With friends like Logitech (Nasdaq: LOGI ) , does Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) need enemies?
The PC accessory maker's foray into Google TV is seemingly over. Logitech's Revue -- the Google TV set-top box for folks that don't want to spring for a full-blown Sony (NYSE: SNE ) Google TV -- is done. Logitech revealed that it simply plans to let existing inventory slowly move through the retail channels, and it won't be making any more. There is no plan to update the platform after the Revue review.
CEO Guerrino De Luca was no shrinking violet in blaming Google for what he calls "a mistake of implementation of a gigantic nature."
It didn't take a year for most of us to realize that Google was leading its hardware partners -- Intel (Nasdaq: INTC ) with the chips, Sony with the high-def TVs, and Logitech with the stand-alone boxes -- to slaughter.
"What if Google threw a media party and nobody came," I wondered 15 months ago, arguing that Google would be in trouble with its A-list hardware partners if it couldn't strike deals with the networks to prevent them from blocking access to their streaming content.
"This amounts to merely party hats, a pretty banner, and potently spiked punch that will go unconsumed if Google can't get the major networks to RSVP to the convergence bash," I concluded.
I was right. Just two months after rolling out its Revue boxes at $300, Logitech had to mark them down to $250. A few months after that, $200 was the new price point. Logitech will sell you one for $100 now -- if you're up to adopting an orphan.
De Luca argues that executing a full launch for a platform that was essentially beta software cost the company. It's a jab at Logitech, but Google deserves it.
As the owner of a Google TV, I appreciate the software upgrade that the search giant rolled out earlier this month. It does improve the platform. The interface is more fluid. However, Google still needs to play nice with Tinseltown for this to revolutionize smart televisions. Consumers -- like Logitech -- feel duped, and now it seems as if it will take Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL ) inevitable dive into actual HDTVs to get this right.
Google can't be right all of the time. For every Android hit, there will be a Google TV that stumbles out of the gate. However, it's hard to blame Logitech for walking away as it licks its wounds. It's hard to argue with De Luca's painful assessment.
Google owes Logitech an apology, though what would be even better is if finally takes Google TV to the next level to make Logitech regret that it ever left.
If you want to see where this story goes next, add Logitech International to My Watchlist.