Haier Learns an Important Lesson about Internet
I’m a little late to this party. TL;DR Haier tried to bully a FOSS developer who was making their product more useful, and got schooled. I love it.
It is worth reading the timeline and the associated FAQ. Not just because it’s fun to watch a company try to abuse someone providing a free service that makes their products more valuable, get skewered. But also because it provides a framework for how to deal with this sort of thing in the future, should when it happens again.
I understand why companies like Haier try to control API access. There is probably some wunderkind at HQ who thinks there’s money to be made in joining the IoT, and then gatekeeping it. But on the other hand, I don’t understand why they are so close-minded about it. I think they clearly don’t understand the cost service equation, or have made poor application architecture decisions either to force a Cloud dependency, or don’t understand that our networks are our networks.
Even if we ignore that, the percentage of their user base that takes advantage of projects like this can’t be large. If they weren’t jerks about it, I wouldn’t even know that the plugin for Home Assistant existed, because I don’t have any Haier products. All they’ve done is Streisand effect their closed minded behavior and tarnish the brand with people who follow this kind of thing. After this, the probability that I will buy a Haier product approaches zero, where beforehand I was ambivalent towards the company.
Same goes for Chamberlain. Who recently did the same thing, but have stuck to their guns. Probably because they think that people should pay them a money fee to be able to open/close the garage door from their mobile device or automation.
Except there, it actually cost the company a sale because we were planning on using their garage door opener in the house we’re building. Now we’re going to use a Genie 6172 instead.
To be clear, I’m not saying that any of this will have a round error’s impact on either company’s bottom line. But that’s true either way. More that I don’t understand why companies feel a need to be a jerk about stuff like this in public. Being a jerk can’t be good for the brand.