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On the initiative of Emperor Wilhelm II, in 1903 the Allgemeine Elektrizitäts-Gesellschaft (AEG) and Siemens & Halske AG jointly founded the Gesellschaft für drahtlose Telegraphie System Telefunken - better known as Telefunken. This was a political reaction to the developments in radio technology that were in progress in Great Britain. After World War I, Telefunken engineers laid the foundation for the introduction of radio in Germany (1923). In the 1930s, Telefunken was substantially invoved in the development of electronic television. In 1941 Siemens transferred its Telefunken shares to AEG as part of the agreements known as the "Telefunken settlement", and AEG thus became the sole owner. From the beginning of the 1970s, technological change and competitive pressure led to the rapid decline of AEG, and its various holdings were gradually sold.
Siemens-Bauunion GmbH was founded in 1921 as a subsidiary of Siemens & Halske AG and Siemens-Schuckertwerke GmbH. Previously the Siemens parent companies had contracted out the civil engineering works necessary for the building of power plants, tramways and subways to external companies, but because they worked with these companies they had their own experienced staff of civil engineers and building workers. In order to make better use of this potential and to be in a position to offer large-scale building projects from a single source, it was clear that the parent companies would have to have their own construction company. In the 1920s, Siemens-Bauunion was responsible for the building of numerous hydroelectric power plants and subways (Athens, Buenos Aires). Much of the motorway construction in the 1930s was also carried out by the Bauunion. In 1972 Siemens sold the company to Dyckerhoff & Widmann AG.
In Klangfilm GmbH, founded in 1928, AEG and Siemens & Halske AG pooled their expertise in sound-on-film technology. The focus was on the development, production and sale of cinema and sound film equipment. In 1941, as part of the agreements known as the "Telefunken settlement," Siemens & Halske AG took over the shares previously owned by Telefunken and AEG.
Railroad signaling and safety are among Siemens' oldest sectors of activity. In 1897, mutual-interest agreements were concluded with competitors such as Max Jüdel AG and the Maschinenfabrik Bruchsal. In 1926, shortly after Max Jüdel AG merged with several other companies to become Eisenbahnsignalanstalten vorm. Jüdel, Stahmer, Bruchsal AG, Siemens & Halske secured a majority shareholding in the new company. With the additional participation of AEG, the Vereinigte Eisenbahn-Signalwerke GmbH (VES) was formed in 1928. After the currency reform of 1948, the VES was merged with Siemens & Halske and assigned to the Werner Works for Signal Engineering.
Siemens-Planiawerke AG originated in the year 1872, when Werner Siemens and his brothers founded Gebr. Siemens & Co. for the manufacture of alcohol meters. The company also started manufacturing carbons for arc lamps in 1878 and carbon electrodes in 1905. In 1928 it merged to make use of synergies with Planiawerke AG in Ratibor in Upper Silesia and became Siemens-Planiawerke AG. Siemens brought a new graphitization plant in Meitingen into this new company, and Planiawerke brought in its amorphous artificial carbon plant. In the 1930s, around two-thirds of the total European demand for lighting carbons and electrodes was supplied by Siemens-Plania. The company was sold in 1972 when it no longer fitted into the Siemens brand concept.
Siemens Apparate und Maschinen GmbH was formed in 1933 by the merger of the Gesellschaft für elektrische Apparate (Gelap) and the Flugmotorenwerks der Siemens & Halske AG. It was involved in the manufacture and sales of communications and precision mechanics products for the army, navy and merchant marine. The Gesellschaft für elektrische Apparate had developed from the signals department of Siemens & Halske and produced communication and command systems for war and commercial ships, In 1936 the Flugmotorenwerk was spun off to the Brandenburgische Motorenwerke GmbH (Bramo), and in 1940, finally, the aircraft equipment sector was spun off to Luftfahrtgerätewerk Hakenfelde GmbH (LGW) After the war both SAM and LGW were dissolved.
The oldest and most traditional German record company was founded in 1898 by the brothers Emil and Joseph Berliner in Hanover. After progressing in a short time to become market leader, Deutsche Grammophon was affected by a dramatic drop in sales during the world economic crisis as the market for luxury goods stagnated. In addition, the owners and many of the signed musicians were forced to emigrate in 1933, which resulted in a decline in the artistic quality and variety of the record repertoire. In 1941 Siemens & Halske AG acquired Deutsche Grammophon within the scope of the Telefunken settlement. In the 1950s the company once again established itself as market leader and in 1962 was incorporated in the Phonogram joint venture together with Philips. In 1972 Philips and Deutsche Grammophon formed a joint company with the name PolyGram. Philips finally took over all Siemens' PolyGram shares. The label Deutsche Grammophon is still used by the current owner Universal Music Group.
In the 1960s, AEG and Siemens merged their activities in the sector of conventional and nuclear power plants. The high technological and financial expenditure in power plant construction required an increasing concentration of resources. It had also become evident that in the future only a single company would be able to supply the domestic and export markets. In 1969 therefore, after three years of negotiations, AEG and Siemens founded Kraftwerk Union AG and Transformatoren Union AG. With the unfavorable cost developments in Germany and the controversy about the safety of nuclear power stations, business however soon stagnated. The serious existential crisis at AEG obliged the company to transfer its shares to Siemens AG, which subsequently integrated them into its Power Engineering Group.
In 1935 Konrad Zuse (1910–1995) began developing the first program-controlled calculating machine. In 1941 he presented the “Z 3,” the first computer programmed using the binary system. With the company he founded in 1949, Zuse was the first producer of computer systems for commercial purposes. By the time Zuse KG was acquired by Brown, Boveri & Cie. in 1964, it had evolved into a specialized company for small computer systems with applications in cartography, surveying and alignment, and the textile industry. Siemens acquired an initial 70-percent stake in Zuse KG from BBC at the beginning of 1967 and bought the remaining 30 percent two years later. In 1971, Zuse KG was integrated into the Siemens organization.
With his Hellschreiber machine that enabled texts and pictures to be transmitted, Rudolf Hell (1901–2001) was one of the pioneers of telex, television, fax and scanner technology. Siemens had maintained links with the founder of Dr.-Ing. Rudolf Hell KG since the 1930s. When he wanted to adapt his company’s manufacturing activities to the increased capital requirement, Siemens & Halske offered to participate in the venture. In 1971 Siemens finally acquired 80 percent of the company’s share capital, and in 1990 the company merged with Lynotype AG to become Lynotype-Hell AG. The new company, which was acquired in 1996 by Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG, specializes in integration solutions for the graphical and print industries.
Heinz Nixdorf (1925–-1986) developed his Paderborn-based enterprise from a supplier for the manufacturers of office machines into a major company in the data processing sector. He recognized the immense potential of smaller commercial computer systems at an early stage while the market was still dominated by mainframe computers. After the death of its founder, however, the company found itself in difficulties. In Siemens it found the financially powerful partner it urgently needed to boost and finance its R&D activities. In order to strengthen its own market position, in 1990 Siemens merged its Data and Information Systems Group with Nixdorf Computer AG to become Siemens Nixdorf Informationssysteme AG. The necessary restructuring measures primarily affected the workforce. In 1997 SNI was the largest manufacturer of computers in Germany. In 1998 the product business and the product service business were incorporated in the newly founded Siemens Group Information and Communication Products (ICP) (see Fujitsu-Siemens).
EPCOS AG develops, manufactures and sells passive electronic components. The company was formed from the joint venture Siemens Matsushita Components founded by Siemens und Matsushita in 1989, which incorporated major parts of the Passive Components Group. Ten years after Epcos was formed, the company was listed on the stock exchange. Siemens and Matsushita remained the principal shareholders, each retaining a stake of 12.5 percent. In March 2006, Siemens completed its divestment by selling its remaining Epcos shares.
The production of modern transistors was begun in 1952 in the Siemens electron tube factory in Munich. It was only four years previously that the transistor effect had been discovered and the first germanium and silicon semiconductor elements developed, by Siemens among others. In 1999 the Siemens Semiconductors Group was spun off as Infineon Technologies AG and in March 2000 this was listed on the stock exchange, important prerequisites for the consolidation of its leading position on the global semiconductor market as an independent company. The record year 2000 with a world market volume of over 200 billion U.S. dollars was followed in 2001 by the worst market decline in the history of the semiconductor industry. This market crisis, triggered by the large drop in memory chip prices, forced Infineon to implement extensive restructuring programs. Siemens, which had been gradually reducing its stake in Infineon since 2003, completed its divestment of the semiconductor manufacturer – formerly a Siemens subsidiary – in March 2006.
Until April 1, 2009 Fujitsu Siemens Computers was a joint operation of Siemens AG and Fujitsu Limited. The 50-50 joint venture was established in October 1999 through the fusion of Fujitsu Computers (Europe) Ltd. and the Siemens Division Computer Systems from the Group Information and Communication Products (ICP) (see Siemens-Nixdorf). Through the global cooperation between Fujitsu and Siemens, access was provided to the leading international technologies of the two parent companies. In the past decade the company has established a leading position in the EMEA market (Europe, Middle East and Africa) for IT infrastructure, earning a reputation for quality and innovation in the server, PC, and data storage fields. In November 2008 Siemens announced to sell its stake in the joint venture to Fujitsu. With this step Siemens continued its strategy of focusing on the sectors Industry, Energy and Healthcare.
Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) was established on April 1, 2007, as a 50/50 joint venture combining Nokia’s networks business and Siemens’ carrier-related operations for fixed and mobile networks. The move created a leading global provider of telecommunications infrastructure, with Nokia Siemens Networks deploying networks in more than 150 countries around the world. The company focuses on products, solutions and services for mobile broadband applications. In July 2013, Nokia acquired Siemens’ 50-percent stake in NSN. Upon completion of the transaction in August 2013, the name of the company, now wholly owned by Nokia, was changed to Nokia Solutions and Networks (also referred to as NSN). Company headquarters will remain in Espoo, Finland.