Archive for February, 2010

The 10 Year Light Bulb Conspiracy?

iqbulbAbout 12 years ago I noticed some light bulbs on clearance at a Menards home store. As I recall, they sold for about 50 cents each and were called IQ light bulbs, made by Philips.  They were advertised as a bulb that would shut off automatically after 30 minutes. Furthermore, you could override this feature by turning the light on and off quickly. So I bought some. Wow, they really worked! No longer could my kids leave lights on in out of the way places.

Boy did they work. I still have two bulbs from over 10 years ago that work!  The photo on the left is one such bulb in a utility closet. I also have a working IQ bulb in a basement bathroom.

So why did they discontinue this bulb? When I tried to get more bulbs at the Menards they told me that the bulbs they sold were no longer manufactured. They told me they got a whole train car at a discount price and then sold them at dirt cheap prices – the fellow at the store said they normally would have sold for about $5. In fact they were even giving them to store card owners as a promotion I was told.

So it appears Philips wanted to unload this item they discontinued. And fairly quickly. Why? If you try to find information on this product at the current Philips website, you won’t. And if you try searching Google for this information on this product, you won’t find but one old forum page! It is as if the product never existed!

A light bulb that lasts 10 years and saves me gobs of money on electricity is certainly not a bad product to me the consumer. So it is very tempting to conclude that this bulb was just too good. I suppose it is possible that the original price was so high that people were not buying it, but I would think in today’s climate of incandescent = bad, bad, bad that people would be willing to pay $10 or even $20 for such a bulb that lasts and lasts. I know I would.

The one result I did find on this product was from a 2004 Philips forum. I found an official response of

The Philips IQ Lighting was discontinued and there is no replacement. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Then, several more people exclaimed

I love mine and have been looking all over. Bought it 13 years ago and it’s going strong.

The auto off bulbs are great. I have some on my front porch, utility room and bathroom that must be nearly 8-10 years old.

And then, another post by the Philips person:

The IQ lighting Auto OFF were discontinued and there is no replacement. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Sound like corporate talking points to you?  The additional sad news about all this is that you can not find a similar product made by another company – I have looked high and low! Apparently, the patent rights prevent a similar product from hitting the market.

And just in case they delete this forum or the posts, I made a few screen shots below.



If anyone from Philips wishes to clarify what happened here, please do.