Western Digital on Tuesday reported revenue of $2.475 billion for its second fiscal quarter ended December 31, 2010. That's down slightly from one year ago, in which WD posted $2.619 billion, but the hard drive maker isn't complaining.
"We are pleased to deliver better-than-expected revenues, profitability, and gross margin in the December quarter, reflecting solid execution and an improvement in hard drive industry conditions compared with the prior two quarters," said John Coyne, president and chief executive officer. "The opportunity for profitable growth in our industry remains tremendous and we are committed to improving our financial performance over the longer term. We plan to do so with a continued emphasis on our industry-leading low-cost structure, high quality, highly reliable and highly available products, and a sharp focus on matching production with true customer demand."
Western Digital shipped 52.2 million hard drives during its second fiscal quarter, which contributed $225 million. During the same quarter in 2009, WD shipped 49.5 million hard drives.
Speed and capacity isn't a combination that often goes hand-in-hand with notebooks, but it can be with Western Digital's Scorpio 750GB hard drive. This 2.5-inch SATA drive spins at 7200RPM and is one of the fastest notebook drives around, and it's shipping now, WD says.
"Our most demanding customers have come to expect 'no compromises' from all of our Black series products," explains Matt Rutledge, vice president of product marketing for WD. "The new WD Scorpio Black drive does not disappoint, providing users of portable devices the necessary speed, significant storage and efficient power management needed to enjoy their favorite HD content, high resolution images, powerful office applications or gaming at home, in the office or on the road."
The drive also comes equipped with 16MB of cache and uses Western Digital's Advanced Format technology. It carries an MSRP of $150.
Several days after details about the WD TV Live Hub surfaced on the internet, Western Digital today launched the set-top-box that boasts a few additional features over previous WD TV devices. It is a network media streamer, DLNA-compliant media extender and 1TB hard drive all rolled into a single $200 package.
You can not only use this networked media player to view media content, whether it be locally stored or Internet based, on your TV, but also stream local content to any DLNA/UPnP compatible device, including game consoles, Blu-ray Disc players and other WD TV Live media players.
Despite its versatility, the WD TV Live Hub is missing something very basic -- Wi-Fi. Perhaps Western Digital was hoping that the Hub’s other features would offset its lack of Wi-Fi.
We knew it was only a matter of time before somebody conquered the old 2.19TB partition limit that’s hamstrung drive capacity for the past few years. Since it’s difficult to create a bootable Windows partition on a drive larger than 2.19TB, most vendors have been happily sticking to 2TB drives while waiting for the rest of the computer ecosystem to catch up. But that’s all changing; hard drive vendors are now going full steam ahead on 3TB drives. Seagate and Western Digital already have 3TB external drives, but Western Digital’s four-platter 3TB Caviar Green is the first bootable 3TB drive.
For select values of "bootable."
The 3TB Caviar Green squeezes 750GB onto each platter and boasts 64MB of cache. Its controller is 3Gb/s SATA, not 6Gb/s, but “green” drives aren’t exactly bumping up against the limits of the last-gen SATA spec. But can you use it as a boot drive? And why shouldn’t you be able to, anyway?
We've been stuck at 2TB for what seems like forever, and there's good reason for that. Drive partitions larger than 2.19TB create a unique problem for PCs, and trying to boot from them requires a mish mash of technologies, including the use of a GPT partition, a modern 64-bit OS (Vista or Windows 7), and a motherboard equipped with an EFI BIOS.
Despite all this, Western Digital has gone ahead and begun shipping a 3TB hard drive in Caviar Green trim, which qualifies as the largest capacity internal SATA drive around. The drive utilizes four 750GB platters as well as Western Digital's Advanced Format technology, which you can read more about here.
To sidestep the issue of integrating large capacity hard drives into your system, Western Digital also bundles an Advanced Host Controller (AHCI)-compliant Host Bus Adapter with its 3TB (and 2.5TB) hard drives, which makes it easier for OSes to locate and use a known driver with correct support for large capacity drives. In other words, you can actually boot from the thing without any crazy voodoo.
The 3TB drive is available now for for $240, while the 2.5TB drive sells for $190.
For the first time ever, hard disk drive (HDD) shipments from Western Digital have zipped past Seagate, according to a report by market research firm iSuppli.
Western Digital managed to ship 51.1 million HDDs for the first quarter of 2010, a 3.2 percent increase from the 49.5 million units it shipped in the fourth quarter of 2009. That was enough to finally edge out Seagate, which shipped 50.3 million, up 0.8 percent from 49.9 million over the prior quarter.
While Western Digital wins the quarterly shipment war, Seagate still has the edge in revenue. According to iSuppli, Seagate's revenue numbers sit at $3.1 billion, a good chunk higher than Western Digital's $2.64 billion.
Like two heavyweights dancing around the ring, Western Digital and Seagate have been fighting each other for the No. 1 spot in global hard drive shipments, a position Seagate has held onto (barely) until the first quarter of 2010. That's when WD finally moved ahead of Seagate with 51.1 million shipments compared to 50.3 million for Seagate, according to The Information Network.
"The mobile HDD market, which is WD's strength, will outperform the desktop market, which is Seagate's strength, in 2010," said Robert Castellano, president of The Information Network. "That's one of the factors in our forecast that WD will move ahead of Seagate in 2010."
Throughout 2009, WD managed to ship a total of 165.2 million hard drives, up from 146 million units in 2008. That was enough to narrow the gap with Seagate to only about 10 million units. In the mobile sector -- where The Information Network claims WD has an advantage -- WD led the way with a 28 percent share of the market, though it was a tight race with Toshiba/Fujitsu, HGST, and Seagate close behind with a 2 percent share difference among the three companies, The Information Network said.
Despite a strong showing by Western Digital, Seagate can continue chanting "We're No. 1!," according to the latest figures from market research firm iSuppli.
Hard drive shipments were up 8 percent overall in the fourth quarter of 2009 with 49.9 million units destined for new homes. Seagate, still on top, controls 31 percent of the market, while Western Digital's strong performance has the HDD maker nipping at Seagate's heels with 30 percent of the market.
The results are somewhat of a surprise, says iSuppli analyst Fang Zhang, who said many expected Western Digital would leapfrog in front of its rival. But even though WD is right there, Zhang says Seagate will likely hold onto its top spot in the current quarter.
Don't go digging a grave for the hard drive market, even as SSDs start to come down in price and move towards the mainstream. According to a recently published report by The Information Network, hard drive makers managed to make it through the recession by showing growth in 2009.
The double digit growth nearly topped 11 percent on a unit basis, and if TIN's predictions come true, it will grow by another 11 percent in 2010.
"The market for 2009 was about product mix," noted Dr. Robert Castellano, president of The Information Network. "Seagate leads in the desktop and the enterprise markets, which are down for 2009, while Western Digital has focused on non-desktop applications, primarily 2.5-inch form factor for mobile and CE, which are up in 2009."
Once again, Seagate led the charge as the market leader with shipments of 174.8 million drives, edging out rival Western Digital, which shipped 165.2 million drives.
Western DIgital is no stranger to low capacity, high performance, pricey storage solutions, only up until this point they've always fallen under the company's VelociRaptor line. That all changes today, as WD announced its first-ever consumer-oriented solid state drive (SSD), the SiliconEdge 2.5-inch SSD family.
"The development of the WD SiliconEdge Blue product family leverages WD's extensive experience in designing and manufacturing highly reliable storage products and the company's worldwide sales and distribution network to accelerate SSD technology adoption by OEMs, technology enthusiasts, gamers and road warriors," said Michael Hajeck, senior vice president and general manager of WD's solid state storage business unit. "Customers who demand the ultimate in performance will find the WD SiliconEdge Blue SSDs exceed all their requirements."
The new drives ship in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB capacities and features a native SATA 3Gbps interface. Read speeds come rated at up to 250MB/s, while WD says you can expect writes in the neighborhood of 170MBs. TRIM support also comes standard, as does NCQ.
In addition to performance, WD is touting the SiliconEdge family's ruggedness, saying the product line has "passed WD's extensive functional integrity testing procedures" consisting of over 250,000 of testing.
The drives are available now for $279 (64GB), $529 ($128GB), and $999 (256GB).