From the state of the technology industry today, you would think that the Samsungs, Apples, and LGs of the world have long been the dominant players. But the past was a different time from today. So, it’s sad to acknowledge that those times of success have eclipsed for one of the most innovative companies in consumer electronics history: Philips.
The company, once a hefty name in the electronics industry, is selling its audio and video sections to the Japanese company Funai Electric for a reported $200 million. The deal has come to fruition, since Philips decided that it’s better to focus on the industries where they make more profit in comparison to audio and video manufacturing, namely in the production of medical and lighting equipment.
With its goodbye, Philips is leaving behind a legacy that started out well but petered out with the emergence of new technological giants. The company first made its name in the radio industry. Way back in the 1930, it was the largest supplier of radio the world round. Fast forward to 1963 and you come upon the fact that it was Philips that invented the compact cassette that eventually led to Sony’s Walkman. Roughly two decades later, the company, in collaboration with Sony, released the compact disc format. And somewhere during this period of success, the video cassette recorder and LaserDisc format had popped up. The 1990s saw a trend towards portability with the Compact Disc format, sealing the fate of the cassette. But Philips was still in, or so people thought.
Philips’ gradual doom came with dwindling sales of products that were admittedly low-end but still well-built. Along with this, the company suffered with the introduction of the MP3 format and the new shift in focus directed towards portable MP3 players. Not to mention, it was now going up against emerging giants Samsung, Apple, Vizio, and LG. Philips tried to catch up to the competition by trying to manufacture iPod accessories, TVs, and Blu-ray players, but it wasn’t enough to keep the company afloat. Realizing that it could no longer cut it in the consumer electronics industry, Philips is selling its audio and video business before it reaches utter irrelevancy.