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Logitech limits number of additions and deletions of Harmony Hub devices (reddit.com)
132 points by rahuldottech 26 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 58 comments

So first Sonos, and now Logitech, effectively bricking devices to discourage and impede a second hand market for their products.

Not only is it anti-consumer, it's ecologically unsound, preventing re-use of a working product and encouraging more plastic crap to go to landfill.

Interesting to note that these are both premium brands. Are they relying on the majority of their customers being non tech savvy and unaware of the policy, or are they betting that most customers will accept the practice?

My guess is that they're assuming that revenue from customers forced to purchase a new, not secondhand product, exceeds revenue loss from those who are aware of the policy and won't purchase. Short term thinking, at best.

I think they rely on laziness.

It's easier to buy a new product than complain about it to support, so out of a 100, maybe 5 will complain, and maybe 60 will buy a new product.

It seems a little ironic that Sonos was recently in front of Congress complaining about the behaviour of big tech, yet they pull these sorts of antics...

Is it really so hard for companies to not do these shitty things? What would the increase in profit be? Does outweigh all the negative PR? Do they even think about this? There must be some rationale....

It does not. Probably the decisions are not thought out that well. In the end these things haunt them for years. Look at m$, even after all the years of open sourcing, contributing and etc. they are still not trusted. Few other examples pop to my mind: medium.com, oracle, google (graveyard), ethereum (fork), 2016+ apple keyboards and so on

Except that it doesn't really matter and most people in general don't care because they don't know. Say what you want about Microsoft, but the fact is the world runs on Windows and MS Office with exceptions for fraction of macs and some weird geeks running some funny penguin systems. Not only that, but if you're young enough you never had a chance to experience the 'evil Microsoft'. Same goes in similar fashion for other companies you've mentioned: Oracle/Ethereum - what's that? Google - the world runs on it and Gmail. Apple keyboards - 'it works for me' and so on and so forth, sadly.

I do agree with you on general point. However, I don't think reputations are to be dealt in absolutes. I would like to discuss your points one by one:

> Microsoft

* MS Office is still the best office suite as of today, I don't think anyone would argue.

* Windows is still the most 'compatible' and 'easy to use' OS today for non-apple hardware. I don't think penguin system users will argue. This is coming from someone who used linux with breaks for 10~ years. It is still _hard_ to get it working as it was years ago. However, for years I heard many developers refusing to consider anything .NET, MSSQL,... related to be picked for tech stacks due microsoft history and current ecosystem. Money definitely lost on their part

> Oracle

* Same, tech people refusing to get involved with Oracle due their litigious nature. Money definitely lost

> Ethereum

* I am not the best person to talk about this and this might not be the example. Fork reduced my trust in cryptos in general as my expectations were different.

> Google

* Gmail is great email service. On top of that free. Same with Google search. However I would argue that Google new products which "lock you in" will not be as popular because of their abandonment of many services

> Apple keyboards

* This is more personal, but I saw similar experiences from others. Terrible keyboard, terrible replacement keyboard reduced my trust so much that I moved from their ecosystem. This is on top that components were soldered resulting in non modular expensive laptops (can't replace it myself fast/cheap). Money definitely lost on their part

Edit: formatting

I think it's more that actively boycotting companies and their products causes stress that many don't want to bother with, especially when there's no practical alternative. Accepting the norms is less socially confrontational.

Why should we trust them? They are still a company. They still do evil things. And even their open source-work is not always free of shame. It's true that they have become less ignorant and toxic, but they have not become good. They contribute for their own benefit, not some greater good. We can trust them today to the same degree we could trust them 20 years ago, except now the areas wher we can trust them have grown in numbers.

Considering MS past tactic was to Embrace, Extend, Extinguish, I can understand why people are careful about Microsoft embracing open-source.

They probably believe used product sales are lost sales. Same rationale they use for spending millions fighting copyright infringement.

What do you think? Of course they thought about this, they are not stupid. They calculated they would make more money, and that's all they care. They're a corporation after all, no other considerations enter into their thinking, only one: maximising profit.

This is, broadly speaking, the perspective of someone who hasn't had the pleasure of interacting with corporate bureaucracy :)

Companies do dumb, expensive stuff all the time. Aside from quite often deliberately doing stuff that doesn't "maximise profit", they also frequently make quite catastrophically bad decisions which accidentally avoid "maximising profit".

It's baffling to me that you ascribe such a level of skill and professionalism, when most organisations seems to be accidentally successful!

My squeezebox radio is a damn fine machine with the best sound among my bluetooth speakers, but it is now almost completely useless since it has not been updated in years and spotify dropped support.

This is planned obsolescence at its worst, opening up firmware once you drop support for a product should be mandatory.

This is not planned obsolescence. People used to complain about PO but with smart devices there is no need for it, the manufacturer can just disable your device remotely and invent some bullshit business reason for it.

Is there a term for that? I was thinking "hostile obsolescence" or "active obsolescence".

Obsolescence as a service.

Internet of Shit

In the case of Squeezebox, Logitech stopped selling them a while back, but to their credit they are still actively maintaining the self hosted server: https://github.com/Logitech/slimserver which has some plugins and bridges to other services.

I would say what they are doing with Squeezebox is the best case scenario for a lot of these connected devices, even though the complexity of having a self-hosted option is in no doubt part of what lead to their failure.

If it's got a 3.5mm jack you could pair it with a Chromecast audio. Though that's also a discontinued product haha.

Which is why the manufacturers are trying hard to see the 3.5mm jack go the way of the dodo. You might keep on using something for decades, perhaps most of your life!

That seems like an unfair characterization.

The squeezebox ecosystem is my go-to example of how to do it correctly and build a product that respects the consumer.

The server is open source (just a bunch of perl) and freely distributed. It runs locally and the players don't need internet connectivity. It can never be obsoleted or killed because everything is local.

Sure, the company has long, long-since discontinued the product so they aren't developing updates. That's fair. But they also don't (and can't) do anything to disable existing functionality.

I have many squeezebox systems (including a transporter) scattered around the house and they work great, just as they did in 2003 when I bought the first one. More importantly, they will never stop working (other than hardware failure, but I have many spares).

See the comment on Limitations on Unifying Devices too: https://www.reddit.com/r/homeautomation/comments/esiv9b/psa_...

That is insane. What could possibly lead to those decisions?

Greed mostly.

Ok, I will never by anything from Logitech. They obvious have zero respect for their customers.

I wonder how the product manager sold this feature to management? I don’t think many people’s bonus is contingent on “let maximize how hated our brand it”.

they still make the best right handed mice, after all these years.

but yeah, the Hub was an interesting piece of tech I maybe wanted to get sometime, not anymore.

I actually have to disagree, I bought Logitech stuff for the last 14 years. At some point, anything I bought from them was amazing (i have a g9 that lasted me 10 years, I still use the g600, various keyboards, the g13 for gaming).

Now, I purchased the G502 and used it for a year (at work and home, lot of use). I had to stop, their pointy finger area is elevated instead of "dropping" like traditional mouse. The consequences are that you put strength through the whole finger for a click, rather than a soft push on the tip. I developed finger pain after a year, had to switch mouse.

thanks for the warning. what did you change to?

I had an unused g600 and went back to that. It's comfortable, although I do miss the "free spin" of the wheel. I use the 3rd mouse button as middle click (it's on the ring finger). Since I use that a lot, saves me dealing with hard to click wheel buttons

Microsoft does some nice mouse with Bluetrack sensor, that's what I'm using now.

> Due to the product Terms of Use. Next time, your remote will no longer be able to make further updates to its configuration, when it gets disabled.

How can this possibly be a thing on a device you paid for and own?

I mean, I know how it can be implemented through software, but why is it not illegal?

I suspect what you paid for and what you own is the hardware itself. The rest (software) is licensed on certain terms.

I don't think this distinction would hold up in court, though, at least in the EU, where consumer rights are somewhat protected. When you buy a physical device with certain functionality described on the box, you have a reasonable expectation that it will deliver said functionality.

What’s next, geofencing so that devices are bricked once they leave the building in which they’re first set up?

VCRs had something like that due to technical differences. DVD players had region locking on purpose.


Vodafone DE had exactly what you describe with their home 4G modems - limited to within a km or post code of your home iirc. Still probably does.

To be fair, a home modem which you are renting as part of a contract to receive 4G under certain terms is quite different to a consumer product you bought in a shop bricking itself when you sell it to someone.

Well, that sucks.

IMHO, Logitech has (or is it had?) pretty outstanding hardware. I had two RumblePad 2 (the original ones) that survived over 10 years of abuse (buttone mashing, dropping, rage due to losing to my brother 30 times in a row in fighting games). Still the best gamepads I've ever used.

Are there any realistic alternatives to Logitech?

Microsoft's Xbox ones are actually preferred and compatible these days on PC. They work out of the box.

If you don't need analog sticks, Retro-bit does replica Saturn controllers with a USB interface.

8bitdo make some really nice gamepads.

and so it turns out "Smart" just means "always online DRM for hardware".

Would people who buy used devices actually buy a new one instead if they can not find a used one? I've got a vague feeling that the overlap of used- and new-buyers might not be large enough to justify the practice.

It reminds a bit of movie piracy where exorbitant losses were claimed while ignoring that people would not have bought each and every movie instead of pirating it.

The overlap probably isn't big, but it depends on the type of device. For instance, I've bought plenty of used computer hardware from a certain local vendor selling off-lease equipment. So at the cost of accepting that the device was used for a year or two in some company and may have a scratch here and there, I could score a decent display or a laptop at 1/3 of the price of a new model. If I can't find what I want this way, I usually do pony up and buy new.

I don't get the rationale behind these policies.

I mean, there must be a set number of allowed resets/additions/deletions.

Two possible extreme cases:

1) this (unknown) set amount is so large that the overwhelming majority of users (let's say 99%) won't ever hit it

2) this (unknown) set amount is so small that the overwhelming majority of users (let's say 99%) is likely to hit it before or later

If #1 it makes no sense as it affects such a small number of devices to be irrelevant, if #2 it makes no sense because it would cause an uproar of the customer base.

And the sheer fact that there is a set limit to reset/additions/delections that is not explicited in documentation exposes the manufacturer to possible lawsuits.

Cui bono?


Wow this is crappy. I know you didn’t really own your software, but sounds like you don’t even own hardware products anymore either. Then I know this is a worry about cars and tractors too, I think years ago one was trying to say it’s copyright infringement to repair your own tractor.

John Deere is the company you have in mind.

That's despicable.

I bought a Harmony Hub a while ago to turn my projector on and off (and set my stereo to the right input) with Amazon Alexa. The UI and setup process are really terrible. Can anyone recommend a good alternative?

(I actually intended it just as a stopgap until I hack my own IoT IR blaster, but haven't gotten around to it)

Seems you have your answer right there. Time to get hacking!

I am not aware of any serious competition. But it seems like a fairly simple product for a startup to create, and the market is probably huge.

the IR signals DB though...

This is the kind of thing I'd send Logitech to small claim court if that happened to me. If you can't play nice with a device I purchased and own, then I deserve to get my money back.

It sucks, I kinda like Logitech products and own many, but unless they change their practices, they're on my blacklist.

There it is, even companies that had good reputation start doing it. You no longer own what you guy, you now have everything as a service, even the hardware you think you own.

What happened to the company that had a generous warranty policy? I went through 3 keyboard replacements for free and got a newer model each time. I miss that.

Can you explain the reason for replacing your keyboard 3 times and in what frame time?

That seems a bit excessive.

Eh, this is a little too authoritarian for me.

Current title: "Logitech limits number of device resets to prevent reselling"

Is there a way to down-vote stories? This is just a link to a reddit thread where one or more random people think it might be "to prevent reselling", and there are numerous other hypotheses in the same thread...

Submissions can not be downvoted but they can be flagged. If there is no flag link below the submission title, it is because you do not have reached the karma-threshold for it. The threshold is most likely there to prevent abuse of the downvote or flag feature by new accounts. If I remember correctly I could downvote after reaching approximately 500 karma.

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