Originally Posted by arnyk
IMO, it's both. The desperation is obvious - no engineer real or self-proclaimed, wants to be in the business of merely reskinning or rebranding other people's products. Nobody wants to outsource their production to that degree. Pride breeds a desire to be in control. Merely creating the artwork for the user manual's cover page, the logo on the front and back, and the shipping box, is very few people's dream. The various end-runs can be clever in their way.
That is a recipe for a failing business. Do you really think a company should have an operating model based on "pride?" Really? My first automatic car was a BMW 5 series in 1990s. The transmission was made by GM! Yes, GM. BMW then bought Land Rover and they proceeded to put the BMW engine in Range Rover. You think anyone cared about the feelings of any engineers involved in those decisions?
Do you think when you buy a Dell or HP laptop that someone at Dell or HP designed them? If so, you are ground zero of understanding how any electronic business works. Laptops are entirely designed by Taiwan ODMs using marketing specs from PC companies and manufactured in China. There are engineers at both HP and Dell. Not seeing them having a strike on streets because they were not allowed to do such work.
The first iPod at Apple was based on an existing design. Apple added new UI, the wheel, and excellent package and sold the product with 65% margin where a typical consumer electronics product sells at zero or negative margin.
AMD sold it is semiconductor facility and is now a fabless design house. As is Apple, ARM, Qualcomm, etc. Where is the engineering pride in that saying they should have their own in-house manufacturing? The answer is that the business people overrode them. Taiwan's TSMC could compete with Intel's massive investments in silicon manufacturing far more than each of these companies could do on their own. We are talking about billions of dollars for each iteration of silicon geometry/design.
It is also deju vu all over again. I worked for Lafayette Radio in the 1960s and watched them lose control over their products. When i started working for them they were driving the electronics production complex in Long Island City, etc. and employed some of the best audio circuit designers in the business. By the time I left a few years later everything they sold was designed and built by second and third tier design and build houses in Japan.
That is the issue behind your incorrect guesses as to how the electronics world works. In 1960s US was still kind of manufacturing for electronics. You imported rice from China not your latest iPhone. Vast transformation came about with PC business where the Taiwanese tooled up to do the design and ship it to China to be built with cheap labor. Once there, they went after the Japanese companies and completely put their design and manufacturing shops out of business. The top silicon provider to build a Blu-ray player is from MediaTek, a Taiwanese company. Not Sony. Not Matsushita. And not Broadcom which had to exist the business as the price of that silicon plummeted down to just $5. What Japanese did to US, the Chinese (and Koreans) have done to them 100 times over.
Panasonic just announced that they are exiting the Plasma TV business on the heals of shipping the best Plasma TVs, finally matching the performance of the legend, the late Pioneer Kuro. You don't think pride was hurt at Panasonic engineering or manufacturing? Please forgive me for name dropping
, but the CEO or Panasonic worldwide (Tsuga-san) is a good friend. I knew him when he was in research and was just appointed to run then DVD business. He later got promoted up to run all the AV business and he and I would spend many hours discussing the state of electronics business including that of TVs. I worked at Sony for 5 years where by Japanese boss was later promoted to run all of Sony (terrible decision for them to do that!). I say these things to stop more speculation of how an industry works with no insight into it whatsoever. This world does not work the way one imagines it working when you are an outside, or end user.