It's Snazzy, It's Sexy, It's...Philips?

A new focus on design adds sparkle to the electronics giant

Stodgy old Philips Electronics is sporting a new look. The Dutch company that invented the compact disk has always boasted top-flight technology, only to stumble when it came to packaging its innovations. But look at some of its recent products: sleek glass instead of metal tea kettles, cool-blue electric shavers, a space-age camera that attaches to computers, and fanciful alarm clocks. And the design effort seems to be paying off: Philips products are snagging big industry awards. More important, the design push has helped propel sales of Philips' consumer products up 7%, to $9.1 billion, in the first nine months of this year, about twice the industry average.

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