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Alphabet's Nest To Deliberately Brick Revolv Hubs 432

Nest, a Google-owned company, will deliberately break one of its own products come May 15. The company has announced plans to disable Revolv, a hub that allows customers to electronically control lights in their homes. Entrepreneur Arlo Gilbert raises some important questions: Google/Nest's decision raises an interesting question. When software and hardware are intertwined, does a warranty mean you stop supporting the hardware or does it mean that the manufacturer can intentionally disable it without consequence? Tony Fadell seems to believe the latter. Tony believes he has the right to reach into your home and pull the plug on your Nest products. [...] To be clear, they are not simply ceasing to support the product, rather they are advising customers that on May 15th a container of hummus will actually be infinitely more useful than the Revolv hub. Google is intentionally bricking hardware that I own. That's a pretty blatant "fuck you" to every person who trusted in them and bought their hardware. They didn't post this notice until long after Google had made the acquisition, so these are Google's words under Tony Fadell's direction. Revolv was acquired by Nest in 2014, and it is believed that all Nest wanted from the acquisition was talent and workforce. An older version of Revolv website reveals that its hub was marketed to have "free lifetime service subscription," "free monthly updates for additional device support," and "free future firmware updates to automatically activate new radios." James Grimmelmann, a professor of Law, tweeted, "I didn't realize that Revolv promised free lifetime service. That makes the shutdown a deceptive trade practice as well as an unfair one." Aaron Parecki, co-founder of IndieWebCamp, wrote, "Your friendly reminder that without open standards, you're not "buying" smarthome hardware, you're renting it."
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Alphabet's Nest To Deliberately Brick Revolv Hubs

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  • Don't Be Evil (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @09:04AM (#51845147)

    Oh, fuck it. Be evil and a jackass.

    • by Luthair ( 847766 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @09:07AM (#51845167)
      The nest CEO seems to think he's Steve Jobs though he's only getting the jackass part of the equation right.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @09:14AM (#51845207)

        The nest CEO seems to think he's Steve Jobs though he's only getting the jackass part of the equation right.

        So essentially that makes him steve ballmer

        • by Luthair ( 847766 )
          Nah, he's missing clown shoes.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by macs4all ( 973270 )

        The nest CEO seems to think he's Steve Jobs though he's only getting the jackass part of the equation right.

        Name even ONE instance where Apple has reached-out and intentionally and permanently disabled an already-purchased piece of Apple hardware.

        Well? I'm waiting...

        • Re:Don't Be Evil (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @10:51AM (#51846013)

          Error 53.

        • What Google is doing isn't exactly that. They're not reaching into the device and disabling it, they are shutting off the cloud services that support it. Unfortunately the net effect on the end user is exactly the same; the device is useless.

          There aren't a lot of direct analogies yet for hardware, and most of them are from companies that have gone out of business. But there are plenty for software and for DRM-protected media. For example, the Microsoft Plays For Sure music files that no longer play because

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @09:13AM (#51845199)
      That was Google. This is Alphabet. Rebranding is like wiping the slate clean, it frees you from all past commitments and promises.
      • Re:Don't Be Evil (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Impy the Impiuos Imp ( 442658 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @09:39AM (#51845407) Journal

        It's time for a judge to rule a software license is meaningless and true ownership of a product with software in it is occuring.

        Then let the lawyers do their thing with that.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by aaronb1138 ( 2035478 )
          "Your friendly reminder that without open standards, you're not "buying" smarthome hardware, you're renting it." - The F/OSS FUD is tiresome.

          For nearly 20 years I have made the argument that software simply needs to fall under the same laws as any other consumer product for quality, reliability, safety, and doctrine of first sale. Bugs that make software unusable / crash prone should be the same as a coffee machine that only lasts a week or tends to start fires. The manufacturer can replace it until it wo
          • Re:Don't Be Evil (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @10:18AM (#51845703)

            It's not FUD, it's absolutely correct, and your post is wishful thinking, which is why the quote is correct.

            Your argument for 20 years is worthless, because **software isn't treated like that**. It doesn't matter how long you've been arguing it; software is not treated like other consumer products, no matter how much you think it should be. There's no signs that it'll ever be treated like other consumer products. You're just tilting at windmills.

            We FOSS people, unlike you apparently, actually live in the real world, and here in the real world where software *isn't* subject to the quality, safety, reliability, and doctrine of first sale terms that regular consumer products are, FOSS software is the only thing that makes sense if you actually want to have real control over your software instead of just renting it.

            • Re:Don't Be Evil (Score:5, Interesting)

              by vtcodger ( 957785 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @10:53AM (#51846029)

              Gonna be interesting when the software -- bugs are the user's problem -- mentality collides with the automotive strict liability world. Presumably the entertainment components can work (or not work) like the crap we are used to. But if your autonomous car runs over a kid on a tricycle I think that software vendors are going to find themselves in a whole new legal world.

              Popcorn time ...

          • Re:Don't Be Evil (Score:4, Interesting)

            by johnnys ( 592333 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @10:26AM (#51845771)
            All the "same laws" that apply to all other consumer products are pretty well useless. Read a cell phone contract or any so-called "warranty" carefully on any "consumer" product and you'll realize you have f-all rights. Manufacturers and vendors are continually chipping away at "consumer rights" with the willing assistance of their well-paid Congress, Senate and SCOTUS critters.

            Try to take a broken toaster back to any big box retailer and get your money back: Unless they really want your repeat business they will make you suffer in a long line to get a "reconditioned" replacement that won't last a week.

            The real advantage of F/OSS is that it gives you no warranty or promise of any kind, but that it DOES give you the capability of fixing it yourself and making the system do what YOU want. As long as your software is controlled by a vendor or any other third party that does NOT have your interests at heart, you remain at their mercy. And they will only act in their best interests, not yours.
          • Re:Don't Be Evil (Score:4, Insightful)

            by sjames ( 1099 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @12:45PM (#51847109) Homepage Journal

            It's funny that you're crying FUD in a comment on an article where it is actually happening right now. If it actually happens, it's not FUD. If it really is FUD, there must be some practical workaround that doesn't involve replacement. Would you care to share your solution with the new brick owners?

    • Re:Don't Be Evil (Score:5, Insightful)

      by lgw ( 121541 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @09:28AM (#51845295) Journal

      Remind me not to buy a Google self-driving car. Wow, dick move.

      • More accurately, don't buy a self-driving car by a competitor of Google that Google will buy out.

        Oh, wait, that requires precognition.

        But definitely, dick move by Google.

        • Re:Don't Be Evil (Score:5, Interesting)

          by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @10:10AM (#51845625)

          More accurately, don't buy a self-driving car by a competitor of Google that Google will buy out.

          Unfortunately there aren't very many Google products that *didn't* originate elsewhere. There's search... but what else? It's not as if Glass or Voice or Maps actually started inside Google, much as they sometimes try to bury any pre-Google history.

      • I'll never buy a self driving car. That's ridiculous! I will pay for a subscription service and let someone else worry about whether they need maintenance or upgrades.

        The vast majority of the time I don't even need a car. Really I need my car AT MOST about an hour a day, the rest of the time it just sits there slowly falling apart.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          > the rest of the time it just sits there slowly falling apart.

          Why not fix entropy instead?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @09:07AM (#51845163)

    I've found that "lifetime" warranties are often for the product's lifetime, not the life of the owner.

    So a lifetime warranty on a dishwasher might be 10 years. Not sure how they get away with that, but I've seen it more than once.

    • by bondsbw ( 888959 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @09:11AM (#51845189)

      Isn't it then deceptive to not advertise the quantity of time that is considered to be "lifetime"?

      Has anyone purchased this device within said quantity of time?

      Does the expiration of my dishwasher warranty allow the company to send a guy to my home to permanently disable it?

      • I would imagine (hope?) that at the very least the "lifetime" period is specified in the fine print somewhere.

        Does the expiration of my dishwasher warranty allow the company to send a guy to my home to permanently disable it?

        This takes planned obsolescence to a whole other level. With lifetime warranties that apply to the owner's lifespan, they just send someone with a garrote over to permanently disable you.

        • by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @09:41AM (#51845427) Homepage Journal

          Some countries actually have laws about products - fitness for use, merchantable quality and so on.

          But don't go to any of them or you might catch a dose of cormanism and end up marrying a gay.

        • by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @09:44AM (#51845459)

          I would imagine (hope?) that at the very least the "lifetime" period is specified in the fine print somewhere.

          From their FAQ:

          The Revolv Lifetime Subscription, which is included in the $299 you pay for the solution, enables GeoSense automation and remote updates that allows your Revolv to work together seamlessly (and continually update) with the products you already own; for the lifetime of the product.

          It would appear they have decided to euthanize the product an thus it has reached date end of its lifetime.

          The question, as I see it, is given the vague definition of lifetime in the FAQ, and absent any clearer one in the TOS that everyone reads in great detail too be sure they understand what they really are getting and not just click "Accept" does Google's EOL'ing of the Revolv constitute a breach of the promise of lifetime service? The products are still serviceable except for the lack of a server, so should there be a remedy for the people whose live once revolved around home automation but are now at a standstill due to Google's actions?

        • by bondsbw ( 888959 )

          I would imagine (hope?) that at the very least the "lifetime" period is specified in the fine print somewhere.

          I would hope for much more than that. The "fine print" isn't always easily accessible at the time of purchase.

          "Lifetime" should not be considered an acceptable term to establish a warranty timeframe. It's redundant; warranties are supposed to define the lifetime of the product, not the other way around.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@@@world3...net> on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @11:10AM (#51846147) Homepage Journal

        In the UK the expected lifetime of a product is determined by courts. For something like a laptop computer, it's typically 5-6 years, for example. It depends on the cost of the product, how it was marketed, what a "reasonable person" (legal term) would expect etc.

        We actually have really great consumer laws covering this. If something breaks during a manufacturing/design defect within it's reasonable lifetime you can get a fix or partial refund. For example, if a laptop expected to last five years broke in year four due to a flawed cooling system you could get a 20% refund.

        I don't even know what exactly this thing is supposed to be, but it's some kind of home control system so courts would probably lump it in with stuff like light switches and consumer units. Reasonable lifespan of 10 years or more. This seems to be very much a design flaw (can be remotely bricked by discontinuation of the service) so you could probably take the vendor to Small Claims Court and win.

        It's the vendor that pays out, not the manufacturer. That's why Amazon had to partially refund that guy whose PS3 had the "other OS" feature remotely deleted by Sony.

    • by Aaden42 ( 198257 )

      There’s no uniform meaning to “lifetime.” If the warranty doesn’t specifically state the lifetime to which it refers, it might as well not exist.

      Says Consumer Reports [slashdot.org]

    • by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @09:28AM (#51845303)
      I find lifetime warranties rather frightening... what if it's cheaper for the company to have me killed than to fix the product?
    • by HexaByte ( 817350 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @12:04PM (#51846659)
      And yet I have Sears Craftsman tools that I bought 25 years ago, and return for a new one when it breaks. Some companies honor their lifetime warranties.
      • by faedle ( 114018 )

        Have you tried it lately? They want a receipt nowadays, believe it or not.

        Plus, with the overall health of Sears Holdings lately, we'll see how long even that lasts.

    • by dissy ( 172727 )

      I've found that "lifetime" warranties are often for the product's lifetime, not the life of the owner.

      So a lifetime warranty on a dishwasher might be 10 years. Not sure how they get away with that, but I've seen it more than once.

      That couldn't possibly be true.

      If you buy that dishwasher, get it home and installed, and 7 days later it dies... Does that not mean by definition the dishwashers lifetime was 7 days? That would mean the lifetime warranty is equal to 7 days.

      No company agreement or warranty is allowed clauses that violate state or federal laws, and this one most certainly would violate some consumer protection "lemon law" out there.

  • by chihowa ( 366380 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @09:07AM (#51845165)

    Google is intentionally bricking hardware that I own. That's a pretty blatant "fuck you" to every person who trusted in them and bought their hardware.

    How many times has Google said "fuck you" to people who trusted them and how many times have those people returned to Google for more? Who actually trusts Google anymore?

    • by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @09:13AM (#51845197) Journal

      Who actually trusts Google anymore?

      I'm not sure Maybe I should go to my usual source to find out [google.co.uk].

      Waaaaiiiitttt....

    • by MachineShedFred ( 621896 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @09:17AM (#51845221) Journal

      Exactly this. I have no idea why anyone would buy anything that Google sells that isn't directly related their search business. And if Google buys someone that produces something you already own, you had better start looking for a replacement - when they discontinue something, they aren't content with simply ending sales and sending it to some legacy support contract like any other company - they want to burn the product down and piss on the ashes.

      And it's convenient the whole parent company rename, so they can do shit like this without tarnishing the 'Google' name on a wide scale.

      • Trust is not absolute -- it is differential.

        I own a Google Nexus phone (made by Huawei, but it's marketed as a Google Nexus phone). This required trusting them enough to bet that my $800 or so (128GB version, with Nexus Protect) spend on the phone will last me about the two years or so I expect to use the phone. Do I trust Google that much? Probably. Would I trust them with a low-cost home appliance thingy that, if they broke, I could replace with something else? I might, if that was the best option at t

    • How many times has Google said "fuck you" to people who trusted them and how many times have those people returned to Google for more? Who actually trusts Google anymore?

      Considering how many Android fan boys there are around here, quite a few. But then even after a decade and more of Microsoft bad practices there were plenty of MS fans. Takes all sorts.

    • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @09:49AM (#51845479)

      People who bought Revolv hubs didn't buy a Google/Nest/Alphabet product.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @09:10AM (#51845179)

    If you don't control it you don't own it. This is the ugly side of IoT. I remember when the first NASes came out, it was great. You could, with a little firewall tweaking, have a hosted file server that you could access from anywhere. Cloud storage is the antithesis of this notion. Someone else takes care of it for you, but it's totally out of your control. They aren't your bits anymore and they could vanish at any time. The wife didn't believe me until Yahoo music shutdown and the albums purchased were just gone forever. If you can help it, always have something YOU control. Don't waste your hard earned money on some corporation's little experiment.

    • Not just IoT. If the source isn't open then you are renting it.
    • The one comfort I take from this sort of story is that as it happens more often, more normal (non-nerd) people will realise how much they could be giving up by allowing all this connected technology into their lives and relying on so many online services that can be changed or shut off at any time. That will lead to people voting with their wallets, and potentially even at the ballot box, for more reasonable terms and for stronger consumer protection, security and privacy rules.

      It will probably also open up

    • by lgw ( 121541 )

      Cloud storage is the antithesis of this notion. Someone else takes care of it for you, but it's totally out of your control. They aren't your bits anymore and they could vanish at any time. The wife didn't believe me until Yahoo music shutdown and the albums purchased were just gone forever. If you can help it, always have something YOU control. Don't waste your hard earned money on some corporation's little experiment.

      It's maybe worth noting that Amazon has never shut anything down, not even an AWS API. Who knows which way the winds of corporate profit will blow in the future, and they did remove that one Kindle book off people's devices (1984, naturally), but we can at least compare track records. The Google Graveyard is vast, and haunted.

  • do no evil, my foot!
    observe actions not words.
    that means do not trust any of the big tech corps, nor their over hyped mediocre products, nor their vague public stances and pronouncements. if they can make even one cent profit, they will sell you.

    • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

      do no evil, my foot!

      Do not yell at your foot, it only does what you tell it to do.
      You a responsible for all bad actions committed by your foot.

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @09:18AM (#51845225) Homepage
    Firstly: to anyone who owns a nest and is counting their fleeting blessings that this will never happen to them, see you on the front page in a few years.

    now, for the rest the slashdotters. stop with the internet of things, synergy of disruptive technology, cloud based "AAS" marketing hootenany and put the cool-aid back. These companies have no vested interest in anything but their shareholders. when Sergei buys a new island, when Tim buys a new ultra-yacht, when Satya or Ballmer or Gates or whoever runs the redmond money choo choo these days buys a new public school system and turns it into a mandatory code camp you can be sure they dont care about you or any of the products you use. Kindle, Nest, Facebook, and Google all exist solely to capitalize on your inability to understand your role as the product of these services, not the consumer. putting it "in the cloud" or buying into a "sharing economy" or whatever some ginned up marketing thirty-something spun across her blog is just fancy buzz jargon for giving up freedom.

    You cant recall my books just because a publisher rubs you the wrong way, because they sit on my shelf after I buy them. You cant recall my email because some sender became non-commital about it, because it lives on my server now. And you can spin it all you want, but you cant do anything about the fact that I use a VPN and adblocker when I surf your "free" wireless. I dont get to experience your SRVFAIL redirection landing page because my DNS queries are my own. And until this cloud based abortion you call the future takes my rights and freedoms into consideration, I'll just exist as one more user you cant track, cant optimise, and wont target properly whos "experience" is "degraded" because I chose something besides serfdom on the internet I was promised would revolutionize the future youre slowly ruining.
    • That will last only so long. Eventually you will need to connect to the Internet only using "approved" devices. It is coming.
  • by transami ( 202700 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @09:19AM (#51845233) Homepage

    It is amazing to me how bad of a company Google actually is, and yet there is so little repercussion. But in retrospect it becomes increasingly clear. Google is just the next Microsoft. Due to the complexity of computers the entrenched OS player(s) simply has too much power to run rough shod over their customers, and there is nothing anyone can really do about it.

  • Sorry about the 'couplet'. Yet another reason (with price, privacy and ethical concerns about UK taxes) that I prefer, slightly amateur, roll your own, home-automation rather than hooking up with the big providers.

    It looks a lot less slick, but it's functional and will only leak information that I choose to the wider intertubes. Also, it's pleasant to talk to and share some community with other like-minded anoraks (geeks, I think in the US). So it's Pi, Perl (yes, I do it for a rather meager living) and
    • Off the shelf is fine just insure that it works with no internet access at all. My Vera does just fine the rest no so much.

    • As an intermediate solution that requires less work and knowledge, go with a solution that does not require the cloud. This can be proprietary or open, for example there are loads of devices available for Zigbee and Z-wave, and there are a few hubs for these standards that do not require the cloud. They will continue to work even if the company changes tack or goes under. Just be very careful with firmware upgrades (remember Philips Hue?), and preferably choose a solution that lets you roll back to older
    • Sure, it has three leads and looks like a transistor, but how do you know what's inside?
      It probably works just fine as a transistor while you're awake and only connects to Guangdong when you're sleeping.

      you're welcome...
  • WTF? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Larry_Dillon ( 20347 ) <dillon.larry@OOO ... inus threevowels> on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @09:23AM (#51845269) Homepage

    It should only be OK to brick the devices if they refund the purchase price. Otherwise, it's theft.

  • by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @09:24AM (#51845271)
    "Lifetime" in a commercial sense is shorthand for "as long as we care to support the product" rather than "as long as the product works." The FTC, for example, lists 3 different interpretations of the term.
    • Along with a statement of warranty, what we need now from companies trying to sell us IoT things is a legal document claiming that they will not sell the company for X number of years. If they do sell, then breech of contract!
      • by ooloorie ( 4394035 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @11:17AM (#51846209)

        Along with a statement of warranty, what we need now from companies trying to sell us IoT things is a legal document claiming that they will not sell the company for X number of years. If they do sell, then breech of contract!

        Who do you think is going to pay for that extended availability, other than the consumer? That means that instead of buying $200 Nest thermostats that may or may not work for a few years, everybody is now forced to pay $500 for the same hardware just so that the company accumulates enough reserves to live up to the support guarantees you want to impose. And for what? Because economic illiterates like you don't understand how the real world works? And, of course, that still doesn't protect you from bankruptcy, technological obsolescence, or key employees leaving.

        When you "buy" a $200 consumer device, you don't "buy" something in the sense of real estate. What you buy is maybe 20 months of prepaid service at $10/month. It's actually the same for most other things you buy: hammers, houses, cars, keyboards, computers, blenders, etc. That's why hardware gets depreciated. In fact, even with real estate, given taxes, you don't really "buy" it, you just pay a lot of points on a long term lease. Furthermore, when you buy a novel consumer device, there is always the risk that it won't work at all, or that it will last less long than you think. Again, caveat emptor.

        So, start living in the real world and stop proposing harmful fixes for things that aren't problems for most people.

  • Autonomous cars... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Moof123 ( 1292134 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @09:25AM (#51845283)

    Wait till their short attention span runs out and your 8 year old Alphabet car gets bricked rather than maintained. We need less of this fly by night tech in critical and long term installations.

    • Wait till their short attention span runs out and your 8 year old Alphabet car gets bricked rather than maintained. We need less of this fly by night tech in critical and long term installations.

      This is why I will never buy an autonomous car.

      No problem however in renting one, like a taxi.

  • by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @09:30AM (#51845323)
    Explain to me again why a home automation device that simply turns my lights on and off requires a company-owned server on the internet to operate?
    • by kwerle ( 39371 )

      Firewalls and VPNs.

    • or else. Clearly.

      The mistake you made was thinking that your requirements were the ones that mattered to them.

      I expect this Nest shit to harvest as much and as intimate of data about you as possible in the most invasive way possible to bombard you with ads. Because just like Facebook, you're not their customer, businesses trying to stuff your face with said ads are.

      Luckily I have 0 interest in home automation after seeing the X 10 shit in the 90's.

      • You laugh at X-10. But the wily pop under from X10 is the one that made so many people to learn how to download and install firefox and then install the pop-up blocker. Without the douchbaggery of X10, firefox would have languished.
    • by acoustix ( 123925 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @10:25AM (#51845761)

      Explain to me again why a home automation device that simply turns my lights on and off requires a company-owned server on the internet to operate?

      I ask this question all of the time. It's happening everywhere and nobody really seems concerned that they have no control over the product they purchased or that a 3rd party is controlling items in their homes/businesses, or that a 3rd party has access to their networks and data.

      IMO, that is exactly wrong with people today. Nobody cares about their own property, including their identity. They blindly follow the crowd to the cloud. All in the name of simplicity and coolness.

  • by Aaden42 ( 198257 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @09:31AM (#51845329) Homepage

    TFA & other stuff I’ve read on this accuse them of taking an affirmative action to destroy the hardware, IE “intentionally bricked.” Reality is that they’re turning off servers that the hardware needs to function. Net effect to the consumer is the same, but the inflammatory language is inaccurate.

    If Google sent down a kill packet or firmware update that was intended to ruin a piece of hardware that would otherwise continue to function as-is if they hadn’t done so, that’s “intentionally bricked.” If they shutdown a server farm that consumers aren’t paying any on-going fees to make use of, that’s a different thing. Google has an obligation to not destroy something you bought, but they’re not obligated to keep providing you free server time.

    ”Google bricked my RSS reader when they shutdown Google Reader.”
    ”Google bricked my email client when they stopped giving email on Google Domains away for free.”
    ”Google bricked my IDE when they turned off Google Code.”
    ”Google LITERALLY killed me when they discontinued Google Health.”

    Basically what I’m trying to say is read the fine print and check your entitlement. You chose to pay money for a product that was dependent on someone else’s charity to keep working. You backed the wrong horse.

    If you can’t smash everything it needs to work with a hammer, you don’t own it.

    • The difference is if we say, "Google is continuously making outlays of cash to hold up a service which consumes power and IT resources and generates zero revenue, and now they want to turn it off," it sounds like we're making unreasonable demands asking for free service forever. If we say, "Google is destroying shit we paid $200 for!", it sounds like Google is evil.

    • Net effect to the consumer is the same

      ...and suddenly your entire post becomes an exercise in pedantry. The hardware will stop working. Whether it be by a signal being sent or a signal not being sent, it still prevents the hardware from doing what it used to do the day before. The customer will be just as pissed about their expensive systems just seem to die.

      If you think that using the term "bricked" is inflammatory, you probably don't want to hear the language that will be used by the Revolv customers when the central part of their home automa

    • by SlaveToTheGrind ( 546262 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @11:17AM (#51846211)

      Basically what I’m trying to say is read the fine print and check your entitlement. You chose to pay money for a product that was dependent on someone else’s charity to keep working.

      The not-so-fine print at the time of purchase actually said "Free lifetime service subscription." [archive.org] That sure sounds like an a liability the parties would have had on their radar when valuing the acquisition. In fact, after the acquisition was complete, Nest reiterated the commitment: "For existing customers, the service will continue to be available and we will continue to offer customer support." [archive.org]

      Reasonable people thus might well view the ongoing service as something more along the lines of a contractual obligation rather than an "entitlement" or "charity."

  • IoTOBSE (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @09:33AM (#51845357) Homepage Journal

    Internet of Things Owned By Somebody Else.

  • by Khyber ( 864651 ) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @09:41AM (#51845417) Homepage Journal

    California Code 1793.03(b) states:

    (b) Every manufacturer making an express warranty with respect to
    an electronic or appliance product described in subdivision (h), (i),
    (j), or (k) of Section 9801 of the Business and Professions Code,
    with a wholesale price to the retailer of one hundred dollars ($100)
    or more, shall make available to service and repair facilities
    sufficient service literature and functional parts to effect the
    repair of a product for at least seven years after the date a product
    model or type was manufactured, regardless of whether the seven-year
    period exceeds the warranty period for the product.

    Every Nest owner should be suing the fuck out of Google in a class-action suit in California right now.

  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @09:41AM (#51845423) Homepage

    Tony believes he has the right to reach into your home and pull the plug on your Nest products

    So, we buy the product, and they just decide when they'll kill it off, and they'll do it by remotely destroying it?

    Yeah, enjoy your IoT bullshit, where other people decide what happens to products you purchase, decide they can do it without recourse, and just do it remotely.

    Fuck that. This is yet another reason why this whole IoT thing is a completely terrible idea. If I bought it, it's MINE, not yours. Unless you plan on compensating for it, or replacing it, YOU do not get to destroy it.

    And if they can reach in and destroy it, they're a hack or two away from someone else being able to do it just for the hell of it.

    "Your friendly reminder that without open standards, you're not "buying" smarthome hardware, you're renting it."

    Nope, I'm neither buying it nor renting it ... because I'm not interested, because I don't trust the competence of the manufacturer, and now because you simply can't trust them to not be assholes.

    Sorry, but unilaterally bricking a piece of consumer hardware is a dick move, and it basically says you don't give a crap about your customers. I sincerely hope this makes people realize they shouldn't give a crap about Nest.

    Destroying someone else's property should be illegal. Oh, wait, without a bullshit EULA, it would be.

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      Way to over-react without having a brain there or even bothering to read past the headline....

      they are shutting off the service, the product will still work perfectly..... except it requires the service. If the company was actually HONEST they would release the firmware as open source and let the community take over. Sadly most companies are not honest and will not do anything like that.

  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @09:46AM (#51845465)
    ... and it still is working fine. There are no external dependencies required for my home automation system to continue working as it has done over those 35+ years.

    .
    The problem with home automation nowadays is that you have to rely on "the cloud" or some company to continue to support the product.

    As we are seeing with Revolv, such a reliance is a significant disadvantage.

  • Free lifetime means free for the lifetime of the product.... that product's life is about to end.

    TiVo and others have fucked over consumers with their "lifetime" promises, nothing new here.

  • Most customers assumed "lifetime free upgrade/support" to mean the lifetime of the device. Common misunderstanding. What they meant was lifetime of the company that was offering the upgrade and support.

    Corporations are people, my friend. With all the rights and privileges including, free will and religious faith. But they are special people who can't be jailed, who can transfer all the assets to another coporation people, keep all the liabilities, and declare bankruptcy and dodge it all. Welcome to Copor

  • by james_shoemaker ( 12459 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @09:59AM (#51845539)

    if you don't have the source and the ability to compile that source into working binaries, you don't actually own it.

  • by ooloorie ( 4394035 ) on Tuesday April 05, 2016 @10:27AM (#51845783)

    If you believe that something like Revolv will keep working forever and ever, that's just foolish. Of course, devices like this often stop functioning after a few years, either because the company decides to move on to different products, or because it goes out of business, or because it gets acquired. (The phrase "free lifetime service" doesn't mean your lifetime or the hardware lifetime, it means "lifetime as we define it".)

    However, just because this is common and legal doesn't make it a good idea. This is a stupid PR move on Google's behalf. Keeping the hardware working could only cost them a couple of developers, they'd get useful feedback, and they could send customers a 50% off upgrade coupon when they come out with their own next-generation device, by which time the Revolv radios will probably be obsolete anyway and people will be itching to upgrade.

"...a most excellent barbarian ... Genghis Kahn!" -- _Bill And Ted's Excellent Adventure_

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