fb-pixel Skip to main content

Sonos lays off workers as it shifts to voice control technology

Citing changes in the music industry, the head of home-audio maker Sonos announced on Thursday that the company is in the process of laying off an undisclosed number of employees as it shifts its focus toward voice control technology.

John MacFarlane, Sono’s co-founder and chief executive, wrote in a blog post that the layoffs are a “short term – and very difficult – consequence” of the company’s decision to move in a different direction. It will be “doubling down” on music streaming, while “committing significant resources” toward voice controlled technology akin to Amazon Echo, “the first product to really showcase the power of voice control in the home,” he wrote.


“We’re a tight bunch, so saying goodbye is particularly painful,” MacFarlane wrote. “But I know that making these changes is the right thing to do for Sonos as we look to the future.”

The post did not go into detail on the number of employees or whether the Boston office will be affected. Sonos declined to elaborate on the layoffs via an e-mail from spokeswoman Errin Cecil-Smith.

The announcement comes a month after the Santa Barbara, Calif.-based company announced it moved its Cambridge office to a new 120,000-square-foot spot in Boston. The 14-year-old company employs about 400 people in Boston, about the same number as its Santa Barbara office.

In 2014, Sonos disclosed its 2013 revenue was $535 million.

“Now that music fans can finally play anything anywhere, we’re going to focus on building incredibly rich experiences that were all but unimaginable when we started the company...,” MacFarlane wrote. “Voice is a big change for us, so we’ll invest what’s required to bring it to market in a wonderful way.”

Katheleen Conti can be reached at kconti@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @GlobeKConti.