Philips Electronics NV

Philips Electronics NV
in full Royal Philips Electronics NV Dutch Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV

Major Dutch manufacturer of consumer electronics, household appliances, lightbulbs, and imaging equipment.

It was founded by Dutch engineer Gerard Philips in 1891 to make incandescent lamps and incorporated in 1912 under the name NV Philips Gloeilampenfabrieken (Dutch: Philips Incandescent Light Works). Its strong research efforts were consolidated in 1914 in a separate organization that became the Philips Research Laboratories. It began manufacturing radios in the 1920s, and after World War II it marketed stereo equipment, televisions, and other products under such brand names as Philips, Magnavox, and Norelco. Philips helped create the compact disc, the cassette tape, and the videocassette recorder, and it is a leading supplier of diagnostic medical equipment. Renamed Philips Electronics NV in 1991, the firm has manufacturing and marketing subsidiaries throughout the world.

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▪ Dutch manufacturer
in full  Royal Philips Electronics NV 

      major Dutch manufacturer of consumer electronics, electronic components, medical imaging equipment, household appliances, lighting equipment, and computer and telecommunications equipment.

      Philips & Company was founded in 1891 by Frederik Philips and his son Gerard, who had been an engineer with the Anglo-American Brush Electric Light Corporation Ltd. Gerard Philips continually experimented to improve the longevity of light bulbs, at the same time optimizing production procedures. His younger brother Anton Philips later joined the firm, adding the commercial savvy that formed the basis for the company's international expansion. The company remained driven by technology, however, often striving for high quality rather than low cost. In later years the company was often slow to bring its innovative technologies to market.

      The Philips sons established an autocratic management style, with a tradition of taking care of their workers from the cradle to the grave. Philips built housing, schools, and hospitals and, from 1900 onward, provided free medical aid. Members of the Philips family led the company until 1977 and maintained great influence well into the 1980s.

      Philips benefited from The Netherlands' neutrality in World War I by capturing many new markets. In 1924 Philips, together with the American manufacturer General Electric Company (General Electric Co.) and Osram GmbH (now a wholly-owned subsidiary of German manufacturer Siemens AG), formed the Phoebus cartel in order to divide up the light-bulb market worldwide and to set the standard life of a light bulb at 1,000 hours. Critics claimed that the cartel stifled innovation and competition in lighting for several decades. By 1919 Philips had expanded into the production of radio tubes. In 1927 it introduced a simple, affordable radio, and by 1933 it was the world's largest radio manufacturer.

      In the 1930s Philips shifted much of its production outside The Netherlands to avoid the import controls that many countries established during the Great Depression. Just before the outbreak of World War II, Philips moved its headquarters to Curaçao, keeping the company out of German control. Nevertheless, Philips's role in the war became the subject of some controversy.

      After 1945 Philips expanded its product range. It launched the Philips record label in 1951, acquired Mercury Records in 1960, and continued to invest in record labels such as Deutsche Grammophon, Decca, and Motown through its PolyGram subsidiary (sold in 1998). Philips was much less successful in entering the computer business. By the time the company released its P-1000 mainframe system in the mid-1960s, the IBM (International Business Machines Corporation) 360 was well established as the market standard. The company did better with a range of minicomputers in the 1970s but missed out on the personal computer revolution. In 1986 Philips launched a personal computer with a proprietary operating system, years after other manufacturers had accepted Microsoft Corporation's MS-DOS as the market standard. In 1992 Philips exited the computer hardware business, though it remained an important supplier of components to the industry.

      In 1963 Philips launched a small battery-powered audio tape recorder that used a cassette instead of a loose spool. Philips let other manufacturers reproduce the technology royalty-free, quickly establishing cassette tapes as a standard worldwide. Philips fared less well with its video technology. Although it demonstrated the world's first videocassette recorder (VCR) in 1971, the company was slower to market than the Japanese, who launched Betamax in 1975 and VHS in 1976. Philips did not start production of VHS players until 1984.

      Meanwhile, Philips had developed a new technology to play back video, using a laser to read information from a disc. Introduced in 1978, LaserDisc technology never caught on, but it did lead to another major success: the compact disc (CD). A key agreement with Sony Corporation in 1979 and a series of deals with music companies ensured the format's success.

      In a series of acquisitions in the 1970s, Philips established a position in the American consumer electronics market, starting with the purchase of television maker Magnavox in 1974. However, Philips fared poorly in competition with Japanese consumer electronics. In 1991 Philips launched CD-I, a multimedia player aimed at the living room. More expensive than electronic game consoles and lacking the capabilities of personal computers, the CD-I player never caught on. In 1992 the digital compact cassette was introduced as a digital successor to the audio cassette. It faced competition from Sony's MiniDisc, but neither format lived up to commercial expectations.

      By the early 21st century, Philips was also a leading producer of portable defibrillation units, ultrasound systems, and computed tomography (CT) scanners. Philips has manufacturing and marketing subsidiaries throughout the world.

Dominique C. Deckmyn

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Philips Electronics N. V. — Philips Electronics N. V.   [ ɪlek trɔnɪks ], niederländisches Elektronikkonzern, gegründet 1891 von Gerard Leonard Frederik Philips (* 1858, ✝ 1942) und Anton Frederik Philips (* 1874, ✝ 1951), firmierte 1912 91 als Philips Glœilampenfabrieken N …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Philips Electronics NV — holandés Philips Gloeilampenfabrieken, NV Gran empresa holandesa fabricante de artículos electrónicos, artefactos para el hogar, bombillas eléctricas y equipos de formación de imágenes. Fue fundada por el ingeniero holandés Gerard Philips en 1891 …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Philips Electronics —    Multinational business founded by Anton Philips and his brother Gerard, originally as a manufacturer of lightbulbs, but then spreading to all sorts of electrical equipment, household appliances, and electronics as well as records and other… …   Historical Dictionary of the Netherlands

  • Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. — Philips  Pour l’article homophone, voir Phillips. Pour la poétesse, voir Katherine Philips Logo de Philips …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. — Royal Philips Electronics Unternehmensform Naamloze Vennootschap ISIN …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Royal Philips Electronics — Unternehmensform Naamloze Vennootschap ISIN …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Объединенная рабочая группа по проблемам тестирования (компании Philips Electronics, США) — Cм [Л.М. Невдяев. Телекоммуникационные технологии. Англо русский толковый словарь справочник. Под редакцией Ю.М. Горностаева. Москва, 2002] Тематики электросвязь, основные понятия EN JTAGJoint Test Action Group …   Справочник технического переводчика

  • Philips (disambiguation) — Philips can refer to:* Philips, Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. (Royal Philips Electronics ltd.), one of the world s largest consumer electronics producers. People * Ambrose Philips (1674 1749), English poet * Anton Philips (1874 1951),… …   Wikipedia

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