As a surprise to probably no-one, GE and SonoSite are each claiming to be number 1 in the hand carried ultrasound market. With similar worldwide revenue numbers, the two compete head-to-head in this fast-growing market. While the market is similar, the machines are decidedly different. With GE squeezing its large machines into versatile laptop versions, SonoSite continues to pride itself on its market knowledge and easy-to-use, fast-booting, durable systems that are critical to its target market. As mentioned here before, it will be interesting to see how SonoSite handles GE's relentless pounding into this market with plenty of solid machines into this market. In the full article that you can read here there's also a mention of the not-often-seen Zonare, a company that builds systems that operate as console and handheld systems. Zonare seems to rely more on its sales force than traditional methods such as a good website or frequent newsworthy press-releases. Zonare has a very good concept and is led by knowledgeable industry insiders, however it seems Zonare has forgotten to tell its marketing department.
The article also mentions that GE includes its service revenues in its overall revenue numbers. This is an important consideration. As a company involved heavily in service, we've found the following to be true:
- SonoSite systems are really rock-solid. Believe the hype. We don't have problems with these and it allows us to sell them for less because of its 5-year warranty and incredible toughness.
- GE's systems do have problems, albeit far fewer than we expected. GE's transducers are converted from their console units, and although they don't withstand the drop-test as SonoSite's probes, we don't have many warranty claims on these either.
- When someone is working in a problem-prone field where multiple risk factors are at hand, such as: Multiple users, mobile situations, and hurried situations such as the emergency room, we recommend the SonoSite because it can handle a fall and dust and dirt don't have the same impact on the system.
It won't be much of a surprise if GE creates a more durable long-warranted system, nor will it be a surprise when SonoSite starts creating more high-end customizable systems with its move to Windows CE Embedded as its operating system. We'll also be watching Zonare to see what kind of impact it has on the market as Siemens and Philips continue to sleep at the wheel.
Quoted from http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20071015/BIZ/710150038:
SonoSite, GE have competing claims as market leader
The battle to lead the growing compact ultrasound industry has raged for five years between SonoSite Inc. and GE Healthcare.
SonoSite had the head start, getting to market first with its system in 1999. GE's first hand-carried model debuted in 2002. They've become popular because of their performance, compact size and lower price -- typically $40,000 to $90,000, compared to several times that for a big ultrasound system.
As with any good battle, there's even disagreement about who is ahead and where.
GE and SonoSite are neck-and-neck in worldwide sales, at least according to available figures from the companies. SonoSite took in revenue of $171 million during 2006, while GE reported its compact ultrasound sales totaled $174 million.
"Worldwide, it's pretty close, with GE probably ahead," said Harvey Klein, president of New York-based Klein Biomedical Consultants Inc. "In the U.S., SonoSite is definitely No. 1."