Spence interview with The Verge


https://www.theverge.com/2018/6/15/17465084/sonos-ceo-vergecast-interview-google-assistant-siri-atmos

Third party audiophile speakers, IKEA, Onkyo...

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10 replies

[...] The flip side of this statement is that it tells us that the software upgrades are not freebies we should be grateful for, but have a right to expect and also expect them to be compatible with kit in use, having paid for them.
If you buy, say, Apple gear, you're too paying for upcoming software updates. Yet, Apple tends to discontinue support for certain hardware at some point, which then is no longer eligible for future updates. So yes, you have a right to expect hardware/software compatibility, but actually no company has an obligation to maintain compatibility for kit in use forever till it dies a natural death.
I found this comment from Spence to be interesting/useful:
"what we have done is made those products better every year through the software updates that you get, which really are included in the purchase price that you paid up front."
Italics added for emphasis.
A good way to justify the paying of premium prices for Sonos kit.
The flip side of this statement is that it tells us that the software upgrades are not freebies we should be grateful for, but have a right to expect and also expect them to be compatible with kit in use, having paid for them.
I was referring more to updates and less to backward compatibility; I take that for granted with Sonos, which is a compliment to them. Although since the updates are included in the price paid as admitted by the Sonos CEO, one expects them to work with kit paid for, over a reasonable life expectancy for the kit.
I was referring more to updates and less to backward compatibility; I take that for granted with Sonos, which is a compliment to them. Although since the updates are included in the price paid as admitted by the Sonos CEO, one expects them to work with kit paid for, over a reasonable life expectancy for the kit.
So was I. IIRC you are owning an iPod Touch 5, which will forever remain on iOS 9.3.5 – so, despite having the right to expect compatibility with Airplay2, it will never get the v11.4 update you've paid for up front.
having the right to expect compatibility with Airplay2, it will never get the v11.4 update you've paid for up front.
But Cook has never said this in the manner that Spence has, which is admirable even if not intended exactly in the way I am reading what he has said!
The more important point to me in what Spence is saying is that when I bought my play units in 2014, I had paid in advance for the Trueplay functionality released in 2016, so it wasn't a free upgrade in that sense.
Userlevel 5
Badge +11
Just some simple updates could be easily done...
I am not saying about completely new features, but improving already existing ones: like volume management, fade in fade out for sleep and alarms, full channel stereo...
We will see when the new Beam comes out.
And no more words about the IPO?
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
I found this comment from Spence to be interesting/useful:
"what we have done is made those products better every year through the software updates that you get, which really are included in the purchase price that you paid up front."
Italics added for emphasis.
A good way to justify the paying of premium prices for Sonos kit.
The flip side of this statement is that it tells us that the software upgrades are not freebies we should be grateful for, but have a right to expect and also expect them to be compatible with kit in use, having paid for them.


I don't think that's what Spence intended to imply. I can see where he was trying to say that Sonos wants to show appreciation to it's customers by giving them free upgrades whenever we can. However, saying that there is a kind of upgrade service fee imbed in the price of Sonos units would be a bad idea.

First off, because Sonos is far from the only company that upgrades it's software/firmware for free. The echo dot is only $50, often much less, yet it gets upgraded with new features all the time as well. Granted, pricing strategy is very different from Sonos, but that's not the point. As a customer, you could look at Spence's statement and then conclude that you're paying too much for upgrades with Sonos, compared to upgrades with other products.

Second, if you're saying that the customer is paying for upgrades, then customers would then claim that they don't want any upgrades. Why am I paying for voice control when I don't want voice control? Or, I want Google Assistant integration yet Sonos is putting out Airplay 2 first.

The reality is that Sonos adds new features because it helps to sell new units. They upgrade old units because the old units need to play a part in the upgrade since it's a whole home system where the old needs to work with the new as much as possible. If Sonos were selling Bluetooth speakers for example, there would be no upgrades to old units since it would do nothing to sell new units.

Apple, Amazon and the rest or no different. They may have different strategies, even so vague as just creating goodwill with customers, but the reason is always to ultimately getting customers to spend more money with them. It's never really from some embedded upgrade service fee.
However, saying that there is a kind of upgrade service fee imbed in the price of Sonos units would be a bad idea.

Perhaps; but that IS what he said! Or so I understood from his words.
Userlevel 7
Badge +17
Automatic updates - ensures all customers still able to buy new sonos kit, and not freeze at any stage to keep controllers if they choose to.
Would be just like google home, it updates without users ever knowing.
Forgot to mention: Trueplay will become automatic eventually, like Apple and Google currently have. Will obviously only work with speakers that have microphones...