In what has to be surprising news for just about everyone, OCZ Technology has publicly announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire Indilinx, best known for being the designer and manufacturer of the Indilinx Barefoot controller used in many previously well-regarded solid-state drives over the past several years.
To fund the acquisition, OCZ is offering $32 million worth of its common stock, giving Indilinx shareholders a roughly 9.5% stake in the company once regulatory approval is received. OCZ states that SSD controller shipments from Indilinx to other SSD manufacturers and OEMs will remain unchanged, and Indilinx’s controller business of 45 employees will stay intact with founder and President of Bumsoo Kim staying at the helm.
Our tech & business savvy readers may remember that February marked the last month OCZ Technology was in the DRAM business. With the start of March, OCZ no longer sells DDR2 and DDR3 memory, which may sound strange to those that remember OCZ making a name for itself in the memory markets.
With OCZ having completed switching its core business over to SSDs, the strategic decision to acquire a leading SSD controller manufacturer makes perfect sense. For those curious, OCZ states it will continue to market solid-state drives featuring controllers from other leading controller manufacturers, most notable of which is of course SandForce.
Indilinx may not have had the first SSD controller design on the market, but for an at-the-time relatively unknown startup, the company managed to make quite the name for itself, given the Barefoot controller quickly matured to more than hold its own against Intel’s G2 solid-state drives. We have to say, it will be very exciting to see where Indilinx can take its future SSD controllers from here with the added backing of OCZ, especially in light of admittedly stiff competition from the likes of SandForce.
Indilinx has been hard at work on its own second generation controller design, codenamed “Jet Stream”, which consumers will likely see housed in new SSDs sometime this year. Little is known about it other than it will be a SATA 6Gbps controller, however, it is mentioned “multichip operation support” is another of the design features as well as “hybrid” SSD/HDD combination drives. Multichip operation support sounds remarkably something like OCZ’s Z-Drive which has been on the market for two years.
The boost from pairing two SSD controllers together was impressive, let alone some models which featured no less than four Indilinx Barefoot controllers in a RAID 0 configuration. One only needs to look at yet another OCZ product (the RevoDrive) to see the potential in pairing multiple controllers together. It may prove interesting to see an SSD controller designed with such possible configurations in mind.
Moving beyond the scope of SSDs, this stock swap gives OCZ new access to the consumer electronics market. Indilinx has a high performance e.MMC 3.3x solid-state controller intended for smart phones and other small, portable consumer electronics. It also gives OCZ access to Indilinx’s patent portfolio and associated intellectual property, both of which OCZ will likely put to good use in all future OCZ solid-state products. However we look at it, the future for SSDs hasn’t looked rosier for consumers, and now for OCZ as well. With no less than four new high performance controllers expected to debut this year, the SSD arms race is already well underway.
SAN JOSE, CA—March 14, 2011—OCZ Technology Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:OCZ),a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Indilinx Co., Ltd, a privately held fabless provider of flash controller silicon and software for SSDs.