Sonos anticipated the blowback in their 10-K filing

by Volker Weber

The blowback isn't unexpected. From the 10-K filing for the fiscal year ending on 28-Sep-2019:

We have historically maintained, and we believe our customers may expect, extensive backward compatibility for our older products and the software that supports them, allowing older products to continue to benefit from new software updates. We 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. 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.

For these reasons, any decision to decrease or discontinue backward capability may decrease sales and adversely affect our business, operating results and financial condition.

It's kind of moot to tell Sonos you are p!ssed. Voting with your wallet is the only lesson you can teach.

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Literally nothing has changed with regards to audio quality expectations and so the bandwidth needed for the wireless to transmit the encoded audio signal across the mesh does not need to change. If more processing was needed for the incoming audio stream itself, Sonos now has the standing in the market to dictate a standard for streaming services to adhere to, should they wish to support streaming to Sonos devices, or Sonos could deliver an intermediary service in the cloud that can handle any additional processing. The introduction of
an obsolescence lifecycle, especially without an actual effort to centrally recycle and reuse or upgrade existing devices, has made Sonos a peer of everyone else in the market. This may be the curse of the SaaS economy and Sonos' failure to transition to any form of services revenue to sustain software support for older devices, so it had been coming for a long time. But it's here now, and I really don't see why I should pick Sonos for my next purchase anymore. If Sonos were to release a list of exciting new features that can only be supported on newer hardware, I might change my mind, but right now the explanation is not very convincing.

Jan Tietze, 2020-01-22

Das Problem für Sonos ist vor allem die Zielgruppe. Sonos zielt auf Leute, die früher viel Geld für einen Denon Verstärker oder Marantz CD Player ausgegeben haben, diese Geräte dann aber auch mal Minimum 10 Jahre in Gebrauch hatten, gerne auch länger.

Wenn ich einen Amazon Echo für 90 Euro kaufe, hab ich den beim übernächsten Prime Day vermutlich selber schon ausgetauscht gegen ein neueres Modell für noch weniger Geld. Bei einem 1.000 Euro Sonos-Set sieht das schon anders aus.

Andreas Eldrich, 2020-01-22

@Andreas: The problem is, that 1000 Euro didn't buy that much kit. Many people have invested considerably more than 1000 Euro.

"Fool me once, shame on thee; fool me twice, shame on me." I for one will be really cautious about investing in Sonos equipment in future.

John Keys, 2020-01-22

Aus einem Beitrag auf t3n von gestern: „...Die nicht mehr aktualisierten Produkte können laut Sonos weiterhin (Ergänzung von mir: genutzt) werden. Um wie gehabt Musik zu streamen, müsse man die alten Speaker jedoch in einer separaten Sonos-Umgebung installieren. Eine entsprechende Software-Funktion zur Steuerung zweier Instanzen werde im Laufe der nächsten Monate in die Sonos-App integriert.“

Michael Kiess, 2020-01-22

Das lustige ist, am Samstag habe ich noch ein Zufriedenheits-Umfrage-Mail von Sonos bekommen. Das war kein Zufall. Die wollten nochmal die Zufriedenheit abfragen, bevor sie die Bombe platzen lassen.
Nach der nächsten Umfrage haben sie dann schwarz auf weiß, wieviel Sympathie sie das gekostet hat.

Manfred Wiktorin, 2020-01-22

"Fool me once, shame on thee; fool me twice, shame on me." I for one will be really cautious about investing in Sonos equipment in future.

I said the same thing this afternoon except that I won't buy Sonos anything again. I don't need them.

When I buy a TV I take no notice of its smart capabilities because I'm looking for the best panel I can afford knowing that I can replace smart features with a relatively cheap box.

Next time I'm looking for audio equipment I'll use the same principle. Separates as we used to know them.

When the Sonos kit stops working I'll see if I can reuse the speakers. Maybe I'll make an FRFR cab out of them.

Jason Hook, 2020-01-23

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I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


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