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Home > Interviews > Optical Storage

Monday, August 02, 2004
Interview with Mr Frank Simonis of Philips

1. Interview with Frank Simonis of Philips

An Interview with Mr Frank Simonis

The following interview was very kindly given to CDRinfo by Mr Frank Simonis, Strategic Marketing Director, Philips Optical Storage.

Philips has been and is a technology leader. Can you give us a little background on PHILIPS, especially some of the things most people may not know about the company.
Some people may not know that our expertise is much broader than a technology leader in consumer electronics. We are very active in medical systems, lighting, semiconductors and domestic appliances. We have a long history in innovations, like the audiocassette recorder and the CD. At this moment we are selling more than 5 consumer electronics products per minute to consumers worldwide, for which our DVD recorders and Flat TVs are among the highlights. We are leading the industry towards the "Connected Planet" - a world where everyone can always connect and access entertainment, information and services, independent of location, time or device.

What are Philips' strengths and weaknesses?
Philips has strength in research and innovation of new optical storage technologies, key components like the optical pickup unit & IC chipsets and Philips has capabilities to set standards together with industry partners. To further strengthen our position in the dynamic optical storage PC markets, Philips formed last year with BenQ, a joint venture called PBDS (Philips BenQ Digital Storage) to accelerate product development and high volume manufacturing in Asia.

Have your plans so far this year gone to schedule, what were they and what can we expect for the remainder of this year?
We are very pleased that we passed all our major milestones as planned. Philips was one of the first to bring DVD+R 8x in 2003 and DVD+R DL in 2004 to the market, only a half year after our research was completed. And last month we started shipping our 16x DVD+R/+RW drive, the world's fastest DVD writer.

What does the future hold for Philips?
Philips will maintain a leading position in optical storage and is pleased to have found a solid partner in BenQ to achieve this. Partnerships are a key to survival in today's dynamic optical storage markets. The optical disc drive market shows high growth, from 200 million units in 2002 to 250 million expected in 2007. With DVD writers to become a standard feature in any PC and the Consumer Electronics (CE) DVD recorders replacing VHS tape recorders, Philips is well positioned to capture a significant share of this market. For the future, the emphasis will be on the Blu-ray Disc, which brings to the industry and consumer, a significant leap in performance. It will deliver an ultimate home entertainment experience, and provide huge capacity for archiving and back-up purposes.

Your opinion on technology in general (trends, future developments, difficulties).
You can see the trend is going from technology towards a feature/function demand. People don't care about technologies; they want technology to serve their needs. We as an industry need to listen to these consumers and think in user models and use this as a starting point for a technology pull instead of a technology push. It amazes me that some manufacturers introduce DVD camcorders on the market, pushing their technologies, when the consumer cannot play the DVD disc in a standard DVD video player or cannot append more video to that same disc if they choose the "compatibility mode". Record on DVD, playback in standard players and append is what the consumer expects, not the introduction of multi-modes that force consumers to make choices beforehand.

Philips offers a wide range of products in the home electronics consumer market. How large a share does optical storage have in this market?
For PC DVD+RW data drives, Philips plans to have production volume at 600 k units/month this fall. At that time, Philips will have a position in the top 3 manufacturers of DVD+R/+RW data drives for desktop PCs. For CE DVD+RW recorders, we have a major market share.

How does Philips differ from the competition in the optical storage market?
Philips' intention is always to be amongst the first companies bringing innovation to the DVD+R/+RW market segment. We are concentrating our efforts on meaningful innovations, based on consumer needs and wishes. For instance, from the beginning we developed DVD+RW to be compatible, easy-to-use and optimized for both the PC and CE domains. These attributes are what the consumer expects from an optical disc, and it is what we deliver.

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