It has today (Oct 11) been confirmed that AKG’s Vienna operation has been forced to close its doors following Harman’s announcement last month that it was making over 650 members of international staff redundant. Now, the engineering team at AKG Vienna have grouped together to launch a brand new company in the form of Austrian Audio.
A statement revealed that the closure of AKG’s Vienna office came about as a result of Harman International’s continued ‘focus on the infotainment and automotive sectors’.
“This is a determined effort to continue and reinvigorate the 70-year tradition of superior Viennese audio expertise and products,” said Thomas Gmeiner, chief technology officer. “We’ve got the team behind some of the most beloved and award-winning microphones and headphones in Professional Audio. This same team has been responsible for patents and proprietary technologies in audio, acoustic, aviation, transducer, telecom, noise cancelling and measurement tools used throughout the world and across many market sectors. We are very impatient to show the world what we’ve been working on but setting new standards takes time,” he continued.
“We bid our former colleagues success in their pursuits,” added Martin Seidl, CEO. “It is now time to create a new future and path with products that not only touch upon our rich heritage but are also free to go in new directions with new features that won’t be found elsewhere. The engineering crew have a lot of ideas and the public will find out about them over the coming months,” he said.. “Having spent the past few months finding a suitable building (a stone’s throw from a prior building where we once designed and made classic mics and headphones), building out the space, and setting up our equipment in the mad-science labs; we are now working on reclaiming one of the original anechoic chambers. The construction of a new floating room for it is almost complete. We’re on to the next phase of designing superior audio tools and toys for an even broader range of people to enjoy and use in making their passion heard. Austrian Audio has also signed agreements to work with other storied audio brands,” concluded Mr. Seidl, “We’ve got a lot to prove to the fans of Viennese audio engineering and listening experience. We aim to not let them down.”
The new team is currently comprised of 17 multi-disciplined engineers and a six-person admin/management team of former AKG staff.
The news comes after Harman revealed that is was ‘consolidating its workforce’ with redundancies on a vast scale.
Harman claims that it is redirecting its investments to IT tools and platforms, giving its employees, distributors and representatives the ‘tools they need to easily transact business’. According to David Glaubke, director of public relations, global professional solutions, Harman International, Harman is also creating additional ‘Experience Centers’ in the US and Europe. The combination of Centers of Competency and Experience Centers will create new roles and positions within the company.
Harman has yet to respond to our requests for comment.