Logitech Revue Flop Highlights GoogleTV Challenges

  on July 31 2011 6:13 PM
Logitech Revue
Junien Labrousse, Executive VP, Products, speaks during the launch of 'Revue,' Logitech's set-top box Reuters

Logitech cut the price of its hyped Logitech Revue set-top box by over half, the latest sign that the Google TV initiative is failing to gain muster in the competitive consumer marketplace.

The company cut the price of the Revue to $99.99 from the $249.00, making the second but most significant price cut the device has seen since its $300 debut last October.

The announcement comes as a response to poor sales the devices had overall, with the peripheral and accessory maker saying that it had more returns than sales.

"While we lowered the retail price to $249 during the quarter, it had little impact on consumer acceptance," Logitech said.

The lackluster performance of the Revue marks a setback for Google's television ambitions.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company unveiled Google TV, a software package that blends traditional programming with Internet media, to much fanfare at its developers conference last year.

The product was part of the company's broader push to become a force in the distribution of content  to rival Apple's iTunes.

But it was plagued with criticism over an unattractive user-interface and was slow to open the platform to developers.

Google had also faced resistance from major networks worried their business could be hurt as their programming became available on Google TV.

"It's really a lack of content that's resulted in what I'd call a mediocre reception of the product," said Edward Jones analyst Josh Olson, who added that Google TV has also suffered from software glitches in the past. The product is not yet "a meaningful source of revenue" for Google, Olson said.

During a conference, Logitech Chairman Guerrino De Luca stood by his company's partnership with Google.

"It allowed us to build a strong relationship with the technology leader which promises to bear more fruit down the road," De Luca said. Still, the poor results are "partly due to the fact that Google TV has not yet fully delivered to its own promises," he said.

The Revue's new pricing matches that of the simpler, less functional Apple TV, however, which could help sales.

It also represents a bargain as it includes a powerful universal remote -- the Harmony -- which typically retail for over $100 themselves.

"We expect the lower price, particularly when combined with the upcoming

enhancements to the Google TV platform, including the availability of an apps

marketplace, should provide the consumer with a compelling value proposition," Logitech said.

Sony is the other major company pushing Google TV, with devices built into televisions. Sony did not immediately respond for a request for comment.

 

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