back to article Logitech: We're gonna brick your Harmony Link gizmos next year

One more reason to avoid cloud-reliant Internet of Things – as if you didn't have enough already. Owners of Logitech's universal remote controller have been told the product will stop working after March next year. Harmony Link is one of a range of home hub products offered by Logitech. Link owners have been offered a discount …

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Mushroom

Gerald Ratner moment?

Whilst I don't own the Harmony Hub I do have a Harmony IR remote. When it dies I would have considered buying the latest equivalent from Logitech but after this announcement I will go elsewhere. Planning to kill devices because you no longer want to support them is not a business practice I can condone.

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Re: Gerald Ratner moment?

They could pull the Harmony web server configuration tool offline (not that it works if you use Linux) or stop the app connecting to a database for remote configs at any time. All it takes is a meeting where they decide to get out the remote business.

The problem is who else makes a customisable remote at a decent price and doesn't need remote servers of some kind for configuration or is planning future cloud integration for PR and advertising reasons.

Truly stuck what to do when my Harmony finally bites the dust.

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Re: Gerald Ratner moment?

Frankly, there should be some interest from authorities about this practice of obsoleting perfectly good stuff. There is an environment aspect to this, as well as various consumer laws that go beyond simple warranties. The items haven't broken down. The manufacturer has broken them for the consumer!!!

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FAIL

SOP for Logitech, I am afraid

After they bought Slim Devices and made a hash of the direction of the Squeeze Players they closed that down too.

Wouldn't touch Logitech for this very reason - it wouldn't be so bad if they even retired a product line, then after some years decided to retire it but they just drop the axe.

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Re: SOP for Logitech, I am afraid

Same here, mine are on their last legs and whilst I like them, I will see what else is about.

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Re: SOP for Logitech, I am afraid

"..Same here, mine are on their last legs and whilst I like them, I will see what else is about..."

I have some you can buy in super condition - two Squeezebox Boom's, a SB3 and a very old (only any good for wired connections) SB1 wtih SB2 display. ;-p

They're slowly being retired now.

All joking aside, at the time there was nothing to touch them.

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Re: SOP for Logitech, I am afraid

The only thing that makes logitech's behaviour regard the harmony even weirder is that mysqueezebox.com is still live, although clearly on life-support.

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Re: SOP for Logitech, I am afraid

they just drop the axe

The allegation on Reddit - which I have no means of verifying - is that Logitech sold off its remaining stocks in the US with a reduced 90-day warranty because the axe was already swinging. If true, that would be more calculated than a sudden loss of interest.

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Meh

Re: SOP for Logitech, I am afraid

I have an old SB3 and a Touch. The SB3 is in my study and doesn't get much use so hopefully it'll be fine. the Touch gets a lot of use but shows no signs of trouble. I recently replaced my receiver so now I could use that instead. Unfortunately the receiver has a rubbishy one line display so I'd have to switch the TV on to get a decent interface which seems silly just to listen to music.

I also don't know if the receiver's implementation supports random shuffle by album. A lot of them don't :(

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Re: SOP for Logitech, I am afraid

I didn't envy the Slim Devices guys some payout, but many who had contributed a lot to the product's popularity by basically working as free support, and giving a lot of feedback and even perhaps implemented some stuff, were less than pleased with the sell-off to gigantic "couldn't care less" Logitech.

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Official info?

I can abate my panic slightly, for now, as this is the link not the hub. However, there is nothing I could see on the UK site about this. The harmony elite + hub (which I own) are still on sale although marked "out of stock" which doesn't give me a warm feeling.

Time, I think, to put all my old Logitech gear (squeezebox/radio/controllers/remote) in a box and head for the dump. Shame, most of it was pretty good while it worked.

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Re: Official info?

Is the dump the nearest office? I'd suggest that's where the owners dump them.

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Stop

Re: Official info?

Time, I think, to put all my old Logitech gear (squeezebox/radio/controllers/remote) in a box and head for the dump.

Don't do that! There are still people who want them (like me). I have two squeezeboxes and two radios, and they just keep working. They don't NEED to connect to the internet to work - they just need to connect to the server software.

If you really don't want them, you'll get a few quid for them on eBay.

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Re: Official info?

I thought the same as you at first but the HUB is still, as I understand it, going to be supported, its the LINK that is being dropped. Not that that is acceptable at all for owners of the link (and it is then worrying for logitech product owners in the future) but you should still be able to use your hub.

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Re: Official info?

It looks like the hub =! link, there are seperate apps in the play store for them and I haven't received any notification about my harmony ultimate being dscontinued. I might try diconnecting my internet tonight anbd see if it still works, just to see if it will.

It looks like a lot of people on here have bad experiences with logitech but mine is the opposite. I've got a keyboard and mouse still going after about 10 years and a harmony 525 which is still supported (yes I can still download remote codes) after more than 10 years.

Still shit for Link users though.

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Re: Official info?

definitely put them on eBay, they still go for really good money - radios for example pretty much the same I paid for mine new!

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Re: Official info?

Yeah, I have two SB3s.

They work fine, and everything is opens software as well, so there will probably be replacement services.

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It should be obvious

If a one-off purchase requires some on-going expenditure by the vendor to keep working it's always going to end in tears.

There are only two ways it could be made to work:

- the initial price is high enough to provide an annuity that will support the service in the future and at present interest rates that's going to price it out of the market.

- the purchaser is going to be the product.

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It should be obvious

If a one-off purchase requires some on-going expenditure by the vendor to keep working it's always going to end in tears.

There are only two ways it could be made to work:

- the initial price is high enough to provide an annuity that will support the service in the future and at present interest rates that's going to price it out of the market.

- the purchaser is going to be the product in which case it could be given away.

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Re: It should be obvious

"If a one-off purchase requires some on-going expenditure by the vendor to keep working it's always going to end in tears."

They could always offer 5 years free, and an optional non-free subscription after that.

They don't even have the imagination to offer a subscription to the users, or sell the server side stuff to someone who could.

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Isn't that obvious?

Why, you wonder, does a remote controller need access to The Cloud?

1) To get any possible information about you.

2) To brick the item.

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Re: Isn't that obvious?

Well, there is one reason: for the controller to download IR codes from the centralized database (as opposed to having to manually learn them from other remotes, which is a pain).

Of course, not saying that that's the ONLY reason for which they are using the connection.

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Re: Isn't that obvious?

That's not a reason for *needing* cloud access, though, nor sufficient justification for causing the Link to turn into a brick once its cloud service is shut down - even if this was the only way to add *new* IR codes to the Link, existing customers really ought to at least be able to continue using their Links with their existing products for which it'd already learned the codes...

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Not the way to go about it

I realise Logitech needs to make money and maybe these devices are at the end of their commercial life. But actively selling remaining stock while simultaneously working to kill it off is just a terrible dickish thing to do.

The correct way is to discontinue sales, wait a reasonable amount of time and then give another period of grace for discontinuation. And discontinuation means just the cloud stuff, then they should preserve any functionality the device is still capable of. e.g. if the device can still work as an AV hub, or an IR channel switcher.

And if they wanted to be cool about it they'd even release keys that allowed people to write their own apps that talked with the device, or even keys to hack the now-obsolete device to do something else.

Maybe in so doing, it might make Logitech seem like they cared about their customers instead of fleecing them as they sell them a duff device.

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I can't help but feel that anyone who bought the device in the UK going back over the last three to five years would indeed have a valid claim under what was the Sale of Goods Act (I believe this is now the Consumer Rights Act).

I also wonder whether deliberately bricking a device (as opposed to merely dropping cloud support) would fall under either the Computer Misuse Act or Criminal Damage (and I'm sure there are similar laws elsewhere in the world). Wasn't there a USB->serial port chip manufacturer who did this to cloned devices and realised pretty quickly they had to stop?

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Anonymous Coward

Was thinking about extortion, but it does not come close to that.

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Happy Harmony User

Remember Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy: DON'T PANIC.

I daily use a number of Logitech products, wireless Mice, Keyboards and several Harmony products. I am quite satisfied with the operations of the devices and the support. I have seen other suppliers stuff come and go and Logitech is still here. I am on my third Harmony, a cheap one, but it does way more than any other such product, It even operates a really obscure HDMI switch that actually shocked me when I gave it a try and it worked.

EVERYBODY CALM DOWN!

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View on the Hub.

I own a LogiTech 2nd generation hub so I should be safe for now. It was an uphill battle to get the damm thing to even recognize all my TV related hardware. It wasn't until an unspecified firm ware update that the device started to function. Even though, it is limited in it's functionality. Customer Service and I got to know each other fairly well. As I stated on their website: it is a work in process; good idea, piss poor implementation.

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Mushroom

And the reason why it will stop working is...

Logitech don't want to renew a digital certificate when it expires in 2018. link

So, think on that before buying your next piece of smart tat from Logitech.

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I own a Harmony remote

I bought it from CompUSA before they became TigerDirect and then went extinct, which should show you how long ago that was. There was some kind of web site available to allow me to configure the thing quickly. Using the site required installing Silverlight. I declined, and configured it the hard way. I have been using the remote for nearly a decade now; the original rechargeable batteries in it died and I've replaced them. I haven't even attempted to connect it to the site since the initial Silverlight debacle. I was totally unaware that it had any features requiring internet connections, other than initial setup. I feel that I've got my money's worth out of it by now, and in the event that it stops working tomorrow I'll simply dig out the remotes that the assorted thingies came with until I can replace it with a new (and probably far cheaper) universal remote. Not from Logitech, that ship's sailed. When I first got it, I used it to control my assorted systems; I had a DVD player, later replaced by a Blu-Ray player, a VHS, a set-top box first from Comcast then AT&T, and one, later two, computers attached to various ports on a largish monitor. The Logitech allowed me to flip between them all. I haven't used the VHS in years, and use one of the computers to remote into the other, and rarely use the Blu-Ray drive, one computer has a Blu-Ray drive which behaves much better. I simply no longer care about many of the features on the remote.

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Hmm.. Lot's of Harmony stuff around. I only have a lowly (not lovely) Harmony One, which I only just put in use again out of necessity.

The software is pretty awful, relying 100% on being on-line to do anything. I can't even rearrange the Devices list any longer. (Which is why I stopped using it for years.)

I have no idea if this affect the Harmony One or not?

My AlertMe setup quit working end of last month. No prior warning. They (British Gas, of course) just switched off the server, which apparently was only serving a few hundred users anyway. Why the hell couldn't they just let it run on? They haven't done ANY changes to it for many years (including before BG bought the stuff for £50m from AlertMe.)

Yeah, this whole connected things really is quite sh*tty.

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Cloud lesson

I don't think the lesson here is never buy anything which relies on a service run by someone else to be useful, because actually in this instance it's absolutely fine. If you have an in warranty link, it gets upgraded to a harmony hub for free. Great. If it's out of warranty you've been given notice and you get a discount. Not great but fine.

Contrast that with pebble, where your watch just stops working.

So the lesson is, if you're going to rely on someone else's service continuing to run, make sure they're a big company with a reputation to protect.

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I've 5 Logitech Squeeze devices still going strong (with help from the great dev community) - was a great concept and an excellent product designed by the Slim Devices guys.

Logitech bought out SD and just didn't get it - marketing didn't understand it so they canned it. Genius.

I don't buy Logitech anymore.

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