They really don't care about retail consumers right now, the tube lights are being sold in bulk to commercial buildings as retrofits.
I only remember compact CFL's being expensive but of good quality when they 1st came out but losing their reputation once they started being made poorly in China. One can only hope there are less things to screw up on an LED bulb but I'm not holding my breath.
The only problem with your thesis is that Cree is the only LED maker cutting back on LED manufacturing while all others are running at 100% capacity and growing sales
The heavy electrical and HVAC upgrades mean they are going to be adding a lot of CAPEX in the future.
You don't sell your patents unless they are useless or unenforceable, Rambus is going to have a hard time extorting money from anyone based on prior art.
Hmm, last time I was in HD I ran into a large display of Cree bulbs in the front aisle you couldn't miss and despite not being there for a bulb I bought bulbs anyway.
"This in turn will help both corporate focus specifically on product improvement "
LED growing already has the goal of continuous improvement built in. R&D reactors run 20 experiments a week trying to push the process.
If I may jump in, Lumileds has the worlds best camera flash Leds. Osram is extremely strong in Automotive. Nichia does very good lighting LED's. Epistar does great mid-power leds. I think All the LED vendors have some specific weakness you have to consider.
"Cree needs another distributer"
HD is a retailer. A true distributor would stock a greater variety of Cree parts depending on their specialty.