RS Components and RS Group, the largest co-owned electronics distributor and manufacturer in the world, has ended its license to manufacture Raspberry Pi. When the Raspberry Pi first came out in 2012, it was manufactured and supplied by Element 14 (part of the Premier Farnell network) and RS Group (RS Components). It was these two websites that offered the brand new, inexpensive SBC for $35.00. This essentially blew the minds of the many who wanted to develop new systems.
A confirmed story on XTech Nikkei reports that an email sent to users on August 10, told of RS Group’s ending of its long tenure as manufacturer and retailer of the iconic SBC, effective June 2022. This effectively ends a 10-year license agreement between RS Group and Raspberry Pi.
The news has not hit the mainstream electronics outlets, as of yet. So far, the announcement has been somewhat secretive, shown on the Japanese portion of the RS Groups’ huge website. There is a Q&A section on the Japanese section of the Website, that states sales will end, starting July 1, 2022. RS Group has stopped the manufacture of Raspberry Pi 4, Raspberry Pi 3, and Raspberry Pi Pico.
Some of what was reported in the Japanese portion of the RS Groups website Q&A section consisted of general queries and questions. In a machine translation of one question and answer, the query went something like
Q: Why did I receive a cancellation notice about this time?
A: We have been negotiating for supply and considering alternatives, but unfortunately we were unable to prepare it, so we have informed you of this cancellation.
It seems in this instance there have been back orders of the Raspberry Pi for some time. With the ongoing supply issues plaguing the electronics industry orders have slipped deeper and deeper into the future. There may be a lead time of 8 months, until Mid – 2023.
For those who made purchases alongside the Raspberry Pi, the Q&A left little doubt that there are no returns accepted by RS Group concerning purchases that were made based on an RPi purchase. Tom’s Hardware reached out to the founder of the Rasberry Pi, Eben Upton, based on a lead on an interview concerning the cancellation with RS Group in PC Watch.
They received the following response: “RS Group has been an important partner for Raspberry Pi, manufacturing our products under license since launch in February 2012. Our license agreement with RS Group came to an end in June 2022, with the result that they no longer manufacture Raspberry Pi products. Other licensees, and our own production, are unaffected by this change. We continue to work with our reseller partners to supply Raspberry Pi products to the market and anticipate no negative impact on availability.”
Raspberry Pi is still being manufactured by Element 14 as well as by Sony in Wales. The boards still remain in short supply, leading to higher prices, purchase limits, and anti-scalper requirements. This is to make sure there is equanimity and an equal share of the RPi to go around.
Raspberry Pi Foundation | raspberrypi.org
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