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Virgin's Richard Branson Vs. Sony

Boot Camp feature for Tuesday, November 4, 2003

An airline company pushes into consumer electronics. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Computer companies like Gateway, Apple and Dell have been looking to make money by expanding into consumer electronics. Now, Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group Limited, best known for Virgin Atlantic Airways, has introduced personal electronics products under the Virgin Pulse brand name. Branson says...

"We are doing all the design of the products. We're doing a lot of the innards of the products. And then we're working with about ten different manufacturers around the world to actually produce the products."

The products are being sold initially in Target stores which carry Virgin's line of cell phones. They'll be going head to head against Sony. But, says Branson...

"Virgin likes to go into businesses where we feel that people are making extraordinary profits. What we believe is that Sony has used the strength of their brand to make profits... to charge more than perhaps they need to charge. We believe that we can offer the same sort of products... with some of the products as much as a thousand dollars less than the opposition. And it's fun to see whether we can pull it off."

Virgin Pulse MP3 players start at under 80 dollars... a combination LCD TV/DVD player sells for about 500. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.