The technological resources and know-how required for modern drive development and production mean that as of 2010, virtually all of the world's HDDs are manufactured by just five large companies: Seagate, Western Digital, Hitachi,Samsung, and Toshiba.
Dozens of former HDD manufacturers have gone out of business, merged, or closed their HDD divisions; as capacities and demand for products increased, profits became hard to find, and the market underwent significant consolidation in the late 1980s and late 1990s. The first notable casualty of the business in the PC era was Computer Memories Inc. or CMI; after an incident with faulty 20 MB AT disks in 1985, CMI's reputation never recovered, and they exited the HDD business in 1987. Another notable failure was MiniScribe, who went bankrupt in 1990 after it was found that they had engaged in accounting fraud and inflated sales numbers for several years. Many other smaller companies (like Kalok, Microscience, LaPine, Areal, Priam and PrairieTek) also did not survive the shakeout, and had disappeared by 1993; Micropolis was able to hold on until 1997, and JTS, a relative latecomer to the scene, lasted only a few years and was gone by 1999, after attempting to manufacture HDDs in India. Their claim to fame was creating a new 3″ form factor drive for use in laptops. Quantum and Integral also invested in the 3″ form factor; but eventually ceased support as this form factor failed to catch on. Rodime was also an important manufacturer during the 1980s, but stopped making disks in the early 1990s amid the shakeout and now concentrates on technology licensing; they hold a number of patents related to 3.5-inch form factor HDDs.
The following is the genealogy of the current HDD companies:
- 1967: Hitachi enters the HDD business.
- 1967: Toshiba enters the HDD business.
- 1979: Seagate Technology founded.
- 1988: Western Digital, then a well-known controller designer, enters the HDD business by acquiring Tandon Corporation's disk manufacturing division.
- 1989: Seagate Technology purchases Control Data's HDD business.
- 1990: Maxtor purchases MiniScribe out of bankruptcy, making it the core of its low-end HDDs.
- 1994: Quantum purchases DEC's storage division, giving it a high-end disk range to go with its more consumer-oriented ProDrive range.
- 1996: Seagate acquires Conner Peripherals in a merger.
- 2000: Maxtor acquires Quantum's HDD business; Quantum remains in the tape business.
- 2003: Hitachi acquires the majority of IBM's disk division, renaming it Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (HGST).
- 2006: Seagate acquires Maxtor.
- 2009: Toshiba acquires Fujitsu's HDD division.