Lenovo relegates Iomega brand to entry-level gear
June 12, 2013 | 09:37
The long-running Iomega brand, of late a wholly-owned subsidiary of EMC Corporation, is to be split in twain with the name now reserved for low-end entry level gear.
Founded in 1980, Iomega was for years a major name in storage products. Perhaps its most famous product, the Zip Drive, was a revolution: storing 100MB, later 250MB and 750MB, on easily-portable compact cartridges, the Zip Drive was a must-have upgrade for users sick of the diminutive capacities of 1.44MB floppy disks. Zip Drives became a common sight as both internal and external devices for IBM compatibles, Macs, and even British microcomputing giant's Acorn Archimedes, and successfully fought off competition from rivals like the LS120 - a device that could use proprietary 120MB cartridges or reformat an existing 1.44MB disk to hold up to 32MB of data.
Sadly, Iomega's reign was short: longevity issues with its Zip Disk cartridges, which would succumb to the dreaded 'Click of Death' after a surprisingly short time, hit the launch of affordable CD-RW drives head-one - and Iomega's sales suffered. Attempts to diversify, with the launch of a PCMCIA-connected backup drive for laptops dubbed the Clik! Drive, didn't go well, and eventually Iomega had to admit defeat and launch a CD-RW drive of its own.
Without the profits of proprietary cartridges to back it up, however, Iomega's revenue shrank considerably. A stock price high of $100 in the 90s dipped to closer to $2 by the mid-2000s as the company desperately tried to find a new niche. Leading up to its acquisition by enterprise storage giant EMC, Iomega released devices as diverse as the HipZip MP3 player and the FotoShow Digital Image Center - neither of which were successful - along with external hard drives, DVD-RW drives, backup drives and NAS boxes.
Under EMC, the Iomega brand has been kept alive with post-acquisition launches including the StorCenter NAS family, ScreenPlay TV Link multimedia adapter and the v.Clone virtualisation software. Disappointed with the revenue stream coming from these new products, however, and with a 2012 security issue that saw thousands of Iomega hard drives accessible over the internet with no password required, EMC has opted to spin the company off into a joint partnership with Lenovo dubbed LenovoEMC. While the venture itself was announced back in December last year, the two companies - with Lenovo taking a majority stake - had not decided what to do with the Iomega brand itself.
That question has now been answered: all mid- to high-range products are to be rebranded as LenovoEMC, including the company's business-oriented storage products, while the Iomega brand will be used exclusively for low-end products. The Iomega EZ Media and Backup Centre, for example, will henceforth be known as the Lenovo Iomega EZ Media and Backup Centre, while the Iomega StoreCenter PX Series ditches the name altogether to be known as the LenovoEMC PX Series.
For Iomega, a company that once had the whole removable storage market in its grip, it's the end of an era - one that saw the company sell more than 430 million storage devices and disks.