Logitech To Discontinue - And Brick - The Harmony Link This March

👤by Tim Harmer Comments 📅08.11.2017 17:12:02

Companies ending support for both hardware and software is not a particularly new event. It happens all the time, sometimes causing plenty of waves as consumers and business customers realise that they'll no longer be provided with useful software patches and firmware updates. A manufacturer deliberately bricking hardware though?... now that's pretty rare. This week Logitech have provoked the ire of consumers and the loud chorus that is Reddit's /r/technology forum as it was revealed that the Harmony Link hub would apparently be forcibly EoL'd early next year, despite selling units of the model as recently as this year.

Logitech's Harmony Link is small device which acts as an IR blaster interface between TV/AV equipment and your smartphone, allowing you to control those devices from a dedicated smartphone app. Originally launched in 2011, subsequent software iterations required connection to MyHarmony.com for configuration (according to the Harmony Link FAQ).

In September a Harmony Link user posted in the official support channels asking for clarification of an email they'd recently received regarding their Link. The email, reproduced below, stated that their 'Harmony Link will no longer function after this date'.

Dear [...],

This is an important update regarding your Harmony Link. On March 16, 2018, Logitech will discontinue service and support for Harmony Link. Your Harmony Link will no longer function after this date.

Although your Harmony Link is no longer under warranty, we are offering you a 35% discount on a new Harmony Hub. Harmony Hub offers app-based remote control features similar to Harmony Link, but with the added benefit of the ability to control many popular connected home devices. To receive your discounted Harmony Hub, go to logitech.com, add Harmony Hub to your cart, and use your personal one-time promotional code [...] during checkout.

Thank you for being a Logitech customer and we hope you will take advantage of this offer to upgrade to a new Harmony Hub.If you have any questions or concerns about Harmony Link, please email the Harmony customer care team.


Logitech Harmony Team

A Logitech representative later confirmed that "the product will no longer function March of 2018", and "depending on the warranty status we offered replacements or a discount towards a new Harmony Hub or any Harmony remote." The EoL status was apparently down to the expiration of a 'technology certificate license' in March, a license which Logitech will not be renewing.

Both happened prior to this latest flare-up. Yesterday evening a further statement outlined Logitech's position:

Hi everyone,

We just updated our Harmony Link application to inform customers of this end of life. As we previously communicated to affected customers via email, Logitech Harmony Link services and support will no longer be available to users effective on March 16, 2018.

I want to make sure those within warranty redeem their free Harmony Hub, which provides similar, if not better, app-based remote control features to Harmony Link.

For those that are out-of-warranty, we are providing a one-time discount offer for a new replacement remote from Logitech.com. I hope you will take advantage of it.

If you did not receive your code for a replacement or discount, please send us an email at https://support.myharmony.com/email.

Thank you.

It's fair to say that both the support channel and /r/Technology are incandescent at this news, fueled further by the discovery that the words Class Action Lawsuit were being censored on the page. Ending support is one thing, but forcibly bricking hardware without providing replacements is quite another. Many are also naturally concerned that fewer consumer protections in the US will have left consumers without warranty coverage, and that the offer of a 35% cost reduction on a replacement Harmony Hub is derisory.

More broadly, this has flagged up the issue of hardware being sold 'as a service' demanding ongoing access to 'the cloud'. In 2016 Google Nest remotely shut down the Revolv Hub after acquiring their rival company in 2014, and as companies sell devices marketed under the 'Internet of Things' banner (including services such as Alexa and Amazon Echo) users should be aware that access in perpetuity is far from guaranteed.

That's cold comfort for Harmony Link users, especially those who may still be ignorant of Logitech's announcement. The offer of a free Hub will placate some warranty holders, but signing up to another service which - as evidence suggests - may be pulled at any time should rightly put many off. It's also a far cry from a company who built a reputation for excellent support and hardware quality.

SOURCES: Logitech Harmony Link Support Page, Reddit.

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