PC Makers target Consumer Electronics

Barron’s writes how the likes of Philips and Sony are facing competition from Dell, Gateway, HP and Apple:

Departing from their desktop roots, the Big Four are aiming straight for your living room, with an ambitious array of wide-screen televisions, digital cameras, videogame consoles, downloaded-music players, camcorders and digital-video recorders. Call it the CE Era, best symbolized, perhaps, by the recent excision of “Computer” from Dell’s corporate moniker. We call it a perilous passage from the fireplace to the fire.

The PC business is mature and its biggest players are desperate for new sources of growth, even if that means taking on entrenched players in an equally cutthroat business. “There is no strategic logic or technology logic. PC companies just have to go somewhere,” says Michael Collette, chief executive of Ucentric Systems, which makes software allowing home-network devices to communicate with each other.

Like Collette, UBS technology strategist Pip Coburn believes much of the talk about growth opportunities in consumer electronics is aimed at masking the slowdown in sales of PCs and peripheral products. The computer industry, he says, doesn’t see “a lot of transforming technologies” that could bail it out.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.