One of the best things about Logitech USB web cameras was their video conferencing system called Vid HD. Unlike Skype, it’s secure (or can be). This was a great reason to use it, and why network administrators the world over would chose it over things like MSN Messenger and Skype.
If you want to know what’s wrong with Skype see my chapter on VoIP in the Handbook of Electronic Security and Digital Forensics. Basically it’s a “stealth” protocol based on illegal file sharing technology (Kazza) and is almost completely unmanageable at firewall level. Apart from its use as a conduit for malware through a firewall, its anarchic super-node structure is a menace. It was designed, of course, to make it impossible for the authorities to shut it down peer-to-peer media sharing operations after Napster’s servers were clobbered, so the directory server (super-nodes) can pop up anywhere you get a luser running Skype. In summary, no one who knows about security would be happy about Skype running on their corporate network, and home users can go to hell in a handcart.
So, it’s come as something of a shock to discover that Logitech, the supplier of reason, plans to do the dirty on all those who bought their kit and signed up to the service. According Joerg Tewes (their VP of digital home business group) on his blog, Logitech is going to withdraw the service on 1st July.
According to Tewes, “We launched Logitech Vid to make video calling easier and more approachable for our customers. We recognize that video calling has come a long way since then and there are now more widely used video calling solutions available, such as Skype.”
He continues by suggesting that users switch to Skype instead, as though this is some kind of decision made in the best interests of their hapless customers. There’s no hint of an apology.
Unless there is a change of heart from Logitech it’s going to leave a lot of people in the lurch. These will be people who understand about communications and security, not the home users that think Skype is cool. It’s going to hit the kind of people who specify product, and they’ll be loath to trust Logitech again as a result. I, for one, am certainly sorry I recommended them.
Deploying a replacement is going to be awkward and expensive, and there’s no obvious sensible replacement available. Vid HD was simple, reliable and a good product. Logitech’s management may be simple, but they’re neither reliable nor good.
I have asked Logitech through for their comments through Joerg Tewes about the above, but they have so far declined to comment.