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Logitech will brick devices in March

Bricking a device is something we always want to avoid. It usually means something has gone terribly wrong with a firmware update. The affected device becomes completely unusable, making it essentially as useful as, well, a brick.

This kind of thing usually happens when you are messing around trying to hack into a device, or if you get a particularly vicious computer virus or malware. In this case, the Logitech company that manufactures the device is intentionally bricking it to avoid having to renew an expensive software license.

So what happens if you have one of these old Logitech Harmony Links? Is the company going to just abandon you? The solution that Logitech is offering may shock you.

Logitech’s controversial decision

The release of the Harmony Link came in 2011 and it has since been replaced by the Harmony Hub. The problem that is leading to the “intentional bricking” has to do with an expensive software license that is set to expire in 2018. Rather than renewing the license, Logitech has chosen to give users no other option but to upgrade to the newer Harmony Hub by completely killing the Harmony Link.

That sounds like a standard business decision that tech companies must make all the time. So why all the fuss? The uproar came because Harmony Link didn’t alert users of this upcoming change, or offer them a chance to upgrade at a discount (the sensible thing to do). Instead, Logitech chose to continue advertising and selling the Harmony Link at even greater reduced prices, and with a shorter warranty that would run out before the impending firmware update.

Customers fight back

The firestorm caused by this callous decision by Logitech was both swift and effective. The angry and betrayed Logitech customers took to Reddit in an uproar, causing the company to go as far as to ban the phrase “class action lawsuit” from being used on its pages.

Something worrying you, Logitech?

Clearly, the company recognized that users would be upset, but they must not have anticipated the response would be so visceral. Just today, the company released a statement backtracking on their previous decision and hoping to win back the trust of their disillusioned customers. They will now offer ALL Harmony Link owners the new Harmony Hub completely free of charge. A response that we can all agree on is much more generous than we would normally expect.

In a statement to Wired, head of Logitech Harmony Rory Dooley relented, “I made a mistake…Mea culpa. We’re going to do right by our customers, and do the right thing.”

So kudos to Logitech for attempting to make amends for their mistake.

But even more importantly, kudos to the Logitech Harmony customers who put their foot down when a company they trusted began to waver in their commitments to a community they have been building for years.

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