Logitech's decision to brick Harmony Link leaves owners outraged

Consumers are angry that Logitech is bricking a product that would still work if it renewed an encryption certificate.

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Owners of Logitech's Harmony Link, a device that enables a smartphone to act as a remote control, have been told it will stop working in March next year.

The company sent out emails to customers in early September advising that the product will no longer function after March 16, 2018.

Users reported the end-of-life notification on Logitech's user forum months ago, but the issue took off on Reddit yesterday after claims that Logitech had set a filter on the forum relating to the phrase "class action lawsuit" and was replacing the words with "***** ****** *******".

A member of Logitech's support team said on its user forum that the reason for the shutdown was that a "technology certificate license" will expire next March. For some reason the company has decided not to renew the certificate.

"I understand some of you have Harmony Links that are working perfectly fine right now. However, there is a technology certificate license that will expire next March. The certificate will not be renewed as we are focusing resources on our current app-based remote, the Harmony Hub," wrote the staff member.

Understandably, owners are not impressed with Logitech's offer of a 35 percent discount on its newer Alexa-enabled Harmony Hub for owners whose Harmony Links are out of warranty.

Additionally, Logitech has also been criticized for recently selling discounted Harmony Hub units with a three-month warranty.

Logitech launched the Harmony Link in 2011. It lets users control a range of home devices, such as video players and TV sets. Harmony Hub costs about $100 is made for controlling smart home gadgets.

The incident serves as a reminder that cloud-enabled devices can be terminated at will by vendors.

In a statement to Ars Technica, Logitech said the expiring certificate was an encryption certificate, but the company still didn't explain why it was not renewing the certificate other than its focus on new products.

"The technology certificate is an encryption certification that expires in the spring of 2018, which may open the product up to potential security vulnerabilities," Logitech said.

"We've refocused development resources on newer technologies, and therefore, we are not updating the Harmony Link certificate. We first communicated to affected customers in August 2017 that we are offering a free Harmony Hub to replace a Link (if within warranty) or a discount on the Harmony Hub (if out of warranty)."

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Logitech is offering out-of-warranty Harmony Link owners a 35 percent discount on its newer Alexa-enabled Harmony Hub.

Image: Sarah Tew/CNET

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