While we're sure quite a few of you are taking the day off to enjoy the first few days of March Madness in HD on your beautiful Philips plasma display, we certainly hope you weren't planning on eventually replacing it with yet another Philips. Turns out that Rudy Provoost, CEO of Philips Consumer Electronics, has reportedly announced that the outfit will "phase out of the PDP market and focus on LCD TVs in the future." Interestingly, it sounds like the presumably lucrative (or not) North American / Australian markets will still have the opportunity to purchase its plasmas for an undisclosed amount of time to come, while the rest of the world (including China later this year) will be forced to look elsewhere to satisfy their PDP needs. Of course, this isn't the first time a major player has dropped out of the plasma game entirely, but ranking fourth worldwide with just a ten-percent market share apparently wasn't enough for Philips to hang on any longer. So, Sony, you still looking to scratch the re-entry itch?

[Thanks, Jason M.]

Update: Philips wanted to let us know that Plasma is still on their plate for 2007: "Incorrectly reported comments on a Russian news website have suggested that Philips is pulling out of the PDP (Plasma Display Panel) FlatTV market. For the foreseeable future, Philips will continue to include gas plasma-based sets in its overall product mix of FlatTVs sold around the world. Since Philips introduced the world's first plasma-based FlatTV over 10 years ago, it has consistently applied the best display technologies available to meet consumer needs, using both plasma and LCD panels to manage the product mix in the most optimum way. However, it is widely acknowledged that over time LCD will become the dominant flat panel TV technology, serving all screen sizes currently addressed by both LCD and PDP solutions, and this will inevitably shape Philips' product strategy in this market segment."

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