It was interesting to see the announcement today of HARMAN and SoundHound working together on a hospitality solution. This got my conspiracy theorist mind going in circles.
A speaker in hospitality does seem like a good place to differentiate. Yes, there are a few players here but Amazon doesn’t seem to have made a huge dent yet. Hotel brands are wary of giving up their experience and something like a brand-able, customizable speaker would be perfect.
However, the bigger picture here is that HARMAN is owned by Samsung. Why not a customizable Bixby speaker? Why Houndify?
If I were to completely speculate that Samsung would buy SoundHound, I don’t think I’d sound completely crazy. Samsung is already a strategic investor in SoundHound. They’ve made big acquisitions before, such as Viv, to jumpstart Bixby. SoundHound would also give them music matching similar to Shazzam that’s now owned by Apple.
If Samsung were to pick up SoundHound, they’d get hundreds of millions of app users and a real platform for building voice interaction. This could give SoundHound the capital and other resources to put up a fight against Amazon on its Lex services.
It’ll be interesting to see how the cooperation plays out.