back to article Logitech, that canary in PC coal mine, just fell off its perch

Logitech made hay during the pandemic but like many businesses dependent on the PC ecosystem, turnover is tanking and income is tumbling. The peripheral maker recorded revenue of $1.149 billion [PDF] for Q2 ended 30 September, down 12 percent year-on-year. For those six months, Logitech booked revenue of $2.308 billion, down a …

  1. Sampler

    Quick Win

    If they're looking for a quick sale they should re-release the "Microsoft Natural Wireless Ergonomic Desktop 7000" kit, I'd buy several so I'm stocked up for the future.

    The one I'm using to type this on is missing the lettering on most used keys (yes: ctrl x c & v, along with the nearby shift) and the faux leather's torn on the left side too (duct tape, is there nothing it can't fix) but the wonderous mouse that came with it has long since died and literally nothing else on the market fits like it did, was beautiful, the MX Ergo I've settled on, although great at preventing anyone else from using my computer, still is a poor substitute.

    The same keyboard I have at home is fairing better, but they're increasingly harder to come by at a reasonable price (in a UK layout no less - I've gotten used to a lot of things since emigrating, but having the " and @ symbols in the wrong place is a step too far for this expat!).

    And no, I'm not prepared to pay the $600+ AUD for those still going on eBay (which, bit hint Logitech, you have a product there's a demand for unlike the toy like tiny new replacements that do fuck all to help the RSI they're supposed to resolve because they're too fucking small!).

    If microsoft don't want to be involved because they're not new and sexy anymore, just give them another name and badge, but please re-release them!

    1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

      Re: Quick Win

      The one I want back is my Logitech Denovo. It was like typing on silk compared to the [diety]awful keyboards supplied by most employers. Mine was even treated to a battery change (supposedly non-replaceable) to get more life out of it. Unfortunately it just decided to stop one day .... leaving me to start exploring the world of mechanical keyboards to find anything close to the same typing experience.

      I am also a user of the MX Ergo, and consider it the saviour of my right wrist!

    2. David 132 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Quick Win

      Oh, hear, hear.

      In my case it would be the Microsoft Internet Keyboard Pro. That was the non-ergonomic one, with USB connection and a (unpowered, alas) USB hub built-in - perfect for connecting the wireless mouse dongle. I'm still using mine after, what, 20 years? Haven't found anything that feels better. And yes, I know that's entirely subjective.

      1. Trollslayer

        Re: Quick Win

        The preference of the keyboard/ down to the user.

    3. Gavin Chester

      Re: Quick Win

      Typing on a Natural 4000 as my Work unit, corded version but still great. I too have lost some letters. S and E are just memories on this keyboard

      Its not cheap but look at the Microsoft Sculpt range. That's my "home" keyboard and is a worthy successor. DO NOT buy a used one without a dongle, they are factory programmed and linked and not really user changeable.

      1. Sampler

        Re: Quick Win

        Thanks, I've tried the new microsoft ergonomic keyboard 4000 (where they dropped the "natural"), the sculpt, the surface and none of them do any good, the missus had my old sculpt I managed to replace with what feels like the last microsoft natural ergonomic keyboard 4000 I could get for home (which since has been replaced with the Lenovo Go Wireless Split Keyboard as it looked promsing (along with matching num pad and mouse) but alas it too was inferior (though I still like the cork finish)).

    4. captain veg Silver badge

      Re: having the " and @ symbols in the wrong place

      Pity those of us in France, where the Q, Z and M are in the wrong place, let alone all the symbols. And you have to shift to get numerals from the top row. And use Alt Gr to get such arcana as the backslash, which no one, especially coders, ever needs.

      I haven't found a supplier of British QWERTY in the country, and importing from the UK is now a long and expensive business, if you can find a supplier willing to go through the rigmarole. If Logitech could do something about that, I might be more inclined to overlook the fact that they don't use proper clicky switch mechanisms.

      Of course, it's worse if you want a laptop.


      1. Sampler

        Re: having the " and @ symbols in the wrong place

        Don't worry mon frère, as an Englishman, I already pity you for being in France ; )

  2. Martin Howe

    Logitech have already fallen off their perch. I bought a new wireless keyboard and mouse recently; nothing wrong with it functionally, but the name as printed on the devices is now 'logi' with the lower part of the 'g' styled to look like a smile; in short, they have started getting 'cute' instead of emphasising their technological prowess via their original name: 'logical technology'.

    1. Sceptic Tank Silver badge

      Who cares? Nothing wrong with it functionally,

      1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge

        It shows a shift in their priorities, and not in a good way

      2. cyberdemon Silver badge

        When I bought a "Logitech" C920 webcam in 2020 (100 quid!!), it came in the cheapest of cheap packaging, a tiny crumpled turquoise box with the new "logi" logo. I assumed I had been sold a fake and was about to send it back and complain to the online tat-mart, when I discovered that they really had rebranded that badly.

        It's a reasonable webcam, but it autofocuses badly sometimes and it's hard to force it to try again (short of bashing it like an old TV set)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      IMO, Logitech became crap in the late 2000's... ~2008. The reissuing or redesigning of products with cheaper parts was a greedy move and worse, they don't bother to change part numbers :-/.

      For example, the K400r, look at the function keys in this pic...

      Then, there was also a really shitty redesign of the Cordless Trackman that kept the same product name and number for about 3 years until they renamed the new/shitty version to "M570 Wireless Trackball"... this pic shows it by its new name:

      All in all, if people are happy with Logitech that's fine, but they quality control and innovation has vanished, at least compared to the Connexion era (~mid to late 1990's).

    3. Michael Strorm Silver badge

      Make of this what you will

      > in short, they have started getting 'cute'

      A few months back, El Reg had a review of the Logitech Pop, a mechanical keyboard that looks it's aimed at those who want one more because mechanical keyboards are currently fashionable than anything else. Looks-wise, it's what you'd get if you took the appearance of a typewriter- or what someone not old enough to have actually seen a typewriter (*) might imagine that to be- and filtered it mercilessly through a "Claire's Accessories" aesthetic.

      As I noted at the time, the publicity shots- here and here, and especially the one here make it look more like it's aimed more at kids the age of my 13-year-old niece than myself or other typical El Reg readers.

      Which is most likely because it is.

      (*) To be fair, these days that'd probably include most people under forty.

  3. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    I did my best...

    I spent at least twelve quid on an MK220 wireless keyboard/mouse combo only three years ago!

    (And it's all still working nicely, thank you. Though it looks like it's gone up to twenty quid now.)

    1. englishr

      Re: I did my best...

      I spent $89 on an IBM buckling spring keyboard only 29 years ago, and it's still working beautifully.

      (Icon is "smug face")

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I did my best...

        And I spent £0 pulling three of them out of the scrap bin at work a few years back (yes, I did get the OK from Them Upstairs..). Still working fine though the keycaps needed a run through the dishwasher. Can't find a Smugger Face icon.

        More seriously - I think Logitech went badly downhill as the power shifted from Switzerland to the US. They went through a pretty dismal period of failed / misjudged acquisitions (Slim Devices, Harmony) with only Ultimate Ears delivering on their potential so far as I can tell. I think at heart they're still a decent company (they've very sportingly kept hosting the active Squeezebox forum for example) but they do need to get their act together!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "For the six months, operating profit was $1834 million compared to $326.3 million"

    Is a decimal point missing? They wouldn't complain if they had a 6x increase in profits....

    Anyway the webcam/mic gold rush is over - unless they can team with Lenovo to improve laptop webcams. These are not devices people feel the need to replace every year, unless they are wannabe influencers or youtubers.

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: "For the six months, operating profit was $1834 million compared to $326.3 million"

      And if you are a wannabe influencer or YouTuber, you probably are buying something a lot more expensive than Logitech.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    saturated market

    They're lucky to book that much to be honest, since the products are particularly reliable.

    And since, post COVID, every single laptop now probably has its logitech external mouse as a companion, there is not much turnover.

    Unless, for people who rage axe their mouse, due to it all of a sudden stopping working in a particularly engaging FPS session. Had to buy a new :)

    1. GlenP Silver badge

      Re: saturated market

      every single laptop now probably has its logitech external mouse as a companion

      Not here - Anker vertical form mouse for the main laptop and a relatively cheap Hama wireless for travel/secondary use (cheap so I don't worry if it gets lost, broken or I leave the receiver on site).

  6. Wade Burchette

    Bring back the Harmony remotes and Squeezebox

    I know how Logitech can make more money: bring back the Harmony remotes and Squeezebox. Their old Harmony One remote was about the closest thing to perfect you could find in a universal remote. I am in need of a universal remote as good as that one, and if Logitech brought it back, I would be one of the first to buy it. I don't know why Logitech discontinued them? By all accounts, it was selling well.

    Then there are the Squeezebox speakers. It was a very good alternative for those who hate Sonos, like me. I am just glad Logitech made the system open-source so that those who do have their speakers can keep using them.

    1. BenDwire Silver badge

      Re: Bring back the Harmony remotes and Squeezebox

      +1 from me.

      I have a house full of squeezeboxen, along with a couple of Pi based replacements (PiCorePlayer) and it's a fantastic system. They were mad to discontinue that range.

      The Harmony remote I have is getting on now, and several buttons ceased functioning. I decided to bite the bullet to see if it could be repaired, and to my surprise found proper metal domed stwitches within, all of which cleaned up with a bit of IPA (not beer) and are now functioning perfectly.

      FYI The root cause of the malfunction seemed to involve a grandchild and an orange ice lolly.

    2. Trollslayer

      Re: Bring back the Harmony remotes and Squeezebox

      I have a Logitech Harmony One and to me nothing can beat it.

      1. JimboSmith Silver badge

        Re: Bring back the Harmony remotes and Squeezebox

        Another very happy Harmony One user here.

    3. AndrueC Silver badge

      Re: Bring back the Harmony remotes and Squeezebox

      Yup. Currently listening to music from my Logitech Touch piped digitally through to my Onkyo NR555. During the working day I listen to it from an SB3 connected via phono jacks to a pair of Logitech speakers. I don't know their model number but they have an old-style iron core transformer which could come in handy should I ever need to beat back a horde of zombies :)

      And yes, I own a Harmony remote. I now have an Elite which is very good but not quite as ergonomic as the One. Unfortunately the budgerigar I was sharing a house with at the time made one deposit too many and a couple of the num pad buttons began to fail. Switching to a different remote without replacing the hub was a bit weird but Logitech sorted it out eventually.

  7. cream wobbly

    They've been my favourite cheap and basic input device manufacturer but they stopped being cheap and basic.

    I had a wireless keyboard + trackpad that was just too frustrating to use with Windows. Couldn't stop the Windows window overview view from taking over the screen randomly when all I was trying to do was look for a movie to play. Part of this is Windows's fault for not allowing the annoyance to be disabled fully, but Logitech's software also wouldn't save settings correctly.

    I replaced it with a cheaper and basic-er device from a no-name manufacturer which has fewer problems included in the price.

  8. Scene it all

    Back when I was trying to learn Japanese, I got a Japanese-layout keyboard (not Logitech). It did help with learning but it was rather expensive and the symbols were just painted on and had worn off within a year. Now I use a Logitech back-lit Latin-only keyboard which is a lot easier to see and there is nothing to wear off. I would not go back to a non-lighted keyboard.

    I also love my Squeezebox Radio (that they don't make any more) and a Harmony Remote. The Harmony user interface is poorly designed and I am on my second one because the first just quit working one day.

  9. bill 27

    My preferred device.

    I've got 4 keyboards within my sight are they're all Logitech KB/Mouse combos. There's another couple at my other place. Lately I buy parts and build my own machines.

  10. ColonelClaw

    At the height of the Covid lockdown I purchased one of their web cams for 90 quid. It was the only one available pretty much anywhere. You can now buy the exact same model for 30 quid, along with about a million other different web cams. You'll forgive me if I don't shed a tear for their current predicament.

  11. AndrueC Silver badge

    I'm dreading the day when my Harmony remote finally stops working. There just doesn't seem to be anything else on the market that is as good. Been a while since I looked around though so I suppose that gives me something to do tonight.

    Anyone got any suggestions? I really want something that understands the concept of activities.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge

      The closest alternative I can find is a Sofabaton X1. That is close but appears to fail at the final hurdle because it doesn't have a numeric keypad. Also the remote just doesn't have as many hard keys so that might be an issue.

  12. ske1fr

    Ah, Logitech

    I used to love my Trackman Marble trackball. And then my thumb developed De Quervain's tenosynovitis. So I had to ditch thumb-cursor movement. And I got frozen shoulders from other causes so I had to ditch full size keyboards. Now I use a compact Bakker Elkhuizen keyboard and a Contour Rollermouse Red, both pre-loved so considerably cheaper than full price, and I can still use a computer. But every time I've looked at Logitech stuff lately I've thought "How much?!" They're just not that innovative any more.

  13. mdubash

    I want an update to the last keyboard they made which has a set of 12 function keys running up the left-hand side of the device - where God intended them to be. Mine's worn out. The F keys are fully configurable, so you can make it work just like an IBM AT keyboard. If only...

  14. Deedles

    Deffo bring back the Harmony remotes

    Thinking back over the years, I've always been happy with the few Logitech devices I've purchased.

    Mostly these have been mice - indeed I'm using an MX Master right now, and am completely happy with it. Yes, it's a bit expensive for a rodent but to me the quality/longevity is worth it. And I like the weightiness of it too.

    But I can honestly say that the Harmony remotes are probably the flat-out best devices I've had. I've had a few of them over the years. Quick explanation as to why I continue to love them so much:

    I've got a relatively high number of A/V devices connected to my TV - satellite box, gaming machines, Apple TV, and more. There's an HDMI switch in there somewhere as the TV doesn't have enough sockets.

    So there are a LOT of remote controls involved - even figuring out which one goes with which device is tricky. Yet the Harmony remote completely replaced all of them - I literally have no idea where all the remotes went since we moved house, and haven't ever needed them. With one click, the TV goes on, switches to the correct input, and the related device(s) then do the same.

    And here's what is to me the killer: it makes complete sense to Mrs Deedles too. She is utterly, happily ignorant of even what the majority of these devices are for - she just knows she wants to watch Netflix or whatever. The Harmony remote has just made all this sooo simple she has no problems at all.

    I would say that they are quite complex to set up - the UI of the setup app is rather clunky and slow. But the end result is worth the effort.

    Occasionally I look for alternatives, but there just isn't anything for the price. The options seem to be either massively expensive (some of which you need to pay someone to come and reprogram it if you change something), or they are cheaper but far too simplistic.

    People tell me to set up Alexa or similar for voice control. No. I want to click on a button, not shout at my TV. And the Harmony remotes have always met that need - genuinely one of my highest-rated home gadgets I've ever owned, and I evangelised them to lots of friends/colleagues over the years. I actually don't know what I'll do when mine inevitably dies (my last one stopped working when the battery expanded and split it open - I've had my latest one for much longer and it's not done it so far).

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