Western Digital Will Command over 50% of Hard Drive Market After Takeover of Hitachi GST

WD and Seagate Will Virtually Share the Market of Hard Drive Between Themselves - Analysts

by Anton Shilov
05/03/2011 | 11:27 PM

The mergers between Western Digital and Hitachi Global Storage Technologies as well as between Seagate Technology and Samsung Electronics' hard drive business unit will create companies that will virtually share the market of hard drives between themselves as the share of Toshiba will be approximately 10%.

 

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

After the acquisitions happen, Western Digital Corp. will retain overall market leadership in HDDs. With the takeover of Hitachi GST by WD, the latter's shipments of 203.7 million units, together with Hitachi’s 115.8 million, coalesced to produce total 2010 shipments of 319.5 million, putting owner Western Digital at No. 1 in the HDD space with 50% market share.

Seagate Technology’s recent buyout of Samsung Electronics' hard disk drive (HDD) business will considerably boost the newly merged entity’s overall standing, with combined shipments accounting for two-fifths (~40% or 261.2 million) of an HDD market worth 652.4 million units in 2010, according to IHS iSuppli research.

Based on final year-end figures from 2010, HDD shipments tallied from both Seagate and Samsung equated to 261.2 million units - enough to give the combined companies 40% of the HDD market, or a No. 2 finish for the year. Separately, Seagate’s shipment share in 2010 showed 195.2 million units, while Samsung’s HDD business brought in 66 million units. Without the merger, Seagate’s shipment share of market would have stood at 30%, and that of Samsung would have topped out at 10%.

The transaction, valued at $1.38 billion, enhances Seagate’s access to Samsung’s NAND flash technology and gives Seagate access to Samsung’s clients in the Asian market. For Samsung, the acquisition reorients its storage focus on solid state drives, a rival technology for HDDs, while freeing the company to allocate resources and develop growth in other segments where the South Korean giant has interests, like the semiconductor foundry business. By obtaining Samsung’s HDD business, Seagate also has made great strides in closing the gap with its perennial competitor, Western Digital.

With the completion of the two mergers, the HDD battleground has been effectively whittled down to just three players from five. Left standing far behind in third place is Toshiba/Fujitsu, itself the eponymous product of a merger in 2009. Toshiba/Fujitsu had shipments in 2010 of 71.7 million units, or 10% share of the HDD market.

“Taken together, the mergers engineered by Seagate and Western Digital will be key to improving the sustainability of the HDD industry, IHS believes, demonstrating the industry’s nimble response to fast-occurring changes playing out in the storage environment,” said Ryan Chien, researcher for memory and storage at IHS.