Another consumer electronics giant officially bailed out on the cut-throat business in audio and video products yesterday. Who’s next?
The bad news came from Royal Philips, the European biggie (based in the Netherlands) that dreamed up the compact cassette, collaborated with Sony on the CD and is deep in the DVD/Blu-ray disc patent pool. A couple years ago, Philips handed off the manufacturing and marketing of TV sets to the Japanese based Funai and yesterday announced the spin-off of Philips audio and accessories businesses too, in return for a healthy royalty for use of the brand name.
A Funai executive suggested that the old Philips gang would still have input on new Philips product designs, but Funai hasn’t taken much of their advice lately. Its’ 2013 Philips-branded TV line for the U.S. has no 3-D models, none with Philips cool “Ambilight” rear illumination enhancement and none in the ultra-wide screen 21:9 TV format which Philips introduced in Europe, that Vizio brought to the States and which LG showed at this CES in a very handsome, $700 computer monitor.
Royal Philips ain’t giving up the rights to its bread and butter small appliance products, starting with lightbulbs (its new LED bulb is the sleekest I’ve seen), Norelco razors and Senseo coffee makers , nor with its consumer and professional health products, where the real money is.