50 years of Verbatim
From garage to global leader in storage
Eschborn, 28 April 2019 – Fifty years ago, engineer and physicist Reid Anderson began a success story in a garage in Silicon Valley, California, which is now synonymous worldwide with high-quality storage media. Verbatim enters its anniversary year as the world market leader in optical storage media, a wide portfolio in other data storage products and significant business in categories including 3D printing, LED lighting and computer accessories.
It all began in 1969, under the Information Terminals Corporation (ITC) company name, with Anderson realising the market potential of computer storage media. For its first product, the small company put tape into bought-in cassette cases, and later developed his own cassettes that featured an extremely stable and precise-running polycarbonate casing. In 1972, ITC had a global share of 90 per cent with this product and employed around 30 people. In 1973, the engineers at ITC further developed IBM’s first 8-inch floppy disk to create a special shell that would protect the disk from dirt and damage. The path to growth continued and in 1976 led to the construction of ITC’s first media factory in which disks were given a unique Teflon coating through an innovative production process. Under the name “Verbatim” – Latin for “literally” – this floppy disk was launched onto the market and was later also available in the 5.25-inch format. Compared to today, these large-format disks stored very little data – in fact, they could only hold a few pages of text!
While up to this point, products had only been sold to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) the company now expanded its business to include the retail sector too. The firm already had more than 1,000 staff when it rebranded itself “Verbatim”, in recognition of its top-selling product, and was floated on the stock market in 1979. With the launch of the DataLifePlus diskette two years later, the company continued to expand its international reputation as a manufacturer of high-quality storage media.
To further grow into the Japanese market, Verbatim entered into a joint venture with Mitsubishi Kasei. As the compact, 3.5-inch diskette evolved into a sales hit in the ensuing years, financial requirements for the construction of new production facilities meant that the company had to be sold in 1985 to the photographic and film specialist Eastman Kodak.
After five years of collaboration, however, the firms parted company and in 1990, Mitsubishi Kasei, which later merged in with Mitsubishi Petrochemical to form the Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, once again became the company’s owner. Today, the parent company trades under the name of Mitsubishi Chemical Media.
In the 1990s, Verbatim achieved market leadership with floppy disks but the trend was already moving towards magneto-optical storage media in ever-smaller formats and with ever-larger storage capacities – a field in which Verbatim became the front-runner and even today holds the top international position for CD, DVD and Blu-ray blank media. Back then, as it is now, Verbatim was one of the few manufacturers to include all the popular formats and products in its portfolio, including many “first to market” and test-winning products. The Freecom brand, which was purchased by Mitsubishi Chemical Media in 2009 and happens to have its 30 year anniversary this year as well, is another branch of the Verbatim offering, providing high-end hard drives and SSDs with innovative features to a loyal customer base.
With volumes of data growing exponentially, the demand for storage media is constantly increasing with mobile storage solutions, such as external hard drives, SSDs, USB drives and flash cards all part of the storage product mix essential in today’s many different applications. However, it is optical media, which although having declined over recent years with the uptake in streaming technologies, is still very much considered the best method of archiving data for the long term due to its lifetime performance and backwards compatibility (old discs being readable by the very latest generations of optical drives).
“Customers primarily want reliability, but they also require data safety. We are addressing these wishes through meticulous development work combined with the best components and precision production processes,” says Clive Alberts, the recently appointed President of Verbatim EUMEA. “This focus is reflected through our slogan, ‘Technology you can trust’, and the fact that we deliver what we promise – just as we have done over the past five decades.”
“We look back with pride because we have always been at the forefront of the storage market with our innovations, and this is something we will continue to do in the future, while also strengthening particular focus areas for the company such as secure encrypted data storage products and high quality computer accessories. We also have a great opportunity accessing and marketing unique technologies developed by our parent company, Mitsubishi Chemical, such as materials for 3D printing, and will seek to continue growing significantly in these important categories over the coming years.” says Clive Alberts.
Verbatim is a group company of Mitsubishi Chemical, one of the world’s largest chemical companies. Globally recognized, Verbatim’s products are sold in over 120 countries with a line-up that includes Optical Storage Media, USB Drives, Memory Cards, Hard Drives, Solid State Drives (SSDs), Mobile Accessories, LED Lighting and 3D Printing Filaments.
The company’s operating principles are founded on the company’s KAITEKI philosophy of helping people to live in a healthy, comfortable and sustainable way.
Verbatim’s European headquarters is located in Eschborn, Germany. For further information, visit http://www.verbatim.com.