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Dutine: Philips’ NA Business Turning Around

Las Vegas – Philips Consumer Electronics Wednesday introduced its Connected Home brand strategy at the here and company executives reported Philips North American unit is heading toward profitability.

Gottfried Dutine, CEO of Royal Philips Electronics said during remarks at the company’s press conference here that despite the still-tough economic conditions facing the industry that he expects the North American operation to turn a profit soon. He did not give a timeframe for this, but he said the strategic and operational changes announced at the 2002 CES, and since implemented, is what has led to this turnaround.

‘We have become a more strategic and forward-looking company, while at the same time, remaining committed to providing consumers with technology that enhances their daily experiences,’ said Larry Blanford, president and CEO of Philips Consumer Electronics, North America.

Blanford added that Philips decision to place a premium on some of its higher-end product and to tightly control their distribution has netted excellent results. In the last year the company has experienced a 142 percent sales increase in the premium products sold through up-market retailers as well as a 55 percent increase in branded TV sales.

Dutine also announced that Philips has signed a deal with furniture giant IKEA to use Philips’ products in its in-store displays. He said this will expose the brand to the 300 million people who visit IKEA stores each year.

The company’s Connected Home strategy will focus on delivering digital displays and optical storage products connected via 802.11b wireless networking, Dutine said. The optimal networked home will contain items outside these product categories to include home security, medical devices and home automation.

Dutine and Blanford unveiled Philips’ LCOS-based 42-inch and 52-inch LCD televisions. These will ship during the second quarter. Pricing has not been set. Dutine showed the DSR7000 PVR that uses the DirecTV system, the MC-i250 Internet radio that is part of Philips’ Streamium Internet audio systems, an 802.11b digital receiver for connecting PCs and A/V equipment and the DesXcape portable computer monitor. This sits in a docking station and acts as a traditional monitor, but can be removed and used in a wireless network as a PC Tablet-type device.

Other product introductions include four portable MP3 players and four digital cameras that are part of the Key Ring product line.

The Key003, Key004, Key005 and Key006 MP3 players will come in 64MB and 128MB versions, with prices ranging from $99 to $149. All will ship in June.

The Key007, Key008, Key009 and Key010 digital cameras will ship this summer with suggested prices ranging from $99 to $149. They will come in 1.3-megapixel and 2-megapixel versions.