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Toshiba President announces exit from HD DVD biz

February 19th, 2008 · No Comments

Toshiba President Atsutoshi Nishida has formally announced his company’s withdrawal from HD DVD production, bringing to a close the last great format war over physical media.
“We carefully assessed the long-term impact of continuing the so-called ‘next-generation format war’ and concluded that a swift decision will best help the market develop,” said Nishida.
“While we are disappointed for the company and more importantly, for the consumer, the real mass market opportunity for high definition content remains untapped and Toshiba is both able and determined to use our talent, technology and intellectual property to make digital convergence a reality.”
The company will buy-back stock from retailers with an aim to clearing HD DVD products from market by the end of March. Despite selling a million players worldwide, the move will crown Blu-ray as the hi-def replacement for DVD. Owners of HD DVD players are guaranteed ongoing after sales support.
It’s widely thought that Wal-Mart’s announcement of BD support hastened the decision.
Toshiba will now concentrate on growing its semi-conductor business. With US partner SanDisk, it is expected to invest 1.8 trillion yen in a new NAND flash memory factory in Kitakami, as well as extending its existing facility in Yokkaichi. Samsung is the global leader in NAND flash memory, a position Toshiba covets.
Analysts are suggesting that Toshiba’s HD DVD venture will end up costing the company around 50 billion yen. Don’t expect to see the company rush out a Blu-ray player just yet though. Both Toshiba and Microsoft are expected to pursue technology for digital delivery of HD instead.
In a statement, the company said: “Toshiba will continue to lead innovation, in a wide range of technologies that will drive mass market access to high definition content. These include high capacity NAND flash memory, small form factor hard disk drives, next generation CPUs, visual processing, and wireless and encryption technologies. The company expects to make forthcoming announcements around strategic progress in these convergence technologies. The company will continue to assess the position of notebook PCs with integrated HD DVD drives within the overall PC business relative to future market demand.”
Toshiba says the decision will not impact its commitment to standard DVD, and the company will continue to market conventional DVD players and recorders.

Tags: Corporate · HD DVD and Blu-ray · High definition TV · Trade · Video games

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