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More on IBM 75GXP Drive Fiasco 371

Posted by michael
from the quality-control-is-priority-one dept.
FolkImplosion writes "Internal documents have been released suggesting that IBM was well-aware that its click-of-death 75GXP hard drives had a failure rate of as much as 10 times that of its competitors. IBM apparently sold drives it knew were faulty into distribution, and reportedly planned to deal with any issues with marketing spin rather than a fixing the problem. This new information should help bolster a class action suit that accuses IBM knowingly shipped defective 75GXP drives with abnormally high failure rates." The lawfirm pursuing the class action suit has a page of information, including the latest news report (pdf) on information coming out in the suits. See also our original story about the drive failures.
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More on IBM 75GXP Drive Fiasco

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  • Reputation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by radionotme (742163) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @09:00AM (#8314702)
    This can't do IBM's reputation much good - fortunately for them the damage should be minimised since they no longer sell hard disks directly (so little loss of business)
  • by heironymouscoward (683461) <heironymouscoward@yaho o . c om> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @09:02AM (#8314718) Journal
    It's not rarely corporate policy to release faulty products. (Microsoft freaks, step aside, please.)

    What happens is that internal politics turn problems into cover ups. Someone, somewhere decides that it's more logical to ignore the issue than to address it. The falacy continues up the line, since decisions are often based on information from 'down the line'.

    The best thing IBM can do is to issue a general recall, offer generous replacement policies ("bring it in, we'll fix it on the spot") and try to recover their image as a reliable drive manufacturer. Otherwise their HD business is down the drain.

    Oh wait! They sold it to Fujitsu! OK, sue their asses!
  • by millahtime (710421) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @09:02AM (#8314721) Homepage Journal
    Don't we build cheaper things that are less reliable so that you have to buy new ones more often. Many industries already do that. They can make a light bulb that goes for 10 or 20 years no problem. And I can buy one that is garunteed to go for 5 years. But there are still ones that have 2500 hours. This concept isn't something new.
  • IBM... pah! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by darth_silliarse (681945) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @09:05AM (#8314733) Homepage
    Forget IBM drives, Seagate [seagate.com] or Maxtor [maxtor.com] produce the best quality hard drives
  • by wiggys (621350) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @09:06AM (#8314736)
    The best thing IBM can do is to issue a general recall, offer generous replacement policies ("bring it in, we'll fix it on the spot")

    But that's simply not good enough. If it was a graphics card or something then fair enough... it's just another piece of hardware and one is as good as another. But hard-drives are different as the data on them may not be replaceable if the unit fails, and even if you have it swapped for a new one for free then you have to transfer all the data over to the new one... which is a royal pain in the arse if you're multibooting different OSes.

  • by obi (118631) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @09:19AM (#8314814)
    I have two 75GXP running without any apparent problems. I've lost a 60GXP, but IBM replaced it instantly with a 180GXP that's been running non-stop without any problems.

    So, all in all good experiences. The thing is, with capacities increasing as they do, a small problem can have increasingly disastrous consequences. That's why I've started using RAID1 setups for all machines containing non-expendable data. It's just not worth running the risk - failures happen, simultaneous failures are less common.

  • by millahtime (710421) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @09:20AM (#8314819) Homepage Journal
    "...you have to transfer all the data over to the new one... which is a royal pain in the arse..."

    I hate to point this out but should should do the whole backup thing. I mean even a high reliability HD occasionally fails.
  • Re:Reputation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ob1knob777 (700881) <gothdude AT earthlink DOT net> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @09:21AM (#8314830) Homepage
    I wonder if this was why they sold the hard disk business off to Hitachi in the first place. Maybe they knew about the high failure rate and wanted to wash their hands of the whole mess before it got too bad?
  • by Evil Adrian (253301) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @09:24AM (#8314841) Homepage
    The data probably isn't lost though; "click of death" sounds like the drive is failing because one of the moving parts (most likely the arm or the motor) is burnt out. That shouldn't affect the platter (and therefore the data) inside the drive, so a drive recovery place should be able to get the data off of the drive.

    Data recovery gets expensive, though, so if IBM would foot the bill in addition to a drive replacement, that might make up for the gigantic problem they've created.

    But then you factor in the inconvenience... really, IBM should replace the drive, WITH your data on it, AND issue you a gift certificate or something to make amends...
  • Re:Reputation (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Flywheel (23961) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @09:26AM (#8314850) Homepage
    No - we fear them!
    We know that IBM is capable of turning against strategic platforms overnight - they have done so in the past.
    We are glad they're here, due to their ability to stabilize the world. But we love their technology (Primarily Designs and Fab's) - but we do not love IBM - we fear them!
  • by jdkane (588293) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @09:26AM (#8314851)
    If it was a graphics card or something then fair enough... it's just another piece of hardware and one is as good as another. But hard-drives are different as the data on them may not be replaceable if the unit fails,

    For this reason it is the user's responsibility to ensure the data is backed up properly. IBM can be blamed for a high failure rate, but not for a hard drive failing. In the end, all hard drives eventually fail. If the data is non-replaceable then no doubt the user has a rigid backup plan in place to ensure safety of the data; if not then the user is acting unwise no matter what type of hard drive is in the machine.

  • by AGTiny (104967) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @09:27AM (#8314861)
    This is why I like companies with an advance-replace model for the general consumer. I get replacement Maxtor's in 1-2 weeks and can copy data if I need to from the failed drive to the new drive before shipping the failed one back. IBM/Hitachi doesn't have A-R. :(
  • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @09:29AM (#8314875)
    >But hard-drives are different as the data on them may not be replaceable if the unit fails

    So? Its still hardware, legally as equal to a video card. Its up to the user/admin to backup the data. Yes, it is a pain but HDs shouldn't have some special status amongst hardware, if anything we need better consumer reports and reliability data before buying.
  • The lawyers are suing IBM. They are paying all the costs. The "class" is made up of losers who lend their names by affirming they bought a "defective drive."

    So? Class action suits take a lot of time and effort, why shouldn't they get paid for their work?

    If you feel you have been wronged by because your 1,000,000 hour MTBF drive will only last 900,000 hours, simply tell 10 of your friends and don't buy any IBM stuff.

    Inefficient, useless, and kind of dumb. First of all if my friend tells me that he had a problem with a piece of hardware, I'm not going to assume that manufacturer makes generally shoddy merchandise. I'll just assume he got a bad drive.

    Secondly, it doesn't fix my problem, namely that I spent money on a drive that didn't perform as it was supposed to. IBM breached a warranty, they should compensate me for the money I spent buying the drive in the first place.
  • by notamac (750472) * on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @09:41AM (#8314944) Homepage
    But we like IBM... we should go out and help them fend of the lawyers shouldn't we?

    Shouldn't we?
  • by digitalgimpus (468277) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @09:43AM (#8314955) Homepage
    I bought one, and admit it was fast, loved it.

    Read the article on the drives being defective, and didn't want to believe it.

    Then my drive made a few clicks, but didn't crash imediately.

    Turned my computer off, and ordered a new Seagate Barracuda IV. Copied data over. Never used that 75GXP to this day. Still sitting in a box.

    IBM owes me. I had to get 2 HD's in a year, rather than one.
  • Mod parent up (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Liselle (684663) * <slashdot.liselle@net> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @09:45AM (#8314970) Journal
    I don't have any mod points today, somebody make sure this AC gets noticed. Tort litigation is out of control. It should be the last contingency when a company will not be reasonable, not the first line of defense. Say no to greed.
  • by Mikey-San (582838) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @09:47AM (#8314986) Homepage Journal
    ". . . A plus B plus C equals X. If X is less than the cost of a recall, we don't do one."
  • While I agree hurting IBM's reputation isn't worth borhting as they sold of hard drvies anyway. Class action suits do take a lot of time and effort but it would seem the leeches are getting a lot more than fair compnesation for there work. Yes I relize it's a gamble as they dont get anything if they loose either. If they dont feel they have a strong enough case to win they should not be getting into a class action suit and removing the rights of thers to sue individualy.
  • Re:Reputation (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bhtooefr (649901) <bhtooefr@bhtooef[ ]rg ['r.o' in gap]> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @09:58AM (#8315059) Homepage Journal
    What about Seagate Barracudas? They're a bit slower than the others, but they've got a three year warranty on 80GB and higher, and, from what I've heard, they're damn quiet.
  • by onyxruby (118189) <onyxruby@NOspam.comcast.net> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @10:00AM (#8315083)
    Your point is not without merit, especially with regards to coupon settlements. If coupons aren't good enough for the lawyers, they aren't good enough for the plaintiffs.

    That being said, the class action lawsuit does benefit society with respect to one thing. It strongly influences how often a recall is done on shoddy or unsafe merchandise when it would otherwise not be done. By making not recalling known defective products more expensive than recalling known defective products, the public (which paid for those products in the first place) benefits. Without these class action lawsuits companies would shaft their customers on a far more routine basis than they already do.
  • Re:Never a problem (Score:2, Insightful)

    by _Pablo (126574) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @10:07AM (#8315137)
    What is the point in posting that you have no problems?

    IBM admit that the failure rate was a maximum of 6.5% - so you are one of the 93.5%, big deal. If everyone of those 93.5% who read these comments respond like you did, then it's going to be a hell of a big pointless thread!
  • by Chess_the_cat (653159) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @10:12AM (#8315167) Homepage
    I don't know if that's a real factor when it comes to computer components. I mean, I have an old 200MB HD lying around that works great. I don't use it anymore, not because it's broken but because it's 200MB!

    My current drive is 60GB but I'm still eyeing a new 120GB despite not having filled my 60GB halfway. In other words, you'll get the geeks to upgrade no matter what.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @10:41AM (#8315388)
    I have a gun with six chambers. I put one bullet in a chamber, and left the other ones empty. Then I put the gun to my head, and pulled the trigger.


    So anyway, you can chalk me up as a Russian Roulett success story. No complaints here.

  • Risk analysis (Score:3, Insightful)

    by failedlogic (627314) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:42AM (#8315981)
    I think on IBM's part they've used risk analysis to weight the cost benefit ratio of doing a recall vs lawsuits and other expesnses. Whereas in the automotives industry, you can issue a recall by replacing a defective part, HDDs need to be completly replaced. I guess IBM might have seen this as being cheaper; if so, they might be wrong.

    I've read of many other industries that participate in these practices .... lawn mower , childrens' toys, mattresses, automotive manufacturers the list is endless. It won't come to an end any time soon.
  • Re:Reputation (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rolo Tomasi (538414) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @12:39PM (#8316558) Homepage Journal
    So they're like the U.S. of the IT world. Which country would SCO be then ... I leave that to your imagination.
  • by imsabbel (611519) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @12:57PM (#8316822)
    The load could be the reason why they didnt fail.
    The problem was that while idling longer times on the same track the head could be contaminated. If your drives to a few seeks per second, that wont happen
  • IBM is big (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 0x0d0a (568518) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @01:02PM (#8316897) Journal
    IBM is a huge company. The people making hard drives probably have very little to do with the people making Linux other than the same style of standardized HR forms. IBM in particular seems to operate divisions with a good deal of modularity, from what I've heard from people working there.
  • by Fascist Christ (586624) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @02:38PM (#8317951)

    Don't we build cheaper things that are less reliable so that you have to buy new ones more often?

    Sure, we build cheaper things, but not for the repeat business. It is because people want to spend as little money as possible.

    Your example with the light bulbs are an example of this. The average consumer looking at two bulbs: one at fifty cents and one at ten dollars. Never mind the fact that the ten dollar bulb will save more than ten dollars in energy and last many times longer than the cheap bulb. Average Joe sees that he can light his whole house with cheap bulbs for the price of one expensive bulb.

    Better products are available, if you are willing to pay for it.

  • Re:Reputation (Score:2, Insightful)

    by beamin (23709) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @10:59PM (#8322736)
    IBM sold the hard drive business because it was an unprofitable venture. Drives are commodities at this point.

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