Philips Pronto Dead Again
A consortium of European distributors had tried to acquire Pronto from Philips but the deal fell through. RIP Pronto. We mean it this time.
Philips Pronto, the Philips division that used to make higher-end remote controls, is gone for good.
Philips announced last year that it was closing the division, but CE Pro learned afterward that efforts for a rescue efforts were afoot and almost certainly guaranteed.
Alas, the would-be acquirers were unable to close the deal with Philips.
We learned recently that it was a group of three European distributors who had tried to resurrect Philips. Philippe Loupias is principal of one of those distributors, Pilote Films. He tells CE Pro:
A group of three main distributors (Australia, UK and France) tried hard to deal with Philips during two months, but we did not succeed. The deal was not viable for us; there was no way to find an agreement.
This is the end of a great story for a great brand and a great group of people.
The new generation expected for end of 2011 will never come out. It’s a pity as it will be a revolution on the control business.
Pilote Films has taken its remote control business to Remote Technologies Inc.
Recently, the company sent this letter to its dealers (translated from French):
While the end of the year is generally conducive to good news, the end of 2010 was for us a sense of sadness and bitterness.
We inform you that Philips has decided to end the division Pronto.
For over a year, Philips announced its intention to get rid of the mark. Therefore the negotiations were started with various partners to take over Pronto. During these two recent months we have made every effort with our partners to gather the information needed and requested by Philips to ensure the continuity of Pronto. We have invested blood, sweat and tears. .. Unfortunately we were unable to reach an agreement with Philips and had to give up our project.
For 3 1/2 years, we have appreciated your cooperation, without which Pronto would never have experienced this success.
Pilote Films has nearly 30 years in business. To survive and continue this long, it is important to constantly adapt, and that’s what we do. We signed a distribution agreement for products from RTI that will be effective as of January 1, 2011.
The pain is intense, but there’s no time for mourning. We must move forward. This distribution agreement will enable you to offer a control solution of the quality and scope that will satisfy all your customers.
We are placing our first orders very quickly.
Philips, which on Oct. 29, 2010 announced it was shutting down the Pronto remote control line because the product line ‘no longer fits with the Philips’ strategy,’ said it had been trying to find a buyer for the Pronto business since 2009, claiming “no suitable partner was found.”
When contacted by CE Pro via email for a previous article, Philips said the iPad and price increases were not to blame for Pronto’s demise. “No, this was a strategic decision made by Philips,” the company wrote. “Philips derives its primary strategic strength from a broad and globally divided distribution network for its consumer products. We see very few opportunities for growth for Pronto in the future portfolio of Consumer Lifestyle products. Philips must make choices regarding which strategic markets it will invest in, and the niche market for Pronto products is not one of these.”
Julie Jacobson contributed to this report.
Steve Crowe has been writing about technology since 2008. He lives in Belchertown, MA with his wife and daughter. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Steve at [email protected]
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