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AUTOMATION / REMOTE CONTROLS

EXCLUSIVE:Philips Kill Off Pronto Remote Business But Forgot To Tell Distributors

By David Richards | Sunday | 31/10/2010

EXCLUSIVE: Philips, who 18 months ago pulled out of the flat panel TV market in Australia, have now pulled the plug on their Pronto remote control business without giving any warning to their local distributor Qualifi who have invested tens of thousands marketing the device in Australia.



As of yesterday Qualifi had not been told that the Philips remote control business was being shut down effective immediately due to competition from new tablets, Apple iPhones and Android based devices.

Mr Ralph Grundl, Marketing Manager at Qualifi said upon being told of the news by ChannelNews "This is news to us. We suspected something was wrong, but no one has told us that the division is being closed down. Where can I read about this?"

In a statement issued in Europe the company said in part: "Following thorough research, no suitable partner was found for the acquisition of our Pronto operation as such, Philips confirms today that it will discontinue the Pronto product line and related activities."

Last month Philips turned up at the CEDIA Expo in the USA to show their new high end TSW9500 in-wall Pronto touchscreen which was seen as an expensive solution when compared to a $699 iPad or a $300 7" Android based touch screen which will carry out most of the automation functions that a Pronto remote that is selling in Australia for over $2,400 will do.

As part of their statement Philips said "In December 2009, Philips announced the intention to relocate some of its existing remote control activities in Leuven, Belgium to Asia. At the same time, the intention was communicated to investigate alternative strategic options for the Pronto business, as this activity no longer fits with the Philips strategy".

What Philips has failed to communicate is how resellers and installers will be affected by the shutdown.

Grundl said: "This is a shock but when you look at it, it's not unexpected in light of what a tablet will do. We suspected something was wrong a few days ago".

ChannelNews was under the impression that the Philips Pronto division was set to launch a new home control device called the Pronto Control Processor that was set to be revealed early in 2011.

Designed to connect custom installation devices and services the control box was designed to work with a multiple of interface devices including iPads and Android tablets and Smartphones. 

The Pronto business, headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, was initially developed to service the custom audio-video installation market with advanced control devices. 

The company says it "will engage in a dialogue with its social partners on the consequences for the involved personnel of this announcement."

Philips who 18 months ago acquired Dynalite in Australia could not be reached for comment.

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