Speaking at an event for analysts and investors, Logitech CEO Guerrino De Luca characterized his company’s ill-fated bet on Google TV—in the form of the Logitech Revue set-top box—as a tremendous error that combined with missteps in the EMEA region cost the company some $100 million in operating profit. De Luca characterized the Revue launch as a “mistake of implementation of a gigantic nature,” and doesn’t plan to take Logitech down the Google TV route again. De Luca believes Google TV will still take off, but it will be a “grandchild” of today’s Google TV, and Logitech will stay “on the bench” for the foreseeable future in the Google TV world.
A year ago, Logitech bet heavily on the Revue (check out our Logitech Revue review), working hard to produce the first Google TV set top box and get it into consumer retail channels in time for the end-of-year holiday crush. But nothing worked out like Logitech planned: as soon as Google TV launched, online video providers started blocking the service, meaning the selection of programming available to Google TV users slowed to a trickle in short order. And at $300, that made the Revue a hard sell…and they didn’t sell. Logitech revealed that initial sales of the Revue totalled just $5 million and by mid-year CEO Gerald P. Quindlen had left the company, and Logitech was fire-saling the devices for $99, and with De Lucasteping in as acting CEO.
De Luca described the company’s effort on the Revue as executing “a full scale launch with a beta product and it cost us dearly.”
The future of Google TV is itself somewhat hazy: although Google has been shifting Google TV to the Android platform—and is now enabling Android developers to code for Google TV, the technology as it exists today relies heavily on Adobe Flash. And mobile Flash wasn’t the only thing Adobe killed off in its surprise announcement earlier this week: Flash for connected TVs also got the axe, although Adobe will still support HTML apps with embedded Flash and Adobe Air apps with embedded Flash technology. Google has been moving Google TV slowly away from Flash; the latest 3.1 update supports Plex, for instance.