back to article Google TV box flop costs Logitech $34m

Poor sales of Logitech's Google TV box Revue have hit the company in the wallet. More Revues were returned by dealers than sold, and Logitech is slashing the price from the original $299 to $99 and taking a $34m one-time charge in Q1. Chairman Guerrino De Luca returns as interim CEO, with Gerald Quindlen stepping down. Google TV …

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Childcatcher

google and its "wrong ideas"

i think this shows in a way the weak vision of google and its over the top concept ideas which when put into practice are either ill-timed or just out of touch (e.g. chrome book and googletv)

One must wonder if Google isn't pushing these ideas just to tell the world later on that they were first to do it.

That's expected when an advertising giant by revenue ventures into a tech field. But who cares, ads are making them colossal amount of cash.

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Holmes

GoogleTV

GoogleTV has many faults.

1) Boxes are too expensive. When they first talked about it I was hoping around the £50 mark, or at least under £100. For £300 you can get a whole media centre PC, why would you want a GoogleTV instead?

2) Content was always a big problem, and got bigger as (in the US at least) people like Hulu dropped out. Does anyone seriously watch YouTube like you'd watch TV, as opposed to flicking through the odd funny cat video now and then?

3) The problem most under Google's control was the bloody things didn't even come with the Android market. So no-one else could deploy innovative features via apps to mitigate the first and second problems a little. Google claim this will soon change with the forthcoming Honeycomb-based Google TV update by "end of summer" but I guess we'll see. And why not leverage the substantial Android userbase? Apps to integrate your smartphone and your TV? All sorts of missed opportunities here.

4) TVs and other TV-related boxes are rapidly catching up, and some provide this sort of functionality out-of-the-box. Why buy another box for your TV when your TV/BluRay/Whatever does YouTube already? Google could have differentiated their offering from these usually pretty poor manufacturer-offerings but haven't particularly done so.

I'd love to have one of these things, but the cost-benefit analysis doesn't stack up. I will revisit if there are more cheaper boxes around and when the update is out, however I fear much as I like the Google TV concept, I suspect Google will give up if the going still proves tough, like they normally do.

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Value

The $299 price tag of the Revue was completely unrealistic, even $99 is slightly high for the use most people would get out of it. If other manufacturers priced their units similarly, then they're probably in the same boat. There just isn't that much free web video worth watching at any size, much less scaled up on your living room TV. What Google or some of the box manufacturers should have done is focus on using Google TV boxes as a way of delivering premium content, rather than web video, i.e. partner with someone like Netflix or LoveFilm to supply subsidized boxes to subscribers, with low/no upfront cost, in a similar way to what the mobile telcos do with phones. Then it seems like good value just as a way of watching your Netflix stuff, and anything else is a bonus.

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Go

A Better Mousetrap

Roku. Basic model $60 and it's a great piece of gear.

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Linux

Hardly a better mousetrap.

A Roku is cheap but remarkably limited.

Of course many people will flock to the cheapest option available regardless of quality or suitability.

The real problem with building a better mousetrap is that most people won't want to pay for it. It doesn't matter how good it is.

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Thumb Down

Countdown is on

I bet a large pint of beer with my buddies that Logitech would either go out of business or get acquired by Microsoft within 2 years. I would feel rather comfortable upping the ante right now.

I know the Swiss Franc is reaching insane heights lately, but Logitech really has to stop ruining decent innovative products by charging way too much for them:

- the Harmony remotes: excellent but way too expensive

- the squeezebox: not bad, but way too expensive

- IP camera alarms system: looks great but 3-4 times more expensive than comparable products

- GoogleTV, see other comments in this post

- ...

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Logitech Business Strategy...

.. You know its wrong when they have to replace an entire IPod Dock / Speaker (£65) system because the remote (£5 tops) stopped working and its still within its 2 year warranty as they DONT have any spare/replacement remotes...

Thier customer service however is brilliant ;)

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Stop

what countdown

To be fair, the squeezebox was priced higher when provided by SlimDevices. Logitech took it to the next level, with investment that Slim couldn't have managed in the same amount of time. And not exactly way too expensive compared to its competitors either, in fact quite reasonable, when you bear in mind the sound and build quality.

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Alert

I'd take that bet.

I think the harmony remotes are pretty good value considering what they do - and the people buying them hardly tend to be skint either.

I dont think we have seen the end of Google TV just yet - Google love their open betas and the basic idea is sound, so its just a case of them waiting for the market - if anyone can afford to do that its Google. I hardly think that writing off £17 million will bring down Logitech either.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Re: Share price...

That's an interesting notion. However, I am tempted to agree with Mr. Orlowski's suggestion that, Google just doesn't know how to deal with anything outside Web advertising.

To Google's advertising hammer, the entire landscape of business looks just like a row of nails, sticking out and waiting to be stricken.

"If our mode of advertising works so well in the Web," they seem to think, "why wouldn't it work equally well on, say, television, or newspapers, or any sort of popular or social activity?" That some of those have existing deep-seated patterns and models, or are absolutely devoid of advertising altogether, merely suggests that the grounds are prime for exploitation.

I guess that happens when laser-focused, obsessive, insulated engineers are allowed to run the show. Missing the forest for the trees, and all that.

-dZ.

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Anonymous Coward

Advertising Synergy

The reason Google became such a huge company in advertising via search was simple. Synergy. There are a lot of people searching for things they want to buy. In general it is some of most synergistic advertising of any media. All of Google's other products lack this synergy with advertising which is why they fail to generate anything like the same revenue.

Personally, I click on adverts that Google displays reasonably often. Since I got an Android phone I have never clicked on an advert in Android. I have never clicked on an advert in youtube. Likewise in gmail. I could continue. Google cannot claim the same premium for adverts on these media, and eventually people will want out. I'm not sure if Google abuse their monopoly position on search and force people to have adverts on other media in order to get adverts on search, but that would be essentially illegal in virtually any jurisdiction.

Google has a non too dissimilar problem with Microsoft. Microsoft have been raking in the dollars from Windows and Office for many many years, but have struggled to find other products that make anywhere near the same amount of money. Google have been raking in dollars from search advertising, but have struggled to find other products that can do the same. Both companies have tried to acquire other companies with promising techs, and both companies have thrown a lot of money trying to develop techs internally that stand a chance of success. In my mind though, Microsoft stand a higher chance of long term success. There are 2 reasons for this:

1) There is more friction to change in Microsoft's world. It is a lot harder to replace your operating system and office package than it is to switch search tools. I can envisage a world where Google lose half their customers in as little as a year, it is a lot harder to believe that will happen to Microsoft.

2) Microsoft seem more willing to be innovative. Odd though this sounds, I strongly believe it to be true. Microsoft seem willing to try and make money any way they can. They are happy to make hardware (Xbox for example), sell software (Office, Windows, etc.), sell services (Windows Live, Office 360), sell software purely through other hardware manufacturers (win phone). Google seem willing to do only one thing, try and write software that helps them to sell advertising. Google's only attempts at other things (like the Nexus One) were half-arsed.

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Share Price. . .

Someone once opined, on these very comment pages, that Google always seems to have some grandiose plan in the works, and that the actual reason for these plans is not really to introduce a product or service, but to maintain their share price by hyping those products and services before they are introduced. As absurd as such an idea seems at first glance, one really has to wonder if it is not actually true.

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Re: Share price...

My response is above, on a duplicate of your comment that was removed.

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Maybe not Logitech's fault

I find it hard to fault Logitech for attempting to innovate. They have some fine products, and they do try to support them, unlike some other companies. The fault in this case is more Google's - they promised a lot and delivered little. It's the box plus the services that count for set-top boxes - why pay a premium price for a box with sub-par services? Especially when you can get competing boxes for as little as $50.

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Not Logitech's failure here...

They made a competent box for a service nobody wanted. Their only failing was green-lighting the thing; I hope they managed to get some upfront cash from Google first.

I sometimes wonder about Google's naivety. How long can you live in the United States without noticing that television already has a fiercely competitive advertising market? This is on top of trying to convince the entertainment industry to work with them when Google have fought tooth and nail to avoid paying content providers for infringements on YouTube, and then there's Google's continued acceptance of advertising accounts from known distribution sites. Run over her kid in your car, then ask the mother for a date.. good plan.

I want to see a multi-manufacturer standard for VOD and catch-up on televisions - not Apple, not a cable company, but a system that anyone can buy into; it needs the kind of concerted effort and cooperation that brought us DVD - no format wars, no walled gardens and a DIRECT PAYMENT BUSINESS MODEL. I am prepared to give money directly to a provider for a service. I would not prefer to have endless profiled advertising served up to me in exchange for "free" content. (This is one of the things Apple has got right with AppleTV - treat it like a cinema ticket/disc rental system, and you're already talking to the customers and the content producers in a language they understand).

As for widgets and internet, that stuff is better done on a tablet. From the continued drum-beating for "internet on your TV", I can only suspect that most "web visionaries" watch their television alone.

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Holmes

Just one interesting little item....

The Squeezeboxserver software has just officially gone to v7.6. In the nightly beta downloads, there is a directory version 7.7-lms (though it's got no software in it yet)...and the 7.6.1 versions of the software, though they are still CALLED squeezeboxserver are labelled as Logitech Media Server...

They obviously haven't given up on this yet.

http://downloads.slimdevices.com/nightly/

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Boffin

Logitech Media Server from 7.7

Yes, the Logitech Squeezebox wiki confirms the new name from v7.7.

http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.php/Nightly_Builds

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Gold badge

The problem

The problem is everyone pushing TV using different hardware. Isn't that the whole reason the current TV system is a success? you can view numerous channels no matter what brand.

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Google one trick pony

Google can write a working free OS -(android phones) but pay full price for a google OS (google tv or android tablets) - consumers know a weak free OS when they see one - google is a one reck pony -as long as it's free, it good or ok to use ( search, google+, maps) but pay money for it? Uh, no.

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FAIL

DRM by any other name...

...would smell as putrid.

So, in the brave new world of tomorrow, I can maybe look forward to being able to 'authorise' 12 devices to deliver the content I 'buy'?

Please explain how the 'value proposition' of UV* comes anywhere close to that acheived by simply downloading a torrent in a freely portable media file.

*Untransferrable Video?

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FAIL

@calagan

You obviously have never heard a SqueezeBox play... worth every penny of it. Unless you tried to play your lousy mp3's on it....

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Logitech still makes good keyboard and Mice.

A friend of mine was an early adopter of Google TV (built into his new tv) and he said that at first it was great, then one by one content providers blocked streaming to the device. Not enough big content players are were willing to partner with Google to make Google TV a success.

You can't fault Logitech for betting on Google.

Anyway Logitech makes excellent keyboard and mice and when the usb dongle for my fancy mouse broke out of warranty they were able to sell me a cheap replacement part.

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Happy

They also have...

excellent speaker systems. I have their X-530 5.1 surround sound system. 4 speakers and a sub-woofer. Paid $74.88 for it at Wal-Mart.

It is a really GREAT system!

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Pint

Everyone at work has the WD TV of various versions

Heck, I've got two.

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Linux

Google should buy Boxee

Seriously. Then maybe they'd have enough developers to update the Linux client.

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FAIL

why

acer revo 3700

xbmc

wiimote

that is all

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FAIL

Buy a PS3 and install Java PS3 media server on your PC

Access to web content, TV players, streaming video .....

Who the hell needs a 'set top box' of this shitty form and function.

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Silver badge

Buy a set of cables and connect the laptop

For the price of a VGA cable and an audio patch cable, I can plug the laptop I already have into my TV and watch YouTube, Hulu, or whatever other damn thing I think of. Plays DVDs too. I can even use it for editing code, if I've a mind to. Or writing papers. Or rehearsing presentations. Or even viewing Google keynotes, should I suffer a bout of insanity.

No need for a "media PC". (Andrew's 2010 article said something about needing Windows Media Center - I can't for the life of me figure out why.) No need for a PS3 or the like - though of course if I already had one, that would work too, for many types of content. Certainly no need for another damn set-top box supplying me with Google ads.

Of course, I rarely bother connecting the laptop to the TV, because with 300 cable channels and a dual-tuner DVR, I always have a huge frickin' backlog of content to watch when I'm in the mood for passive reception. Which I rarely am.

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