Logitech Acknowledges Google TV Set-Top Box a 'Big Mistake'
Google made waves last year for its introduction of Google TV, new software intended to integrate the Internet with television content and revolutionize the TV-watching experience. One of the key hardware launch partners for Google TV was Logitech, which offered its "Revue" set-top box for Google TV at a price of $299.
Google TV failed to catch on with consumers, and by July of this year Logitech had slashed pricing on the Revue box to just $99 and taken an accounting charge on the loss related to the below-cost sale price. The lack of consumer interest in Google TV reminded observers of comments made by Steve Jobs just after Google's announcement of its Google TV project.
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.
Just two weeks ago, Google announced a significant update to the Google TV platform, but Logitech apparently has no interest in being burned twice, as The Verge reports that the company has sworn off any further Google TV work and acknowledged that the original effort was "a big mistake". According to Logitech CEO Guerrino De Luca:
To make the long story short, we thought we had invented [sliced] bread and we just made them. [We made a commitment to] just build a lot because we expected everybody to line up for Christmas and buy these boxes [at] $300 [...] that was a big mistake.
De Luca notes that Logitech "executed a full scale launch with a beta product", a decision that resulted in a $100 million loss for the company when consumer demand failed to meet expectations. De Luca admits that Google TV may yet have success in the market but that any such developments are some time away and will not involve Logitech.
Google is of course only one of the companies seeking to change the way users interact with and experience television. Apple's current Apple TV set-top box primarily serves to integrate iTunes Store content with television sets, but the company is said to be working on a revolutionary new Siri-based interface for an actual television set product that could launch by 2013. And Sony has also acknowledged its efforts in the field, seeing the need to step up and address Apple's success so far with its iTunes ecosystem as well its future television plans.