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Orion suing Meade/Sunny

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#26 gnowellsct

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 11:34 PM

This lawsuit is due to the current political air or air-headedness over foreign vs domestic production and false claims that US production ceased due to overseas competition.

Orion has not been a substantial manufacturer within the timeframe of the lawsuit actions.  Both Meade and Celestron many years ago made poor choices in future planning to the point that the bean counters decided it was better to divest most manufacturing out of country for higher profits.   The reality is that compared to 20 years ago there are far more options in the market for the consumer at a wide range of price levels and that Orion as well as it's competitors have taken opportunity to do business with whomever they've seen fit to provide this vast array of merchandise.   

The butthurt Orion is experiencing is falling profits in the face of over-expansion of the product lines and desire for astronomical profits. 
How to resolve this?  Blame the competition.  And in the current political airs of Washington they have weighed their options and felt the timing was good. 


Telescope making is a time consuming process with precision engineering and assembly required, like other manufacturing processes.  The majority of high-profit low-cost units were sloughed off overseas a long time ago.  Japan and Hong Kong were already manufacturing centers for such equipment decades ago while the higher end instruments were still built in the states because the cost vs profit was still relatively high.  However that changed for both Meade and Celestron and due to poor product development and/or management both companies fell prey to the capitalist golden parachutes allowing US owners to divest themeselves and walk away with sums of money and reduced headaches while letting overseas companies worry about the future.   By this time no Japanese firms were in the position or desire to acquire the US companies and therefore the Chinese were able to make their offers and take ownership.   

While Orion may like to tout it's 'American ownership' in reality they are nothing more than a clearing house for those same Chinese companies.  There are no major telescope manufacturers in the US today.  Perhaps there are some smaller companies who do final assembly or final calibration, but most of these still aquire their optics from overseas. 

Orion suing Meade and Sunny is just another testament to corporate greed at expense of the consumer.     

1.  The suit does not say that Orion is a manufacturer.  It says Orion is dependent on Sunny and Synta.  Read the docs...and the internal memoranda.  The suit is not designed to restore Orion to the position of a producer.  The suit accurately describes the industry as being composed of various distributors and their relationships with a limited number of producers.

2.  The suit is about Orion being unable to do business with whom it sees fit because of (a) collaboration between Synta and Sunny and (b) being denied credit and

3.  Getting whacked with punitive actions by Sunny when it bought telescopes.com from Hayneedle over the opposition of Sunny which wanted to acquire Meade and along with Synta have a total monpolistic position in the U.S.  Hayneedle was pressured into reversing course on a signed deal.

4.  Seems like Orion's butthurt is in the reduction of its product lines not their over-expansion.

5.  JOC's effort to buy Meade was abruptly halted by Sunny.

6.  I'm not sure what is meant by high-profit cost units (whether it is intended to mean the different manufacturing facilities or the types of scopes).  Generally speaking the cheap stuff has much lower profit margins than the expensive stuff.  The compensation is that if the price is low the inventory turnover is high.  That can be an attractive thing, and Sunny appears to have entered into an agreement to gobble up precisely this end of the business and leave the higher margin higher quality (but slower sales) to Synta.   But to take another example, the money in the car business is not in selling lots of inexpensive cars.  The big profit margins are in the high end vehicles, where one $45k SUV brings in as much profit as five $25k Accords.  Sunny's willingness to take the low end of the market is actually one of the interesting features of the market as described in the docs.

 

 

 

Greg N


Edited by gnowellsct, 02 April 2019 - 12:18 AM.

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#27 MCinAZ

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 11:43 PM

There are no major telescope manufacturers in the US today.  

  I suspect there are some folks in Golden, Colorado, Machesney Park, Illinois and Rancho Dominguez, California who would dispute this claim. And, while TEC and Astro-Physics might be considered boutique operations so far as telescopes are concerned, PlaneWave is routinely delivering research grade astronomical equipment to 1 meter (soon to be 1.5 m) aperture.



#28 Stelios

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Posted 02 April 2019 - 12:42 AM

This thread is interesting and relevant, but at times has veered towards vendor bashing which is prohibited by the TOS. Please restrict yourselves to facts and not opinions about the propriety of actions by such vendors as Orion, Celestron, Meade, etc. 

 

It's OK to discuss the merits of the lawsuit, but not whether one company or another is "bad."


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#29 gnowellsct

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Posted 02 April 2019 - 08:19 AM

The minimum order requirement  (MOQ) can be used by suppliers (not just China) to affect the downstream structure of the industry (downstream = retail).

 

1.  By pushing vendors to carry entire product lines rather than just a favored item.   You won't likely to be able to offer only C8s, for example.  Not at a good price.

2.  The MOQ can be used to divert product from smaller vendors towards larger ones who place larger, more constant, predictable orders 

3.  Alternatively if the supplier is willing to set a small MOQ it could be a warning sign of supplier's intention to get the desired volumes by marketing the same product under a different name--to a different downstream vendor, or under its own brand (but marketing the product under a different name could happen anyhow)

 

It should be remarked that the case of Celestron's advancing payment on goods of $3 million to help Sunny acquire Meade was not invented by Celestron or Sunny.  The famous case of the RR rebates Standard Oil received stands as an example.  Let's say S.O.'s price was $2 to ship a barrel of oil, low because of its high volumes.  Smaller shippers were charged $8.00.  So far so good, it looks like a simple discount for bulk shipping.  But where the rebates kick in was that the extra $6 paid by the competitors were paid by the RRs to Standard Oil.  A perk that stands independent of the volume of the small businesses.  So if the small businesses together ship 20,000 barrels their extra $6.00 would only lower the price of Standard OIl's shipping to $2.00 for 20,000 barrels, not enough to cover a rebate on Standard Oil's much larger shipment of, say, 100,000 barrels.  But standard oil gets a uniform price of $2 a barrel anyhow.  Thus the competitors were paying their main competitor to get bigger and earn more money.   These are the sorts of practices that, over the last 150 years or so, have attracted the attention of regulators.

 

That Celestron settled the lawsuit indicates that it is not "part of the same company" with a Sunny-Synta mega-entity which is argued by the plaintiff.  The relationship was extraordinarily close: they shared bank accounts and staff for one would take orders for the other.  So in effect they look and talk like the same company from Orion's point of view.  But it appears to be very tightly organized cooperation, at a minimum.  Very, very tight.  But not so tight that Synta wants to take on the legal burden of proof in the U.S. courts.

 

It is to be pointed out that such market practices do not mean the product has to be bad.  The situation with Japan exports to the U.S., to which we are so accustomed that it has sunk into the background, was very similar.  But they used the competitive advantages of their domestic cooperation to create a huge lead in quality control.  It is not always open and shut that consumer interest are hurt by these sorts of arrangements.  Even Standard Oil, so greatly hated by independent oil marketers that Standard Oil had to create front companies to buy them up (the front man would say "sell to me before Standard Oil comes and buys you on worse terms").  But Standard Oil did much more to advance refining, purity, and consistency of the product than its small competitors did, in the days when a bit of sulphur in your lamp oil was a pretty bad thing to have to live with every night when the sun went down.  And some of these leads never go away, at least not in practical terms.  Standard Oil (Exxon-Mobil) is still a technical giant in refining.

 

Greg N


Edited by gnowellsct, 02 April 2019 - 08:25 AM.

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#30 WadeH237

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Posted 02 April 2019 - 08:48 AM

Generally speaking the cheap stuff has much lower profit margins than the expensive stuff.  The compensation is that if the price is low the inventory turnover is high.  That can be an attractive thing, and Sunny appears to have entered into an agreement to gobble up precisely this end of the business and leave the higher margin higher quality (but slower sales) to Synta.   But to take another example, the money in the car business is not in selling lots of inexpensive cars.  The big profit margins are in the high end vehicles, where one $45k SUV brings in as much profit as five $25k Accords.  Sunny's willingness to take the low end of the market is actually one of the interesting features of the market as described in the docs.

 I'm not sure that the telescope market is like the car market in this regard.

 

It's always been my understanding most of the profit in telescopes is actually in the cheap, department store stuff that we would consider junk.  I think that the margins (at least to the retailer) on more expensive scopes are really thin.  Of course, I don't have any information to confirm or refute that.  I guess that I've just heard it enough times.


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#31 Hesiod

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Posted 02 April 2019 - 11:14 AM

I have a question, and pardon me if it is really stupid, but this is not really my field of expertise...

What if Sunny and Synta simply retaliate by stopping to make stuff for Orion?


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#32 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 02 April 2019 - 11:37 AM

 They're seeking $180 million in damages. Is there even that much equity in the entire telescope market?

I doubt it. 



#33 Cathal

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Posted 02 April 2019 - 12:47 PM

Assuming that everything in the documents supplied to the courts is correct and valid (and knowing what I know about the business practices of the Chinese "capitalist" enterprises, then the Chinese manufacturers will be in for a rather rude surprise.

 

Yes, they could both refuse to market to Orion, but that would then prove the cartel existing. Note that in the docs it's noted that the other manufacturer (the not-Sunny) is not being chased under this lawsuit as *they have already settled* - suggesting there's already merit to the arguments by Orion currently before the court.

 

If the Chinese manufacturers don't play ball appropriately, then (rightly) their products would have higher hurdles to cross before gaining entry to the US marketplace. Abuse of monopoly and cartel-like price fixing arrangements between supposed competitors, does not a free market define.

 

My expectation based on this is that Sunny will attempt to settle for a significant sum, as it is very likely that they will lose this court case and be subject to damages. Without payment of those damages, their products may be prevented from having easy access to the US market, which will severely hurt their profitability.

 

The losers in this situation have already the US consumer, and by association the worldwide prospective purchaser of low to mid range telescopes - as the benefits to the end consumer have not been as good as they would have otherwise been had there been a level playing field to allow a free market and genuine competition. It would not surprise me to see the Meade brand offloaded from the Sunny group as part of a prospective settlement. I also wonder if the FTC will take a closer look at the Meade purchase given the apparent illegality of the assurances given by Sunny pre-purchase.

 

It really does not look good to see any proof of the sharing of information that would under level playing field conditions be considered trade secret and confidential, shared between the two main competitors in the market. It also does not look good for the two main competitors to remove the credit line to Orion as a threat when the Hayneedle saga was underway, and really does not look good for the same typos to be in the same worded email coming from the supposed competitors that carried the threat. It'll be very interesting to see how the Chinese group approaches the defence of their actions in court.

 

All in all, I applaud Orion for their stance, having been backed into this corner by what appears low-quality practices by suppliers.


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#34 OleCuss

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Posted 02 April 2019 - 02:27 PM

The information regarding the way these markets work and how they can be manipulated is much appreciated.

 

I've enjoyed learning from this thread.



#35 MeridianStarGazer

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Posted 02 April 2019 - 02:35 PM

I hope Meade 82 deg eyepieces stay on the market. Very good value right now.
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#36 Hesiod

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Posted 02 April 2019 - 02:43 PM

Well, but if the judges rule that Meade has to be offloaded, it would not mean the demise of the brand?

Once the real value of the brand, its technology, has been acquired, the parent company could just dump Meade as a void shell (as far as I know it is not a so uncommon event, for a large company to puchase a smaller one, "suck" away its technological achivement and then get rid off the now "useless" remnants).

Also, now that I think more to the question, it is not required that both stop supplying Orion: assuming an hidden cartel, it would rather better for the cartel to have Synta keep foraging Orion, because by doing so would attain the same effect...



#37 gnowellsct

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Posted 02 April 2019 - 03:47 PM

I have a question, and pardon me if it is really stupid, but this is not really my field of expertise...

What if Sunny and Synta simply retaliate by stopping to make stuff for Orion?

They already did some nasty stuff. Hence the law suit.    There appear to be a lot of different things going on, but apparently Sunny REALLY didn't want Orion to get ahold of telescopes.com.  JOC apparently was selling to exit the recreational telescopes market and no doubt its biggest asset was telescopes.com which had a parasitic relationship to telescope.com which was/is Orion.  Orion stood to pick up JOC's market share.  Sunny had ambitions to kick Meade into higher gear. 

 

Plaintiff's case focuses on the denial of merchandise on 60 to 90 day credit terms.  It is a rare OEM which will, in a fit of pique, refuse to sell at all to someone who is willing to pay cash up front.  But the industry is organized on  60 to 90 day credit (as are even huge retail operations) and the terms of that credit.  So in other words if I am OEM I have the ability to squeeze you slowly (less credit, no credit, higher rate of interest).   

 

The long game is not to *ruin* your adversary.  Orion has an established customer base.  The game is to squeeze the owners till they feel compelled to sell then absorb "into the collective" the same way that Meade and Celestron were absorbed.  Anyhow wanting a company to sell out is not the same as wanting it out of business.  One strategizes accordingly.

 

Orion does a lot of its own branding but they still sell the same stuff that everyone sells.  Part of the issue here is the ability of the big U.S. retailers to maintain their independence with regard to changes in doing things--and their own ambitions with regard to something like Hayseed.  If Orion can be squeezed then Highpoint may not be far behind, etc. 

 

It is worth remarking that two years ago Highpoint came out with a gorgeous line of white dobs that appeared to have excellent design criteria and that after showing them off at NEAF the scopes just disappeared never to return.  Reading through these documents, the disappearance of that product line relative to the games going on with Sunny/Synta/Orion make me think that decisions were being made that greatly impacted the freedom of action of vendors in U.S.markets.  And though I don't keep notes on this stuff, it seems to me that Zhumell disappeared as a major player at about the same time.  And an epic quarrel over telescopes.com also begins.  

 

The plaintiff's documents are very explicit about what was going on.    

 

I'm a big fan of Astro-physics but I wouldn't consider them a big player in the U.S. telescope market.  No more than Porsche is a big player in the U.S. car market.  AP apparently is in the process of selling 200 92mm scopes at $3500 each or $700,000 total.  And that's over two years.  Maybe 5x that on the mounts? Hard to know.

 

Greg N


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#38 OleCuss

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Posted 02 April 2019 - 07:43 PM

BTW, it might interest some folk to take a look at this SEC report from 2013:  https://www.sec.gov/...htm#toc445056_9  I think the more interesting part begins about 1/3rd of the way down but others may differ on that.

 

In the reporting year ending at the end of February 2013 their total sales were around $17.4 million and in 2012 it was about $21.6 million.

 

Lots more in there about things like the difficulty selling to the mass market and their competitive disadvantage in that area.


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#39 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 02 April 2019 - 08:22 PM

They already did some nasty stuff. Hence the law suit.    There appear to be a lot of different things going on, but apparently Sunny REALLY didn't want Orion to get ahold of telescopes.com.  JOC apparently was selling to exit the recreational telescopes market and no doubt its biggest asset was telescopes.com which had a parasitic relationship to telescope.com which was/is Orion.  Orion stood to pick up JOC's market share.  Sunny had ambitions to kick Meade into higher gear. 

 

Plaintiff's case focuses on the denial of merchandise on 60 to 90 day credit terms.  It is a rare OEM which will, in a fit of pique, refuse to sell at all to someone who is willing to pay cash up front.  But the industry is organized on  60 to 90 day credit (as are even huge retail operations) and the terms of that credit.  So in other words if I am OEM I have the ability to squeeze you slowly (less credit, no credit, higher rate of interest).   

 

The long game is not to *ruin* your adversary.  Orion has an established customer base.  The game is to squeeze the owners till they feel compelled to sell then absorb "into the collective" the same way that Meade and Celestron were absorbed.  Anyhow wanting a company to sell out is not the same as wanting it out of business.  One strategizes accordingly.

 

Orion does a lot of its own branding but they still sell the same stuff that everyone sells.  Part of the issue here is the ability of the big U.S. retailers to maintain their independence with regard to changes in doing things--and their own ambitions with regard to something like Hayseed.  If Orion can be squeezed then Highpoint may not be far behind, etc. 

 

It is worth remarking that two years ago Highpoint came out with a gorgeous line of white dobs that appeared to have excellent design criteria and that after showing them off at NEAF the scopes just disappeared never to return.  Reading through these documents, the disappearance of that product line relative to the games going on with Sunny/Synta/Orion make me think that decisions were being made that greatly impacted the freedom of action of vendors in U.S.markets.  And though I don't keep notes on this stuff, it seems to me that Zhumell disappeared as a major player at about the same time.  And an epic quarrel over telescopes.com also begins.  

 

The plaintiff's documents are very explicit about what was going on.    

 

I'm a big fan of Astro-physics but I wouldn't consider them a big player in the U.S. telescope market.  No more than Porsche is a big player in the U.S. car market.  AP apparently is in the process of selling 200 92mm scopes at $3500 each or $700,000 total.  And that's over two years.  Maybe 5x that on the mounts? Hard to know.

 

Greg N

The attempt at acquisition of telescopes.com, binoculars.com at the same time Orion makes a move to buy Meade is a huge tell also.

 

Search results by average internet users looking to get into entry level telescopes for amateur astronomy are going to hit telescope.com, telescopes.com, binoculars.com (meanwhile lookout Woodland Hills Telescope with telescope.net - gonna lose business to Orion on search result hits alone) probably 3/4 of the time. No wonder a huge fight over domain name ownership.

 

If they would have been successful in purchasing Meade, where do you think Orion would be at this point having monopolized search results so they get the majority of generic search queries directing to websites they own and there the average consumer can purchase Meade or Orion branded products with labels showing “entry level” (their websites already show this easy navigation for the uninitiated) which is 90% of the profit margins for amateur astronomy equipment? One of Orion’s primary complaints being that Sunny Ningbo was undercutting prices. Orion would have controlled pricing to an extent in the US only curbed by vendor competition pricing in more specific searching.

 

What do do you think would happen with ES, Celestron, Skywatcher products let alone smaller vendors like Smart Astronomy, Agena Astro, Woodland Hills, OPT, High Point Scientific, Adorama, Owl Astronomy, etc when Orion has 50% of the US market with both Orion and Meade products and 3/4 of the search results for generic searches on telescopes and binoculars?

 

Orion didn’t get acquisition of Meade though, so things turned a bit for their roadmap and now they sue.

 

Let’s not make it out like Orion is an innocent bystander trying to fight a nasty monster here.

 

Orion in no innocent here either. I think they would be doing the squeezing on other US vendors if they had been successful with a Meade purchase. You think they aren’t keeping an eye on telescopes.net and waiting for a slip in payment? Monopolizing generic search results for a category of products is not really “fair and ethical” practices either. 

 

Not saying that Sunny Ningbo partnering with Synta wasn’t doing some hinky stuff to Orion, but I don’t believe for a second they are “the innocent little guy” here.

 

Yeah Zhumell disappeared around the same time as Hayneedle sites went down which was a huge portion of Zhumell sales. Maybe they weren’t solvent enough to stay afloat but snatching up the Hayneedle site domain names was a power move for Orion and today’s search results show it. Look at other “divisions of Orion”

 

spottingscopes.com, microscopesdirect.com, telescope.com, telescopes.com, binoculars.com all owned by Orion now.

 

They already monopolize generic category domain names and most likely get the lion’s share of hits from that for the entry level interested consumer.

 

I will give props to Orion for its transparency in the documents being available on their website though. An interesting read for sure, but I think there is a much bigger unwritten story here, and I definitely think this would have gone quite differently for competitors of US distribution if Orion had been successful purchasing Meade.


Edited by Vondragonnoggin, 02 April 2019 - 08:55 PM.


#40 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 04 April 2019 - 08:08 AM

I am for competitive markets where no one gets too big. Because of spare parts, I won’t buy from Orion any more unless they are the sole supplier of something I need. Being a sole supplier is one symptom of getting too big, and shutting out others.
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#41 petert913

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Posted 04 April 2019 - 01:32 PM

Without reading every post, I'm just gonna ask - does this mean they are closing their online store as well?  Completely Kaput ?



#42 OleCuss

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Posted 04 April 2019 - 02:45 PM

Without reading every post, I'm just gonna ask - does this mean they are closing their online store as well?  Completely Kaput ?

I don't think this means anyone is closing anything.

 

If Orion doesn't win the lawsuit one might argue that the current situation is such that they might not survive but even that might be a stretch.

 

Orion has apparently already settled with "co-conspirators".  I don't know for sure how that all settled out but I'm guessing it means that even if Orion is not able to sell Meade equipment they will still have suppliers they can work with in order to maintain and service their customers.


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#43 gnowellsct

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Posted 04 April 2019 - 06:09 PM

 

Yes, they could both refuse to market to Orion, but that would then prove the cartel existing. Note that in the docs it's noted that the other manufacturer (the not-Sunny) is not being chased under this lawsuit as *they have already settled* - suggesting there's already merit to the arguments by Orion currently before the court.

 

 

I think you have a good read of the case.  But I just wanted to let people know that the not-Sunny is actually explicitly referred to as Synta and Celestron in the supporting documentation.  I mean, you could guess pretty easily, but in the main document Synta and Celestron are not named, presumably because they settled the case.  Still, there are documents provided to prove Orion's point, obtained through subpoena, I imagine.  There are copies of emails, copies of letters, etc., where the names have not been redacted.  There are even documents in Chinese which Orion paid to have translated. 

 

Make no mistake about it Orion is sinking beaucoup bucks into this case.   Maybe they want to end up taking Meade's assets.  I don't know why.  I wouldn't want Meade's assets.  Or maybe they're just really, really ticked.    They wouldn't be able to touch Sunny's overseas assets in China.  But if they win the case they could potentially have the right to seize shipments of Sunny product as it lands in this country.  That would create an interesting situation in terms of the other big retail vendors. 

 

I can't imagine.  

 

On the other hand, judges usually are pretty good about sorting through these things (in commercial cases).  This is a big deal in our astro-hobby.  We've seen periodic patent fights between Meade and Celestron, and between Meade and RC telescopes over the right to call their ACF "Ritchey Chretien," but really, nothing like this.   It is a case to watch because you can be sure there are other cases like it.  I have no idea where or in what.  Maybe washing machines.  Maybe sewer pipes.  Maybe solar panels.  Could be anything.  

 

Greg N


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#44 Don Taylor

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Posted 04 April 2019 - 07:18 PM

Greg:  Thank you for the information and perspective on this matter.  I appreciate your explanations. 


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#45 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 04 April 2019 - 07:38 PM

The worst thing that could happen to the Chinese companies is to have assets in the US seized enough to settle the lawsuit.  They would still have the rest of the world to market to.  It would be only a temporary win for Orion.  Monies and assets in China cannot be touched.



#46 gnowellsct

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Posted 04 April 2019 - 08:48 PM

The worst thing that could happen to the Chinese companies is to have assets in the US seized enough to settle the lawsuit.  They would still have the rest of the world to market to.  It would be only a temporary win for Orion.  Monies and assets in China cannot be touched.

Exactly so.  But the U.S. is still 25% of the world's aggregate demand.  If the Chinese firms never sold here again they would lose big time.

 

The other thing is that if they never sold here again it presumably would not take long for some American manufacturers to step into the business.  Sunny and Synta would face competition.  Things have changed since most of the mirror grinding was done by hand twenty or thirty years ago.  Capital intensive automated optics manufacture might actually do OK in the United States, if it came back.  It's not that we don't have manufacturing capability.  We do.  U.S. manufacturing output, believe it or not, has nearly doubled since 1988.  But the *jobs* have declined by nearly half.   We're second largest manufacturer in the world last time I checked.  U.S. manufacturing is greater than Japan and Germany combined.  

 

So it's not that we can't make recreational optics.  It's just that recreational astronomy is a small market.  

 

There's also the problem of the Celestron and Meade brand names which have some value by themselves.  

 

This is a chess game that's very hard to tease out three or four moves down let alone eight or ten.  Makes my head spin.  

 

Greg N


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#47 mclewis1

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Posted 05 April 2019 - 09:19 AM

Exactly so.  But the U.S. is still 25% of the world's aggregate demand.  If the Chinese firms never sold here again they would lose big time.

 

....

 

So it's not that we can't make recreational optics.  It's just that recreational astronomy is a small market.  Greg N

The North American telescope optics markets are higher than 25% of the worldwide demand, it's probably pushing 50%. Amateur astronomy is substantially stronger here than in any other part of the world. Recreational optics (binoculars, gun optics, and spotting scopes in addition to low end telescopes) is indeed a bit more balanced worldwide but it's still proportionally stronger in North America than around the world.

 

No it's not that we can't make the optics, and it's not just about the market size ...  it's that we can't make the optics inexpensive enough for those markets. Telescope/optics manufacturing in North America is likely always going to be constrained to specialty/boutique markets (industrial, scientific, high end amateur, etc.) or some hybrid (less expensive optics manufactured elsewhere combined with local manufacturing and distribution).


Edited by mclewis1, 05 April 2019 - 09:20 AM.


#48 BillP

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Posted 05 April 2019 - 01:58 PM

6.  The annual U.S. sales of "recreational telescopes" are characterized as north of $100 million annually.  In other words, the entire astronomy market is a rounding error for a company like Exxon (by way of example).  

 

Well that is a stat that is stacking the deck, making a comparison to one of the very largest revenue companies!  Exxon has over 69,000 employees and only one one hundredth of a percent of US companies are that large!  Orion has around 40 employees.  In reality, according to 2015 stars, the vast majority of companies operate at under $100M annually.  Actually, Only 0.04% of companies founded each year achieve $100 million in annual sales. So if they are making north of $100m with just 40 employees, then kudos to Orion!


Edited by BillP, 05 April 2019 - 02:02 PM.


#49 RandallK

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Posted 05 April 2019 - 04:07 PM

Very interesting (and scary) thread. We just have to remember that most of us amateur astronomers got their start on cheap offshore optics, in particular and currently, the Peoples Republic of China. We wanted cheap and now, cheap and excellent optics. We got them. Now we worry about being in a stranglehold position. We need to get at least some of our production facilities back here in North America. If we need some government assistance, so be it...after all, the Chinese have been doing it for a heck of a long time!



#50 Starman1

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Posted 05 April 2019 - 04:24 PM

I worked for a company that did 55 million in sales, but it had >250 employees.

Orion is nowhere near that big.

 

The uncompetitive aspect of the industry in general is that the manufacturers sell direct to consumers at the same time they

sell to retailers.  That is the oddest thing.  They compete with their own retailers.  I've seen that in other industries, but the

manufacturers who do so in those businesses sell at full MSRP, prices no one pays unless there is absolutely no other source.

 

I'm sure Orion, who is a retail company, experiences this, too, and I'm sure it is another thorn in their side. In the industry I originally came from, any manufacturer who did this

would quickly lose every single retailer of its products and go out of business.  That this isn't the case in the astronomy world is yet another

indication it is a very small business with "cottage industries".  That puts perspective on Orion's suit.


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