Sonos boss sorry over speaker update scandal

Sonos CEO, Patrick Spence, has apologised to angry customers who have been told their older speaker systems will no longer receive system updates from May 2020.

The announcement, made on Tuesday 21 January, stated that legacy products including “our original Zone Players, Connect, and Connect:Amp (launched in 2006; includes versions sold until 2015), first-generation Play:5 (launched 2009) (pictured), CR200 (launched 2009), and Bridge (launched 2007)” will no longer receive software updates or new features.

Up to date Sonos systems which include any one of the heritage products listed above could also miss out on updates, the announcement warned.

In the statement, Sonos gave two options – continue to use the products until they lose functionality or upgrade for a 30 per cent discount.

Livid Sonos fans quickly took to Twitter to express their fury with some saying they felt punished “for being an early adopter and champion of Sonos products” and others saying they would now boycott the California-based brand.

In response to the backlash, Mr Spence was forced to issue an apology in which he tried to reassure customers, saying that after the company ends software updates and that the affected products 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,” he said.

Mr Spence said that while legacy Sonos products won’t get new software features, the company pledges 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,” he said.

On the frustration over new Sonos speakers potentially being caught up in no-update scenario if twinned with legacy ones, Mr Spence said the company is “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 finalising details on this plan and will share more in the coming weeks”.

Ending the statement, Mr Spence continued: “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.

“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.”