SONOS legacy systems - how to ruin your good reputation through greed

  • 23 January 2020
  • 8 replies
  • 321 views

Userlevel 2

SONOS - very good and reliable product, so much so that I have quite a few units and have recommended it to friends. However, SONOS has over the past three years turned it from a fairly open system (by that I mean no restrictions or obstacles to use) to one entirely reliant on a SONOS account. You cannot add or change any of your units without that login. Their privacy terms permit extensive data harvesting, tracking what you listen to. All of that is valuable profiling information (your music choice can say a lot about you).

There was absolutely no need for this change - it was all about control over SONOS users, which once in place allows SONOS to force users to buy new SONOS units.

One of the reasons for buying an expensive device is reliability and performance. I have a SONOS amp which is probably 12+ years old and it works fine. It cost a lot and is well made. It can carry on working for years I'm sure.

Remember that all the SONOS needs to do (for me, that is) is play music stored locally or access a couple of mainstream music and radio services. That's it.

SONOS has just announced that it is no longer going to support some older but perfectly good working products. Instead you can upgrade to a new product (that means 3x£600 for me on the amps and I have 5 Play units that are also at risk) for a 30% discount on the new product. HOWEVER, the perfectly fine working unit that you "upgrade" from is then bricked by SONOS because it has access to your devices by virtue of your account.

In 2017 SONOS introduced a mandatory login account. Nothing about my use of SONOS has changed yet suddenly SONOS has control over my units, including forcing me to either upgrade at great expense or over the coming months lose the ability to use these working units. How? Well, your SONOS system won't work if one of the units is not on the latest firmware. You are forced to upgrade the firmware/software and at the same time that forces you to accept the latest terms of use - if you want a working system you are forced to agree to the new terms (with the new restrictions).

In May this new policy kicks in so by the end of the year I will have no choice but to either stop using perfectly functioning units and buy at least three replacements at great cost or never add a new SONOS unit (the firmware version number discrepancy will bork the system).

What would be acceptable of course is for SONOS to say it isn't going to upgrade very old units with new functionality but still allow the older units to work. No new firmware and you use it at your own risk, but quite frankly it just plays music so I don't see much of a risk there.

This is a cynical commercial ploy to force owners to upgrade equipment which is working perfectly fine. How does that square with waste and our environment - perfectly good equipment will go to a landfill for no reason whatsoever.

This has the hallmarks of a good honest company being taken over by greed - lock users in and force them to upgrade.

SONOS runs the risk that somoeone will take what is really a computer + amp and create new firmware for it, cutting SONOS out completely.  That wouldn’t be my preference but if I have a choice between spending thousands of pounds replacing perfectly good equipment or breaking the tyrannical hold of a supplier over me then it would become attractive.


8 replies

Thank you Patrick Spence for the partial reassurance on this topic. I would hardly call a 6 yr old Rolls Royce a heritage motor car and am concerned Sonos describes my equipment as such. I bought at the top of the range because it was just that. I expect to continue to be able to use my equipment for upwards of 20 yrs in the same way that I continue to enjoy listening to 30 yr old vinyl on similar aged hi fi kit. 
it seems a modern affliction that no sooner have we installed electronic gear that we get frequent updates. After only 5 yrs I found I was no longer able to control the Sonos with my iPad as it’s software couldn’t be updated. Why would the Sonos not continue to be operated by an older software version?   I am not convinced the reassurance offered by Mr Spence is adequate. The media coverage has been damaging to the reputation of Sonos and owners of its equipment deserve to have ongoing support. Please respond. 
 

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I’m throughly pieved. Just 5 years and you want to not update my firmware. Your worst that a cell phone company. I’ve spent thousands and expect them to still receive firmware updates. How dare you try to force me to upgrade my speakers. And for what a 30% discount! Now that’s a kick in the teeth.  
I won’t be upgrading my  speakers through you! I will be now looking into companies that we look at updating firmware for more than a few lousy years. Your excuses are ridiculous.  With today’s tech if iPhone and androids can update firmware for longer than 5 years there is no excuse why you can’t update much longer than this. This is a blatant money grab and nothing more. I think a CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT!!  Maybe in order.

After only 5 yrs I found I was no longer able to control the Sonos with my iPad as it’s software couldn’t be updated. Why would the Sonos not continue to be operated by an older software version? 
 

With respect to Apple, they will make changes, “upgrade” if you like, in the basic operating system such that it will not run on older iPads. The “upgrade” will often remove or change some features that Apps need. Developers are forced to remove the “old” and start using the “new” or the App will be removed from the App store. The changes are not always minor. For example, newer iPads use newer hardware and programs that run on the latest hardware will not run on older hardware or will run so slowly that they are no longer useful.

Like many here, I would be content to keep running older iOS code, but I must keep my iPad up to date for some work related functions. Unfortunately, the latest iOS breaks some older applications. In a couple cases the developer is more than willing to update their code, but iOS no longer provides the information that the Apps require in order to function at the previous level. In these cases the “new improved” has less function than the version replaced. Even if you can freeze all of your applications, if the iPad breaks and all data can be transferred to a new iPad, the new iPad will use the newer version of both iOS and Apps, potentially breaking the legacy App version that you had been using.

I notice that many Apple users demand that all Apps follow the latest Apple trends. For example earlier IPad/iPhone used colored backgrounds. Then Apple switched to a bright white background. There were numerous user complaints about “old fashioned” Apps that had not immediately adopted the white background. Then Apple adopted “dark” backgrounds and Apps had to switch again. Now, we seem to be moving toward light backgrounds again. This forces developers to spend development time simply responding to Apple’s changes, rather than innovating.

There are similar issues on the PC platform now that free support has ended for Windows 7. I’ve been notified that some of my “must use” applications will no longer run at full function unless I upgrade to Windows 10.

Not all upgrades are driven by greed. Older programs and operating systems have some dangerous security flaws. In some cases a particular feature is creating the flaw and the feature must be removed in order to improve security.

I’m not attempting to apologize for the recent SONOS messages, I’m simply providing some background about what developers face in the marketplace. These developments cannot be ignored and each developer must respond in some fashion.

Userlevel 3

SONOS - very good and reliable product, so much so that I have quite a few units and have recommended it to friends. However, SONOS has over the past three years turned it from a fairly open system (by that I mean no restrictions or obstacles to use) to one entirely reliant on a SONOS account. You cannot add or change any of your units without that login. Their privacy terms permit extensive data harvesting, tracking what you listen to. All of that is valuable profiling information (your music choice can say a lot about you).

There was absolutely no need for this change - it was all about control over SONOS users, which once in place allows SONOS to force users to buy new SONOS units.

One of the reasons for buying an expensive device is reliability and performance. I have a SONOS amp which is probably 12+ years old and it works fine. It cost a lot and is well made. It can carry on working for years I'm sure.

Remember that all the SONOS needs to do (for me, that is) is play music stored locally or access a couple of mainstream music and radio services. That's it.

SONOS has just announced that it is no longer going to support some older but perfectly good working products. Instead you can upgrade to a new product (that means 3x£600 for me on the amps and I have 5 Play units that are also at risk) for a 30% discount on the new product. HOWEVER, the perfectly fine working unit that you "upgrade" from is then bricked by SONOS because it has access to your devices by virtue of your account.

In 2017 SONOS introduced a mandatory login account. Nothing about my use of SONOS has changed yet suddenly SONOS has control over my units, including forcing me to either upgrade at great expense or over the coming months lose the ability to use these working units. How? Well, your SONOS system won't work if one of the units is not on the latest firmware. You are forced to upgrade the firmware/software and at the same time that forces you to accept the latest terms of use - if you want a working system you are forced to agree to the new terms (with the new restrictions).

In May this new policy kicks in so by the end of the year I will have no choice but to either stop using perfectly functioning units and buy at least three replacements at great cost or never add a new SONOS unit (the firmware version number discrepancy will bork the system).

What would be acceptable of course is for SONOS to say it isn't going to upgrade very old units with new functionality but still allow the older units to work. No new firmware and you use it at your own risk, but quite frankly it just plays music so I don't see much of a risk there.

This is a cynical commercial ploy to force owners to upgrade equipment which is working perfectly fine. How does that square with waste and our environment - perfectly good equipment will go to a landfill for no reason whatsoever.

This has the hallmarks of a good honest company being taken over by greed - lock users in and force them to upgrade.

SONOS runs the risk that somoeone will take what is really a computer + amp and create new firmware for it, cutting SONOS out completely.  That wouldn’t be my preference but if I have a choice between spending thousands of pounds replacing perfectly good equipment or breaking the tyrannical hold of a supplier over me then it would become attractive.

Yes i think this is greed by Sonos.  I have 15 Sonos units mainly s5 units in my house which sonos have not totally devalued to Zero.   I will now never ever buy Sonos again and would certainly not upgrade on a point of principle.  I am positive a small cheap tweek to something inside would upgrade this kit so it could still work foe decades to come.  But no greed and stupidity has taken over by Sonos.

Sonos has ruined its reputation! When told my units ($6,000) would be ‘legacy’ products in May 2020, I could hardly believe it. My Kef speakers will work forever - not Sonos. How incredibly stupid, greedy and small-minded - exceptionally small-minded. I was told to look at the other side by Sonos personnel - to look wondrously at how great Sonos will become. I am 70. I’m on fixed income. I have no $$ to experience how ‘wondrous’ Sonos will become. I just want to play my music until I reach heavens gate. Not long from now. My car is older than my 13 Sonos units, and my car runs great. This is just pathetic. Small minded, greedy pugs with no regard for loyal customers. Put out a damn update so my units still function! What jerks. Class action lawsuit on the way. Would you like to participate? Let’s rip this company to the shreds they aspire to become. Again, just bs!

Sonos has ruined its reputation! When told my units ($6,000) would be ‘legacy’ products in May 2020, I could hardly believe it. My Kef speakers will work forever - not Sonos. How incredibly stupid, greedy and small-minded - exceptionally small-minded. I was told to look at the other side by Sonos personnel - to look wondrously at how great Sonos will become. I am 70. I’m on fixed income. I have no $$ to experience how ‘wondrous’ Sonos will become. I just want to play my music until I reach heavens gate. Not long from now. My car is older than my 13 Sonos units, and my car runs great. This is just pathetic. Small minded, greedy pugs with no regard for loyal customers. Put out a damn update so my units still function! What jerks. Class action lawsuit on the way. Would you like to participate? Let’s rip this company to the shreds they aspire to become. Again, just bs!

You posted similarly ill-informed (and intemperate) comments on another thread.  Your speakers will function after May.  You don’t need to spend any money to do that.  If you had any idea how inaccurate your comments are I think - at least I hope - you would be profoundly embarrassed. 

You should be embarrassed, buddy boy! The information I’ve stated is EXACTLY what Seth told me. This was also stated in your email a few weeks ago. The day my products no longer work TOGETHER - using one app (Seth informed me I’d need to regroup my speakers and use a separate app for my Play 5’s.) a class action suit will be filed. Put out a statement explaining EXACTLY what the future holds for suckers like me. CLARIFY! 

Three points.

1. I do not work for Sonos.

2. You will have the option to keep your system as one in its current state, but with no updates, OR to split it and receive updates on the modern part only, OR upgrade your legacy units.

If you do nothing your system will carry on as it is, which I thought was what you wanted.

3 Age is no excuse for ignorance in every sense.

The following is from a Sonos statement:

Customers with both legacy and modern products have time to decide what option is best for them. You can continue to use your whole system in legacy mode - in this case, it will stop receiving updates and new features. 

You will also be able to separate your legacy products from your modern products, so that the modern products can still receive updates and new features, and legacy products can still be used separately. We’ll have more information on how to do this in May when you can take that action.

Another option available to all customers with legacy products is to take advantage of the Trade Up program, which allows you to upgrade older Sonos products to modern ones with a 30% discount. Trade Up will be open to customers at any time should they decide to upgrade. 

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