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Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V., usually known as Philips, is one of the largest consumer electronics producers in the world. In 2002, their sales were €31.8 billion and they employed 166,000 people in more than 60 countries. Philips is organized in a number of business units: Philips Consumer Electronics, Philips Semiconductors, Philips Lighting, Philips Medical Systems and Philips Research.

The company was founded in 1891 by Gerard Philips in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. Their first products were light bulbs. Their first factory remains as a museum. In the 1920s, the company started to manufacture other products, and in 1939 their first electric shaver, the Philishave was introduced. Philips introduced the compact audio cassette tape, which was wildly successful, though their attempt at a standard for video cassette recorders, the V2000, was unsuccessful in the face of competition from the Betamax and VHS standards.

In 1963, Philips introduced the Musicassette, or "compact audio cassette".

In 1972, Philips introduced the laserdisc player, using technology invented already in the 1960s.

In 1983, Philips launched the compact disc in partnership with Sony.

In 1992, Philips launched the ill-fated Digital Compact Cassette format.

ASM Lithography is a spin-off from a division of Philips.

Past and present CEO:

Companies acquired by Philips through the years include Magnavox, Signetics, Mullard, GTE Sylvania and Westinghouse.

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