Systemic Fragility Haunts Europe

If you think the economic and political crisis in the United States is unnerving, you should check out the view across the pond. The mood in Europe is grim. On the streets of European capitals, at family gatherings, and in corporate boardrooms, what could turn out to be the panic of the decade is simmering…

China: The Threat & the Opportunity

The argument about when or whether China will overtake the United States to become the world's biggest economy is moribund. China is already the most “central” trader in the global economy, and its ability to influence events in dozens of nations far exceeds that of any other country, according to the International Monetary Fund. This…

Apple Spreads the Largesse

Only one group must be somewhat unhappy about events at {complink 379|Apple Inc.} right now — the competition. I feel its pain. The consumer electronics company blew away all forecasts for the fiscal third quarter ended June 25 with staggering sales, net income, and product shipment numbers. I was in awe after reviewing the quarterly…

Will Philips Get It Right This Time?

{complink 4267|Royal Philips Electronics N.V.} is facing significant challenges in its operation. The company is losing momentum in the consumer electronics market, and regaining its footing will require some painful actions, according to company executives. In the second quarter, the company reported sales of 5.2 billion euros ($7.3 billion), compared with 5.4 billion euros ($7.5…

5 Ways a US Default/Downgrade Could Hit Electronics

Electronics industry executives are notoriously reluctant to comment on events in the larger economy or in the political sphere. That hasn't changed even now, despite heated US debt/budgetary talks and ominous warnings from economists about events in the country. On Wednesday, President Obama abruptly ended discussions with congressional leaders, reportedly out of frustration. Federal Reserve…

Forecasts & Hype vs. Actual Tablet Shipment

The initial forecasts for tablet PCs were mouthwateringly high. Shipments were expected to rise “by a factor of more than 12 from 2010,” according to estimates provided in February by market researcher {complink 7427|iSuppli Corp.} The company said it expected global tablet sales to rise to 242.3 million units in 2015 from a mere 19.7…

How Škoda Changed Gears

My recent blog about manufacturing trends in Central and Eastern Europe sparked a couple of comments about Škoda Auto, a Czech Republic-based carmaker and wholly-owned subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group. I thought it deserved some follow-up attention. Škoda, with about 110 years of history under its hood, has essentially recreated itself this past decade. It…

Which Company Does Apple Fear the Most?

{complink 379|Apple Inc.} may be the top dog in most of its market segments, but even the biggest, fiercest, and most competitive company has a secret list of companies it knows has a fair chance of displacing it. Without a doubt, Korea's {complink 4751|Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.} is probably the most likely contender for Apple's…

Where Is Philips Electronics Headed?

These last few months, many OEMs, including Nokia and Research in Motion, have been smacked with lower-than-expected income and revenues as consumer and government spending slowed and end-users gravitated towards a limited set of innovative device platforms. If recent news coming out of Amsterdam carries any weight, we soon may be adding {complink 4269|Koninklijke Philips…