Sonos CEO Patrick Spence just published a statement on the company’s website to try to clear up an announcement made earlier this week: on Tuesday, Sonos announced that it will cease delivering software updates and new features to its oldest products in May. The company said those devices should continue functioning properly in the near term, but it wasn’t enough to prevent an uproar from longtime customers, with many blasting Sonos for what they perceive as planned obsolescence. That frustration is what Spence is responding to today. “We heard you,” is how Spence begins the letter to customers. “We did not get this right from the start.”
Spence apologizes for any confusion and reiterates that the so-called legacy products will “continue to work as they do today.” Legacy products include the original Sonos Play:5, Zone Players, and Connect / Connect:Amp devices manufactured between 2011 and 2015.
Thanks for all the feedback & my apologies for not responding sooner. I wanted to make sure we get it right. All Sonos products will continue to work past May: https://t.co/bmwQQgPd86
— Patrick Spence (@Patrick_Spence) January 23, 2020
“Many of you have invested heavily in your Sonos systems, and we intend to honor that investment for as long as possible.” Similarly, Spence pledges that Sonos will deliver bug fixes and security patches to legacy products “for as long as possible” — without any hard timeline. Most interesting, he says “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.”
The letter from Sonos’ CEO doesn’t retract anything that the company announced earlier this week; Spence is just trying to be as clear as possible about what’s happening come May. Sonos has insisted that these products, some of which are a decade old, have been taken to their technological limits.
Spence again confirms that Sonos is planning a way for customers to fork any legacy devices they might own off of their main Sonos system with more modern speakers. (Sonos architected its system so that all devices share the same software. Once one product is no longer eligible for updates, the whole setup stops receiving them. This workaround is designed to avoid that problem.)