Japan and Greece collide as Toshiba's storage biz spinoff reborn as Kioxia

Kioku (memory) + axia (value) = $$$


Logowatch Toshiba Memory Corporation has emerged, reborn, from the depths of the strategy boutique, as Kioxia.

It has obviously received a very special treatment from brand consultants. Let us help you wrap your brain around this fantastic reimagining.

The company has its origins in Japan, spun off from big daddy Toshiba in 2018. Toshiba's history stretches back to 1875. Among other things, the company was responsible for the invention of flash memory. It introduced the first laptop in 1985, and the first DVD player in 1996.

"Kioku" means "memory" in Japanese.

So take "kioku" then throw it at the land of democracy, metaphysics, togas and gastroenteritis – Greece. Smush it into "axia", which means value, and you get Kioxia. Memory value.

We'll let the brand consultants take it from here:

Kioxia represents the company's mission to uplift the world with "memory," which forms the foundation of the company's vision. Kioxia will cultivate the new era of memory, defined by rapidly increasing demands for large-capacity, high-performance storage and data processing, which positions the company to grow sustainably as a leading flash memory producer for many years to come.

Inspiring. It's a timely palingenesis too, since Toshiba Memory has become more like a painful memory for its erstwhile parent.

If you recall, Toshiba had to flog off most of its share in its NAND foundry joint-venture with Western Digital to a Bain Capital-led consortium for $18bn in June last year after an ill-fated dabble in nuclear power. Westinghouse Electric, acquired by Toshiba in 2006, went bust in 2017, causing catastrophic losses for the company as a whole.

But Western Digital had something to say about the sale. Quite a bit, in fact. The US storage leviathan was locked into a joint venture with TMC by way of subsidiary SanDisk, building chip fabs for SSDs that both would use. In a bid to ensure these agreements were honoured, WD also made heavy overtures towards Toshiba's troubled division.

For much of 2017 and 2018, these hallowed pages were swamped with stories about the to-ing and fro-ing, umming and erring. It's called a "saga" in local newspaper speak. We definitely didn't get bored of it. The joint venture with WD survived the process – just – and Toshiba retained a 40 per cent share of the company.

But with a natty name change and dip in the Lethe, that's all water under the bridge now.

"I am delighted to take the next step in our company's evolution as we continue to enhance our position at the forefront of the memory industry," said exec chairman and former Intel veteran Stacy J Smith. "Using 'memory' as our starting point, Kioxia will collaborate with people to meet the various needs of everyday life, making the world more interesting and providing long-lasting value to society."

Aside from selling flash chips to the likes of Apple, Dell, Kingston and Seagate – members of the Bain consortium since bought out by TMC – the production lines roll on.

Sadly, a logo has not yet been unveiled, but we look forward to it being stamped all over new wares – as soon as this oversupply nonsense has smoothed out. ®


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