Sonos Really Sucks at Communication

Sonos has again gone back on a controversial decision they made, but this time it’s too late for a lot of people.

Late last year, Sonos announced a “Trade Up program,” whereby people with certain older devices could trade them in for a 30% discount. They wouldn’t physically send them to Sonos, who didn’t want to be bothered recycling them; they would be responsible for recycling them themselves. And they couldn’t keep them, because they would be bricked after 21 days.

The company was roundly criticized for creating e-waste. The goal, which we didn’t know at the time, was to get customers to upgrade from devices that would later be classified as “obsolete,” and that wouldn’t receive software updates.

Well, the company has changed their tune on both of these controversial moves. First, they walked back the original claim about obsolete devices, saying now that they will find a way for them to still be used, and that they are changing the policy of bricking older devices, according to The Verge.

In this case, you’ll get the 30% discount, and your older device will still work. So you can recycle it if you wish, or, I’m sure many people will keep the older devices, or give them away. Some may also sell them, and if you think that you can buy an older Sonos device cheaply, then use it to get the 30% discount on a newer device, be careful. I’m sure the company is keeping track of the serial numbers of devices used for the discount. It’s worth noting that Sonos’ support document about recycle mode does not yet specify this change.

I feel bad for Sonos. They had a great reputation in audio and tech circles, and they’ve blown it by not thinking carefully about what they should have known were two controversial decisions. They should hire some PR people to help them not make similar mistakes again.

2 thoughts on “Sonos Really Sucks at Communication

  1. Agree the communication from Sonos was poor. But they do have an issue to solve. We all expect our speakers to last forever while, at the same time, being more or less ok that our iPhones and our Mac’s will last less than a decade. Yes, they are different types of products, but at some point, old chips no longer support the newest software. I wonder if Elon Musk will one day announce that the Tesla 3 can no longer be updated. Good luck to Sonos on this.

  2. I don’t think, it’s a communication problem. It’s dump management decisions following an ipo. Don’t shoot the messenger.

    Regarding what PJ said above: You can solve all of these problems without bricking them. Pushing out new features only for newer devices ist – if reasonable argued – understandable and da usual strategy. Technically it should be no problem to deliver updates, that cut the elder items from new feature but keep them alive.

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