Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hard Disk Manufacturers

A Western Digital 3.5 inch 250 GB SATAHDD. This specific model features bothSATA and Molex power inputs.
Seagate's hard disk drives being manufactured in a factory in Wuxi, China

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,[60] 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:

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