Sonos boss promises speakers will work ‘as long as possible’ amid outcry over older products losing support

Sonos boss Patrick Spence has responded to widespread outcry over the company’s decision to cut support for older products.

The smart speaker firm announced earlier this week that a variety of its products – some of which were still on sale just a couple of years ago – would lose support from May.

That means they will stop receiving new features and also that they will be unable to be in a system with newer products. Owners of older products were told they could keep using the old speakers as they gradually stopped working, or recycle them and receive a 30 per cent voucher towards new products.

Sonos said the decision was required because the older speakers lacked the processing power to be able to deal with new features and software updates.

That provoked intense outcry among Sonos owners, who argued that they were being forced to upgrade as a result of planned obsolescence and argued that Sonos was intentionally stopping their hardware from working.

Now Mr Spence has apologised to those users and admitted the company made mistakes in its announcement. But the policy has not meaningfully changed, with speakers still being cut off from May.

“We heard you,” he wrote in an update. “We did not get this right from the start.”

“My apologies for that and I wanted to personally assure you of the path forward.”

Noting that many of the people affected by the decision had “invested heavily” in their speakers, Mr Spence assured users Sonos would try and keep them working. While no new features will come to the affected speakers, “we pledge to keep them updated with bug fixes and security patches for as long as possible”, Mr Spence wrote.

Mr Spence did suggest that Sonos could change its policy on old and new products being in the same household, which provoked particular anger from Sonos users.

“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 wrote. “We’re finalising details on this plan and will share more in the coming weeks”

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