Harmony (the company) to be sold - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 50 Old 01-25-2013, 01:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Details here: http://www.cepro.com/article/logitech_selling_harmony_division_after_unacceptable_q3_results/?utm_source=CEPWeekly&utm_medium=email

This is important because the Harmony remotes are updated via web link. When Harmony is sold this could put the future update process at risk.
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post #2 of 50 Old 01-26-2013, 09:29 AM
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http://www.avsforum.com/t/1453995/logitech-to-sell-off-harmony-line

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post #3 of 50 Old 01-26-2013, 12:54 PM
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As a custom installer and Harmony user, I have watched this train wreck unfold in slow-motion over the last 5 or more years. To be honest, the best outcome on the fairness scale would be for Logitech to find a buyer that would continue to develop and support the Harmony line, and then for Logitech to go bankrupt and out of business. That's what they deserve. I don't know who's been running that company, but they have taken a GREAT product line (Harmony) and run it right into the ground. Several examples:

1) The Harmony One, arguably the best remote they've ever produced, is replaced by the Harmony Touch, widely-reviewed as completely sub-par to the One. I mean, what brainiac at Logitech thinks having soft-touch buttons for commonly used functions (that were dedicated hard buttons on the One) is a great idea? It takes a one-handed remote and turns it into a two-handed remote. That's crazy!

2) To replace the difficult-to-program 890, they *did* improve the usability (re: the RF to IR adapter) but then, instead of basing the 900 on the Harmony One, they based it on the questionable and unreliable 1000/1100 platform. Why not make a Harmony One with RF? That's what the 900 should have been, but wasn't.

3)Getting rid of the Custom Installation sales channel. I know everyone here on this board can easily program their Harmony remote, but in my experience, maybe 10% of my clients could actually do that. Yet they want and love the functionality and ease of use that Harmony remotes provide. So what does Logitech in all it's glory do??? They completely get rid of the Custom Installer channel, dropping ALL of the distributors who cater to that industry, instead going solely with the Big Box stores and Internet distribution. Gone is the complete base of custom installers who supported Harmony for years! Geez, Mr. Logitech President, how'd that one work out for ya? Unbelievable!

4) Dropping most support for the on-computer software, instead pushing users to the Harmony website, with less features, less functionality, less of everything.

I could go on and on. This is simply a case of a giant company like Logitech buying a great idea like Harmony remotes and just wrecking it in every way one can imagine. I certainly hope someone buys the Harmony line from them, because at the rate Logitech is losing money, how long do you think they'll support the Internet code base and access that you MUST have to program or reprogram your remote? If they drop support for that, your remote won't even be worth a boat anchor for a goldfish. Remember, even using the local on-your-computer software requires an Internet connection to Logitech.

Final example of just how totally screwed up Logitech is as a company. Did you ever use or try the Logitech Google TV? This should win an award as worst product of the DECADE! Everything about it is mis-designed and laughably wrong, unless you own one. I understand Logitech lost millions of dollars on that debacle. But where were the engineers at Logitech before this was released?? How could they let a device this non-functional out into the marketplace? Hmmmm....corporate greed at work again?

In my perfect world, Logitech should complete the sale of their Harmony division to a well-run, caring company and then promptly go out of business, as they are just wasting valuable corporate oxygen.

My 2 cents worth, anyway.

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post #4 of 50 Old 01-26-2013, 03:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pwsharpe View Post

This is important because the Harmony remotes are updated via web link. When Harmony is sold this could put the future update process at risk.

Since the new CEO (right or wrong, he didn't cause this) has stated that Harmony isn't "strategic" for the company, it's at more risk if they DIDN'T sell it. Logitech could just shut it down... Selling it means whoever buys it wanted it for a reason. And it's most likely that they want to be in the Harmony remote business.

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post #5 of 50 Old 01-26-2013, 04:02 PM
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So far I have not heard or read of even one peep of interest from other companies in the CE space...... unfortunately. I'm worried, frankly.
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post #6 of 50 Old 01-26-2013, 04:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by awardb View Post

So far I have not heard or read of even one peep of interest from other companies in the CE space...... unfortunately. I'm worried, frankly.

These deals do not occur in public. Stating "I'd like to buy company XYZ" in public just raises the price and the number of other bidders... Without question there will be a number of folks making bids, whether or not they get to a deal, we won't know until it's done.

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post #7 of 50 Old 01-26-2013, 08:13 PM
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To add to the excellent summary by awardb, there was the exclusion of sequences form their highest functioning remotes the 900 and 1100. What a brain dead move to not provide this feature and then not subsequently add it back in via the software.

I too am optimistic that the line will be bought by a progressive company that will make some aggressive changes and turn the product line around. I would even support a model where owners who are out of warranty have to pay a small annual fee for access to the web site to do remote updates.
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post #8 of 50 Old 01-27-2013, 06:37 AM
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I question what a company would gain by buying Harmony. Does someone really want to take on their outdated computer based programming software and their incomplete web based myharmony.com? Then to fix the long standing issue of durability they would need to make it more durable which I'm sure would cost more money. All they would be buying is the ability to brand their remotes with the Harmony name.

But then again, Dish bought the sinking ship Blockbuster so anything is possible.

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post #9 of 50 Old 01-27-2013, 02:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by awardb View Post

......they have taken a GREAT product line (Harmony) and run it right into the ground. Several examples:....

5. Removing macros from the 900 and only allowing 5 button presses within a macro.

6. Removing skip ahead and skip back buttons on the Touch.

Who do you think will buy Harmony? Maybe URC?
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post #10 of 50 Old 01-29-2013, 05:43 PM
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IMO, the One is the best remote out there (ergonomically)... and yes, I've tried several URC remotes. But it has always been crippled by the configuration software (as pointed out by others). The new Touch is a big step backwards... just because "swiping" is all the rage with phones and tablets does not mean it makes sense for the remote control world. Using a tablet or phone for a remote, while powerful, is out of the question because of the lack of hard buttons (I ditched a Pronto many years ago for this reason).

My family uses two One remotes (upstairs and in the home theater) with both locations having at least 7 devices and we rarely have to look at the remote to operate. Over time I have purchased 3 other One remotes for relatives and all would be reluctant to have to give them up at this time. I've personally scored 2 brand new "older model" Ones from Amazon within the last 2 months as backups (seeing as how they have been discontinued). Now this. I now worry that my beloved Ones will be orphaned (with no way to update).

Here's hoping that someone with some actual sense will scoop up Harmony and:
1) ditch the Touch
2) bring back the One (with RF or additionally offer a version with RF)
3) rewrite the configuration software so that:
- needs the internet only when fetching device IR command information (only when the user adds a new device or an
update to a device the user is utilizing is available)
- supports any number of remote configurations (all of which can be stored locally... even if the cloud is still supported)
- not crippled (no 5 command sequence limits, etc.).
- a wizard mode (sort of like the older java software is now but better) for the newbees and an expert mode to allow
for more sophisticated processing (macros with variables, conditional branching, etc.)
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post #11 of 50 Old 01-29-2013, 05:53 PM
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So should we be buying harmony remotes now or wait to see how it all plays out first?
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post #12 of 50 Old 01-29-2013, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by TheRatPatrol View Post


Who do you think will buy Harmony? Maybe URC?

Why in the world would they do that? That'd be like Bentley buying Kia if it went up for sale.
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post #13 of 50 Old 01-29-2013, 06:39 PM
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Why in the world would they do that? That'd be like Bentley buying Kia if it went up for sale.

Market Share!!!! biggrin.gif

Like Daimler owning Chrysler!
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post #14 of 50 Old 01-29-2013, 07:08 PM
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Why in the world would they do that? That'd be like Bentley buying Kia if it went up for sale.

Dish bought Blockbuster and Justin Timberlake bought MySpace so crazier things have happened.

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post #15 of 50 Old 01-30-2013, 12:03 AM
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So should we be buying harmony remotes now or wait to see how it all plays out first?

Excellent question. I am waiting on a reply to this also.
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post #16 of 50 Old 01-30-2013, 07:25 AM
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I am in need of a new universal remote and I think they would at the very east support what they now show on their site, so I'm just gonna get a 900.
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post #17 of 50 Old 01-30-2013, 08:36 AM
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I am in need of a new universal remote and I think they would at the very east support what they now show on their site, so I'm just gonna get a 900.

I think you need to look at their site again. They only show the Touch, 1100, and 650. I'd say the 650 is the best out of the three.

http://www.logitech.com/en-us/harmony-remotes

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post #18 of 50 Old 01-30-2013, 11:37 AM
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Wow. You are right on that one.

Ummmm. Not so sure what to do now. would like the ability to control more than 5 devices and don't want the options provided...

Should I stil go for a 900?
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post #19 of 50 Old 01-30-2013, 11:56 AM
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The 900 and 1100 share the same platform and config software. It would be logical to assume support for both of them would end at the same time. So in my opinion the risk associated with both models is equal. In terms of hardware, the 900 will probably fail sooner simply because it has more buttons, which are usually the first things to go.
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post #20 of 50 Old 01-30-2013, 01:02 PM
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I have no idea how I should proceed then. I tried a URC40 but programming it seemed to be a pain.

Should I pull the trigger on a harmony or just do not buy any at all and deal with 3-4 remotes?
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post #21 of 50 Old 01-30-2013, 03:13 PM
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Harmony goes up for sale at the end of the year. It could take them a while to find a buyer, if ever. So you'll get at least a year or two out of a harmony before anything at logitech changes. The typical life of a harmony remote isn't much longer than that anyway. To minimize risk and cash outlay, I'd personally go for a refurb 700 for $60 or so. It will do 8 devices, is rechargeable and fairly reliable. Even if harmony shuts down their web site, you can use the remote indefinitely, you just won't be able to make changes to the programming.

If you don't want to take the risk, URC and JP1 are other good options for full programmability. Even some One-for-all, Philips and Sony universals aren't too bad. Even a basic universal can easily replace 3-4 remotes and do a pretty decent job with macros/activities. If you spend top dollar and get a pro level URC, the software really isn't that hard to find.
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post #22 of 50 Old 01-30-2013, 05:42 PM
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You can still find brand-new Harmony 700's, personally I wouldn't touch a refurb. It's already failed once. Brand-new ones can usually be found on eBay from reputable sellers.
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post #23 of 50 Old 01-30-2013, 05:42 PM
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Same thing applies to Harmony One remotes - new ones still avail. on eBay, at least for now.
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post #24 of 50 Old 01-31-2013, 07:06 AM
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My experience with harmony refurbs has been very good. Most appear to simply be customer returns because the customer couldn't figure out how to use it. I get the impression that if anything is truly wrong, there is no attempt to fix it. It's just thrown away. If it works and is in near mint condition, it is cleaned up, repackaged and resold. Of the 10 or so harmony refurbs I've gotten over the years, only one has been bad, and it was quickly replaced by logitech under warranty. Same goes for so-called refurb or open box blu-ray players by the way. The vast majority of the time absolutely nothing is wrong with them. The customer simply couldn't figure it how to use it.

I do agree that you should never buy a used harmony from an individual. Often someone will try to re-sell an old remote that was replaced under warranty. When an individual does that, logitech deactivates the old remote within a few weeks, so that it can never be programmed again. So by the time your seller is long gone, surprise, you find you can no longer program your remote.
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post #25 of 50 Old 01-31-2013, 07:49 AM
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Good News / Bad News

First, a little somewhat reassuring news in a quote from the Prez of Logitech:
>>Logitech just publicly announced a plan to hold the Harmony business for sale. Logitech is not shutting down the Harmony business and certainly not the service. This corporate announcement does not impact Logitech’s commitment to our Harmony customers. During the sale, Logitech will continue to provide customer support for Harmony customers. All current warranties provided by Logitech for Harmony products remain unchanged at this time. We very much appreciate our loyal Harmony community and will continue to support and communicate with our customers.<<

That makes me feel a little better, short term.

However, for mdavje's comments above, "Harmony goes up for sale at the end of the year. It could take them a while to find a buyer, if ever. So you'll get at least a year or two out of a harmony before anything at logitech changes. " , I think that's not the case. I just did a detailed search in Google News for all the official announcements from the company and for expert analysis from industry watchers. It's clear that Logitech intends to complete the sale of Harmony and other under-performing divisions BY the end of this year. That would shorten mdavej's suggested timeline considerably. It's obvious that Harmony is for sale now or shortly, not next year.

I wouldn't be so nervous if it wasn't for the required Internet connection (and cloud-based code data) that one must have and use to program a Harmony remote.

Time will tell.....
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post #26 of 50 Old 01-31-2013, 08:12 AM
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Also, thanks! to mdavej for relating his experiences with refurb Harmony remotes. My experiences are much more limited than his, so it's good to know the condition of most of those remotes, esp. as time goes on, for people that still want to purchase a 700 or a One. Soon, the supply of new ones will dry up, and there'll still be refurbs avail. for some time after that. So that's helpful info for Harmony lovers.
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post #27 of 50 Old 01-31-2013, 08:45 AM
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My guess at a time line is based on the assumption that finding a buyer won't be easy and will take longer than they expect. I realize logitech wants to sell quickly, but I don't think it's going to play out that way. This is just my opinion of course. My hope is URC or UEI would buy them, but I doubt they're interested. UEI would actually be a pretty good fit since they already have a line of web based consumer remotes and all of the related infrastructure to support them worldwide.
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post #28 of 50 Old 01-31-2013, 01:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

My guess at a time line is based on the assumption that finding a buyer won't be easy and will take longer than they expect. I realize logitech wants to sell quickly, but I don't think it's going to play out that way. This is just my opinion of course. My hope is URC or UEI would buy them, but I doubt they're interested. UEI would actually be a pretty good fit since they already have a line of web based consumer remotes and all of the related infrastructure to support them worldwide.

Logitech lost patent suit to UEI last year, so they are paying UEI anyways, seems like a good suitor.
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post #29 of 50 Old 01-31-2013, 01:37 PM
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Logitech lost patent suit to UEI last year, so they are paying UEI anyways, seems like a good suitor.

Wow! Didn't know that. Since Logitech bought Harmony from the original company, or bought the company, that would mean the original Harmony design would have been using those same patented methods?
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post #30 of 50 Old 01-31-2013, 02:44 PM
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Quote:
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My guess at a time line is based on the assumption that finding a buyer won't be easy and will take longer than they expect. I realize logitech wants to sell quickly, but I don't think it's going to play out that way. This is just my opinion of course.

They've probably already got companies interested, it will take time to examine their offers, then the suitor gets a chance to "look at the books" to make sure they're getting what they're paying for. After that, we'll probably see a press release announcing the pending sale (I'd say we'll hear that within 3-6 months, tops), and it will take the accountants and regulators another 3-9 months to get the deal legally finalized. Which is why they say "close the deal by end of year" - we'll know the name of the buyer a lot sooner than that.

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