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Can Logitech Salvage This Google TV Disaster?

By Anders Bylund - Updated Apr 6, 2017 at 10:06PM

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Nice try, Logitech. Cut much deeper and try again.

Mmm, what you say --
That you only meant well?
Well, of course you did.
Mmm, what you say --
That it's all for the best?
Of course it is!
Mmm, what you say --
This is just what we need?
You decided this.

-- "Hide and Seek," by Imogen Heap

Logitech International (Nasdaq: LOGI) has given a 17% haircut to the price of its Revue box. My only question is, what took you so long -- and why won't you go any further?

Being one of the first retail-ready examples of a Google TV device, alongside a couple of solutions from Sony (NYSE: SNE), the Revue carried the heavy burden of proving what Google TV can do. Trouble is, nobody wanted to pay $299 to find out, especially if it meant keeping an absolute monstrosity of a remote control on your coffee table.

Logitech sold about $5 million worth of Google TV gear last quarter, which works out to less than 17,000 units. That's being generous, mind you -- some of those sales could be for add-on (and equally craptacular) remote controls, keyboards, and video cameras.

To put that underwhelming unit haul into perspective, consider that Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) sold 1 million Apple TV boxes in less than four months. But it's not really a fair comparison. Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Logitech may pack more power into their entertainment hub, but they don't have nearly the design chops that Apple does -- and a richer feature list isn't worth triple the Apple TV's price tag.

What's worse is that Logitech's 17% price drop won't make one whit of difference -- it's simply not bold enough.

I was in the market for a media hub right around the launch of both Apple TV 2.0 and Google TV, and I never came close to considering the Revue or Sony's marginally more attractive offerings. They're not worth $299 in a world with Apple TVs, Roku boxes, and even attractively priced and highly capable Western Digital (NYSE: WDC) media centers, and $249 isn't a heck of a lot better.

Make Android and iPhone apps the default control method, lose the now-superfluous remote hardware, drop the price tag to $99 or less, and then ask again. Maybe then we'll really know what Google TV can do on an even playing field.

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Stocks Mentioned

Alphabet Inc. Stock Quote
Alphabet Inc.
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Apple Inc. Stock Quote
Apple Inc.
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Sony Corporation Stock Quote
Sony Corporation
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Western Digital Corporation Stock Quote
Western Digital Corporation
WDC
$46.81 (-1.62%) $0.77
Logitech International SA Stock Quote
Logitech International SA
LOGI
$53.31 (-3.21%) $-1.77

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