Idea: Stop features, but assure services. Re-think legacy!

  • 23 January 2020
  • 18 replies
  • 247 views

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Hi Sonos/Community,

 

Since the announcement, I like many have been mulling over practically what it all means to me as a customer. I’ve swung from outright anger and disappointment, to eagerly researching how to move away from your business, and all the way back to trying to be pragmatic.

 

First, I’ll start with the failure:

  1. The communication, sending a “by the way” email outlining no working detail of how customers are expected to work around this is extremely poor. By the same token, would you also put such little effort in to marketing a new product? Specifically, you offered no information as to how co-existing a legacy/modern system would actually work, do I need two apps? Can I just not sync between both zones? Tell me.
  2. You completely destroyed the customer trust you’ve worked so hard to gain via offering 5 months of warning. There is no EOL page (a la Microsoft) detailing in advance when things will roll in to legacy mode (whatever that actually means in practice, see point 1). As a consumer, how precisely do we know when products we cease to be sold in each country? You’re effectively causing customers to choose other products, particularly where that product has been in the market place for X years (see PlayBar, Sub… a £1300 investment).
  3. If you’re going to create waves like this, you need to carefully consider every aspect of this and make processes, retailers and your partner networks aware, explicitly aware. Guess what? Those shop workers this week are pointing customers at other products and stores will be reducing inventory in case they’re left holding obsolete items.
  4. The passion for your brand, you completely underestimated this. The people like me who’re lambasting you with comment is due to the fact we love your brand, for the fact that it stood out (despite the lack of modernity with lossless/HiFi formats, missing HDMI etc) and it was a sound investment. Buying a Sonos was a safe purchase, the support was good, the long life and continual updates meant we felt our money went further than the competition. Do Samsung get this about of reaction when they mothball their latest audio solution? No, because nobody is passionate about their kit and everybody expects the corporate behemoth to drop support. Don’t do this.
  5. The Play 3’s and Play 1’s in my system, and the heart of my lounge my Playbar/Sub 5.1 system, am I to presume they’re dead soon enough? At what point do I just jettison everything Sonos? Communicate with fixed dates, in advance. 

Now, the more pragmatic point:

  1. Features, let’s talk about them. I can’t recall a single feature over and above how my product operated the day I bought it (I own 9 devices, the Connect is my only legacy, for now...) that I would care about losing - Trueplay, Voice assistant, whatever… take them all back. Just leave me my room settings and an EQ. I think I speak for many in saying, we don’t care for features, we want a solid working system, a reliable one with a good UI.
  2. Services, here is the meat of this. All I want from Sonos and again I think I speak for many is a guarantee they you will work to continue supporting the major streaming services for the working life of the product, that is, until it dies. If I never received a single feature again but felt safe in the knowledge that my Tidal/SoundCloud/Spotify/TuneIN services would continue to operate without issue, I wouldn’t mind hearing that from Sonos at all!

I’d welcome thoughts!


18 replies

Userlevel 5
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The big problem is that third party services are outside of Sonos’ control.  Spotify could change their part of the app or their side at any time and it would stop working with legacy Sonos devices, but Sonos will get blamed.  That’s *exactly* what happened with “Play from your iPhone/iPad.”

Userlevel 5
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The big problem is that third party services are outside of Sonos’ control.  Spotify could change their part of the app or their side at any time and it would stop working with legacy Sonos devices, but Sonos will get blamed.  That’s *exactly* what happened with “Play from your iPhone/iPad.”

True, which is why SONOS needs to continue supporting legacy devices to update the changing API’s. I can’t think of a single “feature” SONOS has added in the last 5 years that has materially changed how I was using the product 10 years ago. This is IMO, purely a way to cut development costs and drive new sales and hence increase stock price. This is an outgrowth of them now being a publicly traded company meaning: FU to the customer and grovel at the feet of investors. If SONOS doesn’t support changes to API’s then the gear could become obsolete for everything but local library control in a VERY SHORT TIME. I worked on FB integrations and we would have to update stuff on a monthly basis to insure continued functioning.

Userlevel 6
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The big problem is that third party services are outside of Sonos’ control.  Spotify could change their part of the app or their side at any time and it would stop working with legacy Sonos devices, but Sonos will get blamed.  That’s *exactly* what happened with “Play from your iPhone/iPad.”

Does the way Sonos handles third party services happen in part in the cloud? The Sonos clients connect to a Sonos server (which connects to Spotify) so they have some control? 

Userlevel 7
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The big problem is that third party services are outside of Sonos’ control.  Spotify could change their part of the app or their side at any time and it would stop working with legacy Sonos devices, but Sonos will get blamed.  That’s *exactly* what happened with “Play from your iPhone/iPad.”

True, which is why SONOS needs to continue supporting legacy devices to update the changing API’s.

 

 

It’s been said, though not entirely clear, that Sonos will do what it can to make sure the  legacy system continues to operate and will make changes that can be done within the limited hardware of legacy devices. I mind my, that would give me a litlle more comfort that my legacy will stay functioning for quite some time, but not 100% certainty.

 

 

I can’t think of a single “feature” SONOS has added in the last 5 years that has materially changed how I was using the product 10 years ago.

 

 

I don’t think you can extrapolate your experience the the experience of the common consumer.  Particularly considering the popularity of voice control, which did not exist with Sonos 5 years ago.

 

 

 

If SONOS doesn’t support changes to API’s then the gear could become obsolete for everything but local library control in a VERY SHORT TIME. I worked on FB integrations and we would have to update stuff on a monthly basis to insure continued functioning.

 

I think the situation is a little different.  For one thing, Sonos actually owns the streaming APIs, as I understand it.  Those surely change from time to time to accommodate features that streaming services want.  What I think will happen for a streaming service to stop working is that the modern system APIs diverge from the legacy APIs over time, and a streaming service decides that it doesn’t want to support the Legacy API’s anymore.  But don’t quote me on this, I don’t have inside knowledge on exact details.  I just don’t expect to seem streaming services to start immediately disappearing from the Legacy system.

Userlevel 4
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The big problem is that third party services are outside of Sonos’ control.  Spotify could change their part of the app or their side at any time and it would stop working with legacy Sonos devices, but Sonos will get blamed.  That’s *exactly* what happened with “Play from your iPhone/iPad.”

No, the big problem is that Sonos is dropping legacy devices that support services I care about so they can add features that I don’t care about. Because they insist on all devices on the network having the exact same set of features. In other words: it’s lazy design.

As a consumer, I am 100% OK with the old/legacy speakers in my home not being able to stream music from NextBigThing streaming service, or lacking Alexa integration. If I end up caring enough about those things in the future, then I will upgrade the speakers on my own schedule.

But I don’t have that option. Under the Sonos plan of lazy engineering, I either have to upgrade my entire install on their schedule (current bill: about $2000 including the discount), handicap my entire Sonos installation until all devices are replaced, or separate legacy into its own zone...which defeats the whole purpose of Sonos in the first place.

All because of lazy engineering.

Just on one point from the original post, ‘The Play 3’s and Play 1’s in my system, and the heart of my lounge my Playbar/Sub 5.1 system, am I to presume they’re dead soon enough?’

Sonos have committed to supporting items for at least 5 years after they are discontinued from sale.  So you have at least 5 years on Play:1s, Sub and the Playbar.  I can’t remember when sales of the Play:3 stopped (2 years ago?) so rather less than 5 years guaranteed for that - but not inevitable.

I’d be particularly surprised if the Sub didn’t go on for much longer than 5 years after discontinued sale...and I’d be surprised if it’s discontinued anytime soon.

So I guess it depends what you mean by ‘soon enough’.

Userlevel 2
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Just on one point from the original post, ‘The Play 3’s and Play 1’s in my system, and the heart of my lounge my Playbar/Sub 5.1 system, am I to presume they’re dead soon enough?’

Sonos have committed to supporting items for at least 5 years after they are discontinued from sale.  So you have at least 5 years on Play:1s, Sub and the Playbar.  I can’t remember when sales of the Play:3 stopped (2 years ago?) so rather less than 5 years guaranteed for that - but not inevitable.

I’d be particularly surprised if the Sub didn’t go on for much longer than 5 years after discontinued sale...and I’d be surprised if it’s discontinued anytime soon.

So I guess it depends what you mean by ‘soon enough’.

Granted, but my point is the lack of clarity and that amounts to speculation on our part. Honestly it seems as though they don’t even know what they’re doing. 

 

The big problem is that third party services are outside of Sonos’ control.  Spotify could change their part of the app or their side at any time and it would stop working with legacy Sonos devices, but Sonos will get blamed.  That’s *exactly* what happened with “Play from your iPhone/iPad.”

No, the big problem is that Sonos is dropping legacy devices that support services I care about so they can add features that I don’t care about. Because they insist on all devices on the network having the exact same set of features. In other words: it’s lazy design.

As a consumer, I am 100% OK with the old/legacy speakers in my home not being able to stream music from NextBigThing streaming service, or lacking Alexa integration. If I end up caring enough about those things in the future, then I will upgrade the speakers on my own schedule.

But I don’t have that option. Under the Sonos plan of lazy engineering, I either have to upgrade my entire install on their schedule (current bill: about $2000 including the discount), handicap my entire Sonos installation until all devices are replaced, or separate legacy into its own zone...which defeats the whole purpose of Sonos in the first place.

All because of lazy engineering.

Exactly.

All i expect of my speaker is that it works with the services it’s advertised to do so with. If they can’t branch the ‘fluff’ from the core aspect of their player then it’s simply a poor design and they’re basically riding an ecosystem that the world has outgrown.

 

I am sorry but I don't see where I am speculating. I am merely reporting what Sonos have said. You may choose to believe they are lying, but I am not speculating. 

The real speculation is by those who have no knowledge of how Sonos works speculating  on how easy other solutioms would be.

Userlevel 7
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The big problem is that third party services are outside of Sonos’ control.  Spotify could change their part of the app or their side at any time and it would stop working with legacy Sonos devices, but Sonos will get blamed.  That’s *exactly* what happened with “Play from your iPhone/iPad.”

No, the big problem is that Sonos is dropping legacy devices that support services I care about so they can add features that I don’t care about. Because they insist on all devices on the network having the exact same set of features. In other words: it’s lazy design.

 

 

It’s not that simple.  Sonos don’t currently share the exact same set of features, airplay being a prime example.  In actually, the lack of matching features between products is something that customers often complain about, since it adds a lot of complexity in how to use Sonos products to get the features they want.    We also don’t really know what features, or what core coding really, needs to be matching between devices in order for the system to work together as a single system and this enable certain features to happen.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

Userlevel 4
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No, the big problem is that Sonos is dropping legacy devices that support services I care about so they can add features that I don’t care about. Because they insist on all devices on the network having the exact same set of features. In other words: it’s lazy design.

 

It’s not that simple.  Sonos don’t currently share the exact same set of features, airplay being a prime example.  In actually, the lack of matching features between products is something that customers often complain about, since it adds a lot of complexity in how to use Sonos products to get the features they want.    We also don’t really know what features, or what core coding really, needs to be matching between devices in order for the system to work together as a single system and this enable certain features to happen.   

 

Of course it’s not that simple. The question is, are they willing to put in the effort?

The answer, quite obviously, is “no”. Which is why I say lazy. They’d rather send me a $2000 extortion letter because that is easier.

As for which features, and complaints about a lack of matching features, so what? If a customer had to choose between lack of consistency and a $2000 fix, which do you think they’d choose? We wouldn’t have a steaming pile of outrage around here if it was the latter.

The irony is, I’d even accept this sort of BS if it was something more reasonable than 4 months notice. What business operates like that? Tell me I have a year, and we’ll talk. I can probably swing the costs to get the units I care most about replaced in a year. But 4 months? Really?

Userlevel 2
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I am sorry but I don't see where I am speculating. I am merely reporting what Sonos have said. You may choose to believe they are lying, but I am not speculating. 

The real speculation is by those who have no knowledge of how Sonos works speculating  on how easy other solutioms would be.

You are speculating because you don’t have the answers and you’re interpreting the ambiguous information they have offered in whatever contrary way you wish, for example, I ask you this:

 

When did they stop selling the Connect?

From what date did the 5 year support begin to tick?

 

 

 

Of course it’s not that simple. The question is, are they willing to put in the effort?

The answer, quite obviously, is “no”. Which is why I say lazy. They’d rather send me a $2000 extortion letter because that is easier.

As for which features, and complaints about a lack of matching features, so what? If a customer had to choose between lack of consistency and a $2000 fix, which do you think they’d choose? We wouldn’t have a steaming pile of outrage around here if it was the latter.

The irony is, I’d even accept this sort of BS if it was something more reasonable than 4 months notice. What business operates like that? Tell me I have a year, and we’ll talk. I can probably swing the costs to get the units I care most about replaced in a year. But 4 months? Really?

 

Unless you know the intricacies of the design, the way the code is structured, and the differences between legacy and modern code, you are only giving a WAG as to whether it is easy, difficult, or impossible.  I’ve been in software engineering for 30 years, and I wouldn’t even try to guess if it were possible or not, never mind label it as “lazy”, and I guarantee I know more about Sonos’ design than you.  

Userlevel 6
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I am sorry but I don't see where I am speculating. I am merely reporting what Sonos have said. You may choose to believe they are lying, but I am not speculating. 

The real speculation is by those who have no knowledge of how Sonos works speculating  on how easy other solutioms would be.

You are speculating because you don’t have the answers and you’re interpreting the ambiguous information they have offered in whatever contrary way you wish, for example, I ask you this:

 

When did they stop selling the Connect?

From what date did the 5 year support begin to tick?

 

 

They are still selling the Connect today

https://www.sonos.com/en/shop/connect.html

 

The five year date began in 2015 after they did a hardware refresh without telling anyone.

One has to wonder why they waited so long to update the components. Like in 2014 it still only had 32mb ram someone was negligent.

Sonos customers should be really paying attention to the hardware specs going forward for ex the play5 gen 2 has 1/4 the ram of a One- but the cost difference is huuuuuge.

Userlevel 2
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I am sorry but I don't see where I am speculating. I am merely reporting what Sonos have said. You may choose to believe they are lying, but I am not speculating. 

The real speculation is by those who have no knowledge of how Sonos works speculating  on how easy other solutioms would be.

You are speculating because you don’t have the answers and you’re interpreting the ambiguous information they have offered in whatever contrary way you wish, for example, I ask you this:

 

When did they stop selling the Connect?

From what date did the 5 year support begin to tick?

 

 

They are still selling the Connect today

https://www.sonos.com/en/shop/connect.html

 

The five year date began in 2015 after they did a hardware refresh without telling anyone.

One has to wonder why they waited so long to update the components. Like in 2014 it still only had 32mb ram someone was negligent.

Sonos customers should be really paying attention to the hardware specs going forward for ex the play5 gen 2 has 1/4 the ram of a One- but the cost difference is huuuuuge.

I knew the answer, but, my point they were still selling pre-2016 Connect’s quite happily through their vendor network (globally) post launching the silently refreshed Connect… therefore, the 5 year window is diatribe.

 

If they want to enforce a lifecycle, it needs to be from the date of first registration to protect the consumer and not expect people to be inspecting small print or have intimate product knowledge. The whole idea of Sonos is convenience, we didn’t arrive here collectively as a result of audiophile shopping tendencies, we arrived here because it should be easy.

 

This is what they should be publishing, an example of transparency:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/lifecycle/search?alpha=Windows%2010

Userlevel 4
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Unless you know the intricacies of the design, the way the code is structured, and the differences between legacy and modern code, you are only giving a WAG as to whether it is easy, difficult, or impossible.  I’ve been in software engineering for 30 years, and I wouldn’t even try to guess if it were possible or not, never mind label it as “lazy”, and I guarantee I know more about Sonos’ design than you.  

 

Oh! I can play the “I’ve worked in software engineering for 30 years” card, too! Which makes it a SWAG.


What game do you want to play next? How about a game of “donate to my $2000 extortion bill”?

Edited to add: Or, a game of, “How little notice can we give our loyal customers?”

Userlevel 2
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@Jahoker excellent post.

Just wanted to confirm point 3, already happening. Just after this scandal erupted over social media a few days back I was browsing in John Lewis (UK) when a young assistant pointed me to a competitive brand whilst I was hovering around the SONOS section.

In fact it was her opening gambit (said scandal) as she approached me.

Has the rot started to set in?

Userlevel 2

The rot started some time ago. For me it started by reducing functionality and then eliminating older iOS and MAC/PC controllers. I still use the latest iOS controller on my iPhone mainly because I have to but now on a day to day basis I use 3rd party controllers on both iPad and Mac. 

I had lost trust with SONOS and this weeks announcement has finished me off.

My only “legacy” device was the bridge (I had already replaced this with the Boost ) now the Connect. Like most I wish to protect my investment so to that end I will now isolate my SONOS and use the existing Connect and ONE SLs (Airplay) as inputs. The 3rd party controllers will be fine daily to control speaker grouping and I will keep a couple of old iPhones with the current controller for maintenance/CD collection.

As I have been looking at HR recently via my Marantz setup and CD via SONOS I am already sold on using the AMAZON and Qobuz apps playing content via Airplay and not using SONOS for streaming. 

I also have a Player3 with a blown power supply. I am currently rebuilding it with a new amp, power and 3rd party Airplay adaptor all within the case. So any bricked SONOS welcomed, I think there may be many of these going forward.

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Note: For those with Player5 with aux-in the options are even easier/cheaper.

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