According to a new Nikkei report, Pioneer is going to cease plasma production, as we suspected, but will not just become a passive buyer of Panasonic's plasma technology. Instead, it will combine forces with Panasonic (aka Matsushita) to make sure that the hot Kuro line doesn't fall in quality. At the same time, Panasonic benefits even more, getting all that sexy intellectual property to make ultra-black panels.
The two firms are expected to combine their strengths to develop low-cost, high-quality panels. Plasma TVs based on a jointly developed panel will likely be added to their individual product lineups as early as 2009. Some Pioneer engineers may be transferred to Matsushita in the process.[Nikkei (Subscription required)]