Sonos shares have fallen overnight as owners of their speakers reacted angrily to moves by the Company to try and force customers to upgrade to a new Sonos sound system by nobbling the proprietary software needed to operate older Sonos speakers.
Also copping a backlash are custom installers who recommended a Sonos system in the first place.
Sonos is under pressure from Google and Amazon and several leading sound brands who are selling superior voice activated speakers saw their shares fall 2% as the backlash from their move to no longer issue software updates for its older devices from May hit home with millions of consumers.
Loyal Sonos customers who have spent hundreds of dollars on Sonos speaker products for their homes over the years have taken to social media to slam the US sound brand.
Police Sergeant Harrison Burns wrote on Twitter “In 2013, I refurbished my home and spent 1000s on an integrated music system based around Sonos central controllers to send music to every room. Now, I get an email, telling me that it’s old and may as well be thrown in the bin.
Carl N Gohringer said “If I have to replace my Sonos system because of this, I guarantee you it won’t be with another Sonos system”.
It’s also been revealed that newer Sonos products connected with the older ones will also be left out of future updates.
The change affects four models sold between 2006 and 2015, including the Connect: Amp and Connect.
Without the updates, they will eventually lose functionality.
Access to other services will also become limited.
Alan Kan wrote ‘I am very disappointed and upset that I spent a lot on Sonos and my 2 Sonos 5 are still perfectly working with my newer ones, to get rid of them and buy new ones is just not environmentally friendly at all”. He was referring to an earlier move by Sonos to create landfill by offering a 30% discount if consumers buy directly with the old units being nobbled from future use.
See story here.
A Twitter user called London Dan wrote “What my Sonos did years ago is no more than what I want it to do now. So how can it be outdated? All I want is a bit of radio and Spotify. This is a swizz. I shan’t trust Sonos again nor will I invest in their products”.
The marketing ploy that Sonos is trying to spin to get existing customers to upgrade is based on claims that Sonos hardware had been “stretched to its technical limits in terms of memory and processing power”.
They claim that affected customers can upgrade to a newer device with a 30% discount in return for recycling the old product which they will disable within 21 days from any further use.
Richard Street claimed that had spent over $1,600 on two Play 5 speakers. Even with the upgrade discount, he believes it would cost him around $1,200 to replace them.
“This is money my family and I just don’t have,” he said.
Richard Millett a long time Sonos customer wrote “It’s worse than just older equipment being bricked…I quote “Please note that because Sonos is a system, all products operate on the same software. If modern products remain connected to legacy products after May, they also will not receive software updates and new features.”
HeatherChloe said As for a 30% reduction on replacements…..Be better if they offered me 30% of the residual value back on my whole existing system so I can go elsewhere and buy something that works…..and continues to work!”.
“There is a feeling among the community that if Sonos gets away with this then they will do the same with all kit over time.”
Basically, Sonos legacy speakers rely on a proprietary Sonos OS which the Company is now saying they won’t support which means houses that have a custom installed configuration with Sonos speakers or standalone Sonos speakers will face future problems as new speaker technology emerges and Sonos is unable to update these speakers.
Sonos speakers only deliver 16bit sound are already old hat in that they rely on a proprietary OS and are not 24bit sound capable.
Early adopters of the US Companies speakers are well aware that Sonos is constantly updating their OS which is one of the reasons that consumers are switching to a new generation of 24bit networked speakers from Google and Amazon as well as Yamaha, Denon, Bowers and Wilkins, JBL and Harman.
Some experts claim that Amazon speakers are superior to Sonos as this story reveals.
Unlike the legacy Sonos speakers most new networked speakers work on voice commands can be configured in seconds and don’t need a proprietary OS.
The company plans to phase out support to older models starting in May of 2020.
Among the products that will be denied access to upgrades is the Bridge, the Connect, the Connect: Amp, the CR200 controller, the Play:5 (first generation), and all Sonos Zone players.