First Ring Daily 755: Tax Dodge-ball

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On this episode of First Ring Daily, Microsoft dodges the tax, the TV dodges delivery, and it’s getting a little icy.

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  • Robert Dammers

    Premium Member
    24 January, 2020 - 10:44 am

    <p>The fundamental problem is the economic fallacy that Companies pay tax. Companies have three choices: to re-invest (which we rightly don't tax), to pay salaries/bonuses (which *are* taxed), or to pay dividends (on which tax is paid). Corporation taxes are generally treated as double taxation – that's why dividends are taxed differently from income. </p><p><br></p><p>A sane government would abolish corporation taxes. Unfortunately, there is a whole world of ignorant demagogues, followed by masses of people who have no understanding of economics who point out that we should taxes because that's where the money is. This is *wrong*, but not obvious.</p><p><br></p><p>That's what Paul should despair of.</p>

  • Jacksmccullough

    24 January, 2020 - 12:03 pm

    <p>You had to go there Paul, you couldn't just leave it, but had to bring it up again. I was going to stay quiet and leave it, but then you had to mention Sonos again and so here we are. Just to be clear I am a long time Sonos customer (9 years). I have added to my Sonos collection over the years, and had a number of new purchases in view. It has never been perfect, but it has worked reasonably well and I I have always been impressed by the quality of the hardware (software not so much).</p><p><br></p><p>Here are a few key facts you seem to be overlooking in this debacle. Firstly Sonos is not just another piece of commodity tech. This is a niche premium product, and so comparing it to other pieces of commodity tech is not accurate. As you have told us now on several occasions recently you have many different speakers in your home, so do I, however when investing in a premium product like Sonos there is an expectation that it should just work. and that the company will stand over its product. That is why myself and others have paid the premium for Sonos, so this isn't a commodity purchase. If Sonos wants to treat its customers like that then let's see how long their current business model survives. </p><p><br></p><p>Commodity tech like phones and computers develop over time, when it comes to upgrade them you aren't swapping like for like, you are getting more for your money, With Sonos this has been a challenge, and one of their own making. They could have been more aggressive with their pricing and support, and tried to force customers into different price plans and support models. They haven't chosen to do that, and rightly so in my view. Brand loyalty is something that is very difficult to create, yet Sonos managed to do this much to their credit. If they now want to move down market into the commodity space then they need to move much faster, add a lot more features, and cut costs sharply.</p><p><br></p><p>You have pointed out how used we all are to upgrading phones and computers, crucially though your missed the point about the older models still having value. Phones and computers can be recycled, gifted, sold or traded in. This is not an option with Sonos, the 30% discount being offered is miserly. As someone who is surrounded by old tech, I try as best I can to find a use for it. It seems if I take advantage of this trade in offer from Sonos my legacy speaker that is in perfect working order (for now) has to be recycled (i.e. soft bricked so it can no longer be used). Having not gone through the whole process I can't be 100% sure on this, but it seems that I will have 21 days after ordering then it will be bricked. This is a tragedy that a modern tech company is effectively forcing customers to dump perfectly working hardware – others do it as well but that doesn't make it right or acceptable. Let's hope Great doesn't find out.</p><p><br></p><p>The timeline also stinks, if I had more then 4 months notice (say 12 months or preferably 18 months) then I could have been looking out during the sales for a better deal, Sonos waited until after the back friday, Christmas, New Years sales to drop this. Why not give people enough notice to plan for this, they must have known for sometime this would happen. </p><p><br></p><p>Here is another kicker, what is the life span on my "Modern" Sonos speakers (1 of which was bought at the same time as my Sonos 5)? If this information was clearly and openly available, fine then you know what you are getting into, but it isn't and therefore I have no confidence that my other purchases won't go the same way. So what is the real lifespan of a Product that may have been released &gt; 10 years but was available to buy from the manufacturer less than 5 years ago? </p><p><br></p><p>No matter what way you look at this it has been badly handled, poorly managed and it is only right Sonos customers are up in arms. Obsolescence is a thing, I get that and accept that, it happens in all walks of life. What I expect though is to know in advance what the terms are, how long can I expect before this happens, what are my options? Sonos just dropped this on its users with no warning, again a friendly pointer in maybe September/October may have got us thinking about what we could do. I have a Sonos 5 for a reason, as you have found out for bigger rooms Sonos 1s don't cut it. I have paid a significant premium for this product, I could have got better sounding speakers for less. I chose to invest in Sonos, not just for their products, but the support they provide. I was prepared to pay a premium for this, as were others. Sonos however have misjudged their customers in how they have handled this, so it is only right that we now question are loyalty.</p><p><br></p><p>I am glad to see they seem to be backtracking on the ridiculous statement that having 1 legacy product on the network would keep everything else legacy. This was clearly not thought through, and at least they are showing positive signs about removing this restriction. I am surprised that you thought this was okay though, any tech company has to deal with backward compatibility at some point in their history, so this should not have come as a surprise for Sonos. They should have been better prepared, and put a lot more thought on this than they have.</p><p><br></p><p>As an anecdote, I also have lots of earphones, too may my wife keeps telling me. The ones I use most are made by Bose. I am a long time Bose customer, I like their products and am prepared to pay a premium for them. The reason however why the first company I look at when it comes to buying earphones is Bose is because of how they treat their customers. Their support is excellent, most recently they replaced a set of ear phones for me free of charge after I broke the cable. I admitted to it, didn't try and point the finger, but hoped they might give me some discount to replace them – they did a 100% discount.</p><p><br></p><p>Sonos could learn a lot from Bose on customer support, and looks like I need to start looking into some Bose sound link speakers now.</p>


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