Micron discontinues Lexar

Micron Technology announced this month it is discontinuing its Lexar retail removable media storage business. It’s the end of an era for a company and brand started in 1996.

Micron discontinues Lexar

For more than 20 years, Lexar has been trusted as a leading global brand of memory solutions. The story may end in 2017, if Micron can not sell all or part of the Lexar business.

The surprising news for some were announced by Jay Hawkins, consumer products group vice president at Micron Technology. The decision to discontinue the Lexar brand, according to Jay Hawkins, “was made as part of the company’s ongoing efforts to focus on its increasing opportunities in higher value markets and channels”.

Hawkins also said that “the company will continue to provide support to existing customers through this transition period. Customers should contact their Lexar sales representative to discuss specific requirements” and ends saying that “as difficult as this decision is, the company is making this adjustment in its business to ensure it continues to be well-positioned for the future.”

Looking back at some recent history, Lexar was awarded $380 million in a lawsuit against Toshiba, who copied Lexar’s flash memory technology, in 2005. The year after Micron Technology acquired Lexar, subsequently merging it with Crucial Technology under the name Lexar Media. In 2007 Lexar extended its agreement with Eastman Kodak Company to develop and market Kodak-branded flash memory products worldwide. There was no recent indication

Apparently, Micron Technology is no longer interested in the retail removable media storage business. It should not come as a complete surprise,  because removable media storage has become a commodity in recent years, and Lexar faces global competition besides having to contend with SanDisk and even Kingston. In fact, the news should not come as a complete surprise, because since at least early 2012 some market analysts suggest that Micron could get rid of Lexar and Crucial. So, the decision has been lingering for five years.

The company says it is discontinuing the brand, but at the same time says it is exploring opportunities to sell all or part of the Lexar business. It’s a strange move, as usually a company finds a buyer and then  announces that the business has been sold. Especially with a brand like Lexar.

Despite the situation, it’s only natural that buyers for Lexar appear. Lexar and SanDisk are two popular brands in terms of removable media storage. SanDisk was acquired by hard drive manufacturer Western Digital in May 12, 2016, so maybe Seagate could buy Lexar. Who knows? After all Seagate has an agreement with Micron, since 2015, to work on projects together, an alliance that made sense as Seagate has hard drive solutions and Micron SSD and other solid state storage media. Could Seagate buy Lexar? Will it?

If no buyers come forward, Lexar may well have as its motto “when memory matters, the choice is Lexar”, but the brand will not be more than a memory in a very near future. Memory cards, USB flash drives, memory card readers, storage drives, all products from Lexar’s line up will vanish from the market.

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Journalist, writer and photographer since 1979, both print and online, with a vast experience in the fields of photography, software, hardware, web, aviation, History, video games, technology, having published content in almost all Portuguese newspapers…