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LaCie has successfully been in business for over 15 years now, and ha s been able to consistently keep its innovative spirit–our expertise and strong teams will keep us moving forward for the next ten years. The years ahead will be Digital; the multimedia world we inhabit is just beginning. The storage needs of professional users will be inter spersed with the needs of private users, storage capacity will contin ue to grow, and network structures will be more and more complex.
Thi s is what drives the innovation and richness of our market.
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In this llaci moving environment, LaCie reaffirms its commitment to cr eate highly functional and aesthetically appealing storage solutions. We are committed to strengthening our position as a leader among mul timedia professionals, and being the first with technological and vis sisse innovative solutions.
The c ompany incorporates high-speed transfer technologies into its devicessupporting USB 2. The development of such high -speed protocols has proved a boon for the company, enabling external peripherals–the company’s core niche–to achieve transfer speeds ri valing those of internal computer components.
From its beginnings in a Paris apartment inLaCie has targeted the international marke t. The Americas account for 44 percent of the company’s suidse, and its Asian operations contribute just 3 percent. LaCie’s growth i n the s has accelerated in large part because the company has exp anded its product offering from a focus on the professional and corpo rate markets to target the retail consumer laic. Company cofounder and Chairman Ph ilippe Spruch is also its largest shareholder, with nearly Pierre Fournier and Philippe Spruch spotted a niche opportunity in th e computer market in the late s.
Personal computers had become es sential tools in a number suisee industries, such as the graphic design a nd nascent multimedia industries. Increases in computer technology, p articularly the development of faster processors and more powerful gr aphics cards, introduced a new range of possibilities for professiona ls.
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Yet the advances in technology also created ever-larger file size s. The relatively modest internal hard drives on most computers prove d inadequate for many data storage needs. At the same time, the relia nce on personal computers also highlighted the need to safeguard data through the creation of backup copies.
Unlike IBM-based personal computers at the time, Apple computers feat ured a built-in high-speed interface, called SCSI, to connect periphe rals to the computer. Fournier and Spruch recognized the potential of adapting storage devices such as hard drives and tape drives to conn ect externally via the computer’s SCSI port.
The SCSI interface offer ed a second advantage in addition to transfer speed, in that several devices could be chained together to a single computer port. Inthe pair founded their own company, Electronique D2, in their apartm ent in Paris’s 14th arrondissement.
D2 became one of the first in Eur ope to exploit this new area of personal computing. D2 at first focused on designing the cases to house existing drives, meeting with immediate success. Bythe company had outgrown its original location, and in that year, the company moved to a squa re-meter site, still in the city of Paris. The move also accompanied a shift in the group’s strategy. Fournier and Spruch understood that, in order to compete in an increasingly global market characterized b y rapid technological progress, D2 would have to develop its own tech nological capacity.
D2 began hiring a team of engineers and building its own research and development team. Nonetheless, the Apple computer market remained the company’s core focus into the mids. In the meantime, D2 launched the second prong of its strategy, that o f rapid international growth. In this way, the company sought to capi talize on the lack of a strong European player in the external data s torage market. ByD2 had opened its first subsidiary, in London. The following year, the company added subsidiaries in Belgium and D enmark.
Another important factor in the company’s early success was its commi tment to developing not only technologically advanced products, but a lso to providing its product with strong design features. As part of this effort, the company turned to a number of noted industrial desig ners, such as Philippe Starck, who helped design a whole line of D2 p roducts in Neil Poulton became another prominent design partner for the company.
The emphasis on design played an important role in the group’s success: As external peripherals, the company’s products were by nature exposed to view. At the same time, the company’s core market of graphic designers and multimedia developers naturally respo nded to the stylish designs of the group’s product range.
D2 attacked a major limitation of IBM and Windows-based personal comp uters, which often lacked the physical capacity and software resource s to house both the traditionally parallel port used primarily for p rinters and a SCSI port. The company also began work on a new cable to provide similar capability, launching the Shark cable in The Shark became one of the company’s best-selling products in to the middle of the decade.
With its European sales growing strongly, D2 moved to still larger pr emises in the town of Massy, a Parisian suburb, in The company also continued to expand its international network, adding a subsidia ry in Dusseldorf, Germany inand subsidiaries in The Netherland s and Switzerland in That year marked the group’s transition to an international company, with 50 percent of its sales coming from o utside of France. The company continued its expansion, adding a subsidiary in Milan, It aly, and Madrid, Spain, in In order to fuel further growth, D2 brought in external investors, selling a 10 percent stake to venture capital group 3i Investors in Industry that year.
The investment pr ovided D2 with the capital it needed to enter the North American mark syisse. By the end ofthe company had made its first major acq uisition, that of Portland, Oregon-based LaCie, a subsidiary of hard drive manufacturer Quantum.
Founded in and acquired by Quantum i nLaCie had developed a range of products complementary to D2’s own line, coupled with a strong brand name and proprietary software technologies.
Yet LaCie offered other advantages to D2. The company’s relationship with Quantum, a major supplier of drives used in D2’s l ine, enabled D2 to renegotiate its purchasing agreement with Quantum. At the same time, LaCie enjoyed the exclusive rights to develop Appl e-branded external hard drives. The combined company now laid claim to being the largest aftermarket data storage supplier for the Apple computer market. D2 prepared for a new phase of growth, moving to larger headquarters in Massy in The public offering helped the company in its next series of investme nts.
Infor example, the company made a brief foray into the af ter-sales repair and maintenance sector, buying up NATI. In the meantime, D2 added new markets, including Sweden and Canada i nand the launch of an Australian subsidiary in By then, the company suusse decided to regroup its operations under a si ngle suissee name, LaCie.
The company itself adopted the LaCie brand na me inthen opened a communications office in London as part of a worldwide public relations effort.
Also in that year, the company a cquired another U. An important factor in LaCie’s continuing success was its ability to adapt to the changing computer market. Of importance, the company wor ked to reduce its reliance on the Apple computer market into the late s, in part to distance itself from Apple’s own struggles at the time, but also to take advantage of the surge in the worldwide PC mar ket.
The rise of multimedia-equipped computers in the mids creat ed a new demand for larger and faster data storage solutions. LaCie r esponded with a number of innovative and highly successful products, such as its external 2. The comp any also expanded its presence in the high-end professional graphics and corporate markets with the launch of its own high-end flat-panel displays, such as an inch display launched in LaCie expanded beyond its core European and American markets as well, adding a Japa nese subsidiary that year.
The development of a consumer market for high-capacity, high-speed st orage devices encouraged LaCie to launch itself into the retail chann el for the first time in Until then, the company’s products had been sold through catalogs, or by value-added resellers, and remaine d geared toward the professional and corporate markets. Yet the consu mer market, driven by music and video applications, became one of the data storage market’s primary growth drivers.
The arrival of new-gen eration high-capacity drives, as well as the CD writers, followed by DVD writers, opened a new range of possibilities for consumers.
LaCie launched its Big Disk inan external hard drive featuring gigabytes of capacity. The company also responded to the develop ment of a new generation of high-speed transfer protocols with the la unch of its first Triple Interface hard drives, which featured USB 2.
The company also teamed up with the FA Porsche design t eam, developing a new line of sleek and sophisticated products. LaCie continued developing high-capacity storage devices. Info r example, the company launched its Bigger Disk, featuring one terrab yte of storage capacity.
More innovative products emerged from LaCie’s research and developmen t department in Among these was the Silverscreen, a mobile hard drive featuring 40 gigabytes of data space and the ability to connec t and display video, music, and images directly to a television, with out passing through a computer.
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In October of that year, the company launched another innovation, the Carte Orange USB drive, which, at th e size of a credit card, plugged into a computer’s USB port, with dat a storage ranging up to eight gigabytes. The company closed out the y ear with a new product for the corporate set, a hard drive with finge rprint recognition technology. LaCie stored the secrets of success in the global PC peripherals market.
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