News Sonos apologises in embarrassing back down over software update plans

Sonos apologises in embarrassing back down over software update plans

The head of loudspeaker company Sonos, Patrick Spencer, has apologised over moves to stop updating software for some products. Photo: Getty
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Just 72 hours after announcing it would stop supporting software for legacy products, Sonos has caved to public pressure and publicly apologised.

On Tuesday, the US electronics company outraged loyal customers by announcing that from May it would no longer provide software updates for any product released between 2005 and 2011.

But by Friday, the company’s CEO Patrick Spence had issued a public statement acknowledging the move was a “misstep”.

That “misstep” involved cancelling future software updates and support for Sonos products like all original Zone Players, Connect, Connect:Amp, first-generation Play:5, CR200 and Bridge products.

The shock announcement was made even more painful by Sonos’ plan to block updates for newer products linked with a legacy product.

Owners of legacy products who have a Sonos account would have received an email with the news.

Sonos justified the decision by saying these products “do not have enough memory or processing power to sustain future innovation”.

Customers were furious.

Many took to social media, accusing the company of failing to “do right by your most loyal long-term customers”.

But on Friday, in response to public pressure, CEO Patrick Spence publicly apologised for the company’s “misstep”.

“We did not get this right from the start,” Mr Spence said in a statement.

“Many of you have invested heavily in your Sonos systems, and we intend to honour that investment for as long as possible.”

However, he stood by the company’s decision to stop giving legacy products new software features.

In an effort to calm down angry customers, he promised Sonos would “keep (legacy products) updated with bug fixes and security patches for as long as possible”.

He also said Sonos was working hard to address the issue of legacy products and modern products being unable to coexist in the same home.

“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,” Mr Spence said.

“I hope that you’ll forgive our misstep, and let us earn back your trust.”

Sonos has a trusted reputation for developing and manufacturing reliable wireless smart speakers and home sound systems.

But it’s not the first time the company has disappointed some buyers.

Last year, Sonos offered a trade-up program that allowed legacy customers 30 per cent off the latest One, Beam or Port.

In exchange, buyers had to “recycle” their existing products by activating a feature called ‘Recycle Mode’ that permanently bricks the speaker.

The product then becomes impossible for recycling firms to resell it or do anything else but strip it for parts.

Many Sonos users were disappointed to hear about the practice.

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