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Brands: A Changing Of The Guard

Keeping a brand strong is always tenuous in the CE industry and even more so during times like this.

So it wasn’t a surprise to see that of 24/7 Wall St.’s “Ten Brands That Will Disappear in 2012,” three of the 10 were CE related: Sears, Sony Ericsson and Nokia. You could say four, since 24/7 Wall St. puts Sony Pictures on the list.

Everyone has heard the rumors that BlackBerry’s manufacturer, Research in Motion (RIM), is in trouble and may be bought — by Dell, by Microsoft or by somebody else. Then there is the proposed AT&T/T-Mobile merger and, of course, the proposed Office Depot/OfficeMax marriage that has been gossiped about this week on Wall Street.

Much of this has occurred because of the transition to digital technology, which started in earnest at the turn of the century and disrupted existing businesses models and created new brands, companies and technologies.

Those that couldn’t keep up disappeared or were acquired. Now it is about to happen to companies that originally did some disrupting, if you believe the speculation — RIM, Sony Ericsson and Nokia, just to name three.

Of course, the downturn has plenty to do with this. Just ask Office Depot and OfficeMax, as well as Sears. But for the retailers, part of the problem has to do with digital technology disrupting their business models, with online retailing.

We should find out in weeks or months if all of this is just blind speculation or accurate predictions of the future. One thing is for sure — the CE industry never stands still.