Royal Philips Electronics (NYSE: PHG) and Nike, Inc. (NYSE: NKE) today announced an alliance to merge their athletic and digital technology expertise to develop innovative technology product solutions which create a richer, more motivating environment for physical activity. The co-branded product offering will initially take the form of portable audio products specifically designed for sport, but will progress, over time, to include apparel and equipment that combine communications, connectivity and information to motivate athletic activity.
In explaining the rationale for the alliance, Peter Ruppe, vice president, Nike Equipment, stated, "Athletes want technology that stimulates and enhances the athletic experience. We believe no company or combination of companies has fully demonstrated how technology can accomplish this. By partnering with Philips, we believe we can transform the sportswear, electronic and athletic industries."
Wil van den Berg, chief marketing officer, Philips Consumer Electronics, noted, "Nike knows athletes and sports better than anyone else. By working together, Philips will be able to translate its core expertise in display, connectivity and storage technologies into product solutions that will delight millions of sports-loving consumers worldwide. But, more importantly, the vision of the future that the Nike and Philips brands share should lead to a vibrant new category of products and apparel."
The premier offerings from the Nike and Philips alliance will include a new line of portable MP3 and MP3-CD players that have been designed for sport through the integration of ergonomics, usability, portability and solid state technology. The range of portable audio players and accessories are comfortable to wear during sport and fitness activities, can be operated intuitively by feel, rather than sight, and deliver a high quality audio experience. The products will be available from September 2002 onwards at select consumer electronics retailers and at Niketown Stores worldwide.
Nike and Philips bring unique strengths to the venture. Recognized for innovative design and high-quality construction, Nike creates footwear, apparel and equipment that motivate people to move. Philips is a leading innovator of "wearable electronics" technologies and has a long heritage of technology innovation, especially in the digital arena, as well as intimate knowledge of consumers. Philips originated the idea of wearable electronics in 1995 and has a reputation for introducing high quality, cutting edge electronic products.
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