Seagate: HDD Shortage Will Be A Year-Long Problem

Brad Chacos

A new year means a fresh start, and a fresh start entails putting 2011's skyrocketing HDD prices behind us, right? Not quite. Seagate released its quarterly financial results yesterday, and although the report left investors cheering -- Seagate pocketed $3.2 billion in revenue despite last year's catastrophic floods -- things are looking a bit bleaker for end users. Seagate fully expects the hard drive shortage to continue until the end of 2012 as manufacturers struggle to catch up to consumer demand.

Seagate says that the hard drive industry will probably end up around 150 million HDDs short of the demand for them by the end of the year. As far as last quarter goes, the company says the entire hard drive industry made around 110 million HDDs, shipped 119 million, and had demand for 175 million -- so it came far short of meeting customer wants.

Seagate's facilities weren't damaged in the Thailand floods, but it is still facing problems securing components from washed-out suppliers. PC World reports that seven of Seagate's top 10 suppliers suffered manufacturing damages during the floods. Things are looking even worse at Western Digital; WD did get smacked by the rising waters and doesn't expect to return to full manufacturing capacity until the third quarter.

Bottom line: things will get better eventually, but be ready to pay through the nose for a HDD for the forseeable future. For more info about HDDpocalypse, check out the lead QuickStart story in the print issue on stands now.

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