Sonos's CEO has responded to this week's customer uproar over its plans to cease support for older products in May.
In a blog post (below), Patrick Spence has apologised for the confusion and confirmed that the affected products, which include the first-generation Play:5 and Connect, 'will continue to work as they do today'.
"We did not get this right from the start. My apologies for that... while legacy Sonos products won’t get new software features, we pledge to keep them updated with bug fixes and security patches for as long as possible," he said.
Sonos customers have been outraged at the news that their older products would no longer receive software updates or new features, believing that their perfectly good, functioning kit would be rendered obsolete.
A particularly sore spot was the fact newer products could also be caught in no-update limbo if they're part of systems that include any of the older devices on the list of those affected.
Email from @Sonos -They’re killing (bricking) my speaker & as it’s a ‘system’ other speakers at home will cease to work properly too..unless I buy a new one! Sorry #Sonos but that’s disgraceful & I’ll buy differently. You can’t blackmail British customers. We won’t have it! Bye..January 22, 2020
In 2013, I refurbished my home and spent 1000s on an integrated music system based around Sonos central controllers to send music to every room. Now, I get an e mail, telling me that it's old and may as well be thrown in the bin. #sonos @sonosJanuary 22, 2020
Spence has acknowledged customers' frustration over the potential for modern and legacy products no longer working together in a system, noting: "we are working on a way to split your system so that modern products work together and get the latest features, while legacy products work together and remain in their current state. We’re finalizing details on this plan and will share more in the coming weeks."
Below is the blog post in full.
We heard you. We did not get this right from the start. My apologies for that and I wanted to personally assure you of the path forward:
First, rest assured that come May, when we end new software updates for our legacy products, they will continue to work as they do today. We are not bricking them, we are not forcing them into obsolescence, and we are not taking anything away. Many of you have invested heavily in your Sonos systems, and we intend to honor that investment for as long as possible. While legacy Sonos products won’t get new software features, we pledge to keep them updated with bug fixes and security patches for as long as possible. If we run into something core to the experience that can’t be addressed, we’ll work to offer an alternative solution and let you know about any changes you’ll see in your experience.
Secondly, we heard you on the issue of legacy products and modern products not being able to coexist in your home. We are working on a way to split your system so that modern products work together and get the latest features, while legacy products work together and remain in their current state. We’re finalizing details on this plan and will share more in the coming weeks.
While we have a lot of great products and features in the pipeline, we want our customers to upgrade to our latest and greatest products when they’re excited by what the new products offer, not because they feel forced to do so. That’s the intent of the trade up program we launched for our loyal customers.
Thank you for being a Sonos customer. Thank you for taking the time to give us your feedback. I hope that you’ll forgive our misstep, and let us earn back your trust. Without you, Sonos wouldn’t exist and we’ll work harder than ever to earn your loyalty every single day.
If you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.
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We have seen some of this attitude before when Sonos suddenly discontinued dedicated remotes in favour of smartphone apps. Complete disdain for customers and this time I will not forgive them.
I will not be investing any more money on new Sonos products as they clearly have chosen not to stand behind existing ones.
Patrick Spence has really blown it for Sonos with this (apology not accepted). I imagine their stock and shares will be taking a hit very soon.
Bye bye Sonos! Goodnight!
Having spent ( After a quick tally up ) £3500 on my Sonos home music system, do they actually think this situation is rescuable, well I think they are sorely mistaken, the horse Has bolted so to speak, how can I have any real faith in spending yet more money on Sonos products, whilst always having in the back of my mind they will like it or not kill off older products. I’m sorry Sonos but I’m out 👎🏼
I also have spent around £2000 on Sonos products, I'm pleased to read others have had the same feeling as me.
I suspected desperate measures with the "discount incentives" to buy the new Amp.
Yes I'd like the higher power, was even thinking to utilise the existing amp maybe in a bathroom.
Like the other unhappy once-loyal customers, I will not invest more with this company. I do not understand who at Sonos would even dream that the obsolete product notice could be acceptable. This sounds like a high level or top management decision with lower level people too afraid to speak up before the post.
The u-turn statement " we didn't tell you we are working on a solution due out in the coming weeks" is not really a credible answer, but I hope Sonos can deliver it purely from a selfish point of view.