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Sonos Stops Forcing Customers to Brick Their Old Devices

By Rich Duprey - Updated Mar 6, 2020 at 12:30PM

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The controversial policy was seen as environmentally unfriendly.

Sonos (SONO -24.95%) has decided to trash the requirement that owners of its older devices effectively turn them into fancy paperweights before becoming eligible for discounts on new devices.

The high-end sound system maker reportedly eliminated the Recycle Mode from its app that customers were required to activate before they could participate in its trade-in program, which offers 30% discounts on new products. Recycle Mode caused the devices to be "bricked," or rendered irreparably unusable, and the company came under harsh criticism for a policy that was deemed unfriendly to the environment.

Man listening to music through headphones

Image source: Getty Images.

Giving customers control

Customers now have the ability to choose how best to dispose of their older device, whether it means recycling it themselves, sending it to Sonos to recycle, or even continue using it, according to reporting from The Verge. Regardless of the option chosen, consumers will still qualify for the product upgrade discount.

Sonos still isn't offering feature updates, however. That was the second PR flub the sound system specialist made in as many months as it said it was going to end support for legacy products other than bug fixes. They told customers "the "overall functionality of your sound system will eventually be disrupted," and to make matters worse, if they owned a mix of old and new devices, customers had to choose which system they preferred. If they chose the older system, newer Sonos products would not receive software updates while part of the older system. 

Sonos quickly backtracked on that and said it would come up with a way to bifurcate the two systems, such that newer products work together and get the latest features while legacy products remain linked in their current state.

Editors' Note: This article has been updated to more accurately reflect how Sonos will bifurcate its software updates among new and legacy products. 

Rich Duprey has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Sonos Inc. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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