Sonos stops updates for older speakers, upsetting customers

Sonos stops updates for older speakers: Sonos - Play:5 Wireless Speaker
Sonos – Play:5 Wireless Speaker
As Sonos stops updates for older speakers, a social media storm is enveloping the company. Sonos recently announced that, starting in May 2020, some of the company’s oldest products will no longer receive software updates or new features.

These legacy Sonos products — the original Zone Players, Connect, and Connect:Amp (launched in 2006; includes versions sold until 2015), first-generation Play:5 (launched 2009), CR200 (launched 2009), and Bridge (launched 2007) — will no longer receive software updates or new features, as of May 2020.

In a blog post, the company says, “92% of the products we’ve ever shipped are still in use today. That is unheard of in the world of consumer electronics. However, we’ve now come to a point where some of the oldest products have been stretched to their technical limits in terms of memory and processing power.”

Reuters:

Hours after the company made the announcement here on Tuesday, customers went on Twitter using the trending hashtag #SonosBoycott and tagging the company’s chief executive officer, Patrick Spence, with their questions.

“@Patrick_Spence would you like to buy my 3 yr old @Sonos equipment? I guess you know how to use it as a doorstop soon,” one Twitter user, @itnopred, asked the CEO…

The Sonos support team has been replying to irate customers.

“As this is the first time we’ve had to end software updates for any music player, we recognize this is new for Sonos owners, just as it is for Sonos,” a Sonos spokesman said in a statement.

“We’ve now come to the point where our oldest products have been stretched to their technical limits in terms of memory and processing power.”

MacDailyNews Take: It’s only natural that older products with outmoded processors and other technology drop off the support train. It’s a first for Sonos, so that might explain the uproar from customers experiencing this for the first time:

16 Comments

    1. People were right to complain. Thankfully, Sonos got the message.

      Sonos CEO Patrick Spence announced on Thursday that the company was “working on a way to split your system” so that newer models would continue to get updates, even if older models were present in a system. Spence’s letter also serves as an apology to unhappy Sonos customers. “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,” he said.

      https://www.businessinsider.com/sonos-device-support-ceo-apology-legacy-models-updates-controversy-2020-1

      What shocks me most isn’t that a company made a dumb mistake ignoring the customer experience — that’s very common. What shocks me is that people here chose to take the side of the company’s bad move, and even go online to insult the Sonos customers who were facing the bricking of their hardware. I truly don’t understand why some consumers think that everyone has thousands of dollars and hours just lying around ready to throw at companies who abuse the customer trust. Thankfully Sonos stepped up and promises a way forward. Many companies aren’t so trustworthy. Apple always gets the benefit of the doubt around here, but I have my doubts. The underdog customer-first mentality long ago gave way to corporatist attitudes. It makes one wonder how Apple will manage the bricking of the Homepods when they choose to pull the plug on that money loser.

  1. if i’m understanding this correctly, sonos did not say that the legacy equipment would cease to function, just that it can no longer get new features. it’s not like they’re going to suddenly stop working in may. the sonoses (sonoii?) people have purchased will continue to function just as they always have. am i missing something?

    1. Older devices will no longer get security updates making them easy targets for hacking. Also, any NEW Sonos products added to a system with “legacy” components will NOT receive updates either. Basically you must get rid of your old products if you want new Sonos products, to avoid security hacks and get bug fixes. Some products released as recently as 2015 are now considered “legacy”. So no, the products people purchased will not function just as they always have, the quality of the experience will degrade, as planned by Sonos to juice sales of new systems.

      https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/3a8dpn/sonos-makes-it-clear-you-no-longer-own-the-things-you-buy

      https://appleinsider.com/articles/20/01/22/sonos-cutting-support-for-older-devices-starting-in-may

  2. What a bunch of self entitled whiners. I am tempted to join Twitter just so I can post replies to these people and point out how ridiculous their expectations and reactions are. Boycotts and class actions for 15 year old hardware ? Wow what a joke.

    1. Give us a little credit here. I am one of those “self entitled whiners”. Its the way the announcement was written. Just because they are going to stop supporting them is obviously not an issue. Its the fact that they implied they will stop working if not in May sometime there after. What would you do if Sony sent you a note saying your TV is going to stop working – basically they were bricking it and in their email basically extorted you to say send more money and buy more new Sony gear if you want that to not happen. Thats what Sonos sent us. But yes – It was a mistake to guy Sonos and I do regret it.

    2. ivid, you levy very harsh and ill-informed judgement against people who may have bought into the Sonos ecosystem very recently, assuming that the product they bought last year would be supported for several years past THEIR purchase date, as opposed to the Sonos design release date. Any company that doesn’t even think about their customers in a sunsetting plan is fair game for the criticism they’ve received. It’s likely Sonos will stick to their decision however, because that’s how walled garden companies think. You are the quarry, not the customer.

  3. The issue here isn’t that older devices are reaching the point in age where they can’t be updated or provided new features. The real issue is the ridiculous price Sonos charges for their equipment. The smart speakers are reasonable. But the “port” and “amp” are just stupidly priced. $450 for the port??? $650 for the amp? These devices have many of the same components and capabilities as the speakers but without the actual speaker (or the smart assistant) and yet cost 3 times as much.

    If you have a whole house audio system with 5 zones and connects being used to each zone, and you have to replace them all with ports, you are 2250 in the whole. Ridiculous. The port should be 249 at most (199 would be better) and the amp should be 299, maybe 349. You’d have people more open to the upgrades needed at those prices and they’d make much more sense next to the price of the sonos one speakers.

  4. Some of the “dumb speakers” in my whole house stereo system date back to the early ’90s, as does by pioneer early Dolby receiver, and they’re still working fine, and with the addition of a Bluetooth interface, the whole thing functions great with all my digital devices.

    I would be more than hopping mad if I had purchased some of these things they sold as recently as a few years ago and are now obsolescing.

    At a minimum, they should have a generous trade in program and take responsibility for responsibly recycling the old units themselves. I also don’t see why they can’t simply patch vulnerabilities and allow their older systems to keep working with the newer ones.

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