Philips has decided to sell its OLED lighting division, according to
electronics magazine Plastic and Electronics. IHS reported that Philips
Lumiblade was the world’s largest producer of OLED panels in 2014.
IHS cites several reasons for Philips’ withdrawal from the OLED lighting
market. While IHS said that the choice to exit the OLED lighting business maybe
just a priority shift, OLED lighting has struggled to reach the mass market and
LG decided to delay the launch of its much anticipated 100 lm/W panels until
next year. OLED lighting has had some recent notable successes. For
example, Seoul National University recently reported the installation of 1,100
LG OLED luminaires in their library, making it the largest OLED installation.
IHS says that the LG produce launch delay likely indicates that while consumers
might be starting to see the advantages of OLED panels for lighting, the
tipping point for the technology which was expected to be a 100 lm/W panel, may
not be ready for the market.
On the contrary OLED displays, have become the “in thing” within the
displays industry. For example, Apple recently announced that, its newest smart
watches will employ OLED displays, the first Apple product to incorporate them.
Also, Samsung recently announced a $3.6 billion funding pledge for their OLED
production and research line. Samsung reportedly plans to split the new line
out into a separate advanced-technology unit.
With an industry as unpredictable and volatile as the nascent OLED lighting
market, IHS says that Philips is likely selling the Lumiblade business unit to
focus on improving their position in LED lighting and slowing the decline of
their core lighting business. IHS points out, however, that if the OLED lighting
industry starts to take off in the future, an ex-Philips OLED business may
directly competes with its former parent company.