Koninklijke Philips N.V. (Royal Philips, commonly known as Philips) is a Dutch technology company headquartered in Amsterdam with primary divisions focused in the areas of electronics, healthcare and lighting. It was founded in Eindhoven in 1891 by Gerard Philips and his father Frederik. It is one of the largest electronics companies in the world and employs around 105,000 people across more than 60 countries.
Philips is organized into three main divisions: Philips Consumer Lifestyle (formerly Philips Consumer Electronics and Philips Domestic Appliances and Personal Care), Philips Healthcare (formerly Philips Medical Systems) and Philips Lighting. As of 2012 Philips was the largest manufacturer of lighting in the world measured by applicable revenues.
In 2013, the company announced the sale of the bulk of its remaining consumer electronics operations to Japan’s Funai Electric Co, but in October 2013, the deal to Funai Electric Co was broken off and the consumer electronics operations remain under Philips. Philips said it would seek damages for breach of contract in the $200-million sale.
Philips has a primary listing on the Euronext Amsterdam stock exchange and is a component of the Euro Stoxx 50 stock market index. It has a secondary listing on the New York Stock Exchange.
The Philips Company was founded in 1891 by Gerard Philips and his father Frederik. Frederik, a banker based in Zaltbommel, financed the purchase and setup of a modest, empty factory building in Eindhoven, where the company started the production of carbon-filament lamps and other electro-technical products in 1892. This first factory has been adapted and is used as a museum.
In 1895, after a difficult first few years and near bankruptcy, the Philipses brought in Anton, Gerard’s younger brother by sixteen years. Though he had earned a degree in engineering, Anton started work as a sales representative; soon, however, he began to contribute many important business ideas.
With Anton’s arrival, the family business began to expand rapidly, resulting in the founding of Philips Metaalgloeilampfabriek N.V. (Philips Metal Filament Lamp Factory Ltd.) in Eindhoven in 1908, followed in 1912 by the foundation of Philips Gloeilampenfabrieken N.V. (Philips Lightbulb Factories Ltd.). After Gerard and Anton Philips changed their family business by founding the Philips corporation, they laid the foundations for the later electronics multinational.
In the 1920s, the company started to manufacture other products, such as vacuum tubes. In 1939 they introduced their electric razor, the Philishave (marketed in the US using the Norelco brand name). The “Chapel” is a radio with built-in loudspeaker, which was designed during the early 1930s.
On 11 March 1927 Philips went on the air with shortwave radio station PCJJ (later PCJ) which was joined in 1929 by sister station PHOHI (Philips Omroep Holland-Indië). PHOHI broadcast in Dutch to the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) while PCJJ broadcast in English, Spanish and German to the rest of the world.
The international program on Sundays commenced in 1928, with host Eddie Startz hosting the Happy Station show, which became the world’s longest-running shortwave program. Broadcasts from the Netherlands were interrupted by the German invasion in May 1940. The Germans commandeered the transmitters in Huizen to use for pro-Nazi broadcasts, some originating from Germany, others concerts from Dutch broadcasters under German control.
Philips Radio was absorbed shortly after liberation when its two shortwave stations were nationalised in 1947 and renamed Radio Netherlands Worldwide, the Dutch International Service. Some PCJ programs, such as Happy Station, continued on the new station.