Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. (Royal Philips Electronics Inc.), most commonly known as Philips, is a major Dutch manufacturer of consumer electronics, household appliances, lighting equipment, and medical equipment. Formerly it was known as Philips Gloeilampenfabriek NV (Philips' Incandescent Lamp Works, Ltd.). Its headquarters were traditionally in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, but in 2001 the head office moved to Amsterdam.
The company was founded by the Dutch engineer Gerard Philips with financing from his father Frederik in 1891 to make incandescent lamps. Its original name was Philips and Company. The entry of Gerard's younger brother Anton in 1895 insured the struggling firm's future survival, and it was incorporated under the name Gloeilampenfabriek in 1912. Philips' traditionally strong research efforts were consolidated in 1914 in a separate organization that eventually became the Philips Research Laboratories. In the 1920s Philips began manufacturing radio sets and other complete products as part of a successful diversification program. After the interruption of World War II, during which the Philips management took refuge in the United States, the company continued to grow and prosper, marketing its products under such brand names as Philips, Magnavox, and Norelco. The company is credited with having helped create the compact disc, the cassette tape, and the videocassette recorder. By the late 20th century it had become one of the largest private employers in Europe.
Philips has several major product areas: Philips Consumer Lifestyle (formerly Philips Consumer Electronics and Philips Domestic Appliances and Personal Care), Philips Lighting and Philips Healthcare (formerly Philips Medical Systems).