Sunday, April 22, 2007

Toshiba sells movie and dvd division

The Japanese consumer electronics company Toshiba sells its movie and dvd division to the advertisement bureau Hakuhodo. No financial details have been published.

Toshiba will withdraw from the entertainment industry and focus on the manufacturing of consumer electronics, chips and nuclear technology. Last year Toshiba already ended its co-operation with the British music company EMI.

Toshiba follows the example of Philips. In 1996 this company did a strategic study into the future of the company. The company decided to withdraw from the entertainment industry as it was impossible to develop content devices which need for example DRM. As a consequence Philips sold off its music company and it’s CD-I publishing company. In 1998 the Canadian company Seagram acquired Philips music division Polygram. CEO Boonstra decided in 1996 to sell off the CD-I publishing company Philips Media to Infogrames.

The news item of Toshiba’s sale of its movie and dvd division did not get much attention in the press, but I think that it will have implications, especially for the dvd world. Toshiba has been the leader of the HD-DVD consortium, a promoter of one of the two second-generation DVD technologies.

It was not the first time that Toshiba pushed for a different DVD standard. When in the late nineties the CD-ROM technology had matured and the necessity to store movies on a DVD came up, Philips and Sony formed a consortium of technology and movie companies, while Toshiba brought also a consortium of software and movie companies together. Sony had an audio and video division just as Toshiba had. As interested party in the movie industry Toshiba had direct interests in developing an own standard, saving its subsidiaries license money. When the fight came to a head in 1998 IBM stepped in and Philips CEO Jan Timmer played the mediator role. After some head banging, the companies worked together towards one common standard.

But with the development of the second generation DVDs, the same division showed up again. Philips and Sony developed Blu-Ray on the basis of their pallet of licenses. Toshiba reeled in Microsoft for the development of HD-DVD. Now the companies let the people choose; and they do not choose yet.

But with the sale of the movie and dvd division, the immediate interest of Toshiba in the HD-DVD technology might be over, as there is no longer a world to win with HD-DVD technology and content. It could mean that Toshiba might loose its appetite to push the HD-DVD. It would not surprise me if in a few years time HD-DVD is a passed station.

Blog Posting Number : 731

Tags: CD-ROM, DVD, Blu-Ray, HD-DVD, , ,

No comments: