Logitech Axes Google TV Efforts

Logitech has given up on its Google TV-based Revue device, after losing $100 million

Logitech chief executive Guerrino De Luca didn’t mince words in announcing that the peripherals maker was giving up on its Logitech Revue companion box, noting that the Google TV device cost the company more than $100 million (£62m) in operating profits.

Google TV is the search engine provider’s stab at combining elements of TV programming with web surfing, including the delivery of entertainment and gaming applications through set-top boxes such as the Revue. Logitech launched the Revue, powered by Google’s Android software and an Intel Atom chip, for $300 last October with high hopes of selling hundreds of thousands of the boxes for the Christmas season.

No traction

The Revue failed to gain traction as reviewers and early adopters found the system difficult to set up and the Google TV service itself too buggy. Logitech discounted the Revue to $99 this past July after the company confessed that returns of the box were greater than sales.

Partly due to this failure, Logitech lost $30 million in the first quarter and took a $34 million charge. Logitech’s board promptly fired then-chief executive Gerald Quindlen.

Logitech had been pretty hush-hush about the Revue since then until De Luca dropped the hammer on the ill-fated device during the company’s analyst day on 10 November. The company will no longer make the Revue boxes. While he conceded Google TV has great potential to “disrupt the living room”, Logitech made “a mistake of implementation of a gigantic nature” with the Revue.

Specifically, he suggested the software wasn’t polished and that there wasn’t enough content to draw consumer interest. Google TV launched with Netflix and Amazon Instant Video applications, but most TV broadcast networks failed to provide content for the service. Google, for example, failed to get TV network-backed Hulu to support its TV project.

Google was also late rolling out its long-anticipated Google TV 2.0 Honeycomb upgrade, which features Android Market application support but didn’t arrive until late October.

“To make the long story short, we thought we had invented sliced bread, and we just made them,” De Luca said during the analyst day, according to transcription notes provided by Seeking Alpha. “We just built a lot because we expected everybody to line up for Christmas and buy these boxes for $300, and that was a big mistake.”

Prudent approach

He added that he was amenable to supporting Google TV in the future, but only once the service is established and with a smaller, more prudent approach.

What does this mean for Logitech Revue users? Google told eWEEK the Revue would still receive the Google TV 2.0 Honeycomb 3.1 upgrade that is currently rolling out to users of Sony Google TV systems.

“Logitech has been a good partner in the early days of Google TV, and the feedback from Revue users has been very important for the design of the new version of Google TV announced two weeks ago,” a Google spokesperson told eWEEK.

“We’re excited about new partnerships with new chipset vendors and new hardware manufacturers, which we will announce at a later date. These partnerships will help power the next generation of Google TV devices in 2012.”

One of those providers looks to be LG Electronics, which Bloomberg said would be launching a Google TV set at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in January.