Thank You Mr. Edison, We’ll Take It From Here by Chuck Swoboda - Energy Watch News

Thank You Mr. Edison, We’ll Take It From Here by Chuck Swoboda

I had the opportunity to be part of that meeting in California as the CEO of Cree, one of the LED companies that hosted the event. I was convinced at the time that the future would be lit with LEDs, but to my surprise, the major lighting companies like GE, Philips, and Osram Sylvania were skeptical. These companies were the undisputed market leaders and controlled approximately 70% of the world market for light bulbs at the time. And although they acknowledged the potential of LED technology for certain niche applications, they didn’t believe that it would eventually overtake their industry. As LED technology improved, the major lighting companies did eventually embrace it. However, they initially positioned LEDs not as a mainstream lighting solution, but as a premium alternative. They had factories to run, and the prospect of light bulbs that lasted ten times longer would be bad for business. Their unwillingness to disrupt their existing business model created the opportunity for new LED competitors to enter the market and gain access to consumers through major retail channels. Over the last several years, Philips and Osram have either separated or sold their lighting businesses, and with GE’s recent announcement, it is indeed the end of an era.

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