updated 11:20 am EST, Thu January 26, 2012
Logitech takes bath in last Google TV quarter
Logitech detailed some of the fuller extent of its Google TV fallout with its fall results early Thursday. The company's profit dropped by $10 million from year-to-year to $55 million, and its revenue from $754 million to $715 million, based primarily on poor results in the Americas as well as a poor exchange rate against the Euro. An eight-point drop in Americas sales was blamed heavily in a statement (PDF) on the final sales of the Google TV-based Revue, which brought down sales to $15 million after the steep price cuts triggered by a lack of sales.
The company had successfully phased out the Revue and had sold out of every new-in-box unit of the media hub. By itself, the Revue and its accessories accounted for just $6.9 million in revenue this fall, a 71 percent drop from where they were in late 2010.
Improvements in built-in webcams for notebooks also created problems for Logitech, which had a harder time justifying its higher-quality technology to those who already had a camera in their systems. Harmony remote sales at the mid- to high-end were also down 30 percent, although the low end was doing well and a refresh of the more advanced models was due in the "coming months," CEO Guerrino De Luca said.
No direct unit numbers were given for Google TV, but its need to institute a drastic price cut for the Revue in the summer and the months of clearing out stock cast doubt on high numbers. Apple still considers its own Apple TV business modest and yet has sold 2.8 million Apple TVs in 2011, with half of those coming just in the fall.
Logitech's experience with the Revue has so far come to define Google TV's struggle in the market. It trusted Google fully last fall as one of two partners, but the peripheral maker would later say it had made a "mistake" as customers balked at the rough early platform and initial $300 price tag. Major improvements have been made since, such as third-party app support and support for much cheaper ARM processors. The encounter was nonetheless so sour for Logitech that it decided not only to get out of its immediate lineup but to say it couldn't see itself using Google TV at all in the foreseeable future.
Google chairman Eric Schmidt has been optimistic and thought most TVs would use Google TV by this summer. At CES, however, few of the new partners were showing Google TV on the floor, and only a few of their sets for the year are so far known to be running the Android-based OS.