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Hard drive prices aren't about to return to pre-flood levels, but they may gravitate towards that point sooner than some analysts are expecting. Western Digital, one of the HDD makers hit hard by the recent flooding in Thailand, said it has made "substantial progress" in getting its overseas operations partially up and running again, and is now producing hard drives at one of its buildings in Bang Pa-in (BPI), Thailand a week ahead of internal schedules.
"The passion, perseverance, ingenuity and execution exhibited by the WD team has been extraordinary and enabled us to make substantial progress in partially restoring our operations in Thailand, well in advance of our earliest expectations when the floods hit," said John Coyne, president and chief executive officer of WD. "Much work remains to be done but we couldn't be more pleased with the effort and results thus far, including tremendous support from our supply partners and strategic customers."
WD said it removed all submerged slider manufacturing equipment from the BPI facilities for assessment, decontamination, and refurbishment, and has started decontaminating and restoring its remaining buildings in BPI.
That's the good news. The bad news is that Western Digital expects hard drive industry shipments in the December quarter will be limited to about 120 million units because of the flooding, well short of demand, which is expected to be around 170 million to 180 million units. The shortage includes units that were in inventory at the beginning of the quarter, WD says.