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Seagate Technology, the company that owns the largest share on the hard disk drive (HDD) market, said on Tuesday that it had shipped its one billionth hard drive. The respectable number of HDDs supplied by Seagate reflects not only the company’s success in the recent years, but also merges between various hard drive makers which now belong to Seagate.

It is indisputable fact that Scotts Valley, California-based Seagate Technology is the world’s largest maker of hard drives and is among the most successful technology companies on the globe. But not only technology, but also vice execution as well as acquisition strategy have helped Seagate to become the top maker of storage devices and reach the milestone of one billion hard drives shipped.

The company started to acquire hard drive makers in the mid-eighties with Imprimis Technology, roughly ten years later Seagate merged with Conner Peripherals and another decade later the firm took over Maxtor Corp., which earlier acquired hard disk drive makers MiniScribe and Quantum. As a result of all those mergers, Seagate, as the final owner of the five other hard drive manufacturers, can claim that it shipped one billion of HDDs.

According to Seagate, one billion hard drives Seagate has delivered equates to approximately 79 million terabytes, able to store 158 billion hours of digital video or 1.2 trillion hours of music.

Seagate’s billionth drive milestone comes as hard drive shipments continue to increase dramatically. According to Gartner Group, last year alone more than 500 million drives were shipped, compared to 1990, when slightly less than 30 million were shipped.

“This company has an amazing, colorful and important history, which continues to be written every day by our 55 000 employees around the world. Al Shugart and a few others started the company behind a convenience store in 1979 and enabled the birth of the first PCs. Today we’re at the center of the digital content revolution. So reaching this milestone is a great opportunity for us to reflect on our accomplishments and those of our predecessors, and to also look forward to the great things we can still achieve as a company,” said William Watkins, Seagate’s chief executive officer.

Seagate projects that although it took 29 years to reach the 1 billion milestone, the company will ship its next billion in less than five years. Also, by the time its nearest competitor reaches 1 billion drives shipped, Seagate will already be close to shipping its second billion, the company believes.

“Digital content proliferation is a long-term phenomenon. This phenomenon is pushing demand for hard drives to more than 600 million units per year by 2010 and will continue to fuel hard drive demand in the decade ahead,” according to John Rydning, IDC’s research director for hard drives.

The history of Seagate Technology is not only a bright example of a successful company, but also represents a giant leap storage technology has made in the last three decades. In 1979, Seagate’s first product, the ST506 hard drive, could store 5MB of data. The drive weighed about five pounds and cost $1500, or $300 per megabyte. Today, a typical

Seagate hard drive offers 1TB of data storage space, at a cost of 1/5000th of a cent ($0.00022) per megabyte.

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