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Exclusive: Patriot launches UK offensive

by Scott Bicheno on 24 September 2010, 17:43

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Many HEXUS readers will be aware of Patriot Memory, but we think it's fair to say it has hardly taken the UK by storm in its 25 year history.

Well that's about to change, if the ambitions of CEO and co-founder Paul Jones are anything to go by. He was over in the UK along with European GM Johnny Van Esch and local managers Russell Cope and Andy Chandler to meet with various key channel partners, including exclusive distie VIP, and only spoke to one journalist.

We started by asking, seeing as he founded the company back in 1985, why Jones has finally decided now is the time to be more proactive in the UK. Jones explained that for the first 15 years of it existence Partiot really had no need to expand geographically because the OEM memory business in the States was so good. Without going into precise figures, he made it clear that margins were a hell of a lot bigger than they are now.

But over the past decade the memory business has become a lot tighter, which has led to the demise of companies like Qimonda and probably contributed to the product diversification of companies like Corsair. Patriot's conservative business strategy has meant it has been able to survive this period, not to mention the global recession, and now Jones thinks the time is right to expand.

"Our big focus is the UK," Jones told us. "A lot of the competition is pulling out of the channel." By the channel, he means the e-tail and retail routes to market. When we asked Jones why he thinks other companies are pulling out of the channel, he said: "Perhaps some other companies are under VC pressure to make themselves seem sexier." Patriot is still wholly owned by Jones and his business partner - CFO Douglas Diggs.

We noted that there are plenty of incumbents in the UK market and asked what Patriot brings to the table. "No companies are beating Patriot in both DRAM and Flash," said Jones. "From a price/performance standpoint we're the best." He also stressed that channel integrity is vital and that Patriot would never undermine its channel by selling direct to retail.

There are still some ways in which companies can differentiate themselves in the highly commoditised DRAM market, such as performance and capacity, but it looks like Flash is the area where Patriot thinks it can set itself apart.