Bose Corporation

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Template:Infobox Company The Bose Corporation is an American company based in Framingham, Massachusetts that specializes in high-end audio equipment. The company was founded in 1964.

Background

Bose researches, engineers, develops, and manufactures audio equipment including speakers, amplifiers, automotive sound systems, and, recently, acoustic balancing headphones and digital technology speaker systems. The company was founded in 1964 by Dr. Amar G. Bose, a professor of electrical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. As of 2005, the company employed about 7,500 people worldwide (2,000 in Massachusetts) and had revenues of over $1.7 billion. Dr. Bose also holds the title of Technical Director.

In 2005 Bob (Robert) Maresca was named President. He is the seventh president of Bose:

1 William (Bill) Zackowitz 1964-66
2 Charles "Chuck" Hieken 1966-69
3 Frank E. Ferguson 1969-76
4 Amar G. Bose 1976-80
5 Sherwin Greenblatt 1980-2000
6 John Coleman 2000-2005
7 Bob Maresca 2005-

The company spends at least $100 million a year in research and engineering, deploying a 70,000 sq. ft. building in Framingham reserved for that purpose. In 2004, Bose purchased an additional site from HP in Stow, Massachusetts to house growing automotive and marketing divisions.

Early Years

In 1956, while a graduate student at MIT, Dr. Bose purchased a high-end stereo system and was disappointed when it failed to meet his expectations. He later began extensive audio research aimed at fixing what he saw as key weaknesses plaguing such high-end systems. Among these weaknesses were the overall design of the loudspeakers and systems' interaction with psychoacoustics (the human perception of sound). Eight years later, he founded the company, charging it with a mission to achieve Better Sound Through Research (which is also the company's slogan).

Research History

During the company's first year in business Bose Corporation engaged in sponsored research. Its first loudspeaker product, the model 2201, dispersed 22 small mid-range speakers over an eighth of a sphere. It was designed to fit in the corner of a room, reflecting the speaker's sound as a mirror would for light in a corner cube and giving rise to an acoustical image of a sphere in vastly larger room. Dr. Bose used an electronic equalizer to adjust the acoustical output for flat total radiated power.

Although these speaker systems emulated the characteristics of an ideal spherical membrane, the listening results were disappointing, leading Bose to further research that eventually clarified the importance of a dominance of reflected sound that is characteristic of live performances. This led to a revised speaker design in which eight of nine identical small mid-range drivers (with electronic equalization) were aimed at the wall behind the speaker while one driver was aimed forward, thus insuring a dominance of reflected over direct sound in home listening spaces. This was to be similar to the dominant reflected sound fields listeners experience in live performances.

Before hearing his new design for the first time, although confident that his new design would produce a more faithful replication of the "live" listening experience, Dr. Bose was unsure as to whether his new "direct/reflected" design would be a small audible improvement or a large one over his earlier design and the best commercially available loudspeakers. The new pentagonal design, named the Model 901, was a very unconventional design for speakers at the time (which were generally either full-size floorstanding units or bookshelf type speakers accompanied by a subwoofer that handled only the very lowest frequencies). It was an immediate commercial success, and the Bose Corporation grew rapidly during the 1970s.

A second area of research and development that has played an important role at Bose Corporation is two-state, non-linear power processing and conditioning. Several early patents were awarded to Dr. Bose and other Bose engineers and this technology is one of the key elements in an innovative project that the company disclosed in 2004 after more than 20 years of research, an automobile suspension system that uses electromagnetic principles instead of the hydraulics that are common today. The main benifit of this system are that roll of the car in turns can be reduced.

Finally, there's a portable audio research within the field of Circumaural Headphones, centering within the lines of Acoustic Noise Cancellation (See the separate article.

Legal History

Over the years Bose has taken several legal actions that offend the audiophile community. Most of the following are mentioned in the Bose FAQ 1.2, which was compiled in 1996 after the original in 1995. Although many audiophiles base their legal knowledge of Bose on this FAQ, it is controversial due to lack of citations.

  • Bose sued Theil to prevent them from naming their speakers with a .2, since Bose also named one of their speakers with a .2. Never went to trial. Time Unknown/Unconfirmed going to trial
  • Bose sued Speaker Builder magazine for publishing the specifications of a bandpass enclosure that Bose claimed infringed on their patents. Time Unknown/Unconfirmed going to trial
  • Bose sued Cambridge Sound Works for their claim that they offered "Better Sound Than Bose For Half the Price." Bose also claimed that some of Cambridge's speakers resembled Bose speakers. Time Unknown/Unconfirmed going to trial
  • Bose sued Consumer Reports in 1973 and won however lost on appeal in 1984. Bose initially won because could not prove that Consumer Reports' statement, "worse, individual instruments heard through the Bose system seemed to grow to gigantic proportions and tended to wander about the room.", was "worse". Bose later lost on appeal.
  • Bose won and lost a case in 2005 when the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board issued a ruling in its favor in Bose's action to cancel CEDIA's trademark registrations for the term "Electronic Lifestyles." However the Board denied a motion for summary judgment and refused to consider fraud claims against CEDIA.
  • Bose sued JBL, INC. and Infinity Systems Corporation in 2001 for patient infringement for thier "elliptical speaker port used in loudspeakers" patient. Bose won royalty payments in 2002
  • Bose sued International Jensen Inc. in 1992 and won to stop Jensen trying to trademark the terms "acoustic research" or "acoustical research".
  • Bose was sued by Bevel-Fold, Inc. in 1980 for costs related to defective cabinets that were delivered to Bose.
  • Bose was sued by Micro-Acoustics Corp. for patient infringement.
  • Bose sued LINEAR DESIGN LABS, INC. for patient infringement in 1971.

Market Share

Bose directly competes against the following companies in the consumer speaker and home theater market:

  • Boston Acoustics
  • Harman/Kardon
  • JBL
  • Polk

Bose directly competes against the following companies in the consumer headphone market:

Bose caters mainly to the premium/luxury segment of the consumer market, mainly affluent non-audiophiles. While there has been controversy over whether or not the high prices are justified (many audio veterans say that people pay extra just for the Bose name), there is no doubt that Bose is quite successful in keeping a large segment of the high-end consumer audio market.

Known Criticisms

Audio veterans, audio engineers, loudspeaker aficionados, and audiophiles (mainly the vendor-neutral and the high-fidelity niches) have historically argued over the following issues/criticisms/concerns with Bose in the following areas:

  • Excessive bass at the cost of treble (This bothers audiophiles the most.)
  • Products' overall sound-quality-to-price ratio (Coincides with the bass/treble issue)
  • Products' build-quality-to-price ratio (This issue bothers loudspeaker aficionados the most)
  • Marketing tactics
  • Historic refusal to post full specifications (i.e. Impedance, Sensitivity, Driver Metal Type, etc.)
  • Pricing procedures/tactics (This issue bothers buyers from all walks of income)
  • Legal tactics

The consensus in audio circles is that the overall quality, reliability, and value of audio devices (speakers, headphones, et al) are highly subjective, meaning that they vary highly from individual to individual. As such, it is important to remember that these views should not be seen as fact (meaning objective, true data), regardless of who holds them or why.

Lines of Products

Proprietary Technologies

  • Tri-Port Earcup Drivers
  • Acoustimass Transducers
  • Acoustic Noise Cancellation
  • Acoustic Waveguide Transducers
  • Direct/Reflecting Loudspeaker Drivers
  • Psychoacoustic Equalization

Products

Locations

Headquarters

  • Framingham, MA

Automotive Division

  • Stow, MA

Plants

  • Framingham, MA
  • Carrickmacross, Ireland
  • Columbia, SC
  • San Luis, Rio Colorado, Sonora, Mexico
  • Tijuana B.C., Mexico

Number of Retail Stores

  • Over 150 as of October 6, 2005

External links

de:Bose Corporation