As someone who worked on the Seagate-Maxtor merger a few years ago, I was a bit worried to see this morning the news that Western Digital bought Hitachi GST for $4.3 billion. See the press release here.
My basic thoughts are that if Western Digital uses Hitachi technology, this is a win for consumers. If it uses a similar strategy to Seagate, then we can expect the great Hitachi GST drives that are currently on the market wane and new generations built on Western Digital technology.
One major risk is that if Hitachi drive shipments are halted, drives that work well in RAID like the Hitachi 5K3000 and the popular 7K2000 series drives may be a thing of the past. Western Digital’s stance towards TLER in consumer disks is a reason that many SATA server builds no longer use Western Digital drives.
On the other hand, Western Digital now has a credible enterprise SAS platform, which is something the company has not been successful in over the past few years as Seagate has held this market for awhile.
At the end of the day, after the move Samsung is likely to gain some desktop share from those companies that purchased Hitachi drives because they did not want to purchase Seagate or Western Digital. The deal will put WD in the clear #1 spot with Seagate as #2. It will be interesting to see if Seagate can find the financing to make a run at Samsung to close the desktop and notebook gap that is now between Seagate and Western Digital.