Blog Post

GE Dims Its Incandescent Bulb Business

The bulb as we know it is dying a flickering death. OK, so that’s a tad dramatic but states and even entire continents are considering plans to ban the incandescent bulb. Here’s yet another sign: General Electric (GE) said late yesterday it will restructure its lighting business toward energy-efficient lighting technology, which will speed up the shrinking of its incandescent light-bulb business.

“The restructuring we are proposing, while very difficult due to the impact on employees, would be one of the most important things we’ve done in the 100-plus-year history of GE’s lighting business,” said Jim Campbell, president & CEO of GE’s consumer & industrial division, in a release.

Over the last four years, GE says it has invested more than $200 million in energy-efficient lighting. With the restructuring, the company will increase its focus on R&D in LED, organic LED and “high efficiency incandescent light bulbs.” The proposed restructuring would affect a number of GE facilities and positions globally, including some 1,400 employees, but the shift away from a business centered on inefficient incandescent lighting was inevitable.

Since lighting accounts for 22 percent of the energy usage in the U.S., according to the Department of Energy, energy-efficient lighting technology — from fluorescent to light-emitting diodes — is literally lighting the future.

Fluorescents are so over,” Barnaby Feder of the New York Times recently declared. We agree. Advancements in the brightness and efficiency of LEDs over the past year signal that one day soon these semiconductor lights will make up a significant part of the general illumination market. Costs are still a major issue, but the whole cost equation for purchasing these lights is different because they last for years, instead of a few months like we’re used to with the typical incandescent bulb.

GE’s restructuring announcement follows ongoing rumors that GE is considering an acquisition of LED-maker Cree. As recently noted, GE is competing in the LED space against the world’s largest lighting company, Royal Philips Electronics (PHG). An acquisition of Cree, American Technology Research analyst Andrew Huang was quoted as saying, would enable GE “to quickly leapfrog Philips.”

Royal Philips looks to be ahead of GE when it comes to ownership of LED intellectual property for making the actual chips. Philips took full control of LED company Lumileds two years ago. Last month, they acquired Color Kinetics, the leader in LED lighting for computer-controlled advertising and entertainment displays. Right now, GE has to shop externally for its LEDs and currently buys the chips from a variety of sources, according to Cree CEO Chuck Swaboda, whom we chatted with earlier this week.

9 Responses to “GE Dims Its Incandescent Bulb Business”

  1. Our “quantum Dot” based LED powered is here and will be in full production in January 2008.

    DEAK-LAM will introduce the GREEN Lite based on Quantum Dot technology during the end of the 1st quarter of 2008. The light will be a GREEN replacement for the inefficient incandescent light bulb and the hazardous and toxic CFL (compact fluorescent light) as well as the tube type fluorescent lights.

    The DEAK-LAM GREEN Lite features are:

    Competitive cost.

    25,000 hours of continuous operation; as compared to the incandescent 800-2,000 hrs and the CFL 6,000-8,000 hrs (debatable). (Optional 50,000 hour models at a slightly higher cost)

    The DEAK-LAM light can be dimmed.

    4 Watts of actual power used from the line to give the brilliance of a 100 Watt incandescent light bulb.

    Made of non-destructible polycarbonate plastic, which can be recycled.

    DEAK-LAM has a logical and effective recycle programme in place with incentives.

    It uses no mercury or phosphor like the CFL variety of lights do, and this obviously includes the tubular lighting systems as well.

    Needs no vacuum like the incandescent lights have to have.

    The light uses no glass like the other types of lights have.

    The DEAK-LAM GREEN Lites will be formatted for either AC or DC operation. So the DC versions will find market placement for portable applications.

    There will be a variety of DEAK-LAM GREEN Lites for many different lighting system needs, as well as special bespoke architectural lighting requirements.

    The white colour range can vary over a wide range of warm to cool white.

    Individual colours throughout the spectrum will be available.

    They can be dropped from 20 feet and still function. Based on actual testing.

    The DEAK-LAM, Ltd. GREEN Lite is the environmentally safe lighting system for the 21st Century.

    I’m afraid that with our patents field and in placed GE is a tad late, as well as all the other slackers in the lighting business.

    If you want something that you’ve never had before; then you must do something that you’ve never done before.

  2. LED based lamps burn 1/100th the power for the same light output as a typical incandescent, and last hundreds and even thousands of times as long as an incandescent, for about 20 times the price of an incandescent.

    Compact Fluorescents are the stupidest energy saving device one can own, burning over 10 times the power of an equivalent LED and lasting only about twice as long as an incandescent.

    LED’s should have been the standard replacement bulb 10 years ago, yet you STILL can’t find them on store shelves – you can only order them from exotic dealers or custom build them yourself.

    What are you waiting for? Put the damn things on the market already!