The Interex Surge Protector: Easy Come, Easy Go
When it comes to technology, the market moves very fast and the company that thrives today may not be here tomorrow. That was the case with Interex, the company out of Wichita, Nebraska, who produced quality surge protectors for 18 years before declaring bankruptcy and dissolving.
The Interex surge protector was top-of-the-line in its day when the company started in 1982. Interex specialized in Macintosh computers and supplied computer connectivity and enhancement products.
The first sign of trouble began in 1997 when a former executive apparently breached his non-competitive agreement stipulating that he would not join another similar type of technology company after leaving.
In fact, the company that the executive went to work for was seen by many as anything but a competitor.
However, a judge sided with Interex and forced the executive to leave the competing company.
Despite the controversy, over the next two years Interex products made great climbs in the market. They developed the Web Overdrive technology, which combined power of two modems to increase download time.
Then they acquired ProMedia out of Europe, which began their international expansion. This is also the time when they began making computer peripherals such as the surge protector.
By the middle of 1999, Interex was a major contributor in Macintosh accessories. Their product, InterView, even won an award by Macintosh. InterView captured video from a VCR or video camera and transferred it to the computer via USB cables.
The attraction was the low cost of the product versus the hundreds of dollars similar products cost.
A second, bizarre event occurred in November of 1999 where they laid off several workers. It was strange given their 93% increase in sales over the past three years, expansion into the European market and recent acclaim with Macintosh computers.
But it turned out that the layoffs were a result of a lawsuit settlement a week earlier over the loss of more than $2 million in profits.
A court document from the lawsuit charged Watt & Co., a long-time sales representative of Interex for Sam’s Club and Wal-mart stores with substituting an Interex surge protector with a competitor’s product.
Watt & CO. had represented Interex since 1993. The lawsuit contended Watt & Co. breached its agreement with Interex because it also sold the product of the Interex competitor, Woods Industries Inc.
Two months after the lawsuit Interex filed for bankruptcy in January of 2000. Co-founder, Lance Chastain, pointed his finger at a specific employee for the blame.
Back in October of 1999, a bill of $1 million came from the unnamed salesman who apparently falsified orders for computer equipment. The damage to subsidiaries, nearly $23.3 million in assets, was irreparably lost and forced the decision.
Six months later, the company was purchased by Tripp Lite, a 78-year veteran in electronics and leading competitor in the surge protector and power protection market.
So for those of you looking for an Interex surge protector your best bet is to head over to Tripp Lite and see what they have to offer.
If you have an Interex product and need assistance, you should also refer to the Tripp Lite support page on their website at http://www.tripplite.com/en/company/contacts.cfm?fcc=US.