Western Digital Becomes World’s Largest Maker of Hard Drives

Western Digital Leaves Seagate Behind, Ships 51.1 Million HDDs in Q1

by Anton Shilov
04/23/2010 | 10:00 AM

Western Digital has become the largest maker of hard disk drives (HDDs) in the world, based on the company’s own financial report for its third quarter of fiscal 2010, which ended on the 2nd of April. Apparently, WD shipped 800 thousand of hard drives more than Seagate Technologies in the first quarter of calendar 2010.


In the Q1 2010 Western Digital shipped 51.1 million of hard disk drives, whereas Seagate Technologies supplied 50.3 million of HDDs. Although unconfirmed, but 51.1 million of hard drives per quarter seems to be the all time record in terms of HDD shipments for Western Digital.

The lead over Seagate is not significant at the moment for Western Digital and it remains to be seen whether Seagate will be able to sustain the leadership position throughout the rest of the year. Nevertheless, the example of competition between Seagate and WD shows rather interesting trends. Seagate attempted to boost its HDD shipments by acquiring Maxtor, a transaction that resulted in gradual decline of hard drive shipments by the new company compared to aggregated shipments of Seagate and Maxtor separately. Meanwhile, Western Digital has consistently improved its own operations and made only strategic acquisitions.

Western Digital reported revenue of $2.6 billion and net income of $400 million, or $1.71 per share, for its third fiscal quarter ended April 2, 2010. In the year-ago quarter, the company reported revenue of $1.6 billion, hard drive shipments of 31.6 million units, and net income of $50 million, or $0.22 per share.

The company generated $588 million in cash from operations during the third quarter, ending with total cash and cash equivalents of $2.8 billion.

"With market demand stronger than anticipated in the March quarter, our large-scale vertical integration, agile business model and product breadth allowed us to respond to this upside opportunity and again grow our share of the overall hard drive market. We believe that 2010 will continue to be a strong year for digital storage," said John Coyne, president and chief executive officer.