Sonos CEO says speakers will work "as long as possible"

Yolanda Curtis
January 26, 2020

Now, Spence is confirming Sonos will allow customers to split their system so that newer products still work with old kit. Angry customers scold the company because, as they see it, they are pulling the rug out of them after their investment of hundreds and in some cases thousands of dollars in Sonos products - loudspeakers and the like - that now populate their homes.

Sonos has also pledged to continue software updates of current and recent models for at least five years, which means that more recently discontinued models, like the Play:3 and Play:1, are not affected by these changes and will be supported for years to come. (On a current Sonos Play:5, which retails for $499, the discount amounts to nearly $150.) In exchange, the company would brick the device remotely.

"Sonos still needs to make it easier to resell old devices without bricking them", Mahoney says.

More galling than Sonos' legacy speakers losing support, though, was the warning that they also wouldn't play nicely in a multi-room setup with other, newer speakers. And now, the latest news: Sonos CEO Patrick Spence has since issued an apology, one which we would argue may, unfortunately, end up making people even more confused than they already are.

Sonos speakers are created to work as a system, with consumers encouraged to add speakers over time.

Sonos recently announced that it will stop providing software and firmware updates for some of its older devices. "We are not bricking them, we are not forcing them into obsolescence, and we are not taking anything away", he notes, emphasizing the point. Just not in the full, complete way that most customers probably want.

Without updates, these devices will eventually stop working. They will stay with Sonos, says the thought, because they know that everything will work together. We are finalizing the details of this plan and will be sharing more in the coming weeks.

"We didn't get it right from the start", Spence said in a statement. That's big news, because there were a whole bunch of us not happy with this idea that our still-supported devices might be left behind.

The letter spells out in finer detail that while these older devices will still function as they do today, but they won't receive any new features moving forward like the rest of Sonos' product line and there will be some compatibility issues moving forward for folks who have both new and legacy products. If we come across something fundamental in the experience that can not be resolved, we will work to offer an alternative solution and inform you of the changes you will see in your experience.

If you're an integrator that works with Sonos products, this could prove tricky to work around, as you'll likely have to replace legacy products before they're no longer compatible with software partners.

Customers with legacy products can upgrade through Sonos' Trade Up program and save 30% on modern products or leave the system as is. Without you, Sonos would not exist and we will work harder every day to earn your loyalty.

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