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OLED pioneer gets scooped up by Sumitomo

OLED--it's not dead, but it's not going as fast as its proponents thought it would.

Sumitomo Chemical has agreed to buy Cambridge Display Technology (CDT) for approximately $285 million, giving the OLED industry a shot in the arm.

OLEDS, or organic light emitting diodes, are light sources made form organic materials. With OLEDs, you could turn a wall or a window into a light fixture, according to Universal Display, another OLED company.

OLEDs don't use a lot of power, but they can degrade over time. So far, companies like Samsung have mostly used them for screens in cell phones. Sony is coming out with a small OLED TV for the Japanese market and may expand sales worldwide, depending on what it learns.

Britain's CDT has been one of OLED's early proponents. In some ways, you can say the company has suffered from the pioneer's dilemma. That is, it got started too early, before the market really existed. It licensed technology to various manufacturers but has also had to undergo layoffs. The company also burned through a lot of cash.

Back in 2002, CDT CEO David Fyfe said that, in five years, a significant portion of the display market will have gone organic. Hey, that's now. Not happening yet.