What Impact Will Seagate's Acquisition of Samsung Have on the HDD Market?

Paul Lilly

The once cluttered hard drive market isn't so cluttered anymore. Back in 2000, Maxtor purchased Quantum's hard disk business, primarily for the company's ATA133 IDE interface. Then in 2006, Seagate scooped up Maxtor. A little more recently, Western Digital picked up Hitachi's storage division, giving WD a 50 percent share of the market. Seagate responded by snatching Samsung's HDD business as part of a "broad strategic alignment" between the two. So which company now wields the largest share of the HDD market?

According to market research firm iSuppli , shipments tallied from both Seagate and Samsung in 2010 equated to 261.2 million units, giving the combined companies a 40 percent share of the HDD market. Had the merger not taken place, Seagate would have controlled 30 percent of the market.

That's still second to Western Digital, which controls half the HDD market with a combined 319.5 million units shipped after accounting for Hitachi's contribution.

"Overall, the reduction from five to three manufacturers considerably improves the stability and efficiency of the HDD industry," said Fang Zhang, analyst for storage systems at IHS. "However, the acquisition also signals a recognition by Seagate and Samsung that conditions in the storage space will become more challenging in the future."

Sitting in a distant third place is Toshiba/Fujitsu, which represents yet another merger, this one taking place back in 2009. Toshiba/Fujitsu shipped 71.7 million HDDs in 2010, giving them a 10 percent share of the market.

Image Credit: Seagate

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