Kingston Technology

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Kingston Technology Corporation
Type Private
Industry Computer storage
Computer memory
Founded Fountain Valley, California, USA (1987)
Founder(s) John Tu
David Sun
Headquarters Fountain Valley, California, US
Area served Worldwide
Key people John Tu (President)
David Sun (COO)
Products Flash memory cards
USB flash drives
DRAM
Digital Audio Players
SIM cards
Solid-state drive
Revenue Increase US$ 6.0 billion (2013)
Employees 4,000 (2014)
Website www.kingston.com

Kingston Technology Corporation is an American, privately held, multinational computer technology corporation that develops, manufactures, sells and supports flash memory products and other computer-related memory products. Headquartered in Fountain Valley, California, USA, Kingston Technology employs more than 4,000 people worldwide as of Q1 2014. The company has manufacturing and logistics facilities in the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Taiwan, and Mainland China.

It is the largest independent producer of DRAM memory modules, currently owning 53% of the third-party worldwide DRAM module market share, according to IHS.[1] Kingston is arguably the second largest supplier of flash memory. Gartner ranks Kingston as the world's #2 supplier of USB drives, #4 in flash cards and #5 in solid state drives.[citation needed]

In 2013, Kingston generated revenues of US $6.0 billion. Forbes lists Kingston as #94 on its list of "The 500 Largest Private Companies in the U.S." and #1 in the Technology Hardware & Equipment category.

Kingston serves an international network of distributors, resellers, retailers and OEM customers on six continents. The company also provides contract manufacturing and supply chain management services for semiconductor manufacturers and system OEMs.

Through its ownership of Kingston Technology Company Inc. and Advanced Validation Labs Inc. (AVL), Kingston Technology Corporation is one of the world’s leading memory module manufacturing, module validation, semiconductor packaging and test companies in the world[citation needed].


History[edit]

Early history[edit]

Kingston Technology was founded on October 17, 1987, in response to a severe shortage of surface-mount memory chips in the high-tech marketplace in the 1980s. To provide a solution, Taiwan immigrants John Tu and David Sun drew on their engineering expertise and designed a new single in-line memory module (SIMM) that used readily available, older-technology through-hole components. In 1989 Kingston differentiated itself from its competitors with 100-percent testing, which resulted in quality assurance and the leadership position in the market.[citation needed] The following year the company branched out into its first non-memory product line, processor upgrades. By 1992, Kingston was ranked #1 by Inc. as the fastest-growing privately held company in America. The company expanded into networking and storage product lines, and introduced DataTraveler and DataPak portable products. In September 1994, Kingston became ISO 9000 certified on its first assessment attempt.

Kingston began expanding its services into Europe by opening a branch office in Munich, Germany[when?] to provide technical support and marketing capabilities for its European distributors and customers.

In October 1995, the company joined the Billion-Dollar Club. After the company’s 1995 sales exceeded $1.3 billion, ads ran thanking the employees ("Thanks a Billion!") with each individual employee-name in The Wall Street Journal, The Orange County Register and The Los Angeles Times. Ads also appeared in trade publications and The Wall Street Journal thanking the company's suppliers and distributors.

On August 15, 1996 SoftBank Corporation of Japan acquired 80 percent of Kingston for a total of $1.8 billion. In November of the same year, Kingston and Toshiba co-marketed memory upgrades for Toshiba PCs - the first time that a PC OEM and a memory manufacturer had teamed up to create a co-branded module. In 1999, Tu and Sun eventually bought back the 80 percent of Kingston owned by Softbank for $450 million.

On December 14, 1996 John Tu and David Sun allocated $100 million for employee bonuses as a result of the acquisition, averaging $130,000 for each of the company's 550 workers.[2] Kingston announced a 49% increase in unit sales for its memory module products in calendar year 1996 over calendar year 1995.

In January 1997, Kingston opened its European headquarters in the United Kingdom, a manufacturing facility/office in Taiwan, a sales office in Japan, and a manufacturing facility and offices in Dublin, Ireland. The company also expanded its American manufacturing capacity by purchasing PC-OEM manufacturing buildings in Fountain Valley, CA. Kingston also introduced ValueRAM, which was a high-quality, low-cost memory designed for system integrators to use in white box solutions.

2000s[edit]

Kingston launched Advanced Validation Labs, Inc. (AVL), a sister company that provides memory validation services. Kingston’s Storage Products Division (SPD) was also spun off as a new company, StorCase Technology, Inc. In June of the same year, Kingston announced a new supply chain management model to its memory manufacturing process. Payton Technology Inc. was established to help support this new model. Forbes listed Kingston as number 141 on its list of "The 500 Largest Private Companies in the U.S," with revenues of $1.5 billion for 1999.

In March 2001, Kingston announced the formation of the Consumer Markets Division (CMD), a new division focusing on the retail and e-tail channel.

In 2002 Kingston launched a patented, memory tester, a new HyperX line of high-performance memory modules, and patented EPOC chip-stacking technology. In August, Kingston made a $50 million investment in Elpida and launched a green initiative for module manufacturing.

In 2004, Kingston announced revenues of $1.8B for 2003. In September, Kingston announced new DataTraveler Elite USB drives, with hardware-based security encryption. In October, Advanced Micro Devices named Kingston "Outstanding Partner" for contributions to the AMD Athlon 64 and Opteron launches. Kingston reported revenues of $2.4B for 2004. In May, Kingston launched a line of validated ValueRam modules for Intel-based servers. The company was later granted a U.S. patent on dynamic burn-in tester for server memory. They also announced a $26M investment in Tera Probe, the newest and largest wafer testing company in the world. They also opened the world's largest memory module manufacturing facility in Shanghai, China. In 2006, Kingston reported revenues of $3.0B for 2005. In March, Kingston introduced the first fully secure 100% privacy USB drive with 128-bit hardware encryption, and later with 256-bit hardware encryption. The company also launched Fully Buffered Dimms (FBDIMMs), which broke the 16GB barrier. The company entered the portable media market with KPEX (Kingston Portable Entertainment eXperience).

In 2007, Kingston reported revenues of $3.7B for 2006. Forbes listed Kingston as number 83 on its list of "The 500 Largest Private Companies in the U.S". Inc. ranked Kingston as the #1 Fastest Growing Private Company By Revenue.

In 2008, Kingston reported revenues of $4.5B for 2007. In August, Inc.com's "Top 100 Inc. 5000 Companies" ranked Kingston #2 in both Gross Dollars of Growth and Overall Revenue. Forbes lists Kingston as number 79 on its list of "The 500 Largest Private Companies in the U.S."

In 2009, Kingston reported revenues of $4.0B for 2008. Volume increased 41% in memory units shipped from 2007. iSuppli ranked Kingston as the world's number-one memory module manufacturer for the third-party memory market for the sixth consecutive year. In August, Inc.com's "Top 100 Inc. 5000 Companies" ranked Kingston #5 in Private Companies by Revenue and number 1 in the computer hardware category. In October, Forbes listed Kingston as number 97 on its list of "The 500 Largest Private Companies in the U.S."

In 2010, Kingston reported revenues of $4.1B for 2009. iSuppli ranked Kingston as the world's number-one memory module manufacturer for the third-party memory market with 40.3% market share, up from 32.8% in 2008 and 27.5% in 2007. In August, Inc.com's "Top 100 Inc. 5000 Companies" ranked Kingston #6 in Private Companies by Revenue and number 1 in the computer hardware category. In November, Forbes listed Kingston as number 77 on its list of "The 500 Largest Private Companies in the U.S."

In 2011, Kingston reported revenues of $6.5B for 2010. iSuppli ranked Kingston as the world's number-one memory module manufacturer for the third-party memory market, with 46% market share. Kingston also launched the Wi-Drive line of wireless storage products. Forbes ranked Kingston as the 51st largest private company in the US, up from #77. Inc. ranked Kingston #4 by revenue in the top 100 companies and #1 in computer hardware category. Gartner Research ranked Kingston as the #1 USB drive manufacturer in the world.

In 2012, Kingston celebrated 25 years in the memory business. iSuppli ranked Kingston as the world's number-one memory module manufacturer for the third-party memory market for the 9th consecutive year. Kingston celebrated 10 years of HyperX gaming memory. Kingston releases HyperX branded SSD drives and releases the first Windows to Go USB drive. Forbes lists Kingston as #48 on its list of "The 500 Largest Private Companies in the U.S." Gartner Research ranked Kingston #1 USB manufacturer in the world.

In 2013, Kingston ships its fastest, world’s largest-capacity USB 3.0 Flash Drive with DataTraveler HyperX Predator 3.0, available up to 1 TB. Kingston launches the MobileLite Wireless reader line of storage products for smartphones and tablets. iSuppli ranks Kingston as the world's number-one memory module manufacturer for the third-party memory market for the 10th consecutive year. Gartner Research ranks Kingston the no. 1 USB Flash drive manufacturer in the world for the 6th straight year. Forbes lists Kingston as #94 on its list of "The 500 Largest Private Companies in the U.S."

In 2014, Kingston HyperX releases FURY memory line for entry-level overclocking and gaming enthusiasts. HyperX then launches maximum comfort, superior sound Cloud gaming headset. iSuppli ranks Kingston as the world's number-one memory module manufacturer for the third-party memory market for the 11th consecutive year. HyperX sets overclocking world record mark at 4500MHz, the highest frequency in the world, using a 4GB HyperX DDR3 2933MHz module. Kingston ships M.2 SATA SSDs for new notebook platforms, small-form factor devices and Z97 motherboards. Kingston releases MobileLite Wireless G2, the second generation media streamer for smartphones and tablets.

Awards and recognition[edit]

iSuppli has ranked Kingston as the world's number-one memory module manufacturer for the third-party memory market for six consecutive years, the most recent being in November 2010. In 2007, Inc. awarded Kingston Technology's founders with the Inaugural Distinguished Alumni Goldhirsh Award. In September 2006, Kingston received Intel’s "Outstanding Supplier Award for Exceptional Support, Quality and Timely Delivery of FB-DIMM Products". In April 2003 Kingston received the "Diverse Supplier Award for Best Overall Performance" from Dell. It was also honored for "Excellence in Fairness" by the Great Place to Work Institute. The company also appeared on Fortune 's list of "100 Best Companies to Work For" for five consecutive years (1998–2002). In 2001, it was listed by IndustryWeek as a "Top 5 Global Manufacturing Company". Forbes ranks Kingston as number 94 on its list of America's Largest Private Companies.

Controversy[edit]

After 27 years in the memory business without any notable customer complaints that could be verified, in 2014 Kingston found itself in the hot seat when it released the SSDnow V300 Solid State Drive. Kingston’s first batch of V300 was produced with synchronous NAND, a better performing NAND than asynchronous. http://www.gamersnexus.net/guides/1360-kingston-v300-asynchronous-vs-synchronous-benchmark

During the press review period, the product performed better than even Kingston had expected. Unfortunately for buyers, they believed that they would also achieve these higher than expected performances. The problem was that, with a dwindling supply of synchronous NAND, Kingston chose to build with asynchronous NAND for its next production run. Critics believe it was at this point that Kingston should have created a separate part number for the slower asynchronous NAND, but did not. http://www.anandtech.com/show/7763/an-update-to-kingston-ssdnow-v300-a-switch-to-slower-micron-nand

Kingston released a statement saying “Our strategy for the V300 has always been, and will continue to be, focused on using NAND from various manufacturers in an effort to ensure a good user experience at a great price. Internally, we focused on performance features such as quick boot, application opening and the industry standard ATTO and IOmeter benchmarks. As a result, all builds of our V300 meet our published ATTO and IOmeter specifications.”

Although the product specs remained the same for both builds, buyers believed that they were being misled. Kingston claimed that it did not intentionally attempt any wrongdoing, presumably they had to make a change in the production build to meet the growing demand, while prices were plummeting. Although the practice of using alternative component vendors for the same product is commonplace in the technology sector, especially computers and electronics, it was not received well by many consumers. http://techreport.com/review/26664/alleged-bait-and-switch-tactics-spur-kingston-pny-ssd-boycott

Products[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ kingston.com
  2. ^ Moskowitz, Milton (September 23, 2007). "We Love Our Jobs. Just Ask Us.". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 

External links[edit]