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The sun has set on GE and RCA home telephones as Thomson announces it’s quitting retail telephony

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GE Newsflash: apparently nobody really buys landline phones anymore. At least, not enough people buy home phones that Thomson – the company behind GE and RCA phones — has decided “to exit with immediate effect its retail telephony activities in North America.”

Ironically enough, I got this message just as I was sitting down to write up my review the phone system you see on the left here. The company’s asked me not to review the product since it won’t be sold any more. My basic review would have been, “Sort of cool, too expensive, and only a tiny subset of people might actually need this,” for those of you keeping score.

So there you have it. Another nail in the coffin for retail telephone handsets. Thomson CEO Frederic Rose seems to think that trying to sell regular phones to people is “unlikely to contribute to improving Thomson’s profitability in the short to medium term.” Maybe the long term, too, eh? Full release after the jump…


Thomson to exit its retail telephony activities in North America

11/5/2008

Paris (France) – Indianapolis (USA) – Thomson (Euronext Paris: 18453, NYSE:TMS) today announces its decision to exit with immediate effect its retail telephony activities in North America. This decision reflects CEO Frederic Rose’s commitment to exit businesses that are unlikely to contribute to improving Thomson’s profitability in the short to medium term.

The business, which is part of Thomson Grass Valley (formerly Systems), sells principally DECT telephones to retailers in North America. It accounts for some €135 million (at actual exchange rates) of revenues YTD 2008, a decline of 18% year-on-year, and is expected to report an operating loss of over €(20) million in the current year.

The charges associated with exiting the North American business are estimated to be in the region of €60 million of restructuring costs. The net cash impact of the decision to exit this activity is estimated at €(30) million over 2008/2009. The number of positions affected by the exit will be approximately 140 worldwide.

The Group’s related European and remaining Asian activities are the subject of continuing review. Thomson will continue to pursue its business focusing on set-top boxes and multiple play gateways (including embedded telephony).

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