Sonos clarifies that ‘legacy products’ will continue to work after May

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Earlier this week, Sonos upset a lot of its customers when it announced that it would stop updating some older devices in May.  Now the company is backtracking a bit.

Sonos announced today that while the “legacy products” that were due to stop getting updates in May will not get any new features past that time, Sonos will keep them updated with bug fixes and security patches “for as long as possible”. A list of what Sonos considers to be “legacy products” can be found here.

The company also clarified that once May rolls around, those legacy products will not just stop working. “We are not bricking them, we are not forcing them into obsolescence, and we are not taking anything away,” explained Sonos CEO Patrick Spence.

Spence also said that if Sonos runs into an issue with these legacy products that’s “core to the experience” and can’t be addressed, Sonos will “work to offer an alternative solution”.

Finally, another issue with Sonos’ plans to stop updating its older products is that if you had a system that included both older and newer devices, those newer devices may be unable to receive updates, too. This was because it wanted all of your devices to be on the same firmware.

That’s not going to be the case now. Sonos’ CEO says that it’s working on a way to split your system between old and new devices that they’ll all work together but the newer products will still be able to get the newest features. “We’re finalizing details on this plan and will share more in the coming weeks,” Spence added.

When it first announced plans to stop updating older devices, Sonos explained that it was doing so because these older devices “do not have enough memory or processing power to sustain further innovation.” Lots of folks took issue with this decision, though, because Sonos speakers are premium devices with a price tag to match, and so owners were upset about what was happening to their older speakers and that their newer speakers may not get updates.

Today’s letter from Sonos’ CEO doesn’t change anything because those legacy speakers still won’t be getting updates with new features, but it does clarify that those speakers will continue to function after May and that they’ll get bug fixes and security patches as needed. So if you’ve got a speaker that Sonos considers to be a “legacy product”, know that it won’t become a brick a few months from now.

Here’s the full letter from Sonos CEO Patrick Spence:


A letter from our CEO:
All Sonos products will continue to work past May
Published Jan 23, 2020

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.

Patrick Spence
CEO, Sonos

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