OCZ Willing to Ditch Budget SSDs in Turnaround Effort

Paul Lilly

OCZ Technology fans have had cause for concern lately. Earlier this month, the former memory maker turned solid state drive player sacked 28 percent of its staff and discontinued 150 product variations. The restructuring effort was put into place by OCZ's recently appointed chief, Ralph Schmitt, who was appointed to replace former CEO and founder Ryan Petersen. At the time, Schmitt admitted OCZ had "lost credibility," but going forward, he seems to have a plan to turn things around.

Part of that plan involves conceding the budget SSD market to the competition.

"I cannot think we can compete on price," Schmitt told Reuters in an interview. "The flash guys -- the Microns, the Intels, the Samsungs really are the guys that will take that market. They can have it as far as I am concerned, as there is no profit to be made there for us."

Indeed, OCZ's latest "Vector" SSD is a force to be reckoned with, as we discovered in our hands-on evaluation . Built around the company's own Indilinx Barefoot 3 controller and custom firmware, it's one of the fastest SSDs we've ever tested, and it's priced to compete at the high end. Based on Schmitt's comments, that's what we can expect from OCZ going forward.

Schmitt also told Reuters that OCZ was caught off guard by a shortage of NAND flash memory chips after putting all its eggs in one basket.

"We were overly reliant on one supplier," Schmitt said.

OCZ now has multiple NAND suppliers, and combined with its intention of abandoning the budget SSD market, Schmitt believes the company has "got the train back on the track" (a reference to an analyst calling OCZ a "train wreck").

Schmitt also said that OCZ is in talks to raise capital, but insisted the company is not for sale.

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