Home automation company Wink under fire for surprise subscription mandate [u]

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Comments

  • Reply 41 of 68
    ralphieralphie Posts: 68member
    LOL, You get what you pay for. 
  • Reply 42 of 68
    callmemattcallmematt Posts: 13member
    macxpress said:
    This is why I am staying away from this new home automation market. As cool as it sounds, I'm not willing to invest 1000s in a company who is here today and gone tomorrow only to start the process over and repeat. Until the market matures and standards are created, this guy is not going to be a dollar feeder to bleeding edge unreliable tech whose sole purpose is to bleed out my wallet.
    You can do home automation without it phoning home back to the manufacturer. Just don't get devices that require this. 
    Exactly. Indigo Domotics is a great example of a great, extensible, flexible home automation platform that is built on a sustainable business model. You can pay a subscription to keep your s/w up-to-date and (if you'd like to) use their cloud services. Or just buy it once and you're technically off-support, but it will still work just fine. I choose to support their development with a subscription because they do an amazing job. And with support from the community, I get things like HomeKit integration for all my non-HomeKit hardware (Chamberlain garage door opener etc.).

    Or if you want a home automation system that does not require an upfront software purchase, you can try one of the open-source platforms that Aeotec recommends on their Z-Stick product page.

    Cloud-dependent products / platforms might get you out of the gate quicker with an easier setup process, but then the fate of your HA system is in the hands of a 3rd party who has no obligation to keep their service running.
    pscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 43 of 68
    viclauyycviclauyyc Posts: 724member

    larryjw said:
    Where is Wink's business plan? How could they believe one-time purchasers of their products could sustain their business? 

    Did Wink believe they could sustain the business through selling advertising?

    They probably didn't believe it. They were just pressured into doing it by the entire market which thinks everything in high quality software is supposed to be free.

    They've now found out, like the rest of the entire software industry, that software is not sustainable as a business unless it is a subscription service. And there is nothing wrong with that.

    Unfortunately this fast and desperate move by Wink will be viewed as just that, even if it is the right thing to do.
    If apple do the same thing to iPhone and Mac, people will burn apple to the ground. Even MS will not force customers to upgrade Windows. Yes the OS will lost support but it is still useable. 

    I have 2 Wink products. I did not install the Hub for couple years. When I installed it, it is DOA and it turn out has a major unfixable bug. The other one only works 60% of the time.  I guess it is time to remove it from the wall. 


  • Reply 44 of 68
    corradokidcorradokid Posts: 15member
    Wouldn't running Homebridge on a Mac, PC, Linux, or Raspberry Pi do the same thing as what Wink is trying to do? Allows all IoT devices to work with Homekit. I have my 1st gen LiFX lights on it, Nest Sense thermostats and Nest Protect fire/CO2 detectors on it and works great, with open source software? Even a RaspberryPi can be had for as little as $5. I have it running on a Mac mini server.

    https://homebridge.io

    https://www.npmjs.com/package/homebridge-config-ui-x
    edited May 2020 dewmecallmemattwatto_cobra
  • Reply 45 of 68
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,754member
    This crapware company is owned by Will.i.am. Explains it. They've been plagued with financial issues going back long before COVID.

    https://www.theverge.com/2019/10/25/20932055/wink-smart-home-problems-iamplus-william-black-eyed-peas

    Their packaging expressly promises no subscriptions:



    We've seen winning class action suits for far less. I don't think they will survive this.
    edited May 2020 elijahgpscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 46 of 68
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 1,266member
    This crapware company is owned by Will.i.am. Explains it. They've been plagued with financial issues going back long before COVID.

    https://www.theverge.com/2019/10/25/20932055/wink-smart-home-problems-iamplus-william-black-eyed-peas

    Their packaging expressly promises no subscriptions:



    We've seen winning class action suits for far less. I don't think they will survive this.
    Indeed. A test in the courts of "bait-and-switch" v. "EULA says all bets are off" will itself likely cost them more than they'll gain from $5/month subscriptions from the subset of customers who continue the service, and they will lose in the end and be forced to liquidate. 

    AT&T recently sent me a small check because they lost their case claiming that "unlimited data" could be interpreted to mean "limited usable data plus unlimited unusable data." I would be very surprised if AT&T's fine print didn't include language they thought enabled them to do that. Financially, the $12 settlement they sent me didn't mean that much to me, and it surely was nothing to them, but cashing it was pure gold as a delayed response to the conversation I had years earlier with the AT&T customer service guy who (you've got to hand it to him) gleefully maintained that unlimited data squeezed to a trickle bandwidth was still unlimited data.

    That court case was shoeshine money to AT&T, but I doubt Wink has those kinds of reserves. They would probably be better off to send out a nice note of apology for their distress in this economy, switch the lights off and go home. Then again, perhaps the $5/month announcement is really a dodge to indemnify them before they turn the lights off and go home. Anybody who sues to get their device purchase money back would then be thwarted by their alleged attempt to use a new business model to keep their devices running.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 47 of 68
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,658member
    Here's my advice to anyone with a Wink hub:

    Cut your losses and find another solution that will work with your devices now. There's no point in paying them for this subscription service because they're on their way out of business quickly, and even paying them for a month is just throwing good money after bad. Yes, they'll probably get sued, and if they are still around long enough they'll probably lose, but you'll never see a penny from them because they'll be filing for bankruptcy long before that.

    Just file this one under, "Lessons Learned."
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 48 of 68
    gnulokignuloki Posts: 6member
    Z-Wave items + Z-Way on RazberryPi + Homebridge. Best way to go. No monthly fees. Takes a small bit of setup.
    GG1callmemattwatto_cobra
  • Reply 49 of 68
    JinTechJinTech Posts: 787member
    davgreg said:
    The worst things that ever happened to computers were the in-app purchase and subscription software.
    Only to people like you that think everything should be free, or cost $9.99 once for unlimited lifetime usage and updates.

    For the rest of the real world, it is the best thing that has ever happened to make the 1000-fold increase in demand for software almost profitable.
    Actually what would be preferable is going back to the old business model of, when the developer come out with a new .0 release, they charge for an update. Sometimes these updates would be between 30-70% of the original price of the initial purchase. I have no problems with that because if I am unable to pay for the update just yet, at least I could still use the software I actually purchased. I also do not like the subscription business model.
    watto_cobraDAalseth
  • Reply 50 of 68
    beowulfschmidtbeowulfschmidt Posts: 1,488member
    davgreg said:
    The worst things that ever happened to computers were the in-app purchase and subscription software.
    Only to people like you that think everything should be free, or cost $9.99 once for unlimited lifetime usage and updates.

    For the rest of the real world, it is the best thing that has ever happened to make the 1000-fold increase in demand for software almost profitable.
    It seems to me like people who "think everything should be free" wouldn't have paid for their equipment in the first place.

    What people are complaining about here isn't even a cost of upgrade.  It's the fact that their software will stop working if they don't pony up.  Is the cost unreasonable?  Not really?  But they aren't even getting an improvement in service for their extra outlay, they're getting the same thing they already paid for, but now have to pay for again.

    I suspect that if Wink had upgraded the software and only offered the update to people who subscribed, and let the other people say on the old version, few people would have complained.  But this is the same bullshit the Quicken people pulled.  Software I paid for as a standalone, non-subscription app, stopped working, even though the functionality I needed didn't have to impact the Quicken company, unless I started paying them.  They basically disabled my application, even though it wouldn't have cost them a dime for me to keep using it.

    So screw Wink.
    JinTechwatto_cobrafastasleep
  • Reply 51 of 68
    kronus60kronus60 Posts: 2member
    So I spend money upgrading to the Wink Hub 2, and now they are telling me that it is worthless unless I pay.  Fine if you can no longer support people who do not wish to pay another “subscription fee,” but to tell people, pay up or your equipment is rendered useless.  I am fairly certain that is called Ransomeware.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 52 of 68
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,062member
    elijahg said:
    The terms of service don't override the law, no longer getting something you've paid for is fraud, pushing people to pay again is extortion. Trying to claim it's ok by using a clause in the ToS doesn't really cut it, a ToS is a contract which has to be fair to both parties otherwise a clause can be nullified in court.
    What the fuck are are you talking about. You clearly don't know. You've strung a bunch of your opinions and assumptions together without any basis in fact.

    Without knowing any facts, which you fail to show, it's a guessing game for the peanut gallery. You obviously lack the expertise and factual data to know if Wink is engaged in and is culpable os illegal business practices, and whether they're criminal or civil.

    Show some legal tenent where a contract "has to be fair" to both parties. That's laughable on it's face. A contract is a contract. Either party is a fool to sign if it's not "fair", but as long as the terms don't violate law, fairness has nothing to do with validity. That's why all parties do due diligence or pay the price. But the peanut gallery makes up crap to suit their opinion, like playing the bait-and-switch card.

    But it was a bad move for Wink that will bite them in the court of public opinion. Even if it's shown they're completely within their legal rights, they've thrown trust and confidence out the window. Can't wait to see how this plays out.


    watto_cobra
  • Reply 53 of 68
    gmagdnagmagdna Posts: 1member
    I obviously have no idea how they distributed emails but I received mine this morning at 6:02 local time so I get two days notice. No comments other than that since several people have already made all the relevant points. I sent an email to Wink which I'm sure will turn this around for everyone. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 54 of 68
    sphericspheric Posts: 2,107member
    In Germany, this would constitute breach of sales contract. 

    Turning something that was sold as is into a subscription service just to access the basic promised functionality after the sale would be illegal here. 

    They could only change the model for all future sales. 
    edited May 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 55 of 68
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,808member
    The update where Wink is giving users until the 20th to sign up is likely because the overwhelming majority of their customers gave them the one finger salute. 
  • Reply 56 of 68
    flydogflydog Posts: 1,023member
    elijahg said:
    neilm said:
    Wink's current web site, in the "Legal" section, includes the following (emphasis mine):

    "Service Interruptions and Changes to the Services

    Wink reserves the right to interrupt the Services with or without prior notice for any reason or no reason. You agree that Wink will not be liable for any interruption of the Services, delay or failure to perform. Wink has the right at any time for any reason or no reason to change and/or eliminate any aspect(s) of the Services as it sees fit in its sole discretion."

    I imagine that imposing a subscription would fall under the "change [...] any aspect of the the Services" part.

    The terms of service don't override the law, no longer getting something you've paid for is fraud, pushing people to pay again is extortion. Trying to claim it's ok by using a clause in the ToS doesn't really cut it, a ToS is a contract which has to be fair to both parties otherwise a clause can be nullified in court.
    There is no law that prohibits this. While you may not like it, it’s perfectly legal. 

    And there is no “must be fair to both parties” legal standard. If you think a contract or license is unfair, don’t agree to it and return the product. 
  • Reply 57 of 68
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    This crapware company is owned by Will.i.am. Explains it. They've been plagued with financial issues going back long before COVID.

    https://www.theverge.com/2019/10/25/20932055/wink-smart-home-problems-iamplus-william-black-eyed-peas

    Their packaging expressly promises no subscriptions:



    We've seen winning class action suits for far less. I don't think they will survive this.
    I believe that's what the Americans like to call 'the smoking gun'.

    This product was sold to provide a function; removing that function later has class action written all over it.

    In the UK, what is written in the EULA is overridden by the law anyway. 

    What they're hoping for is that the number of people who they will eventually have to restore the service to, is less than the number of people who just sigh and pay up.
    spheric
  • Reply 58 of 68
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member

    macgui said:
    elijahg said:
    The terms of service don't override the law, no longer getting something you've paid for is fraud, pushing people to pay again is extortion. Trying to claim it's ok by using a clause in the ToS doesn't really cut it, a ToS is a contract which has to be fair to both parties otherwise a clause can be nullified in court.
    What the fuck are are you talking about. You clearly don't know. You've strung a bunch of your opinions and assumptions together without any basis in fact.

    Depends on where you are.

    In the UK, you cannot sign away your rights under law. That's why the police can prosecute cases of domestic abuse, even if the injured party doesn't want to press charges.
    spheric
  • Reply 59 of 68
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,428member
    ralphie said:
    LOL, You get what you pay for. 
    True, except people paid significant money for the wink hub and devices and the company promised that the service was included in that price. People aren’t expecting ‘free.’ They are expecting Wink to live up to its promises.
  • Reply 60 of 68
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    dysamoria said:

    larryjw said:
    Where is Wink's business plan? How could they believe one-time purchasers of their products could sustain their business? 

    Did Wink believe they could sustain the business through selling advertising?

    They probably didn't believe it. They were just pressured into doing it by the entire market which thinks everything in high quality software is supposed to be free.

    They've now found out, like the rest of the entire software industry, that software is not sustainable as a business unless it is a subscription service. And there is nothing wrong with that.

    Unfortunately this fast and desperate move by Wink will be viewed as just that, even if it is the right thing to do.
    Software was a sustainable business for decades without subscription scams being “necessary”. Subscriptions are about greed, and, in Wink’s case, apparently having no rational or long-term sustainable business plan. The obsession with “disruptive” and “brave” tech startups is an endless story of self-inflicted injury and short-sighted naivety, but most everyone is stuck in survivorship bias mode and keeps obsessing over this fad-like “business model”. 


    The model wasn't sustainable because the only people who were surviving were the big players like Adobe and Microsoft who were charging hundreds (and often thousands for upgrades) that were seen as essential. Smaller shops couldn't compete, and software pretty much stagnated. Folk didn't want to pay for upgrades so they just pirated the software instead. That's why subscriptions are popular. If subscriptions had come in sooner then we would've had viable alternatives to 

    Even today on the app store, the same folk who complain about subscriptions, also complain when they have to pay nearly full price for an upgrade, which I'm afraid is the alternative. Contrary to popular believe, software costs money to develop, and more importantly, support. There's the websites to build, advertising to pay for, and those things are ongoing.

    Having said that, I also think that the current model of just paying when there is no real development going on is criminal. Here are few examples:

    Fantastical2 just went to subscription. No real change except now they make you sign up to an account outside of the Apple system, charged a hefty fee. They also said that you carry on using a limited version, but they added ugly icons to remind you that you weren't signed up to the full service. I binned it straight away.

    Ulysses jumped to the subscription model, and since then, development has only consisted of cosmetic changes and adding stuff that is made available through Apple APIs anyway. Still doesn't support tables, can't do headers or footers without faffing with stylesheets …

    But at the other end of the scale we have stuff like IntelliJ. The subscription made it cheaper for those using multiple products, they added a service for syncing settings between your computers, and have continued building their products (new and existing) at a frightening rate, because now they have a stable revenue stream.

    Agenda. A great little took for integrating your notes, calendar and reminders. 

    But here's what both these tools have in common: At any time you stop your subscription, you keep the last version you installed. That seems very fair to me, and I think Apple should enforce this on the app store.


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