Victor and Janie Tsao are a married couple responsible for founding Linksys, back in 1988. They were immigrants coming into United States from Taiwan, and as the American dream stories go, they too started in a garage. They started very hard and fast, keeping a close check on all the expenses and continued with that same philosophy up to this day.

Janie and Victor Tsao, founders of Linksys

Their initial line of business was to market networking technology to the US market, in this case, it was an extended cable allowing multiple computers to be connected to multiple printers. Once the business got rolling, they were selling 8000 of these every month, marketing through physical technology catalogs and magazines. Their first investment was a US$7000 loan which was the original capital of the Linksys company, a loan which was repaid in less than a year.

A gradual but steady growth of the company started as the market was requiring more network devices. Initially Linksys was selling Ethernet hubs, all kinds of connection cords and all equipment required for one to connect and share data between several computers, whether in a home or business environment.

in 1994 the company indicated a revenue of US$6.5 million, which was quite satisfactory since the Tsaos didn’t tap into any bank loans which could mean faster growth but doing it this way, on their own, was steadier to say the least.

1995 marked a critical point for Linksys, as software was required to tie computers together. This is when Windows 95 came out, which had integrated networking software, which drastically improved Linksys status on the market as it was much easier to work with networking equipment now.

Following this business plan, profits doubled to US$22 million in 1996, leaping into US$32 million in the following year and then doubling again into 1998 at $66 million. This success did not spoil the Tsaos and they remained true to their original principle and approach to business management.

In the late 1990s broadband internet for home environment became increasingly popular, which gave them an idea of manufacturing a router which would enable customers to connect multiple computers into a single modem. However, this was already a big portion of Cisco’s business, but their product was very expensive, starting at US$500. Through hard effort and business management, Linksys offered the same functions in a device which cost US$199 for a router with four ports. With this, Linksys basically invented home based networking.

The next huge step for Linksys occured in 2001, where they decided to make the most out of 802.11b wireless connection. By tapping into this fresh market and providing the most value in an already existing product, Linksys’ market share leaped to US$347 million. All this, again, was accomplished by taking an already existing technology and making it more accessible to your average consumer.

In 2003 Linksys was purchased by Cisco, however the original philosophy of the company remained the same. Cisco used this to continue marketing and selling Linksys product as the value based segment of their own portfolio.

Linksys WRT54GL – one of the most popular Linksys router models

Ten years after, Cisco announced that they will be selling 30% of the Linksys shares, which went to Belkin, a company which respectfully continued to provide support and warranty coverage for Linksys routers and other products.

Today, Linksys is owned by Foxconn, a Taiwanese giant who purchased Linksys for US$860 million in 2018.


Editor’s note: This is an informative historical article, for any troubleshooting for your Linksys product kindly refer to your model’s Linksys user manual or check out our Linksys modem troubleshooting category.