Logitech has been taking heat in recent days for announcing plans to permanently disable its Harmony Link device this coming March. But today the company is trying to make amends with affected customers by offering all owners of the 2011 product a free Harmony Hub. The Hub is basically the newer version of the Link that’s been updated to control the smart home in addition to the many entertainment console gadgets that the Link supported.
“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.” Logitech had previously offered a free Hub to Link owners who were still under warranty, and tried to assuage frustrations from everyone else with a 35 percent discount. Customers who already paid to upgrade at that reduced rate can now expect a full refund. And the company isn’t going to be strict about who’s eligible for the free Hub; as long as you’ve got a Link in your posession, you’ll be good. “If you send back in the Harmony Link, and say ‘Look I bought this at some point,’ we’ll replace it even if you haven’t connected it to our database,” Dooley said.
Logitech’s decision, even after all these years after the Link’s release, renewed an underlining concern that comes with cloud-dependent gadgets; you only own them until a company decides to stop supporting them and they abruptly stop working — even if the hardware is still totally functional.
“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.”
Both of these products allow smartphones and tablets to act as a universal remote and control your living room instead of using a separate remote. The Hub adds some new tricks such as Amazon Alexa voice support.
To close out this whole thing, Logitech is also addressing a weird censorship issue that blocked “class action lawsuit” — something angry customers brought up in response to the Link’s end — from appearing in its forums. The company apparently chalked that up to the list of blocked words that stem from its community terms of service.