Quietly last week, the North American Philips Co., Inc. announced that it will spend $20 million on the postwar expansion of its three war-working U.S. plants (at Dobbs Ferry, Mt. Vernon, N.Y., and Lewiston, Me.). This was not a dazzling amount of money. Yet the news set the whole $3½-billion U.S. electronics industry on edge. Why?

North American Philips is an invasion force, one of the newest arms of Holland's rich, world-powerful N. V. Philips Gloeilampenfabrieken (Incandescent Lamp Works Co.), of Eindhoven. Back of North American Philips are $250 million in assets, brains, familiarity with...

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