IEEE granted the IEEE Milestone Award to Royal Philips Electronics for its contribution to the development of the Compact Disc (CD) on March 6th 2009. While CDs still look pretty modern today, the award coincides with the 30th anniversary of the demonstration of the first CD prototype codenamed "Pinkeltje" on 8 March 1979.
Despite the recession of the early 1980s, Philips and Sony invested and planned for the successful commercial introduction of the Compact Disc in 1982. The CD was the first ever digital mass consumer product to find its way into almost every consumer's home. Since its introduction in 1982, over 3.5 billion audio CD players, 3 billion CD-ROM drives and an astonishing 240 billion CD discs have been sold.
"The compact disc was a revolutionary new concept that fulfilled a great consumer demand for a robust, high quality compact audio medium," says John Vig, 2009 IEEE President and Chief Executive Officer. "By leveraging research advances in optics, mechatronics, microelectronics, digital signal processing and error control coding, a unique platform was created that has really changed the audio as well as the computing world."
"By building a strong IP position in optics and signal processing, Philips has contributed to a high point in convenience, comfort and quality in the consumers' audio & video experience, and to the related global +.business success in optical storage (CD, DVD and Blu-ray). This also led to spin-offs in semiconductor's lithography and future generation biomedical sensors," says Rick Harwig, Chief Technology Officer of Philips Electronics. "The Compact Disc demonstrated clearly that continued long-term investments in breakthrough innovation during an economic downturn can not only contribute significantly to the company's success, but even have the power to revitalize a complete industry in decline."