The current line-up of Fujitsu Plasmavison and Aviamo TVs will be the last, the company has announced. As of March 2008, Fujitsu General will exit the home-use plasma display market, blaming the intense price pressure on flatscreen TVs.
In the surprise announcement, made after a board meeting yesterday, the company says that 'During the past several years, the pricing and profitability of this segment has compressed beyond the point which our company could realize a satisfactory return on investment. We expect that this market situation will continue in the future.
'In light of these conditions and the business structure of our company, we have decided that we will discontinue participation in the visual display business at the end of March, 2008 and concentrate our operating resources on our core business of heating and ventilation equipment instead.'
Fujitsu's plasma screens have always been pitched at the upper end of the market, the company describing its models as 'high-end value added products', with its marketing concentrated on 'the Custom AV market specializing in advanced AV systems and high end custom installations in North America and the United Kingdom.'
Fujitsu says it will continue to make displays for the Japanese domestic market, and will continue to offer service for existing models.
The fact that a company with so high a profile in this sector of the market no longer feels able to continue to make plasma screens shows just how price-driven the TV sector has become, and may cause shivers among other companies with similar high-end strategies.
The Fujitsu move came on the same day as reports that Sony is ceasing manufacture of its rear-projection screens, currently forming the backbone of its extra-large TV offering. This follows its 2006 decision to pull out of the plasma market, and will enable it to concentrate on its LCD range and new super-thin OLED models. It recently launched an 11-inch OLED screen in Japan, and larger models are thought to be on the way.