© william-milner / Electronics Production | December 28, 2011

Drama and scandal in 2011

As is sort of tradition now, we have again searched the archive for the hottest stories of 2011.
What can we say, drama, scandal and the lot. 2011 has changed and shaped the world at large and the electronics industry in particular. But how much? Well, that is for you to decide as we take a look back at an eventful 2011.

Cruelty of a slow death

In October EMS-provider Elcoteq – formerly part of the elite Top10 of the EMS manufacturing world – filed for bankruptcy. As to date, the fate of the company and its slow death have not been sealed yet.

- Elcoteq: 'The future business outlook is very uncertain' (August 05, 2011)
- Elcoteq subsidiaries file for bankruptcy (August 31, 2011)
- Elcoteq Network S.A. files for bankruptcy (September 21, 2011)
- Elcoteq SE files for bankruptcy (October 06, 2011)
- Elcoteq: Bankruptcy made official (October 07, 2011)

Hall of Shame

Most high-flying companies – HP, Research in Motion, Cisco or Nokia – fell from grace (and out of the good books of the consumers). Struggling to keep up with Wunderkind Apple, management decisions that were questionable at best; all of them saw their sales figures take a dive. Massive global layoffs seemed just a by-product.

- Cisco lays off 6'500 staff worldwide (July 19, 2011)
- RIM lays off 2'000 staff worldwide (July 26, 2011)
- Apple's gain is Nokia's pain (August 03, 2011)
- Meg Whitman succeeds Leo Apotheker (September 23, 2011)
- Nokia to close Cluj facility; 3'500 layoffs in total (September 29, 2011)

And then there was Apple

Apple on the other hand had a 'fun day at the park' – despite the passing of founder Steve Jobs – running rings around its competition, whilst seemingly dictating market demand. Android-based rivals tried – and largely failed – to cut into Apple's dominance in the rapidly growing tablet market. Rough numbers for 3Q/2011 sound something like this: 450'000 iPads against 66'000 tablets from HP (its closest rival).

- Apple will maintain dominance in media tablet market in 2011 (September 21, 2011)
- Steve Jobs - the world has lost a visionary (October 06, 2011)
- iPhone4S pre-orders top 1 million in first 24 hours (October 10, 2011)
- The real deal this time - iPhone4S teardown (October 17, 2011)
- Apple likely buyer of Saab's C3 (November 02, 2011)

What's in it for me, Mister?

New gadgets also mean loads of teardowns. And we HAD loads of them – thanks to the good folks at Chipworks and iFixit: iPad2, Motorola Droid Bionic, Nokia's N8, Samsung Epic 4G, Goggle's Chromebook as well RIM's Blackberry Playbook and many more.

- TI, NXP, RFMD = Samsung Galaxy Nexus (November 30, 2011)
- Nokia 700 teardown (November 14, 2011)
- Motorola Droid RAZR teardown (November 11, 2011)
- HP Touchpad carried USD 318 BOM (July 07, 2011)
- What do we find in RIM's Blackberry Playbook (April 20, 2011)

Earth shattering changes

The components industry was still reeling from the impact of the Japanese tsunami when the next natural disaster hit the region. Thailand's flooding might not have had the same media coverage, but its effect on electronics production – here especially that of hard drives – should not be dismissed.

- Update on events in Japan (March 11, 2011)
- Murata stops production in 3 facility (March 15, 2011)
- TI's Miho plant substantially damaged (March 15, 2011)
- Flooding in Thailand (October 12, 2011)
- Benchmark temporarily closes Thailand facility (October 14, 2011)
- Fabrinet suspends production in Thailand (October 24, 2011)

Social responsibility or unlimited growth?

Whilst 2010 was shaken by suicides of Foxconn workers in China – pointing a finger at the effects of hunting unlimited growth and ever higher margins – 2011 took on the subject in a more rational way. Change is in the wind, as Asia – and here especially China – is claiming its rightful place and a share of the market. Higher salaries, amended environmental policies will change the landscape of outsourcing.

- Foxconn plans to use 1 million robots in 3 years (August 01, 2011)
- Foxconn robots: Western bliss or humanitarian crisis? (August 08, 2011)
- Foxconn to build robots for Foxconn (August 19, 2011)

The future has yet to come

A cautious outlook for 2012 – from almost all sides – makes it difficult to predict events. Then again, what would 2012 be if we had a crystal ball? Exactly. Boring as (insert word of your own choosing).

So we are looking forward to writing interesting stories. And we are also looking forward to seeing you back here for more.
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