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Meade files for Bankruptcy after losing antitrust case

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#51 spatzek

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Posted 10 January 2020 - 06:54 PM

 

Meade & Celestron at one time had about 75% of The market..

Well today they have over 75% of the market. Look at page 12 #48 

https://www.telescop...d_Complaint.pdf


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#52 CrazyPanda

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Posted 10 January 2020 - 11:50 PM

Well today they have over 75% of the market. Look at page 12 #48 

https://www.telescop...d_Complaint.pdf

Is that referring to Meade and Celestron specifically as brands, or is that referring to Synta and Sunny as the owners?

 

I ask because if it's Synta, then you have to consider the Sky-Watcher brand as well. And if so, how does this reconcile with Orion's offerings that are *made* by Synta?



#53 carolinaskies

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 10:35 AM

Well today they have over 75% of the market. Look at page 12 #48 

https://www.telescop...d_Complaint.pdf

Anyone who has been into telescopes for 30 years and more know that the big two, Meade and Celestron have always had the market share since the introduction of the SCT lineup.  Prior to the 80s there were many smaller niche companies that were single-operator ownership and what we can call mom-pop operations.  There were companies like Parks, Cave, Edmund, etc who were optical companies doing more than telescopes too.  Neither Meade nor Celestron drove them out of business, rather time, age, and lack of innovation drove those companies either to close or cease direct telescope manufacture.  

The section cited indicates that the Meade/Sunny/Synta/Celestron had the 75%, Orion around 15%(pretty typical for Orion btw as simply a middleman vendor not manufacturer), and Skywatcher and others the remaining 10%... caveat, this is according to Orion's Lawyers and not any presented evidence. 

Reading the complaint without realizing this is exactly how lawyers make their money a novice would think the evil corporations were out to drive Orion out of the market... that Orion was having to pay "substantially" more for products.. Yet I challenge anyone to go back to that time period 2012 and up and indicate where the typical merchandise Orion supplies was anyhow differently prices among the many vendors?  Orion's idea of paying more is likely a very small difference.  Of course we people outside of the lawsuit don't have access to the evidence.  

The astronomy marketplace has always been a bit of a strange duck.  There are no manufacturer stores spread throughout the country.  Instead there are vendors who offer a breadth of merchandise from multiple manufacturers.  Orion complaint really involves the failure of their own business model to garner larger market share. That is.. if you're always depending on the OEM for your merchandise why does the OEM have to cut you a better rate than they can give themselves in-house.  I think this is the false-fairness doctrine in full effect. 

If you make a product and have a subsidiary company which you supply it to for X and which sell that product for Y, why should you have to allow a competitor to buy your product at X?   Maybe you charge them X+5% so as not to hurt your own subsidiaries position in the market.  Did Orion seek out other overseas manufacturers for their sources?  Why didnt' Orion create manufacturing in the US for these products?  

What was Orion's expectation on market share growth?  Did they expect the Meade sale to Sunny suddenly curtail Meade's brand?  Did they think they were going to grow their market share to 25% or higher?    

I will forever blame Orion for it's own business model failure.  Yes Sunny/Synta got it's hands caught in the cookie jar for supplier price collusion... but Orion itself is to blame for it's own business model of not investing in US manufacturing and instead looking overseas for higher profits. 


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#54 jgroub

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 05:28 PM

Reading the complaint without realizing this is exactly how lawyers make their money a novice would think the evil corporations were out to drive Orion out of the market... that Orion was having to pay "substantially" more for products..

What are you on about?  The evidence in the case PROVED that this is exactly what was going on.  There were literally emails introduced into the case where Synta and Sunny were saying this between themselves.  "Hey, you wanna drive Orion out of business?"  "Sure, sounds great, let's do it!"  Okay, that isn't precisely what they said, but that is the substance.  
 
The jury heard this evidence and decided, AGAIN, that this is exactly what they were trying to do.  This is called violation of anti-trust laws.  This is illegal.  Whether something that is illegal is necessarily evil, I'll leave to your own conscience to decide.  
 

I will forever blame Orion for it's own business model failure.  Yes Sunny/Synta got it's hands caught in the cookie jar for supplier price collusion... but Orion itself is to blame for it's own business model of not investing in US manufacturing and instead looking overseas for higher profits.

I still don't get your Orion hatred over THIS CASE. Don't get me wrong; I don't like Orion either. They overcharge for the same things that are available for cheaper elsewhere; they don't provide any customer service whatsoever to third parties.  I don't agree with their business model in those terms, either. There are plenty of reasons not to like Orion out there.

But again, what are you on about with their not "creat[ing] manufacturing in the US for these products"? Celestron and Meade certainly don't do and haven't done this. And neither do SkyWatcher or Explore Scientific. Only small specialty shops manufacture in the US anymore.  THEY ALL MANUFACTURE IN CHINA/TAIWAN.  THEY ALL LOOK OVERSEAS FOR HIGHER PROFITS.  Orion is no different.  

 

If you're going to hate on Orion, hate on them for reasons that actually exist.  Don't go making up your own reasons, completely divorced from the realities of the telescope market, to hate them.  



#55 Chris Lord

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 05:35 PM

carolinaskies

From an American perspective your appraisal and criticisms are valid. However my view is that of a 70 year old ATMer living in England.
Back in the day England had several modest yet established firms, all but a notorious few with an excellent reputation.
The rise in dealerships in the 80's gradually eclipsed these firms, but they only ceased making telescopes when their owners died. The last being H. N. Irving & Son in 2005.
The Meade & Celestron main dealers in England in my estimation did no ATMer any favours whatsoever. It has been my sad experience to learn of many unhappy customers who have endured years of grief after opting to buy either a Meade or a Celestron SCT and mount and controller.
Being a very experienced and knowledgeable ATMer, I had the skills to build my own observatory, restore a late C19th Newtonian, and have a colleague design, make and then have installed a micro-stepping control system.
What I paid in total was no more and in some instances less than that paid by colleagues who opted for Meade or Celestron SCT's & mounts & controllers. The notable distinction being my equipment was reliable, and I knew the right people to enhance it to my specifications.
Fortunately in England both Telescope House, formerly BC&F, & Hinds, have felt competition from APM and TAL, amongst a few other manufacturers.
Monopolies tend not to benefit the market from the consumers perspective.
Personally, if I had a magic wand, I would ensure neither Meade or Celestron were created, and I would consign SCT's of the C8 variety to the proverbial dustbin where they rightly belong.
I have owned a Quantum 6, purchased in October 1979 from O.T.I. through their West Coast rep, the late & great Leo C. Henzl. I currently own a TEC140EDAPOF7, #022, the 2993 S&T Dec. issue review model, and the Standard Questar made for the film Producer of A Night to Remember, and presented to him by Arthur C. Clarke. I also own a complete Vernonscope bino-viewer outfit. To the best of my knowledge these three telescopes, and eyepiece set, were all made in the USA. They are all excellent. They are all also good to own. I have a sense of pride in being their owner. Questar and TEC are still in business, making the finest telescopes. Their owners take personal pride in their craftsmanship. That is more than could ever be said for Meade & Celestron. And yes, actually I do have some Meade and Celestron eyepieces, some of them very good. Sadly made overseas, not in the USA.
Chris Lord
Brayebrook Observatory

#56 Upstate New Yorker

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 11:12 AM

@Paul Sweeney

It is obvious that the US subs (Meade and Sunny) filled the BK to get in ahead of the court's ruling being filed. It serves to protect operations and for the private holders to gain some control over the process.  It may help shield the Chinese owner as well. 

Part of the settlement Orion asked for is that Sunny disgorge itself of Meade. So Meade being put up for sale is no surprise. I'm not sure how the IP will get transferred back to Meade. That kind of damage can't easily be undone once a foreign Corp. has the info. 

 

I haven't heard much further,  but the court retained jurisdiction and this was only a partial settlement, so clearly more is to come.  It'll be complicated as the BK court and civil court must coordinate. 

 

The lawyers did well with this one. 

I hope this will be a fresh start for Meade and a new management team will take over and realize the untapped potential this company has. 

I've watched it for years frustrated by what I see as major management issues. 

It's a company I'd love to run, but that's another story. 

I think that MikeBy is rendering a real service by pointing out "the untapped potential this company has".  To me, Meade has been daring in its innovations.  It might take the next steps in amateur telescope equipment that would revitalize the hobby, particularly in designing built-in solutions to light pollution. That has been a real deterrent to many from participating at all. 


Edited by Upstate New Yorker, 16 January 2020 - 11:14 AM.



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