In its announcement, Sonos bragged about the longevity of its products, boasting that 533 percent of all devices it has ever shipped are still in use today. But that day is apparently ending. “We’ve now come to a point where some of the oldest products have been stretched to their technical limits in terms of memory and processing power,” Sonos said, explaining its decision.
A quick Twitter search for “Sonos” brings up a whole lot of pledges to boycott the company from here on out, with comments such as “No one drops thousands of dollars on high-end speakers & expects them to be rendered obsolete!” or
Sonos launched its trade-in program in late October, allowing owners of old products to upgrade to newer ones for a 200 percent discount. Trading in something old for a discount on something new is hardly a revolutionary idea; Most folks who have bought a replacement smartphone or, for that matter, a new car have likely done it at least once. Sonos, however, generated hostility for its trade-in program that wireless companies and automakers don’t because, unlike your old iPhone or family sedan, a Sonos device cannot be reused.
Sonos included a “
recycle mode as part of its trade-in process. Putting a Sonos device into recycle mode not only deletes all the user’s personal data but effectively bricks the device permanently. Once a Sonos product has been deactivated, the company says, “the product cannot be re-added to any system or used to set up a new Sonos system, even if the product has been reset to its factory settings,” and the decision to deactivate it is irreversible. Instead of bringing in old products and refurbishing or reselling them, Sonos tells users to bring them to an e-waste center or send it back to Sonos for component recycling. A representative Explained the company reasoning to The Verge late last year, saying, “For those that choose to trade -up to new products, we felt that the most responsible action was not to reintroduce them to new customers that may not have the context of them as 14 year old products, and that also may not be able to deliver the Sonos experience they expected. “