0.34 for the same quarter last year.

In a response to these results, Sonos adjusted its full-year guidance. The company now expects to generate between $1.63 billion and $1.68 billion in revenue in its fiscal 2021, which would represent a year-over-year growth of nearly 30%. It had previously forecast revenues of $1.53 billion to $1.58 billion.

Sonos CEO Patrick Spence told Protocol on Wednesday that he sees the company on an upward trajectory, in part due to new product categories like the portable Sonos Roam. "Our Roam preorders were 150% of what we expected them to be," Spence said, expressing optimism that many of those customers would add other Sonos products over time. "We are seeing the whole flywheel work."

Update (5/13): This post was updated with Google's response.

Fintech

How I decided to exit my startup’s original business

Bluevine got its start in factoring invoices for small businesses. CEO Eyal Lifshitz explains why it dropped that business in favor of “end-to-end banking.”

"[I]t was a realization that we can't be successful at both at the same time: You've got to choose."

Photo: Bluevine

Click banner image for more How I decided series

Bluevine got its start in fintech by offering a modern version of invoice factoring, the centuries-old practice where businesses sell off their accounts receivable for up-front cash. It’s raised $767 million in venture capital since its founding in 2013 by serving small businesses. But along the way, it realized it was better to focus on the checking accounts and lines of credit it provided customers than its original product. It now manages some $500 million in checking-account deposits.

Keep Reading Show less
Ryan Deffenbaugh
Ryan Deffenbaugh is a reporter at Protocol focused on fintech. Before joining Protocol, he reported on New York's technology industry for Crain's New York Business. He is based in New York and can be reached at rdeffenbaugh@protocol.com.

Businesses are evolving, with current events and competition serving as the catalysts for technology adoption. Events from the pandemic to the ongoing war in Ukraine have exposed the fragility of global supply chains. The topic of sustainability is now on every board room agenda. Industries from manufacturing to retail and everything in between are exploring the latest innovations like process automation, machine learning and AI to identify potential safeguards against future disruption. But according to a recent survey from Boston Consulting Group, while 80% of companies are adopting digital solutions to navigate existing business challenges or opportunities like the ones mentioned, only about 30% successfully digitally transform their business.

For the last 50 years, SAP has worked closely with our customers to solve some of the world’s most intricate problems. We have also seen, and have been a part of, rapid accelerations in technology in response. Across industries, certain paths have emerged to help businesses manage the unexpected challenges over the last few years.

Keep Reading Show less
DJ Paoni

DJ Paoni is the President of SAP North America and is responsible for the strategy, day-to-day operations, and overall customer success in the United States and Canada. Dedicated to helping customers become best-run businesses, DJ has established himself as a trusted advisor who places a high priority on their success. He works with many of SAP North America's 155,000 customers and helps them adopt business and technology best practices across 25 different industries.

Enterprise

The Roe decision could change how advertisers use location data

Over the years, the digital ad industry has been resistant to restricting use of location data. But that may be changing.

Over the years, the digital ad industry has been resistant to restrictions on the use of location data. But that may be changing.

Illustration: Christopher T. Fong/Protocol

When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday, the likelihood for location data to be used against people suddenly shifted from a mostly hypothetical scenario to a realistic threat. Although location data has a variety of purposes — from helping municipalities assess how people move around cities to giving reliable driving directions — it’s the voracious appetite of digital advertisers for location information that has fueled the creation and growth of a sector selling data showing who visited specific points on the map, when, what places they came from and where they went afterwards.

Over the years, the digital ad industry has been resistant to restrictions on the use of location data. But that may be changing. The overturning of Roe not only puts the wide availability of location data for advertising in the spotlight, it could serve as a turning point compelling the digital ad industry to take action to limit data associated with sensitive places before the government does.

Keep Reading Show less
Kate Kaye

Kate Kaye is an award-winning multimedia reporter digging deep and telling print, digital and audio stories. She covers AI and data for Protocol. Her reporting on AI and tech ethics issues has been published in OneZero, Fast Company, MIT Technology Review, CityLab, Ad Age and Digiday and heard on NPR. Kate is the creator of RedTailMedia.org and is the author of "Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media," a book about how the 2008 presidential campaigns used digital media and data.

Enterprise

Russian cyberattacks against the US may still be coming, experts say

In response to strong sanctions and military aid to Ukraine, Russia was expected to launch disruptive cyberattacks against the West but never did. But a cyberescalation from Russia still remains possible, as soon as later this year, according to experts.

"I fear this is a 'calm before the storm' situation," said Chester Wisniewski, principal research scientist at Sophos.

Illustration: Nanzeeba Ibnat/iStock/Getty Images Plus

In the four months since its invasion of Ukraine, Russia hasn't intensified its usual pattern of cyberattacks against the U.S. and Western Europe in response to sanctions and Ukrainian military aid, as many expected. But that doesn't mean the risk of escalation with the West is gone, numerous experts told Protocol.

In other words, don't lower your shields just yet.

Keep Reading Show less
Kyle Alspach

Kyle Alspach ( @KyleAlspach) is a senior reporter at Protocol, focused on cybersecurity. He has covered the tech industry since 2010 for outlets including VentureBeat, CRN and the Boston Globe. He lives in Portland, Oregon, and can be reached at kalspach@protocol.com.

Fintech

Affirm CEO: 'Buy now, pay later' becomes more attractive in a slump

With consumers grappling with rising rates and prices, the question of whether they’ll still buy now and pay later is open. Max Levchin thinks Affirm knows the answer.

Affirm CEO Max Levchin spoke with Protocol about "buy now, pay later."

Photo: John Lamparski/Getty Images

Shortly after Affirm went public last year, CEO Max Levchin told Protocol that he saw “an ocean of opportunities” for the “buy now, pay later” pioneer. Wall Street agreed.

Affirm’s stock soared in its trading debut as the company blazed a trail for a fast-growing alternative to the credit cards that Levchin says consumers are increasingly rejecting.

Keep Reading Show less
Benjamin Pimentel

Benjamin Pimentel ( @benpimentel) covers crypto and fintech from San Francisco. He has reported on many of the biggest tech stories over the past 20 years for the San Francisco Chronicle, Dow Jones MarketWatch and Business Insider, from the dot-com crash, the rise of cloud computing, social networking and AI to the impact of the Great Recession and the COVID crisis on Silicon Valley and beyond. He can be reached at bpimentel@protocol.com or via Google Voice at (925) 307-9342.

Latest Stories
Bulletins