Policy & Law
Philips is exiting the consumer electronics industry — according to The Wall Street Journal, the company has announced the sale of its audio, video, multimedia, and accessories divisions to Japanese company Funai for just over $200 million in cash as well as a brand license fee. While Philips was once seen as an innovator, and helped create the DVD and Blu-ray standards, the company has since proven incapable of transitioning to the world of internet media to compete with the likes of Samsung, Apple, LG, and Sony. Even Philips' CEO admitted as much: "Since we have online entertainment, people do not buy Blu-ray and DVD players anymore," Chief Executive Frans van Houten told the WSJ.
While the company has already sold off its consumer electronics business to Funai, it doesn't mean the Philips brand will disappear overnight — the BBC reports that the transfer of Philips' video business won't take place until 2017. As for what's next for Philips, the company will continue to focus on its medical business as well as its burgeoning LED lighting and control systems, the latter of which has given Philips a few less conventional consumer-facing products.
Update: A Philips spokesperson confirmed what the BBC said — the Philips brand isn't going away. Its arrangement with Funai is essentially a licensing agreement. Funai will work with the Philips team in Hong Kong, and the company still plans to launch everything it showed off at CES this year. It also said that there will be future product announcements over the summer, at next year's CES, and beyond that. While the business structure may be changing, the brand itself will still be around for the near future, at the very least.