Update from the CEO: Part 1

Originally published at: Update from the CEO: Part 1 - Mycroft

I have some unfortunate news to share.

Before I get into that, I want to point out that Mycroft has always had ambitious plans, but has never been a large company. At its peak of my tenure here we had 13 people. Every one of those people made sacrifices because they believed in Mycroft’s mission. I am grateful for everyone that stuck with us, despite the challenges, stress and uncertainty over the last three years, when they could have easily found better pay and less stress elsewhere.

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. I want to explain what this means for our customers and community, and for Mycroft’s future in general.

The consequence of the first round of layoffs was that we were unable to make as much progress on the software as we had planned for after the launch of the Mark II. It has also greatly impacted customer service response times and our ability to engage with the community in general. Fortunately, manufacturing and shipping of the Mark II has not been affected, as these processes are handled by our manufacturing partner. All components have been purchased, and all Mark II orders outstanding and those placed in the future will be delivered.

We’ve been diligently pursuing options to ensure that all devices shipped to date and in the future will continue to operate and that our customers’ privacy will continue to be protected. The first measure we’ve taken is to ensure that even if we must shut down our servers at some point in the future, all Mark IIs will continue to operate. Our efforts to push everything to the “edge” and to improve our privacy policies have made this possible as a natural stop on our technology roadmap.

The second measure we’ve taken is to enlist the aid of one of our long-time partners to ensure continuity of development and maintenance of the Classic Core code base. This will also have the benefit of bringing back some of the most requested features by our community.

So … is this goodbye? Not quite. We’ve accomplished a lot in the last few years, and along the way I’ve learned that there are still many untapped opportunities in the voice assistant space. The mission of a privacy-first voice assistant for every human that wants one is yet to be realized, and we are exploring new pathways to get us there. Rest assured that regardless of what happens, no devices will become ‘bricks’ and our commitment to customer’s privacy will not be compromised.

This has been a very difficult message to write. I came out of retirement three years ago, invested a truly inadvisable percentage of my personal savings, and gave my best effort to advance Mycroft’s mission. I am still very emotionally invested in Mycroft and its vast potential, and I believe the challenge to privacy is an important and a solvable one, to say nothing of access for people with disabilities, under-resourced languages and other pressing issues that open source, privacy-respecting software is uniquely positioned to address.

There is much more to be said and many other topics that I will cover in future posts over the coming days.


That is very unfortunate to hear! :cry: We have always believed in you guys to do what no one else would even dare to do; Taking on the big guys.

We as long term community and development members and part of the OpenVoiceOS team have always been a bit reluctant to activily market our own fully mycroft-core backwards compatible software stack to give you guys the space of “getting there…”.

OpenVoiceOS has always been the continuation of the classic mycroft-core when Mycroft A.I. decided to fully focus on the Mark2 device. ovos-core is still the drop in replacement of mycroft-core, however including all the extra features and merged community PR’s of which you guys had to decide, not to look into just to get the Mark2 out and into peoples home.

We have always aimed at being fully backwards compatible. What works in OpenVoiceOS, works in Mycroft A.I. and the other way around.

Although it is very unfortunate to hear that Mycroft A.I has to cease development by the end of this month, this also opens doors for OpenVoiceOS as we no longer have to worry about backwards compatibility.

This allows OpenVoiceOS to take the next step in our development cycle.

Where one door closes, another opens :wink: So without further ado;


Very sad but pretty much what I expected based on the radio silence for the last 2 months. On the other hand, I’ve learned a lot, which was part of the reason for buying my Mark 2 and OVOS has made it pretty usable.


Sad news indeed, but you all should be proud of what you’ve accomplished. I’m super happy with my quirky voice assistant, and am grateful that an open source option even exists. Sorry that you all had to shutdown, but thanks for all you did along the way.


I too am sorry to hear this. Thanks to all the Mycroft employees (past and present) who gave it their all and now have to look for jobs. Good luck to all.

The mission of a privacy-first voice assistant for every human that wants one is yet to be realized, and we are exploring new pathways to get us there.

New pathways? Great - hoping to hear about them in future posts …

Rest assured that regardless of what happens, no devices will become ‘bricks’

Also great to hear! I’ll also be waiting to hear what will become of the mycroft.ai domain name and corresponding infrastructure for maintaining all devices running Mycroft.

-Mike Mac
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I hate to hear this Mike. Fighting the same good fight as we are also building a conversational solution, my team and I have always admired Mycroft’s mission for privacy. I’d be honored if we could chat about the journey.


Looks like the ‘long term partner’ is Neon Free Neon OS USB drive for your Mark II


I can confirm that Neon is that partner mentioned and you beat me to sharing a link to that thread. :slight_smile:

We (Neon) are looking forward to taking on the task of managing “Classic Core” and related projects on GitHub with a lot of help from OpenVoiceOS (OVOS) and the work put in there. It is clearly a huge undertaking that Mycroft started with so many elements coming together to make an open source voice assistant.

Our goal is to work with the community here and the OVOS team to get Mycroft’s code base updated and provide the resources and expertise to manage and maintain community contributions moving forward.


Didn’t mean to be cagey- I’m just a “dot the i’s and cross the t’s” guy, but I expect we’ll have the agreement signed today, so it’s all good. :nerd_face:



  1. What entity will continue Dinkum Development? ( @gez-mycroft ) had promised a roadmap for Dinkum by the end of January (ie. yesterday)

  2. What happens with Dinkum’s Pantacor container & update service?

  3. Is Dinkum’s Pantacor container & update service included in the images available on Mycroft.AI and if not why not? Also why is the wifi configuration wizard we get with the shipped USB not included? Please just make complete images available so we are not required to monkey around with it to get it back to the same baseline as what was shipped. This is not end-user friendly at all.


@Bobby sounds interesting. Which team is this?

  1. Currently, our primary goal for Dinkum is to make it functional without depending on Selene. This is in testing now. We’ve also fixed a number of bugs. Whether we have the ability to provide further updates depends on… well, on whether we have any employees. It also will depend on the customers’ demand for those updates, or if the Neon-led revamp of the Classic Core will better suit their needs.
  2. That should not be affected in the near-term, but in the event that we are no longer going to provide updates via the Pantacor system we will leave the images in a working state that doesn’t require it. This will mean they will be ‘frozen’, but should continue to function until dependent third-parties make breaking changes to their APIs.
  3. I’m not sure what you mean by this. All the images are available currently (both those based on the Pantacor update system and those based on a Raspbian image).

The WiFi configuration wizard is not included in the Raspbian image because it is a customized version of the Balena WiFi Connect that required significant modifications to work with the Pantacor container system. So why didn’t we add the basic one to the sandbox image? Time. We figure if you want the sandbox image, you’re a developer, and therefore you know how to configure wifi using other means.


Okay, I just now discovered that although it had been delayed by about a week, I had received a response from @gez-mycroft and that he had explained something that was completely unclear to me. He wrote:

"This image:

and the others here:
Mycroft Software - Mycroft Mark II

Are the version that ships out with the devices. They include the WiFi setup wizard and automatic updates.

The Sandbox images are the ones that don’t ​include those and are for development or ​custom purposes.

I didn’t understand that the full images were out there. That’s what I was needing. Thank you.


This is really sad news but I appreciate that y’all didn’t just go dark like many other startups do.

I’m glad to have gotten a mk2 unit and hope that manufacturing will eventually continue in some capacity, even if Mycroft.ai does not. It really is a fantastic piece of hardware.


Sad news to hear :frowning: I have been proudly showing off my Mark II DevKit running Ovos and my self printed Picroft to all my friends telling them that is the future. My sons are super happy with the two “things” that talk to them in Italian and tell them stories and when it is time to go to bed.

Thanks for starting this adventure and let’s hope it does not end here!


I’m sorry to hear the bad news, Michael. I’ve been through similar stuff, and it is unbelievably painful and stressful for everyone, but especially the C-suite folks. Thanks for the transparency here, and for the record, I think you’ve done about as good of a job as anyone could have so far.

  • C

I can’t say I’m surprised. Angry, but that’s a given.

“Fortunately, manufacturing and shipping of the Mark II has not been affected, as these processes are handled by our manufacturing partner. All components have been purchased, and all Mark II orders outstanding and those placed in the future will be delivered.”

So let me get this straight, all of the remaining 2,245 kickstarter backers who paid for a unit, will receive a unit? We’d all kinda like to know.


That is precisely what he said.

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This situation… well, it sucks, to be plain spoken about it. But have done the best I can, and I have a clear conscience about it. I wish we could have delivered those 4000+ Mark IIs… but we can’t.

When I joined Mycroft, two years after the Kickstarter campaign, one of my goals was to ensure that all the Kickstarter backers (such as myself) got their expected Mark IIs. Unfortunately, it has not worked out that way. I’ve personally invested $2.5M in that quixotic quest and, barring some sort of miracle, it’s not going to happen.

When I talk about “orders”, I mean specifically actual orders: purchases through the website starting in 2021. Kickstarter “rewards” and Indiegogo “perks” are not “orders”, as I’ve explained previously. [From the Kickstarter website: “Kickstarter is not a store, backers pledge to projects to help them come to life and support a creative process. To thank their backers for their support, project creators offer unique rewards that speak to the spirit of what they’re hoping to create.”].

We had to very consciously make that distinction in order to produce any Mark IIs, and thus have any chance of delivering those rewards and perks. But at this point it would cost over a million dollars just in components to deliver all of those, and Mycroft’s bank balance is several orders of magnitude lower than that.


Woah… That hurts. Now I really feel I have bin scammed for quite some years. Do not take it personally, and I know that you understand how disappointed we, earliest Kickstarter investors, are.

This situation is plainly on the company which have done a lot of bad choices, thrown money in some useless world-wide trips (I met Joshua in Paris).

Honestly, it is not really about the 150 bucks I lost, but more on how we are here now. The market was ready for this commercial privacy assistant, but you ruined it all.