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Logitech Decides To Retain Its Harmony Remote Division

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Logitech took to the wires today to announce the Harmony Ultimate Hub, a device that turns an iPhone or Android device into a universal remote, is available for purchase. It’s $100.

But more importantly, Logitech also announced that it decided to keep the Harmony division within the company rather than spinning it out into its own company, turning the division, once again, into a startup fighting for attention in the wild electronic forest.

Once upon a time, May 5, 2004 to be exact, Logitech acquired the privately held Intrigue Technologies of Canada, maker of the famed Harmony remote controls, for $29 million in cash. Fast forward nine years. Logitech did the company right, pushing out countless quality products under the Harmony name, cementing it as a leader in the market. However, with growth slowing, Logitech was pondering spinning the division back out into the wild.

As today’s press release states, the company has determined that retaining ownership is in the best interest of its shareholders. Apparently the success of the Harmony Ultimate, a universal remote that merges the touch capability found in a smartphone with the traditional remote controls, changed Logitech’s mind. The new remote “exceeded the company’s expectations for customer connections.”

The universal remote, and with it, Harmony products, have been under assault from startups and outside players the last few years. Countless hardware startups have attempted to turn the smartphone into a remote. But a smartphone does not a quality remote make. There’s something comforting about have a physical remote on a coffee table, always willing to change the channel. It’s so much easier than pulling up an app on a smartphone.

It’s not going to get easier for the Harmony division. As more smartphone makers include IR ports within their devices, the competition will get tougher. But if the wonderful Harmony Ultimate and the Harmony Ultimate Hub is any indication, the engineers and product managers at Logitech know what they’re doing.