Six crucial tech companies you've never heard of

Behind the headlines, these firms help form the foundation of the IT industry

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Flextronics

flextronics.jpgSource: Gobierno Federal/Flickr
Flextronics execs pose with Mexican President Felipe Calderón. Mexico is one of 30 countries where Flextronics maintains a manufacturing presence.

You're probably at least vaguely aware that, for most electronic equipment, the name brand on the device is not necessarily the name of the company that owns the factory where it was put together -- and in fact, there are almost certainly multiple factories, owned by multiple companies, responsible for your latest gizmo. Singapore-based Flextronics is a good example. You don't own anything with a "Flextronics" label on it, but the company made $24.1 billion in revenue off of any number of gadgets that probably lurk in your house. They have a hand in building inkjets for HP, phones for Motorola, RIM, and Sony Ericsson, power supplies for Dell PCs, and hard drives for Western Digital. They made it possible for software giant Microsoft to put out hardware like the Zune and the XBox; and they were intimately enough involved in the iPad manufacturing supply chain that one of their directors was able to sell insider secrets about Apple's plans to hedge funds. They probably didn't make your toilet or your breakfast cereal, but you can't be too sure.

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