Even though non-traditional suppliers of storage devices find that the market of solid-state drives (SSDs) is expanding, Western Digital, currently the world's largest maker of hard disk drives (HDDs), finds its SSD business struggling. Nonetheless, the company plans to continue investments into its development.
"We believe that the solid-state solutions are not competitive in the mainstream PC market, whether laptop or desktop, the economics just do not work out. Where the storage element is constrained by form-factor than on high price point devices, solid state is an appropriate solution. [Which is in] the very small form-factor devices," said John Coyne, chief executive officer of WD, during the most recent conference call with financial analysts.
Western Digital on Tuesday reported revenue of $2.4 billion, hard-drive unit shipments of 50.7 million and net income of $197 million, or $0.84 per share for its first fiscal quarter ended Oct. 1, 2010. In the year-ago quarter, the company reported revenue of $2.2 billion, shipped 44.1 million hard drives, and reported net income and earnings per share of $288 million and $1.25, respectively.
Of $2.4 billion of sales, only $33 million were received from sales of WD TV media players, WD Livewire network kits and solid-state drives. Sales of those devices are flat year-over-year and up 22% from the previous quarter. Despite of tepid welcome of SSDs by its customers, WD will continue to address enterprise flash-based storage market with new offerings.
"We are working diligently on [SSD] product for the enterprise space, which, we believe, is the most attractive application for solid-state drives, attractive to the customer because of the value it brings, attractive to us because of the value that we bring to the knowledge in the area of applications and management of media," added Mr. Coyne.