Whenever the hard disk drive (HDD) industry hits some sort of cataclysm, manufacturers of hard drives start to boost pricing and reduce warranty periods in a bid to reduce their costs. Western Digital this week notified its partners that starting from early January, 2012, some of its HDDs will be covered with reduced two year limited warranty.
This new two-year warranty policy will be effective for Caviar Blue, Caviar Green and Scorpio Blue hard drives shipped from January 2nd, 2012, according to a letter obtained by The Register web-site. Because of existing inventory in the distribution channel there will be a short period of time when some drives with a three-year warranty will be sold at the same time as drives with a two-year warranty. In the near future WD will be unveiling an extended warranty offering with special pricing.
WD's Caviar Black and Scorpio Black drives will continue to enjoy a five-year warranty and WD's AV drives as well as external drives will continue to be covered with their usual warranties.
Warranty reductions are usually made to optimize manufacturing and support costs for HDD manufacturers. In fact, Caviar Blue, Caviar Green and Scorpio Blue are among WD's popular drives and the company may indeed get some benefits from shrinking warranty period from three years to two.
But more changes may be incoming. Western Digital is ordered by the European Commission to sell its 3.5" hard disk drive business to a third party in order to close the merge deal with Hitachi GST in the first half of next year. Once WD's 3.5" HDD business is controlled by another company, it may impose a completely different warranty policy for all the drives.
WD did not comment on the news-story.