Japan's Pioneer Electronics is giving up on manufacturing their own plasma panels, and will simply buy them from other manufacturers and market them to consumers. The market for the panels is intensely competitive, and Pioneer has been bleeding red ink ever since it purchased the plasma manufacturing operations of NEC Corp in 2004.
As it downsizes its plasma business, Pioneer will now try to rebuild itself with help from rival Sharp Corp Pioneer and Sharp last year formed a capital and business partnership that allowed Sharp to become the single largest shareholder in Pioneer with a 14.3 percent stake.
Pioneer will also start buying Sharp's LCD panels at a yet to be decided date to re-enter the LCD TV business.
'Whether and how Pioneer and Sharp will increase their partnership remains to be seen,' Tokai Tokyo's Hirose said.
The company said it now plans to focus on its core business of making car audio equipment, where it is a key player, and turn around its loss-making home electronics business in the year to March 2010 by restructuring this division.
Maybe it's just me, but the idea of turning to car audio as your bread and butter seems a bit like a 1970-ish idea. But sooner or later everyone's going to want to trade up from their 8-track player to a Pioneer, right?