End of software updates for older SONOS products

scene

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Sep 25, 2008
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So just read about this online, that Sonos are stopping software updates for products from before 2015 [updated for accuracy], and 20 minutes later got the official email from Sonos informing me that this is the case for a large chunk of my Sonos estate from May this year. The email included this link to their offiicial statement

Just digesting,..
 
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scene

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Sep 25, 2008
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So just read about this online, that Sonos are stopping software updates for products from before 2011, and 20 minutes later got the official email from Sonos informing me that this is the case for a large chunk of my Sonos estate from May this year. The email included this link to their offiicial statement

Just digesting,..
For the record I've got four generation 1 play:5 (zp90) and three connects impacted :(
 

scene

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What did the old updates do Scene? Just read your link that’s disgusting! I afraid it’s the way products go though after a while.
Usually fixing bugs and allowing for new functionality. For example, the updates allowed for integration with Alexa and Google assistant. They've also given new streaming services and updates to existing ones, like Spotify.

This has always been on the cards. The devices will be over nine years old when this happens. Which is good for a PC type device
 
Well that will seriously impact the resale value.

It'll be interesting to see how this plays out. A few years down the line when some services or features aren’t working properly, there’ll be loads of people selling them on (probably for a higher price than they’ll be worth), with unsuspecting buyers purchasing them only to find out they’re “buggy” or not working properly. It could affect their reputation in the eyes of some newcomers who choose to purchase used.

One of the downsides to modern music listening.
 
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scene

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Well that will seriously impact the resale value.

It'll be interesting to see how this plays out. A few years down the line when some services or features aren’t working properly, there’ll be loads of people selling them on (probably for a higher price than they’ll be worth), with unsuspecting buyers purchasing them only to find out they’re “buggy” or not working properly. It could affect their reputation in the eyes of some newcomers who choose to purchase used.

One of the downsides to modern music listening.
I'm sure Sonos have researched this obsolescence and taken the view that this will allow them to generate more business from a nearly saturated market, not hack off too many existing users, and not put off too many prospective buyers...

Pretty standard capitalist economics...
 

cee1

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Software updates end May 2020 - so how long after that will the system continue to work effectively? I have a bridge and 2 connect units, the bridge is now redundant for new systems. Sonos are offering a trade in for old units if you can afford to upgrade. Not sure what the alternatives are. I am pleased I've just bought a Marantz CD 6006 so could just end up using that if the Sonos goes kaput after May.
 

scene

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Software updates end May 2020 - so how long after that will the system continue to work effectively? I have a bridge and 2 connect units, the bridge is now redundant for new systems. Sonos are offering a trade in for old units if you can afford to upgrade. Not sure what the alternatives are. I am pleased I've just bought a Marantz CD 6006 so could just end up using that if the Sonos goes kaput after May.
Tell me about it! With my 4 old play 5s and 3 connects, even with the 30% discount, that comes to I've £2,500 to replace :disrelieved:

Not really sure what I'm going to be doing...
 

simonali

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I won't be upgrading. I find the Sonos set up pretty irritating because I only use it for music occasionally and when that happens I have to muck around updating it all before it'll let me listen to anything. My Connect is attached to a Ruark R4 and that doesn't work either, so I'll not be missing anything!
 

preveo

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I am really annoyed with this announcement. I don't buy this argument that these legacy products can't be 'updated'. Can some-one (I doubt some-one from Sonos will) please explain to me from a technical standpoint why my connect-amp is now essentially obsolete. And why? The amp part will work fine and it will surely be able to receive the music 'bits', so exactly why is this now a legacy product. If they can add different music services and 'update' the connect-amp for years exactly what has/will change that will make it legacy. It's not as if it's a standard definition tv and can't handle high definition signals. It's essentially a music receiver. If it can receive music from multiple sources what is changing?

For me I now won't invest any more money in sonos. I've recommended them to every-one I know for years. I love sonos, but no more. For me Sonos was worth the added expensive because it a) works and b) is supported with updates. Now that they are not supporting older models, I'm not going to spend good money on a product which in a few years will be 'legacy'.

From now on I can see that I will just purchase a 'proper' amp and connect a streaming dongle. I have no idea what dongles are out there to stream music as haven't looked for a while. What I do know is that it makes no sense for me to spend £600 on a new sonos amp when I can spend the same or less on another stereo amp + receiver dongle which will actually sound better. Plus I know that the amp will not become a legacy product.
 
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tino

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Presumably if you have at least one new Sonos "master" device in your line up that was kept up to date with all the latest streaming service APIs etc. you should be able to link it up to any of the older devices as a speaker group and keep the older "local network " of products going? Or have I misunderstood. Admittedly you may not be able to operate each speaker on it's own in the longer term future?
 
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You could buy Play:5 "sets" so you can use one credit for buying 2 Play:5s and sell one on. You'll easily earn £75 per speaker you sell, clawing back more money. I should've thought of this before buying my speakers today!
 
Presumably if you have at least one new Sonos "master" device in your line up that was kept up to date with all the latest streaming service APIs etc. you should be able to link it up to any of the older devices as a speaker group and keep the older "local network " of products going? Or have I misunderstood. Admittedly you may not be able to operate each speaker on it's own in the longer term future?
No, I think if you have even one older device, this would affect updates of all the devices.
 

Big Aura

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this is a shocker for Sonos.

First the environmental impact of bricking perfectly good kit for an upgrade that (at the time) seemed like pointless consumerism, now this?

I've recently (in last 6 weeks) spent £1700 on a new amp and speakers which was entirely driven by the desire to keep within the Sonos network (i've an old Connect:Amp, an old Play5 and an old Connect, recently connected to an Arcam SA20 and Kef LS50s).

I expect that stuff will continue to work for a while, then slowly die off as new streaming services invent other ways to make the listening experience more complicated than it needs to be, and Sonos will shrug and blame them.

I get the fact that Sonos want to compete and possibly add hi-res which the older kit doesn't support and, due to the whole system needing to move at the pace of the dumbest bit of smart kit, this was always going to happen. But surely they could have said "Sonos OS 1.0 and Sonos OS 2.0, the latter requires gen 2 kit throughout but all will be supported").

All modern devices have a shelf life, but my FiL with his 25 year old Krell amps and David Yorke record player will be shaking his head pitifully in my general direction....
 
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Big Aura

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indeed. I am now torn as to whether to buy a new Sonos amp (which gets the 30% discount) on a Sonos Controller I had from 2010 but which died about 4 years ago... Likely to move house so will need a bigger network, so stick with Sonos (and pray that I can still operate on the unsupported system for another 5 or so years), or just ditch them entirely and go for something else. Although "ditching" is probably impossible as everyone else will be fire-saling on ebay now...
 

scene

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The ire of Sonos users has reached the BBC's attention - here is their news article

I think the biggest single fail of this is the fact that having one old speaker on your Sonos network will prevent ALL of your devices receiving updates. Many of us have old and new speakers (I'm one of them) and this galls more than anything. Surely they could have come up with a process where new updates are received by new speakers, and not by old ones and the Apps (PC / Mac / Android / iOS) differentiates and prevents new features being used on old speakers. Or is that too much trouble for them to bother with?
 

Big Aura

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I think this is driven by hi-res and an inability to have the hi-res track sync and co-play with the normal res version in the next room in party mode. Plus, likely, some guff about internet of things that I don't care about.

But when Deezer, Spotify and Total all update their apps to enable you to order a drone delivery of Jameson at the same time as listening to Whiskey in the Jar, then it all falls down.

Hence my Sonos OS 1.0/2.0 suggestion.
 
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scene

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I think this is driven by hi-res and an inability to have the hi-res track sync and co-play with the normal res version in the next room in party mode. Plus, likely, some guff about internet of things that I don't care about.

But when Deezer, Spotify and Total all update their apps to enable you to order a drone delivery of Jameson at the same time as listening to Whiskey in the Jar, then it all falls down.

Hence my Sonos OS 1.0/2.0 suggestion.
Agree (and sorry - I missed the OS suggestion in your earlier post...)

As I've said, this is not like smartphones where you buy a new one every few years. The important fact is "new one" - I've got 9 Sonos devices (10 if you count my now redundant bridge), and I'm not going to be replacing £2-3000 of kit every few years...
 
I've updated my original post. It's devices from before 2015. So only 5 or so years old. Now I'm really hacked off.
Now that I’m quite shocked at. 10 years, maybe you could understand, but only 5 years old? I think when a company has this as a possibility on the cards, there should be something on their website stating it’s a possibility, or having to make it clear to potential, purchasers before they part with their cash. There are people out there who’ve probably spent £3-5k. Just think of all those whole-house systems some dealers have installed! Not a brand that will be darkening my door.
 
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Niallivm

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"We [Sonos] expect that in the near term, this backward compatibility will no longer be practical or cost-effective, and we may decrease or discontinue service for our older products," the manufacturer's Q4 2019 10-Kfinancial filing explains. "If we no longer provide extensive backward capability for our products, we may damage our relationship with our existing customers, as well as our reputation, brand loyalty and ability to attract new customers."
Well, they got that right...
 
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scene

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"We [Sonos] expect that in the near term, this backward compatibility will no longer be practical or cost-effective, and we may decrease or discontinue service for our older products," the manufacturer's Q4 2019 10-Kfinancial filing explains. "If we no longer provide extensive backward capability for our products, we may damage our relationship with our existing customers, as well as our reputation, brand loyalty and ability to attract new customers."
Well, they got that right...
too true.

I think, as I've said the three biggest issues here are
1. The relative short notice of cessation of support. Most companies announce this up front, or give 2-3years notice
2. The fact that having one unsupported device prevents any device getting updates
3. The relatively short lifespan of the devices

I know Sonos have said that these are devices from 10 years ago, but the fact remains they were selling them as the only device up to 5 years ago. If you bought an S5 in 2015, to be told 5years later that it would not be updated and would prevent all your devices getting updates, without any previous warning, I think you have every right to be annoyed. I think Sonos may well have poisoned their own well here.
 
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Big Aura

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The share price took a 2.5% hit, but it's actually quite a volatile stock in any case, so that's not unusual for them.

I can understand the desire to keep pace (assuming this is needed to go to Hi-res/internet of things), and possibly the frustration for their shareholders that so much of their legacy kit is still in use. Very few people upgrade an S5(gen 1) for the gen 2. So they need to keep inventing new markets (the play 1, sound bars, subs, boosts etc.) to sell more kit to existing customers. This forced obsolesence might get 30% of their customers replacing their kit (which is good for them if they've accidentally produced a product that otherwise lasts forever), notwithstanding the bad PR.
 
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scene

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The share price took a 2.5% hit, but it's actually quite a volatile stock in any case, so that's not unusual for them.

I can understand the desire to keep pace (assuming this is needed to go to Hi-res/internet of things), and possibly the frustration for their shareholders that so much of their legacy kit is still in use. Very few people upgrade an S5(gen 1) for the gen 2. So they need to keep inventing new markets (the play 1, sound bars, subs, boosts etc.) to sell more kit to existing customers. This forced obsolesence might get 30% of their customers replacing their kit (which is good for them if they've accidentally produced a product that otherwise lasts forever), notwithstanding the bad PR.
Yes. Planned obsolescence is a pretty standard business model, which is seen as a method of driving repeat business, especially in a market at or near saturation. And, in Sonos's case there are legitimate business reasons for not wanting to support old products forever, which I can understand. But the way this has been done, especially when they're concerned about maintaining market share, and particularly when they are a company that has relied on a loyal consumer base to be their best advocates and salespeople, smacks of a classic case of corporate hubris. They have acknowledged they could damage the relationship with their customers, brand loyalty, and corporate image and their ability to get new custom, but they seemed to have decided that didn't matter compared to the cost of supporting older devices and providing a method where old and new devices could co-exist more harmoniously (albeit for a defined period).
 
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