I’m afraid that I have to join the rather pessimistic crowd that foresees B&O’s end in the near future. I agree with Mr10Percent that the brand name will propably survive in a corporate group or some other ownership, but I can’t imagine that this future will be somehow along the long tradition/heritage of B&O as we know it now.
Besides the problems related to the global economic crisis the we are facing right now with all its apsects (and I am afraid that it is only the beginning), I think that some bad descisions in the product strategy/developpment (that have been identified and discussed in great length on Beoworld) have added some more nails in B&O’s coffin.
Personally I think Lee hits a point here:
9_LEE wrote:Back in the 1970’s when I was a small child, then into the 80’s and 90’s, Bang & Olufsen was a truly aspirational brand. The normal person who had £x for a TV or Stereo would save up or take out some form of finance to go that extra mile and have ‘the best’. It was accessible, on display in ‘normal’ stores, and everyone knew the brand – and were seriously impressed when a friend, family member, colleague or neighbour bought it
Taking the Shape as example, I really like the concept and I considered more than once “going that extra mile” of saving up founds (and therefore having to wait) to buy one. Butin the end I simply couldn’t justify doing it. In my case it was the “user interface” that has put me off. I would have wanted a dedicated device (something like a Beolink7000) with all propriaty B&O software to control everything and not having to use a third party product (Ipad, tablet, mobile phone) and rely on (not to say “beeing at the mercy of”) third party software like chromecast or airplay for it to work.
I know thats the way the audio industry has developped and B&O had not much choice than going the route they did, but I don’t want to go down that road and all that comes with it (but this is not the subject here). Just let me put it this way: If I have to go down the “I have to use some third party” road to play digital music through B&O gear, I might as well use other products that cost less an attach them to my existing (non smart) B&O gear…. no need to spend that extra money on new B&O gear.
I my opinion B&O just misses some (or at least one good) unique selling point to survive in the current market situation. Some products (like stage, A9 or Beolab 28) are really good an will appeal to customers, but I doubt they will generate enough profit for B&O to survive.
If they choose the luxury market (where people still have enough financial liquidity for luxury goods), B&O will really need to step up there game when it comes to customer service and product support as this still seems to be a week point. But I am afraid that B&O has neither the know-how, nore the founds to achieve this in a short period of time.
So in the end I do come back to my initial point: In the current global economic situation B&O’s future doesn’t seem bright to me. Sad but this is the way I see it.