>> Wednesday, March 7, 2007
During the infancy of CD-i there was a buzz surrounding the whole idea of this interactive format that sadly diminished as the market became increasingly muddled. Philips seemed to loose focus on the original idea, the practical evolution of CD technology. It wasn't always this way however, back in 1993 Philips were certainly looking at the grander vision. As an article published in the hard print Financial Telegraph from Holland shows...
Breakthrough for Philips in the world of computers IBM and Apple want CD-i capabilities in computers
31 March 1993 - San Francisco
Philips has negotiated with two of the worlds biggest computer companies, IBM and Apple to include CD-i compatibility into there computers. Although the company from Eindhoven only admits that talks are underway, informed sources present at the multi-media conference in San Francisco say that negotiations are almost finalised.
The Compact Disc interactive format from Philips was released about one and a half years ago. The CD discs contain pictures, sound and data, which can be accessed at the users leisure. If negotiations with IBM and Apple are finalised, then Philips will have an unexpected come back in the computer market. A market that Philips has retreated from in the last couple of years due to heavy losses. A contract with these two computer companies has two major advantages; they can manufacture the CD-i drives for both computer firms and the support from IBM and Apple will make the CD-i a big standard in the computer sector. When support for the format increases so will the amount of software developers. With significant shares in software firms in the last few years Philips are well poised to deliver. For the consumer, software is of great importance for the choice of format.
This breakthrough in the computer marketplace marks CD-i as the most successful product launched by Philips in years. World wide they sold more than 100,000 players to consumers. In the professional market the main pull is Photo-CD. The Photo-CD is a spin-off of CD-i, whereby photos' are stored on a disc. Photo-CD was co-developed by Kodak. This format has been integrated in systems from Toshiba and Apple for use by publishers. In step with the computer market there is an important role for the firm Kaleida. This software firm is a joint venture between Apple and IBM. Kaleida has developed an operating system implementing the CD-i standard.
John Hawkins, the manager of Philips CD-i division doesn't want to comment on these negotiations. However he confirms that coming to one standard is of great importance. Hawkins believes it will take years for the industry to adhere to a single standard.
Both in the computer and consumer market, Philips have to fight against several rival systems. In the computer market, the CD-ROM has an important position. In the consumer market SEGA is very successful with its' own CD system. Not to mention several other rivals CD based systems in development. Philips is keen to emphasise that CD-i has many advantages including perfect sound reproduction and moving pictures through a television.
The article is obviously inaccurate declaring CD-i as a successful product so early in its' lifespan and some may snigger at the statement that the SEGA CD/MEGA CD was a runaway triumph. However it's interesting to learn that Philips intended to expand the format into computer systems. Not just as an expansion board but as part of the computer operating systems DNA. Just how different would the fortunes of CD-i faired with this mass market appeal? We can only speculate!
Many thanks to Aart Donker for the scans and his translation of the texts. Any creative liberties with the text and mistakes with the final translation are soley my [Devins'!] fault. We hope it captures the essence of the Dutch article however.