Sonos customers up in arms over move to stop updates for older speakers

(Reuters) – Sonos Inc is facing a social media firestorm after the wireless speaker pioneer decided to stop software updates for some of its older products.

Hours after the company made the announcement here on Tuesday, customers went on Twitter using the trending hashtag #SonosBoycott and tagging the company’s Chief Executive Officer Patrick Spence with their questions.

“@Patrick_Spence would you like to buy my 3 yr old @Sonos equipment? I guess you know how to use it as a doorstop soon,” one Twitter user, @itnopred, asked the CEO.

Customers received an email from Sonos saying the company would no longer support some models launched between 2006 and 2009 after May.

Sonos gave customers the option to either continue using the products without any new updates and features in the future or buy a new Sonos product with a 30% credit for each product replaced.

“Is this some kind of sick joke? … How to kill a brand 101. Your discount is a joke,” @Ben_Willee tweeted.

Spence has not personally responded to Twitter users, but the Sonos support team has been replying to irate customers. Sonos could not immediately be reached for comment.

Founded in 2002, Sonos’ speakers and the company’s tie-ups with around 100 music streaming providers, including Apple Music and Spotify, attracted audiophiles around the world. The company listed on the stock exchange in 2018.

But as Amazon Inc’s Echo, Google’s Home and Apple’s HomePod entered the market, the Santa Barbara, California-based company faced pressure over pricing and the variety of its products.

“This is nothing more than a big rip off by a company that just went public … I will never purchase their products again. I hope they go bankrupt,” Facebook user Stephen Salay posted in a private group for Sonos users.

Many consumers also highlighted the environmental aspect of the move, as scientists tackle the rising problem of people buying more and more devices and then abandoning them quicker, increasing the mining of raw materials and landfill waste.

“What are we going to do with all this expensive landfill now,” Twitter user @SuzanneWoods asked Sonos.

Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr and Sweta Singh

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