Logitech Apologizes After Harmony Link Bricking Fallout
Early last week, Logitech told customers it's Harmony Link will reach an end-of-life cycle, and be totally bricked by March 2018. The six-year-old Link connected all the AV goodies in a home theater together and let homeowners control it from their smartphone. The reason, as described in the Logitech community forums, was a certificate would expire in March, and the cloud-based software would no longer be secure.
The solution at the time was to offer a free Harmony Hub, the Link's successor, to those still under warranty, and 35 percent discount to those that weren't. To make a long story short, people were furious. “I made a mistake. It was an honest mistake,” Rory Dooley, head of Logitech’s Harmony division, told Wired. “Mea culpa. We’re going to do right by our customers, and do the right thing.”
So after villainizing Logitech, they decided to do the right thing. But the real issue is still producing products that are cloud-dependent, as they live and die by the sword.
The real lesson is that we shouldn't be buying products that require back-end services to perform their job. Those services will all disappear someday, rendering those products useless.
— Doug (@gotgadgets) November 9, 2017
“The thought process was driven by the fact that we have something better, we’re making it better all the time, it supports home control, voice assistants, and it does all the things that Harmony Link already did,” Dooley said. “If we didn’t have anything to offer, then we would have done the work to keep the product working.”
The reason, Logitech explains in a formal Q&A on their blog, that the product can't be patched relies on a "business decision to end the support and services" of the Link, as the " encryption certificate expires in the spring of 2018 – we would be acting irresponsibly by continuing the service knowing its potential/future vulnerability. Our system shows this product, which was last sold by Logitech in fall of 2015, had a small active user base. We’re now reaching out to all affected customers to provide an option for replacement."
Funny that the user base is small enough to kill it, not small enough to bend at weekend of pure internet fury. Hopefully, everyone can learn a valuable lesson about cloud-based products and the people who use them.