UPDATE: The Sonos status site linked at the bottom of this article is now showing the ‘outage’ is over. We’ll try our own system later today to see if Alexa will now connect with the new Sonos Amp.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: We haven't had a traditional 'format war' in the audio and AV market for a good few years. The closest thing is perhaps the splitting of brands between those that are supporting Amazon's Alexa voice control (dominant in the US market) and those that have gone with Google Assistant (more dominant in Europe and Australia, where it launched ahead of Alexa).
Google seems to have the edge in ease of set-up and simple useability, but Alexa does have a significant advantage in allowing specific skills to be added for any given brand of equipment.
So credit to those companies which have considered supporting both, so as not to alienate any of their client base.
Sonos is one such company. It was quick to deliver Alexa compatibility, even building it into the Beam and the Sonos One, which can use Alexa in their standalone state, while some other Sonos products can be controlled through the additional of a separate Amazon device such as an Echo Dot.
Google Assistant had long been promised, and on Wednesday 15 May a free Sonos firmware update was finally released, rolling out across different app sites during the day to customers in the United States only.
"Support in Australia (and other key markets in the UK, Germany, Canada, France, and The Netherlands) comes in July with additional countries to follow." we were told by the local Sonos team.
By coincidence, we had a Sonos Amp up and running on review (publishing in the next issue of Sound+Image) and we had spent several hours of our Thursday morning trying to get it to respond to our Amazon Alexa Echo Dot. The right Sonos skills were installed, but the Alexa app simply refused to 'discover' the Sonos product.
Finally we called Sonos Australia support, which we always find quick to answer, and usually very helpful. But not today.
"You picked the wrong day to connect Alexa," they told us.
The big roll-out of Google compatibility has apparently affected Alexa compatibility not only in the United States, but around the world. Australia, being awake first, had apparently been flagging this to head office for a full seven hours before anyone took any notice.
At that point Sonos hoped to fix the problem within 24 hours ("and it's already been 12", we were told), but a full day later the Sonos 'status' site is still showing Alexa voice control of Sonos - AND in addition Spotify Direct control of Sonos - to be in "partial outage" status.
This article is correct as at 9am AEST on Friday 17 May 2019.
You can check the ongoing status here: https://status.sonos.com/
The Sonos Support tweeter feed is also posting updates and offering support for the problems: https://twitter.com/SonosSupport
The lesson: take a few days out from Sonos voice control, and use the app...