In reviewing the topics I could write about today, I focused on two themes. One would report that the other shoe is dropping in the TV space as tough decisions are now being made, the other was to focus on the rapidly unfolding events in the e-book market. I decided to not chose just one topic, so which do you want first: the good news or the bad news?
Senior Analyst and Editor
for Insight Media
Okay, the bad news first.
- Pioneer says it will end TV production and spin off its DVD player operations into a new venture with Sharp. We can’t say we didn’t see the TV problems coming (as we have said in this column numerous times). But as Ken Werner pointed out in internal emails, Panasonic now has 200 of Pioneer’s best PDP engineers.
- Panasonic’s US operations are being trimmed also to, "dramatically improve our support and service to our dealers and consumers." How you do this with fewer people seems strange to me.
- Meanwhile, Panasonic Corp. revealed that it is cutting or reassigning up to 15,000 of its workforce and delaying volume production at its Himeji Plant. Panasonic will probably log an operating loss of nearly ¥200 billion for Q4 of fiscal 2008, due to lower sales.
- JVC America will eliminate about 15% of its workforce and combine three US sales companies.
- CMO has suspended construction of its 8.5G and reassigned employees.
Ready for some good news?
- Amazon.com unveiled a slimmer version of its Kindle e-book reader with more storage (1500 titles) and faster page turns. We believe a new Epson driver chip is used in this model. Pricing remains the same at $359, which some say is hindering sales. But tell that to Amazon who has sold out several times already.
- Fujitsu and Fujitsu Frontech are showing the future of e-book readers putting a larger and color e-book reader, the "FLEPia," out in a café trial for coffee-sippers to test how the customers like reading newspapers on the wireless device.
- And the big news is from Plastic Logic, which has announced new content deals for the ebook with the Financial Times and USA TODAY, in addition to distribution pacts with leading content aggregators like Ingram Digital (ebooks), LibreDigital (enewspapers) and Zinio (emagazines). It is also partnering with Fictionwise to build a vast eContent store. These are major deals that open a new front for these larger size readers (about 8.5" x 11")
So, as one display segment wilts, another blooms. Never a dull day in the display industry.