Sonos has lost its chief product officer, Marc Whitten, the company confirmed to Tech Insider. Whitten had been at the helm of product development at Sonos for the past two years, which included the release of the Play:5 and its new sound balancing feature Trueplay.
The announcement comes a few weeks after CEO John MacFarlane noted in a blog post that the company was in the process of letting go of some employees as it restructures for a future dominated by streaming music, but few expected Whitten — the former chief product officer for Xbox — to be on the outs. "The short term – and very difficult – consequence of this decision is we’ve had to make some changes to our team," MacFarlane wrote. "We do this with a heavy heart, as we are in the process of letting go of some Sonos employees who have played important roles getting us to this point."
Whitten's replacement will be an interesting choice for Sonos, if and when they decide to fill the role. The company told Tech Insider that it wouldn't actively look for a replacement for Whitten, but with what could be seen as Sonos' first major competitor in the Amazon Echo, and MacFarlane's commitment to invest in voice control in the home, the company now has the task of introducing something far more complex than just a good speaker. And creating something that does voice control better than the Amazon Echo won't be easy, especially without a product lead.