Dutch giant Philips had already said it would split its existing business into two companies – automotive lighting and LED and its healthcare business.
But now it looks like it’s exiting its core business – lighting – completely.
The lighting company will be spun off and will be floated on the stock exchange, probably in 2016. Its lighting business generates revenues of around $2 billion and has 37,000 staff.
Philips originally started in the late 19th century in its core business – making electric lamps. It diversified greatly during the 20th century at one time even operating its own aircraft business. It also was for a while a player in the audio-visual business and in PCs.
A few years back it spun off its semiconductor business which is now trading as NXP and which is expected to merge with Freescale soon.
Lumileds, the name of the automotive and LED lighting business, will eventually be completely sold off, according to a report in Electronics Weekly.
Nick Holonyak, who invented the first visible-light LEDs is a little miffed that he never got a Nobel Prize for his work.
This is particularly so now that the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics to three inventors of the blue light-emitting diode.
While Holonyak is not exactly complaining that he isn’t among them, he is a little cross that they got the prize while his 1962 invention has never been singled out for recognition by the academy.
He told the Associated Press that he was an old guy now, but found it insulting.
The Nobel Foundation highlighted the great potential social impact of blue LEDs, which made LED bulbs possible and could help dramatically reduce the amount of energy the world expends on lighting.
However you have to wonder why blue LEDs get the prize while Holonyak never got much recognition.
Before Holonyak’s red LED, there was the infrared LED, along with even earlier discoveries, and there is a host of other researchers who could share credit in the device’s development.
Holonyak, who won the IEEE Medal of Honor (sic) in 2003 , originally set out to develop a red diode laser. In the process, he also succeeded in creating a red LED. Holonyak and several of his colleagues later went on to use compound semiconductors similar to those used to create the first LED to develop a transistor laser, a device capable of emitting both electrical and optical signals.