There are quite a few things in the industry to speculate on, from Microsoft’s intimating a ‘big new thing’ next Monday to AMD and the HSA’s plans for the future of the industry, but if you want to go for the big one then it is the hard drive industry you should be following. The most recent sign that something big is going on would be the change in warranty length on consumer drives from the two remaining players, both of which now offer a 1yr warranty. That is a vast reduction from previous 3yr and 5yr warranties and while it does not necessarily imply these drives will fail any faster it does mean they offer shorter warranties than their competition, the SSD. This could convince a lot of people that paying $1/GB for an SSD is not really that bad of a deal and you can only expect that price to fall, especially on larger sized SSDs.
Also consider the fact that there are only two major HDD manufacturers left, Seagate and Western Digital. This defragmentation of the industry has been going on for quite a while now, resulting in those two manufacturers owning their competitions resources and IP and pretty much being able to determine what the market will provide and at what cost to the consumer. That has lead to the rather counter-intuitive profits that these two, especially Western Digital, made over the past year. You would not expect a company which lost its manufacturing capabilities to the Thai floods to see a 230% increase in profit, yet that is exactly what happened from March 2011 to March 2012. Seagate held their first place spot over the same time period, with higher volume sales contributing to that success with their prices only rising 20% instead of the 40% they threatened during the supposed supply difficulties.
The HDD market seems to be on its way out, not just because ultraportable devices chose SSDs over HDDs but also because the average consumer has come to the realization that while having a few terabytes of storage is nice for long term storage they really do not need it, especially on a device which does not have long term support. The Inquirer smells something foul in the air and comments on this topic here.
"Seagate, Western Digital and to a lesser extent Toshiba are starting to see free market economics – or as close as it gets – show their strategy of consolidation and profiteering. With the number of solid state disk (SSD) in the low teens, prices are falling steeply while hard drive makers rely on artificially high prices and shorter warranties to make a quick buck."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- The other side of Computex @ The Tech Report
- Inside the “Card-That-Unlocks-All-Cable-Channels” Scam @ Hardware Secrets
- Microsoft’s $1bn Yammer gobble gabble blabbed by insiders @ The Register
- Skype 4.0 For Linux Now Available @ Slashdot
- Intel to hold ultrabook cost-reduction meeting with Taiwan supply chain makers in July @ DigiTimes