Logitech Slashes Google TV-Based Revue to $99 as Returns Exceed Sales
As noted by This is my next..., Logitech today revealed that its Google-TV based "Revue" set-top box has been a complete flop, actually recording negative sales numbers last quarter as returns exceeded new sales. In response, Logitech has announced that it will be slashing the Revue's price from $249 to a below-cost $99 and taking a $34 million charge to cover the loss.
Google TV had been seen as a major push into combining television viewing with Internet content, but got off to a rough start as Google asked manufacturers to hold off on introducing Google TV hardware as it sought to refine the software. But the Logitech Revue had already hit the market as a launch product for the concept, and has been unable to find a footing in the consumer market.
Apple has long been treading carefully in the television market with the Apple TV, and Steve Jobs noted in an interview at the D8 conference in June 2010 that the subsidized set-top boxes used by cable companies have squashed innovation in the television market.
On the future of television: "Subsidized set-top boxes have squashed innovation because no one wants to pay for separate boxes...ask TiVo, Roku, us, Google in a few months. The set-top box needs to be torn up and redesigned to get people things they way they want them. And there's no go-to-market strategy for that. With the iPhone, and now the iPad, we could partner with carriers, but television is very balkanized...everything is local.
Apple made its next attempt at the television market a few months later with the second-generation Apple TV, but even still that is primarily a hub for iTunes content with a few third-party streaming services like Netflix, MLB.tv, and NBA League Pass also being supported. Apple has repeatedly referred to the Apple TV as a "hobby", noting that the company feels that "there is something there" but that television presents a very difficult challenge for developing a go-to-market strategy.
For several years, analysts and other sources have been claiming that Apple is trying to develop its own Apple-branded television set integrating iTunes Store connectivity. The company's only public statements on the matter have, however, expressed strong disinterest in such a move given the competitive environment and low margins in the industry, but Apple has certainly been known to publicly dismiss certain ideas even as it has been working on implementing them.