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Logitech offers Harmony Link owners free Harmony Hub in wake of media blitz

Logitech Harmony Smart Keyboard Hub review 2
The internet hath spoken, and Logitech will not leave Harmony Link Hub owners out in the cold when the device essentially bricks on March 16, 2018. Instead, Logitech says it will provide Harmony Link owners with a new Harmony Hub free of charge.

The word comes via Logitech’s blog, ostensibly in response to a minor tech-media uproar that ensued Thursday morning when Bleeping Computer revealed Logitech did not intend to extend a technology certificate license to the home entertainment control device.  Ensuing headlines painted Logitech as exhibiting disregard for its customers by letting one of its products meet a harsh, and perhaps unnecessary, end of life, while simultaneously peddling its newer Harmony Hub at a 35 percent discount as a solution.

The Logitech Harmony Link allows users to tie entertainment devices together and control them all through a simple iOS or Android app. The company marketed the now-discontinued device as being able to turn your iPad into the smartest remote in the house. The Harmony Link has since been replaced by the Harmony Hub, which adds control for smart home devices, as well as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice control. The Harmony Home Hub sells at Amazon for $89. A 35 percent discount on the Harmony Hub would have allowed Harmony Link owners an upgrade path for $57.50.

On its blog, Logitech explains its decision to prevent the device from functioning beyond the device’s certificate expiration as a matter of security.

“We made the business decision to end the support and services of the Harmony Link when the encryption certificate expires in the spring of 2018 – we would be acting irresponsibly by continuing the service knowing its potential/future vulnerability. Our system shows this product, which was last sold by Logitech in fall of 2015, had a small active user base. We’re now reaching out to all affected customers to provide an option for replacement,” Logitech says.

The company also addressed allegations that it was attempting to squelch discussion of a potential class-action lawsuit by censoring that term on its community forum, citing existing Community Terms of Use policy.

“Our intention is to ensure our forums help our customers when they need support. This includes keeping the conversation productive by monitoring the language used and automatically blocking profanity or personal attacks. This is common practice. The words “class action lawsuit” were blocked as our Community Terms of Use do not allow solicitation, including legal solicitation,” the blog post states. Logitech also says it has unblocked the terms and is reviewing its list of blocked terms.

On the face of it, it could appear that Logitech did some quick backpedaling in response to customer outrage over its initial decision to ask customers whose product was no longer under warranty to fork over $57 for a reasonable upgrade over their existing devices. In a call with Logitech, Digital Trends confirmed that the Harmony Link user base is, indeed, small (likely just a few thousand) and that the company did not foresee such a negative reaction. A spokesperson for Logitech said the decision to provide free replacements was an easy one, pointing out that the satisfaction of its customers and the reputation of its brand outweighed whatever small financial burden it created.

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Caleb Denison
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