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You may have already noticed that the cost of hard drives has shot up since the severe flooding in Thailand. In addition to bringing devastation to the people and economy in that region, the flooding also disrupted operations at more than a dozen hard drive factories, resulting in "significant" damage. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), this will have a direct impact on worldwide PC shipments through at least the first half of 2012.
Thailand accounts for anywhere from 40-45 percent of the worldwide HDD production, and nearly half of that was impacted by the flooding, IDC says. It's a bad situation all around, with assembly and component facilities suffering water damage, to work stoppages due to poor access and power outages in the region. The full extent of the damage won't be known until the water fully recedes, but in the meantime, IDC says it's clear there will be shortages into 2012.
In addition to "significant HDD shortages" into the first quarter of next year, IDC lowered its outlook on PC shipments. In a worst case scenario, IDC says PC shipments could be depressed by more than 20 percent in Q1 2012 versus previous forecasts as a result of the HDD shortage.
"The HDD shortage will affect smaller PC vendors and lower priced products most, including mininotebooks (aka netbooks), emerging markets and entry-level consumer PCs. However, even the largest vendors are expected to face HDD shortages, particularly for portable PCs where the market is more consolidated," said Loren Loverde, program vice president, IDC Worldwide Consumer Device Trackers. "Nevertheless, the shortage will relieve some pressure on pricing and margins, and present some opportunities for strategic share gains among the larger players."