Logitech customers are not happy, as they recently found out that the company would be discontinuing service for its popular Harmony Link remote system. The device and its cloud-based system allow users to control home theater and sound equipment from a mobile app. Customers received an e-mail explaining that Logitech will “discontinue service and support” for the Harmony Link as of March 16, 2018, adding that Harmony Link devices “will no longer function after this date.”
While Logitech is offering a one-time, 35-percent discount on its Harmony Hub to affected customers that are out of warranty, that’s not enough for Harmony Link users who are expressing their dissatisfaction on Logitech support forums and Reddit. Users have not experienced major problems with the Harmony Link system that would indicate they are approaching end of life. Harmony Link customers do not pay a subscription or service fee to use the device, either.
The only reason provided comes from a Logitech employee with the username Logi_WillWong, who explains in a response post from September 8, 2017 that Logitech will not be renewing a “technology certificate license” that expires in March. No details were provided about how this certificate license allows the Harmony Link to function, but it appears that without it, those devices will not work as promised. “The certificate will not be renewed as we are focusing resources on our current app-based remote, the Harmony Hub,” Logi_WillWong added, which seems to indicate that the shutting down of the Harmony Link system is a way to get more customers on the newer Harmony Hub system.
But customers are calling out Logitech for bricking a device that works perfectly fine for most of them, presumably in the hopes of forcing an upgrade to a new device. While out-of-warranty customers can get a discount on a Harmony Hub, according to an updated response posted yesterday on the Logitech support forum from Logi_WillWong, those still under warranty can receive a free Harmony Hub from Logitech as a replacement for their Harmony Link.
The Harmony Link system predates the Harmony Hub by a few years and allows users to control televisions, sound systems, and even VCRs and Blu-ray players from the free companion mobile app. The Harmony Hub expands on those capabilities by adding more IoT device support, making things like Roku players, Hue smart lights, and Sonos systems controllable via the remote app. The Harmony Link isn’t available to purchase from Logitech’s website anymore, and it’s listed as “discontinued by manufacturer” on Amazon.
The forced end-of-life of the Harmony Link is a harsh reminder that companies like Logitech have the power to make useful yet older devices obsolete for whatever reason they see fit. Customers likely purchased the Harmony Link system because they wanted a smart device to control only the entertainment system in their home, thinking it would last as long as the device kept running. But since Harmony Link devices can only be configured through Logitech’s web-based systems, they can only truly live as long as Logitech allows. Ars has reached out to Logitech for a full statement about this issue, and we will update this post if we hear back.