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November 12, 2011

The Truth About Logitech “Ditching” Google TV

Logitech-Revue-3-screens


 

If you’ve read any of the news about Logitech and Google TV over the past 24 hours or so, you’ve probably already heard about Logitech discontinuing the Revue (“ditching” Google TV) and calling it a “gigantic mistake”. Unfortunately, most of these articles are just a lot of catch phrases and hype. It seems no one wants to actually read the transcript from the conference call with Logitech’s CEO. What everyone does seem to want to do is throw around the same catch phrases and rewrite the exact same story over and over on every web site on the internet. I’m here to give you a different perspective on this story.

 

First, I’d like to start by “calling out” some of these shoddy catch phrases and misguided points one by one. These same “facts” have been regurgitated all over the web- mostly because no one on the internet actually writes anything any more, they all just “rewrite” the same story on 100 different sites.

 

Did Logitech CEO Guerrino De Luca  Call Google TV a “beta product”?

Multiple news stories across the web claim Logitech’s CEO called Google TV a beta product, saying Logitech “executed a full scale launch with a beta product and it cost us dearly.” For example, Tech Radar states in their article:  “He added: “We executed a full scale launch with a beta product and it cost us dearly.”

 

But these words never actually came out of Guerrino De Luca’s mouth, then where did they get this quote?

 

They got it from a slide shown on the screen while De Luca was speaking. The words that came out of his mouth however were a bit different, although no one cared to mention this in their articles.

“Logitech Revue was launched with some, I wouldn’t call it beta properly but a software that was not complete and not tuned to what the consumers want at the living room” – Guerrino De Luca, Logitech CEO

De Luca made it a very clear point to not call Google TV a beta product when he was speaking. And although his slides made a different statement, De Luca made a very clear and purposeful contradictory statement to what was written on those slides.

 

Guerrino De Luca Logitech CEO

 Did De Luca say Google TV can’t succeed?

This was mentioned in a lot of articles across the web, claiming De Luca said “a grandchild of Google TV” could succeed, but not the current Google TV product. Let me give you an example from the LA Times: “Further, he predicted that the “grandchild of Google TV” might succeed but not the current product.

 

Now lets take a look at what De Luca actually said on this matter, it’s not anything like what is being portrayed in some of these articles:

“Google TV is a great concept, Google TV has the potential to completely disrupt living room, except that was not the case when we launched Logitech Revue.”…”Google TV or a child of Google TV or the grandchild of Google TV will happen. The integration of television in Internet is inevitable. But the idea that it would happen overnight in Christmas 2010 was very misguided and that also caused us dearly.” – Guerrino De Luca, Logitech CEO

Now this is a far cry from saying the current product can not succeed, but maybe a grandchild of it could. Perhaps it’s a matter of reading comprehension, but what I gather from these statements is that De Luca is saying Google TV could not succeed in 2010, but it is a great concept that will succeed, either in it’s current implementation or a future one.

 

 What was Logitech’s real mistake?

Every news source on the web wants to latch on to De Luca’s statements about Logitech’s mistake, and the articles make it seem that Google TV as a product is to blame when this is not the case at all. De Luca actually says that he would do it all over again, only on a smaller scale. The real mistake was that they made too many Revue’s when there wasn’t the demand for them. But, of course, this story doesn’t make for as good of a headline as something like “Logitech Says Google TV Epic Ginormous Mistake!”, now does it?

“I would do it again, I would definitely want to have Google establish Google TV, but with a significantly smaller and more prudent approach.” – Guerrino De Luca, Logitech CEO

This is just like any product in any category, if you make too many products in relation to your customer base, you’re going to have to eat them. This is true whether you’re Logitech, Apple, or the pizza place down the street.

Economic-surpluses

 

 Logitech didn’t want to be in the set top box business in the first place.

 This is a huge point from De Luca’s presentation that pretty much no one chose to quote in their articles on this subject. Logitech never wanted to be in the set top box business in the first place. The Logitech Revue was not planned to be a long term product, Logitech just wanted to help jump-start the platform:

“So, let me be very clear, it was never our strategy to make money out of set top boxes for Google TV. Our choice to build one was a choice driven by their willingness to accelerate the adoption of the platform and to be part of the first wave of people that could influence its development. We accomplished that” – Guerrino De Luca, Logitech CEO

Think about it, what does Logitech make? Keyboards, mice, web cams, speakers, remotes- they’re an accessory company, not a TV set top box company. I’m sure they had their reasons for wanting to influence the development of this platform though, and I am willing to bet it had a lot to do with accessories.

 

So what’s the real story here?

The real story, in a nutshell, is that Logitech won’t be making any more Revue set top boxes. Not because Google TV sucks, or is a huge mistake, but because Logitech is an accessory company. The Logitech Revue was an experiment for them and a way to influence the development of a new platform, but they overestimated the demand for their product and lost some money on it. Google TV not being ready for prime time in 2010 didn’t help much either. That’s the real story here, no need for these “news sites” to dog pile Google TV with misleading quotes and hyped headlines- but I guess that is what gets the “clicks”, after all.

(all quotes from Seeking Alpha conference call transcript)

 






55 comments
exiquio
exiquio

Great article. Got a Revue used recently. Best 90 dollars I've spent.

NerdUno
NerdUno

Still waiting on that Google TV update that Logitech promised in a couple weeks (over a month ago). Of course, we're still waiting on Google Market access than Logitech promised for (last) January. Certainly will make you think twice before buying the next Logitech VaporWare.

LaithCharles
LaithCharles

Google recently bought out Motorola. Motorola are know for their TV set boxes, part of their incentive to purchase this $12 Billion company was clearly to further Google TV. Google are an advertising titan, that is the main source of their revenue, they will keep pushing Google TV until it catches on enough for them to push adds on our TVs as well. The Logitech Revue will receive updates, whether private programmers further the OS or Google themselves pick up the slack, they will eventually update users to an interface which can earn Google some advertising money. Google would never make that many units and that much opportunity go to waste.

Jaybird
Jaybird

Well, I got my email from Logitech on 10-31 to expect the long awaited android update within the next few weeks, and now it is going on 4 (weeks.) So I guess they have put this on the back burner, knowing there is really no point in rushing this thing to the public any more. Before they decided to dump the Revue there was an incentive , especially with Christmas coming, to include the update in the products sold during these busy shopping days, but that is obviously no longer a concern. How disappointing for those of us who bought their orphaned product. It makes me not want to buy any products from Logitech in the future.

Agzam
Agzam

Where the heck the update then? You've been promising it since Summer of 2011. Frankly it's my own fault - I did a terrible mistake by flashing leaked Honeycomb beta update. It made my box useless (Netflix doesn't work, Flash player crashes). Now I think you guys totally abandoned the product and there won't be any official updates. This really sucks. Stick to the making mouses from now on and don't disgrace yourself.

Jaybird
Jaybird

I just watched a video on YouTube reviewing the 3.1 update for GoogleTV. While on the whole it was positive, it did mention several drawbacks, such as not being able to close running apps like you can now with the current version. The reviewer, from "the unLockr.com", expressed hope that these omissions and screw ups in the latest version would be corrected in future updates. He also said that he hoped that Hulu would soon make itself available for the GoogleTV market, and that all the major networds would eventually unlock their content to Google.

My question is this -- we all know the Revue is history -- will GoogleTV be dumped too? Or will GoogleTV continue to support software updates for the Revue?

I ask this because in the video the reviewer begins by commenting on Logitech's calling the Revue a mistake, but despite this, the reviewer time and again expressed hope, and even some confidence that he believes the software will continue to be improved. Does this mean the Revue might still have a future? Or was this guy just expressing what he would like to see happen? This is confusing because I really can't understand why the guy at the unLockr.com was so optimistic in light of recent events.

saramtevis
saramtevis

Good post, thanks, this should be all over the web.

macksjunkbocks
macksjunkbocks

i love my revue, i have a external hd hooked up use it daily. its not worth $300, but worth $100 as is imo. would love an upgrade though. they should of made it bundles it with the accessories for $300 webcam they keyboard and a extra remote or something maybe an extra unify dongle to use it on pc too. they should have put more ads again with the price drop. this article points out that the ceo was taken out of context. im sure if they started selling more units or webcams they would make more, besides the webcam WOULD be awesome if more people had it.

RyanZimmerman
RyanZimmerman

If the Revue's software updates were officially abandoned, that wouldn't mean that updates would never happen. You would just need to look to outside sources for the updates. Like many platforms (like the WII, LinkSys Routers and much more), GTV has a community out there of programmers who create methods for unofficially upgrading the software. Many have already updated their Revues with Honeycomb.

And when it comes down to it, $299 was just not the correct price point.

virtuasian
virtuasian

Does this mean that Logitech revue would not get the Honeycomb upgrade?

or can someone provide a Hack to get onto the Google TV android market otherwise I am going to use the box as a $99 paperweight.

Jaybird
Jaybird

I wanted to clarify something I commented on concerning younger people trending away from television these days. This statement is not based on any marketing research or anything like that. I was basing it on the fact that every time my daughter's friends come over, or when any similar aged relatives (aged 13 - 16) visit, they never sit around watching movies or TV shows. This hardly ever happens unless we sit them down in the living room and make them watch something. No, these kids won't do that on their own. What they like to do is watch you tube or stare blankly at various FaceBook pages. If they are not doing this on a laptop or computer, they are doing it on their smart phones. It is actually kind of disturbing having a house full of kids all preoccupied with their various social networking devices and not interacting much with the real people in the room with them. Then I look around and their parents, including me are doing basically the same thing. What is this world coming to? Anyway, that is why I don't believe TV or cable TV's future is so bright.

Jaybird
Jaybird

The bottom line is that if the latest honey comb 3.1 upgrade for the revue comes out, this will be the final upgrade forever. I have seen this happen before. It is kind of sad. Remember the Amiga. I even bought a promising MP4 player from Archer, then they abandoned support and it became obsolete as soon as the next Flash player update came out but could not be installed because of lack of support. The same fate awaits the Revue due to the fact it will not allow anything but official upgrades to be installed. Stick a fork in the Revue -- it is done.

rfox131
rfox131

This is a two parter: the reporting and the technology. The reporting is worse than the state that was claimed of GoogleTV in their articles. We count on those closer to the source to give adequate reports It reveals the sad state of what is called "The Press" these days.

As for GoogleTV and the Revue: Both were in their infancy and GoogleTV has a chance if the choke hold of certain content outlets can be broken. No access to some content is one of the biggest detractors. I have high hopes for all alternative content and their providers.

This was posted from a Logitech Revue.

knam25
knam25

Excellent article. It's sad main stream media is going yellow on us. No such thing as journalistic integrity any more. I see this kind of sensational journalism on NY Times, Washington Post, etc. everyday. Political coverage is even worse in many cases.

NerdUno
NerdUno

You neglected to mention Logitech's selling price for their beta product. Most wouldn't call $299 for a box worth $100 a good example of charity giving.

killer4110
killer4110

Excellent write up, thanks, this should be all over the web..