Logitech: We are bricking your Harmony Link but we'll give you a free Hub instead

Internet users win a small victory over the Internet of Things.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Logitech will be handing Harmony Link users a free Harmony Hub replacement.

Image: Sarah Tew/CNET

Logitech will give owners of the soon-to-be-bricked Harmony Link a free Harmony Hub after initially telling them to buy the newer model at a discounted price.

The company has faced intense criticism on Reddit, its user forums and the internet at large for its recent decision to disable the device next March because it didn't want to renew an expiring digital security certificate.

The Harmony Hub allows users to control smart home products from a smartphone in addition to home entertainment systems that the Link could be used for.

Logitech in September told Link owners the device would be disabled on March 16, 2018, and offered owners with a device not covered by warranty a 35 percent discount on a $100 Harmony Hub.

Users also claimed Logitech had a recent Harmony Link "fire sale" to clear out inventory shortly before telling customers about the service's upcoming termination.

Anger against Logitech intensified this week after owners noticed it was censoring the words "class action lawsuit" on its user forums. Internet users were outraged because the bricking was another example of an IoT firm abandoning hardware that customers bought, following Nest's recent decision to brick Revolv smart home devices.

"We heard you and we want to make it right," Logitech said in a blogpost on Thursday.

Logitech will now contact customers to replace existing Link devices with a free Harmony Hub. It will also refund customers that took up its 35 percent discount offer.

Logitech denied it had a recent fire sale and says consumers may have been confused with recent Harmony Hub discounts.

It's also unblocked the words "class action lawsuit" from its user forums but says the purpose of the filter was to prevent law firms offering services on the site, which is not allowed under its Community Terms of Use.

The company has also admitted it was a business decision not to renew the expiring certificate. Continuing to support the product without a valid certificate would expose users to security vulnerabilities, but it ultimately didn't want to support a product with few users.

"We made the business decision to end the support and services of the Harmony Link when the encryption certificate expires in the spring of 2018 - we would be acting irresponsibly by continuing the service knowing its potential/future vulnerability," the company says.

"Our system shows this product, which was last sold by Logitech in fall of 2015, had a small active user base."

Previous and related coverage

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.

Nest to brick Revolv smart hubs on Sunday, and there's nothing owners can do about it

If you own a Revolv smart hub, then Sunday is the day that Nest will pull the plug on it, and you can kiss your $300 gadget goodbye.

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