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Here In My Car
There's a weird monopoly in premium car audio systems.
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Via Thomas Hundal at the Autopian:
If you like music and spend a lot of time in your car, you’ve probably considered popping for a pre audio system. However, with brands like Bang & Olufsen, JBL, Revel, Mark Levinson, Harman Kardon, Infinity, and Lexicon all on deck at various manufacturers, it can be a bit hard discerning what makes certain factory sound systems special. I’ll let you in on a little secret; all of the brands I just mentioned are owned by Samsung subsidiary Harman International.
Hundal does a nice job running down the litany of acquisitions here by Harman, as well as the resulting declines in quality, price hikes, and generally homogenization of the space. There seems to be some competition, with independent brands such as Bowers & Wilkins and Burmester, and new players McIntosh, Dolby, and Sonos.
But it’s hard to get into the space. Most consumers buy a car, and then the car manufacturer will give them options for these audio systems. So the way to get into the market is to have a deal with an automobile manufacturers. It seems like Harman, with all its different brands, has been able to exclude a lot of possible rivals.