Originally Posted by GalvatronType_R
Bad news for consumers. These acquisitions and consolidation in the CE industry will mean less competition, more price collusion, less innovation, and lower quality.
It could be worse--AudioQuest could of bought them out.
Seems SU is going against the big fish, Harmon backed by Samsung's deep pockets and global R&D. Now that Klippel has the speaker measuring robot that spits out pages of information when testing speakers, it is time to put up or shut up. SU needed B&W to go against Revel/JBL and now they have them, what will they do with them? Realistically, they need a brand name that some folks like or at least recognize as I've seen some B&W plastic speakers at the Apple store--at least they have their name out there.
Should be interesting, all sorts of big names got bought out McIntosh, Harman, Tannoy and Klipsch to name a few off the top of my head but to be expected. Audio hit it's sales peak back in 1990 so the past 30 years have been an errosion in the market at large. The biggest jumps in audio have been car audio/nav systems (#1 in profits) smart speakers (over 200 million sold last year) and of course, soundbars. Retail sales numbers fell 10% last year and 2020 is not looking so bright you could say.
The pro sound/studio sound folks were doing OK last year with strong sales in Youtube/video blogging equipment. The only bright spot for home audio speaker sales was in China (shocker!) as they saw and increase in speaker sales while everywhere else it went down.
A market shrink of 10% in one year is not a good sign looking forward so it becomes a natural to combine to survive. I'm not a big fan of less and less companies but then again, I have no need for their products unless I need a new AVR or something. Realistically, the market will go to where the money is...China and India so I'd expect SU to be doing some changes to target that increasing market. Have no idea what China/India demands for audio speakers, I'd assume something more compact but for the high end they might want very large speakers. They could want "half-rack" or AVRs/amps etc. that is half the width of the 60 year standard 17" width--never know. If so, Class D could see a bright future as money pours in to make half rack a reality.
One of the problems of owning so many brands is overlap and the costs to keep the brand going. Harman has too many brands, I'd expect some of them to go away with a slow fade out (Infinity cough, cough) I remember Boston Acoustics being very popular in car audio some years back--probably not a good fit with Sound United and Def Tech? Adding B&W does expand their line to the much, much higher margin obtained with the furniture grade veneer crowd. SU has no professional sound brands, probably a good idea because that area demands more R&D and less marketing--a brutal battle on that side of the house. Now if Sound United purchases a professional sound brand--that would be news! I don't see it happening for some years, they are trying to become a powerhouse in consumer audio first--good idea! The big money is in car audio/nav systems so they could be gunning for B&W in cars or something in the future.
Personally, I'm watching Harman/Samsung--see what those deep pockets, massive R&D facilities and chip plants can generate. Most audio companies are assemblers, Samsung makes their own electronic components so can really roll out some crazy stuff if they like. This must scare Sound United, it would scare me! At least it will be interesting to see them face off in the market, better to have two larger companies to duke it out than one big one in consumer audio fighting a bunch of smaller companies. Sound United VS Harman/Samsung.... innovate or die? Then again, the Chinese brands are taking off and they are the exapnding market so who knows what the next 5 to 10 years hold. Topping might release a bunch of AVRs, amps and "smart" gizmos to throw the entire market into chaos. Huawei might buy out Sound United! My magic 8 ball keeps saying "try again" so don't get me to lying!
May you live in interesting times