Has Sonos become just another lousy tech company?


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Lately I've noticed more problems with Sonos. Maybe this isn't all on them, but if the problem comes from equipment that I bought from them then they own it, whether they like it or not.

We've had our system I guess about 2 years now. When I first got the system I felt like the company had personality, there were people there -- not just bots. They didn't feel like just another tech company with products that aren't made to last. They didn't feel like they were only going to be around until someone up the food chain buys them. I felt good about our investment.

Today, not so much.

Sonos feels like a tech company I've put way too much faith in, that I'm now way too dependent on. I think they know that.

Tech support is average at best. Today I was on hold for 20 minutes, then got dropped. I didn't bother calling back. I submitted a case, hopefully I'll get a reply.

The fact that I'm writing this bothers me. I've been in tech since 1989 and I hate what's happened to the business. Tech is full of companies who make throw away products. I hate that I depend on tech companies so much - iPhone, iThis and iThat. I hate the fact the tech companies refer to me as a "user", not a "customer". I hate that they treat me as such.

Going to the record store was better than downloading music. Going to my local hardware store was better than ordering from Amazon. Buying stereo gear from my local stereo store was better than buying from Sonos.

We complain about Trump, etc. But it's the tech companies who're ruining our world, taking away our freedom, influencing our minds, and destroying our economy. Our lives are controlled by the tech companies. If the terrorists were doing to us what the tech companies are, we'd declare war. Instead we line up early to buy from them, flash our newest phone around bling bling, we flock to them. We've become sheeple (sheep + people). Because of the tech companies and our insatiable desire for cheep and free, we're puppets on a string. An entire generation -- my kids -- have the lost any connection to interpersonal communications -- read, talk face to face. We've come to believe anything the tech companies tell us, like the new iPhone makes our lives better.

If we had any courage or any sense, we'd take our devices and throw them through their windows. Because it's not a new iPhone or upgrade we need, it's a new way of life. One where we don't depend on tech companies.

You don't find a tech company you love. You find a tech company you hate the least.

Give me back my encyclopedia, the record store, my paper phone book, my little stereo store. Give me back the camera store.

Because tech companies aren't making the world better.

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16 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +22
I think you have so many competitors in the space that Sonos seems less "special". However, to me they are still the only one with the ease of use and reliability from their years of experience to provide the reliability required in house with multiple users. I also still very much like the ability to queue music - which the trend is going against.

I know they are working on being the leader in Alexa integration and are way better then what Amazon has accomplished with their mutliroom so far.

"It Just Works" still holds true.
Userlevel 5
Badge +3
I believe I could make a fairly solid argument that people are the cause of all your ills, not tech companies, and that none of it is as bad as it seems. That's not a particularly useful Sonos' community discussion though.

I think it's fair to say that Sonos was nearly unique in their place in the past, but that's the nature of the game. When someone has a great innovative product others will move to copy it.

I'd say it's also fair to be concerned that Sonos isn't putting forth all of the effort they should be for an exceptional support experience. For a premium product that's a hallmark, and it's bad business to not focus on it.

For the record, I basically never want to drive to the store to buy something that can be delivered to my doorstep.
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
Although I agree that we are somewhat hampered by our tech lives, it's also pretty clear that the world (or US) is better off with tech.

I live in Houston, where Hurricane Harvey hit. Although the storm didn't discriminate, it was fairly obvious that those with more recent homes faired better over all. Neighborhood drainage was better, buried power lines, etc. All made possible through modern tech, directly or indirectly. Maybe more importantly, communication was rather amazing. Believe it or not, social media saved lives. It allowed people to pinpoint where help was needed rather fast. It allowed people to contribute their time and money faster and easier. Having been through hurricanes before, the difference was pretty noticeable.

In contrast, Puerto Rico is not so modern. They are having tons of issues because they are not so up on their infrastructure and tech. Not all of it is tech issues for sure, but it certainly would have helped.

As far as sonos goes, they aren't perfect by a long shot. And it's easy to say they should through more time and money at a problem, but they still need to be profitable. I have no idea where the line is.
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I just looked at the news.

People have been murdered in Las Vegas. My god.

I used the word "hate". I don't hate anyone or anything. It's the wrong word. Abhor is better.

Our society has big problems. We've let 3 companies dominate our lives. Tech has way too much influence over our lives. While I'd love to opt-out, that's not so simple.

But it's not the tech companies who're to blame. All they did, was respond to demand that we created. We the people logged onto Facebook, even got our friends to do so. We're the one's who're hooked on Amazon. Tech won't change until we the people create demand. Until we start to see the benefits of unplugging, until we see that social media is a social disease.

So I don't hate Sonos. I don't like them right now. It is my sincere hope that someone at the top there reads between the lines of my admittedly meandering rants and says, "You know, he's got some good points".

My problems are puny. So many, would love to have my "problems" -- to be able to complain about their tricked out Sonos system, their 4k TV. Their problems are coming up with bus fare to get to a job that doesn't pay enough for them to eat much more than junk food.

Now it's time to light a candle for those who were murdered and their families. And send a vibe to the Universe -- send out the Bat Signal.
Aside from the deserved critique of Sonos' recently subpar support (some big wig obviously decided to cut budget in that area), I'm not sure what Sonos can take from an admittedly meandering treatise that apparently boils down to a Kaczynski-lite plea to unplug from the grid. All that means is those who choose to take your advice, by definition remove themselves from Sonos' market.

You offer no specifics for your discomfit (beyond the aforementioned service issue), you instead post what seems to be a nebulous description of "feelings" you get from Sonos and other tech companies; feelings which make you long for the days before Sonos and other tech companies. I dare say that without specific suggestions that do not boil down to existentialist removal of oneself from our technological society, there is not much Sonos can (or should) do to keep your business. Nor are they responsible for your feelings, at least not to the extent they commit corporate suicide in order to placate them.
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This coming from a he/she/it with 14,085 replies.

Somehow I get the feeling (leaving out the quotes) that anything resembling criticism of anything digital, is not going to go over well with you.

But nobody ever won an argument on the Internet. So why bother? Misery loves company? Besides. Having conversations with someone who's not in the room isn't exactly model behavior.

I did, however, just get a reply from Sonos recommending that I install a patch they've pushed out. Thank you, Sonos.
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
Until we start to see the benefits of unplugging, until we see that social media is a social disease..


This coming from a he/she/it with 14,085 replies.

Somehow I get the feeling (leaving out the quotes) that anything resembling criticism of anything digital, is not going to go over well with you.


I don't get it. You complain about the ills of social media...on a forum that amounts to essentially social media, at least in the sense of how you're using it at the moment.. Then make a rash stereotypical judgement about someone you don't know who actually listened to what you have to say and replied in a thoughtful fashion, providing honest agreement and disagreement as they saw fit. I think that the 'somehow' feeling didn't come from anywhere else but yourself.
When confronted with the deficits of your argument, instead of forging better arguments, or better explaining your current arguments, you attack my post count in order to discount what I have to say? Why am I not surprised?

High post count or not, that does not take away from the fact that your points were extremely non-specific, and really more an overall criticism of technology and it's place in society, rather than a specific description of exactly how Sonos has let you down, and the steps they may make to rectify the situation (again, legit gripes about support aside).

But hey, I'll bite. Let's take one of your points:

I've been in tech since 1989 and I hate what's happened to the business. Tech is full of companies who make throw away products.


Could you describe how this applies to Sonos? Because it is actually the direct opposite of my (and other's) experience. Matter of fact, one of the most often heard criticisms of Sonos is they are too worried about supporting legacy equipment from 10+ years ago, so they tend to be cautious when embracing new technologies (larger music indexes with more sort fields, HiRes audio, 5 GHz WiFi across all lines). Indeed, being a long term "appliance" rather that a throw away technology like an iPhone was one of the goals of Sonos as a company, as explicitly stated by the founder.

So maybe if you describe why you lump Sonos in with other manufacturers of truly disposable products like Apple et al, we can begin to understand where your angst is coming from.
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Someone steps out of line, walks the wheel the other way (find that reference) and you label them as being related to the Unabomber?

"Get 'em, he doesn't think like me"!

Yikes.
Someone steps out of line, walks the wheel the other way (find that reference) and you label them as being related to the Unabomber?

"Get 'em, they don't think like me"!

Yikes.


The Unabomber wrote a manifesto on how technology was ruining society. You conveyed the same idea (albeit in a far less meandering and less hostile fashion, but the point was similar). Now notice I specifically stated your statements were "Kaczynski-lite" meaning a less serious version of his ideas. If you can't understand the tongue-in-cheek critique inherent in the "-lite" suffix, then I'm sorry. I certainly didn't mean to equate you with him, I thought I made that quite clear. Seems my wry wit does not translate effectively.

Still waiting on your answers for the clarifications I asked. I truly wish to discuss this with you, if we can dial it back a bit and discuss ideas, instead of personalities and post counts.
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What I can't understand is why on earth I'm typing to you. It's insane.

You'll defend your way of thinking at all costs -- it's what you do. It's your life. Have it.

Take your digital brain, your love of all things tech and go fart in a puddle.
And with that, we are done! 😃
Userlevel 7
Badge +26
Let's take a break here guys. It's fine to disagree and have polite conversation, but there's no need to attack anyone. Please keep it friendly everyone.

Glad your system is heading toward behaving @spins backwards. If you have any concerns, trouble, or just want to chat, feel free to send me a private message if I can help with anything.
Userlevel 4
Badge +3
Lately I've noticed more problems with Sonos. Maybe this isn't all on them, but if the problem comes from equipment that I bought from them then they own it, whether they like it or not.

We've had our system I guess about 2 years now. When I first got the system I felt like the company had personality, there were people there -- not just bots. They didn't feel like just another tech company with products that aren't made to last. They didn't feel like they were only going to be around until someone up the food chain buys them. I felt good about our investment.

Today, not so much.

Sonos feels like a tech company I've put way too much faith in, that I'm now way too dependent on. I think they know that.

Tech support is average at best. Today I was on hold for 20 minutes, then got dropped. I didn't bother calling back. I submitted a case, hopefully I'll get a reply.

The fact that I'm writing this bothers me. I've been in tech since 1989 and I hate what's happened to the business. Tech is full of companies who make throw away products. I hate that I depend on tech companies so much - iPhone, iThis and iThat. I hate the fact the tech companies refer to me as a "user", not a "customer". I hate that they treat me as such.

Going to the record store was better than downloading music. Going to my local hardware store was better than ordering from Amazon. Buying stereo gear from my local stereo store was better than buying from Sonos.

We complain about Trump, etc. But it's the tech companies who're ruining our world, taking away our freedom, influencing our minds, and destroying our economy. Our lives are controlled by the tech companies. If the terrorists were doing to us what the tech companies are, we'd declare war. Instead we line up early to buy from them, flash our newest phone around bling bling, we flock to them. We've become sheeple (sheep + people). Because of the tech companies and our insatiable desire for cheep and free, we're puppets on a string. An entire generation -- my kids -- have the lost any connection to interpersonal communications -- read, talk face to face. We've come to believe anything the tech companies tell us, like the new iPhone makes our lives better.

If we had any courage or any sense, we'd take our devices and throw them through their windows. Because it's not a new iPhone or upgrade we need, it's a new way of life. One where we don't depend on tech companies.

You don't find a tech company you love. You find a tech company you hate the least.

Give me back my encyclopedia, the record store, my paper phone book, my little stereo store. Give me back the camera store.

Because tech companies aren't making the world better.


Comments such as "Going to the record store was better than downloading music. Going to my local hardware store was better than ordering from Amazon. Buying stereo gear from my local stereo store was better than buying from Sonos." suggest to me you're mourning your loss of connection with people.

You can still go to the record store or hardware store or Hi-Fi shop. I do all three.

Tech for it's own sake is ultimately an empty pursuit. I learned that the hard way with my Hi-Fi. Too many stores where they just wanted me to walk out with a box under my arm. It took a while, but I connected back with people in the trade who had passion and knowledge. I fell in love with music again rather than the gear it's played on.

Sonos isn't Hi-Fi. Sorry if that's heresy to some folk, but it's not. It's a computer peripheral that makes jukeboxing your music collection easy. (Come to think of it, a lot of what's sold as Hi-Fi isn't Hi-Fi either, but that's a different conversation.) I get more enjoyment out of listening to an album played from CD or my turntable than I do with my Sonos or any other streaming gear. The reason is simple, other than the fidelity I enjoy the moment more. I'm not distracted by wondering what track to play next. The music flows and I take it as it comes. It's about being happy with what I've got.
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It's not fair to only tell one side of the story. Or to complain, then leave out some of the story.

I got this from a friend today asking me about Sonos. Here's the thread, word for word:

On Oct 4, 2017, at 1:32 PM, Jeff wrote:

Amazon Alexa built into a Sonos speaker. That’s an interesting evolution. What do you think? Do you have experience with either product?

>>> My reply:
The “ask Alexa” or Apple’s new thing doesn’t interest me as of yet.

I have a full Sonos system - 2 X 5.1’s, a Playbar, and Sub. It’s great. It doesn’t have the power of my Denon, wired system, but I’m not sure I need that now. The sound my Sonos system puts out is good. And I can turn it up loud enough to go old school, shake it.

Sometimes their updates fubar me, but they’re quick to push out fixes — most times the same day. That’s impressive.

After a couple of sound issues with my new TV + DirecTV I was wondering if Sonos really was a great company, or just another lousy tech company. I even sent a note up the chain to their CEO. I was shocked to get a reply from him. His reply reignited my faith in Sonos.

Denon now has a wireless setup that’s supposed to be the bomb, albeit more expensive — full system approaching $5k, more than Sonos.

Would I add to my Sonos system, invest more in Sonos? As of right now and all things being equal I have no reason not to.
The day I base my acceptance or rejection of any piece of technology on the warm fuzzies I get from a personal interaction with the CEO is the day I'm the one who takes off to a cabin in the woods. I tend to rate my tech on silly little things like does it work, and how it enhances my life. But to each his own.