Open Source Virtual Assistant Project, Mycroft, To Shut Down


The funders have been told that the project has run out of money and will not be able to fulfil orders for the Mycroft Mark II following a significant Kickstarter campaign.

The open source, privacy-respecting substitute for Google Home and Amazon Echo, Mycroft, is closing operations due to a lack of funding. Joshua Montgomery, a 15-year business veteran with an aerospace engineering background, founded Mycroft. Montgomery sought to develop a voice assistant that could offer the ease of commercial solutions while yet protecting user privacy because he has long been an advocate for open source software.

Naturally, the revelation hasn’t gone down well with the project’s backers, many of whom are wondering why the initiative has ran out of money despite receiving funding in many rounds. Others questioned the company’s decision to sell more than 100 machines on eBay for $499 apiece rather than deliver them to backers.

Additionally regrettable in the broader privacy argument is Mycroft’s demise. Despite being useful, Amazon Echo and Google Home are a privacy nightmare because they steal enormous amounts of user data. If the Mycroft project is indeed dead, the privacy-conscious will suffer greatly.

In the end, Mycroft’s tragedy is all too common among crowdsourced hardware projects, with many failing to overcome the manufacturing’s financial and logistical challenges.

“I have some unfortunate news to share and there’s no easy way to say it, so here it is,” writes Montgomery. “We will not be able to fulfill any remaining Mark II rewards.

“Since starting here in early 2020 I’ve had to make some of the toughest decisions I’ve ever faced, and none more so than at the end of last year. At the end of November, just after the Mark II entered production, I was faced with the reality that I had to lay off most of the Mycroft staff. At present, our staff is two developers, one customer service agent and one attorney. Moreover, without immediate new investment, we will have to cease development by the end of the month.”


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