LAB501

INTERVIEW – Tobias Brinkmann, Vice President Global Marketing, OCZ Storage Solutions

Tobias Brinkmann

OCZ used to be a company tailored for the enthusiasts needs. Times have changed, and so did the main focus for the company, and in the last months of 2013 an even greater change occured, when Toshiba took over the OCZ storage assets. We had a little chat about this with Tobias Brinkmann, Vice President Global Marketing, OCZ Storage Solutions, to find out more details about OCZ’s current situation.

Tobias

lab501: Hi Tobias, nice to see you again!

Tobias Brinkmann: Likewise and thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about the latest developments in regards to the recent acquisition of Toshiba, what it means to the market and the consumers.

lab501: Everyone is talking about OCZ going bankrupt and Toshiba taking over OCZ business. What is your inside view on this topic?

Tobias Brinkmann: 2013 was a turbulent year for OCZ as we faced a number of challenges:
We went through a restatement which primarily related to the timing of revenue recognition, the classification of certain customer incentive costs and for the level of reserves for product returns.

What we have been missing in the recent past is the direct access to NAND which you need in the SSD market today in order to stay competitive and position yourself as a relevant player.

The SSD market is one of the fastest growing segments in the IT industry today. According to analysts the market size will be over $23 billion by 2017 so having that direct access to NAND will be a major competitive advantage.

Our goal is now to grow market share again both in the consumer and enterprise space.
OCZ was among the very first companies to launch a consumer SSD back in 2008. Since then we have established a large IP and patent portfolio both through in house development and acquisitions.
Our Barefoot 3 controller is one, if not the highest performing controller on the market, especially when it comes to sustained performance.

We now have all four pillars that will enable us to grow market share: a market leading in-house controller, application software, firmware and direct access to NAND.

lab501: What happens with the warranty of the products sold by OCZ prior to the Toshiba take over?

Tobias Brinkmann: Toshiba acquired the company’s assets and not the liabilities, but we are pleased that the new organization is able to continue to support existing customers with current SSD products. This supports the vast majority of consumers and all enterprise customers as our top volume products like the Vertex, Vector SATA and RevoDrive PCIe SSDs all continue to be supported. The Agility Series is already on the tail end of the lifecycle and we are able to provide one more year of support for this series. All OCZ Storage Solutions products launched after the acquisition, as well as any future products, will come with warranty support.

lab501: Now that OCZ is a part of Toshiba, what are your plans for the future? What are the main benefits for OCZ Storage Solutions in being part of Toshiba?

OCZ Storage Solutions is part of the Toshiba Group but will operate as a separate entity. Our goal is to grow our market share across various segments and as part of the Toshiba Group, we have everything in place just do to that.
Our Barefoot 3 controller is one, if not the highest performing controller on the market, especially when it comes to sustained performance.

As I mentioned earlier, what we have been missing in the recent past is the direct access to NAND which you need in the SSD market today in order to stay competitive and position yourself as a relevant player.

Over the past year we have already seen a market consolidation both in the consumer and enterprise space. The SSD market continues to experience extraordinary growth and I agree with analysts from IDC and Gartner that there will be only a few brands in the SSD market. There are only a few “brands” out there that have access to a NAND fab, and even fewer that have made the investment to bring up in house controller technology. As the NAND continues to evolve the need for technology that takes advantage of all the features and unlocks the full potential of next generation NAND will be even more key. We believe that in this regard we can offer a differentiated highly compelling solution.

lab501: – Toshiba took over the Storage part of OCZ business. What happened to the other subsidiaries (PSU, etc)?

Tobias Brinkmann: Toshiba only acquired the SSD assets from OCZ Technology and therefore a separate buyer had to be found for the power supply division. I am pleased that FirePower Technology purchased the PSU assets, plans to honor warranty obligations and has taken over the fantastic team we had as well.

For OCZ Storage Solutions, as you can tell by the new name already, this is an opportunity to put all focus and resources towards continuing to develop market leading storage solutions.

lab501: Thank you for your time!

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