Today a friend passed along a second hand email from Eli and Sanjay to SanDisk employees- see below. No secrets, but some interesting reflections on SanDisk’s positioning in the card business with SD.
I have a post about 95% written on Apple and SD cards, which I’ll post this Sunday. Hopefully soon thereafter I’ll have the time to expand on SD and microSD. The story continues to go unappreciated, yet holds much promise.
My friend thought it would be just fine for me to post this email, so here it is:
To the SanDisk team!
We have just celebrated SanDisk’s 21st birthday, so we we should pause for a moment and reflect on a few recent developments in our business that went somewhat unnoticed, yet are quite profound.
1. Two weeks ago Apple launched their new Mac Book notebook PC’s with for the first time SD card slots. Their decision is an acknowledgement that more people around the world capture their precious memories and family photos and video clips on the SD format than on any other format.
2. Fuji Film and Olympus recently introduced their new lineups of digital cameras. Virtually all of these models now support both XD card as well as SD or microSD. Some models altogether eliminate the XD card slot in favor of SD or microSD cards. This ends a 10 years format battle. Fuji and Olympus wanted to have a proprietary format that would allow them to capture higher margins. The market decided otherwise; the XD proprietary card was way more expensive than SD cards, and this limited its attractiveness to consumers. Lack of open competition limited XD maximum capacity to 2GB, compared to 32GB for SD cards.
The SD and microSD that we invented have now become the primary global card formats. Tenacity, patience and the right strategy triumphed.
3. Yesterday Kodak announced that they are discontinuing their famous KodakChrome film. When we started developing flash digital film cards no one took us seriously. It was difficult for camera makers to see how a 2MB Flash card selling for $100 would ever compete with a $3.99 roll of film that had been perfected over nearly 100 years. There was no infrastructure to support digital film, no easy way to make quality prints, and numerous other obstacles. Despite all our detractors we never lost faith. We followed our convictions and never doubted our technology roadmap, our passion for performance and innovation, our relentless pursuit of cost reductions, and our belief in open standard formats and market competition.
4. Walk into any BestBuy store: More than half their digital camcorders now use flash storage. Almost all their portable GPS units use Flash. Several of their latest netbook models use flash SSD. Notebook PC’s will soon follow. Of course, virtually all MP3 players have adopted Flash.
5. Almost 1 billion handsets today have a slot for the microSD card that we invented. More and more smart phones employ between 8GB and 32GB of flash storage, and this trend is expected to grow with a multitude of third party apps stores offered with the iPhone, Rim, and other competitors.
We can all be proud of our achievements in the past 21 years. We have stayed true to our core values- integrity, courage to pursue bold visions, passion and teamwork.
We achieved together more than any of us dared to dream. Yet, we believe that SanDisk’s best days are still ahead.
May the Force be with SanDisk!
Eli and Sanjay