It was pretty much established that Google TV wasn't ready for prime time when it launched last fall, and now comes more proof.
Logitech has reported that the company's Revue with Google TV set-top box and the accompanying gear generated only about $5 million in sales during the last quarter. That's only about 72 percent less than the $18 million Logitech had expected. This was first reported by Janko Roettgers at the blog GigaOm.
One day I hope to learn why Google TV was rushed out. It wasn't like there weren't already plenty of risks posed by wedding the TV to computer software. Google TV is a software platform that comes equipped with the Android operating system and Google's Chrome browser.
Not only did Google launch a Web TV strategy that required users to shell out money for hardware, such as the Revue or a TV from Sony, but at the same time, competitors such as Netflix offered a much simpler and less-expensive option--they enabled users to watch Web TV with little more than a browser.
Google TV's content strategy also stumbled badly out of the gate. Why launch and enable users to access the Web content from the major networks without cutting deals first? Google set itself up for a headline-grabbing smackdown, and that's what it got when the networks all blocked Google TV access.
A Google spokesman did not discuss Logitec's poor Revue numbers but did issue a statement:
"It's early days for Google TV and for internet-connected TVs in general," the spokesman wrote. "At Google, we launch products early and iterate quickly based on consumer feedback. Our engineers are doing just that, and they're developing the next version of Google TV, which will, for example, include Android Market. This will enable the applications from thousands of developers to come to Google TV."
Google TV isn't the only way the search company is trying to compete in Web-video entertainment. Google's YouTube operation is seeking to become relevant in feature film distribution as well. The company has long been making plans to build up the streaming library available at YouTube.
To improve the company's image with Hollywood and other content creators, Google has worked to thwart content piracy and beefed up its content acquisition team, which now features a former Netflix exec and multiple former managers from Paramount Pictures, the film studio owned by archrival Viacom.
Here's something else to remember, Google's first versions of its now successful Android operating system for mobile phones got off to a bumpy start. So, despite the troubles with Google TV, it's possible that Google's Web video effort is just ramping up.
Update: 8:34 a.m. PT To include Google's comments.