It is an acknowledgment that they (Hitachi, Matsushita, and Canon) are losers or at best way, way behind the leader Sharp. Matsushita bet on plasma displays, and is losing market share to LCD TVs everyday. Canon only cares about smaller displays, because they just want their digital cameras to win. Hitachi is just trying to sell its money losing LCD display business to others.
Sharp is the leader by far in the LCD display business, and Toshiba made the right move by dealing to buy its future LCD displays from Sharp. Clearly GLW made the right decision by tying its 10 generation glass factory to Sharp and building the plant right next to the new Sharp factory.
"It is an acknowledgment that they (Hitachi, Matsushita, and Canon) are losers or at best way, way behind the leader Sharp. Matsushita bet on plasma displays, and is losing market share to LCD TVs everyday."
LCD-TV shipments are expected to nearly double from this year to 148.4 million units in 2011, according to DisplaySearch, an Austin, Texas-based industry research firm. DisplaySearch estimates LCD shipments will grow 30% to 98 million units, making up more than half of total television sales, in the next year alone. In contrast, plasma-TV shipments, though growing, are expected to amount to less than 14 million units next year.
3 big electronics makers in flat-screen TV deal Matsushita, Hitachi and Canon team up to speed development as competition heats up.
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close) December 25 2007: 6:31 AM EST
TOKYO (AP) -- Matsushita, Hitachi and Canon announced Tuesday a tie-up in their liquid crystal display businesses, the latest collaboration in the increasingly competitive flat-panel industry.
Their collaboration creates a third major force in the flat-panel industry in Japan along with the Sony's alliance with South Korea's Samsung Electronics and the Sharp and Toshiba team, which was announced last week.
"Under this alliance, the three companies will merge their strengths to accelerate the development of cutting-edge display technologies and expand their scope of application," the three companies said in a joint statement, announcing their alliance plans.
The alliance is expected to help Hitachi (HIT) restructure its sprawling portfolio of subsidiary companies and enable Matsushita (MC) and Canon (CAJ) to raise their profile in the LCD sector.
"Close cooperation among the three companies will enable stable supply of LCD panels," said Hitachi Ltd. President Kazuo Furukawa. "I am certain that the alliance will enhance our competitiveness."
Hitachi will reduce its interest in wholly owned subsidiary Hitachi Displays Ltd. to slightly more than 50 percent. The unit has been posting losses. (Probably an older generation plant?)
The remaining shares will be divided equally between Matsushita and Canon by March 31, 2008, the statement said. Canon may eventually take over a majority stake in Hitachi Displays, it said.
Hitachi Displays makes small and mid-sized LCD panels and the tie-up will allow Canon to procure a steady supply of monitors for digital cameras.
Canon Inc. also plans to further promote development of organic light-emitting diode panels, or OLEDs, with Hitachi, the statement said.
Matsushita said it will increase its involvement in IPS Alpha Technology, a joint venture between the three companies and Toshiba.
Toshiba, which on Friday signed an agreement to buy large quantities of LCD panels from Sharp, is to sell its stake to Matsushita Electric Industrial Co.
Matsushita plans a next-generation plant at IPS Alpha to ensure a stable supply of LCDs and may use the new plant as a possible future base for production of OLED displays, according to the statement.
"I think the three companies have considerable potential in the OLED business," said Hideki Watanabe, an analyst with Shinko Securities. "They have the basic technology."
However, he questioned Matsushita's plan to get involved in large-size displays, saying the company is behind competitors such as Sharp. (It appears that the industry is already acknowledging Sharp as the large panel leader. Corning, having signed a pact with Sharp to supply its glass, is building a new 10 generation glass plant adjacent to Sharps 10 Generation display panel (TV) manufacturing plant under construction in Japan. Sharp, in turn, will supply Toshiba with panels. - Incidentally a 10 gen glass plant produces a sheet of glass approximately 9 ft 4 inches by 10 feet. The present thickness is .5 mm, about one-eighth inch thick. The larger dimensions allow the sheets to be cut into more diverse configurations as well as into larger panels. Newer generations create additional margins of profit of 20%, or more, virtually assuring the obsolescence of older generations of plants. Note how crucial is Corning�s role in providing a 10 gen glass producing plant. We can expect that Corning will be building new plants to upgrade the industry. How many of the present glass makers can stay in competition?) ........
Not too much we can do.... Howver, I would intensiy R&D efforts and also protect our patent rights very aggresively.... I remember in 1973 (when I came in this country) I used to work fo a bank (MHT) LC department and noticed that a lot of automobile mfg from foreign countries (especially from Orient e.g Japan, Taiwan) were buying just one USA made car like Cadillac and it was clear to me that they were steaking out technology...when I expressed that concern to my boss he said...."How can you say that about out friends?!