Today, at their Capital Markets Day presentation in London, Royal Philips announces that it will “consider various options for alternative ownership structures” for Philips Lighting. The 123 years old lighting company is the world leader in terms of volume (mostly lamps) and I was during a good four years its chief design officer. The leadership of Philips always firmly rejected suggestions by analysts to cut up the company, but after a “come to Jesus meeting” (I quote the legendary Rudy Provoost) the executive board sees the light.
The thing is, the “lighting solutions” market where suppliers connect services such as advice, design, maintenance and financing to lighting hardware is luring, but is Philips Lighting fit for it? Sure it does great things (Hue, Citytouch) but the company has a trade-channel tradition, and investors who are interested in the lighting solutions market may well want to put their money in other lighting companies that are already more intimate with their end users.
I’m sure, on the High Tech Campus the speculations already fly around: will soon everyone have to learn Korean, and will the canteen serve kimchi instead of karnemelk for lunch? That would be a big mistake: guess why we Dutch are all so tall! As the Korean wisdom says “원숭이도 나무에서 떨어진다.” Eric, get prepared and grab your dictionary!