Sonos has responded to criticism of its recently-announced support policy for legacy products. And it’s doing the right thing.
In fact, it’s arguably doing more than it needs to. But given the outpouring of rage—much of it from people who don’t even own Sonos equipment—that occurred in the wake of the firm’s announcement this past week, it had little choice.
“We heard you,” an open letter from Sonos CEO Patrick Spence reads. “We did not get this right from the start. My apologies for that and I wanted to personally assure you of the path forward.”
Spence says that Sonos products will continue to work as they do today when they exit support, and are no longer receiving software updates. That’s a subtle but important shift from the previous policy, where out-of-support products could lead to a situation where newer Sonos products on the same network would also no longer receive updates. “We are not bricking them, we are not forcing them into obsolescence, and we are not taking anything away,” he notes, emphasizing the point.
Another change: Sonos will try to deliver bug fixes and security patches to legacy products —i.e. those that are no longer receiving feature updates—for “as long as possible.” That, too, is a subtle but important change: Previously, legacy Sonos products would not get any updates at all.
More vaguely, Spence also says that Sonos will “work to offer an alternative solution” when it can’t fix an issue that is “core to the experience.” I assume this basically means offering more than a 30 percent trade-in value on used equipment, but we’ll see.
But the biggest change, perhaps, is that Sonos is now investigating a way for legacy and fully-supported products to co-exist on the same network.
“We are working on a way to split your system so that modern products work together and get the latest features, while legacy products work together and remain in their current state,” he writes. “We’re finalizing details on this plan and will share more in the coming weeks.”
Given the venom of the feedback Sonos received to its support note this week, it’s unlikely that this will satisfy everyone. But it’s good news for actual Sonos customers, and should alleviate the concerns that some had about their years-long investments in the company’s products.