Philips backpedals on controversial compatibility policy, plans to allow third-party lightbulbs


Shortly after pushing out a firmware update that made its line of Hue lightbulbs incompatible with third-party smart products, Philips has realized it might have made the wrong decision.

The company today announced it plans to undo the Hue line’s previous update with new firmware. However, this new update does not yet have a release date.

In a statement issued to MobileSyrup, Philips continues to warn that compatibility issues will be present when using third-party products with Hue devices.

While Philips has essentially admitted it is not Apple and does not have the brand recognition or market power to adopt a walled-garden approach to its smart home products, the company seems intent on reminding customers why it released the initial firmware update in the first place.

Philips’ full statement about the company’s upcoming update to its Hue lightbulbs is as follows:

We recently upgraded the software for Philips Hue to ensure the best seamless connected lighting experience for our customers. This change was made in good faith. However, we under estimated the impact this would have on a small number of customers who use lights from other brands which could not be controlled by the Philips Hue software. In view of the sentiment expressed by our customers, we have decided to reverse the software upgrade so that lights from other brands continue to work as they did before with the Philips Hue system.

We are working on the reversal of the upgrade and will shortly confirm when this will be available.

Philips remains committed to providing our customers with the best possible connected lighting experience. That is why we launched the Friends of Hue partnership program to test and certify that products and platforms from other brands work seamlessly with Philips Hue. Customers using uncertified lights may continue to have the same incompatibility issues as before, such as lights not dimming to off, creating the right colors or scene experience.

Philips welcomes other brands to join as Friends of Hue so that we can work together to ensure seamless and great lighting experiences.

The update that will reverse the previous firmware does not currently have a release date.

Related reading: New Philips Hue lightbulb firmware update doesn’t play nice with third-party bulbs