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Data Storage Businesses The Almighty Buck

Seagate buys Maxtor for $1.9B 458

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the always-was-more-of-a-western-digital-man-myself dept.
groovy.ambuj writes "Reuters reports that Seagate Technology would buy rival computer disk-drive maker Maxtor Corp. for $1.9 billion. Seagate is already world's largest hard drive manufacturer and Maxtor is the third largest after Seagate and Western Digital."
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Seagate buys Maxtor for $1.9B

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  • Hard Drive Voodoo? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOspAM.gmail.com> on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @09:36AM (#14308224) Journal
    You know, I noticed that between me and my friends the most painful experience when dealing with computers is losing a hard drive.

    Yes, I know it's a nerd thing to say but it's almost as bad as losing a pet.

    Now, because of the brands of said failed drives, I have developed a quality ranking apart from my friends. And it's the pain of that lost data that backs me up.

    I had a death star (IBM deskstar [trilithium.com]) tear itself apart on me and even though it was one of those old Ukrainian IBM/Hitachi ones, I still shy away from Western Digital who now makes them also. I've also had a Seagate fail [wikipedia.org] me but (to be fair) I had bought it thoroughly used.

    Now, when ever I go out and buy a drive, I'm leaning towards Maxtor simply because I have a lot of them and one hasn't failed me with crucial data on it. I'm a lot better prepared to deal with that now as I'm older and wiser so maybe I won't ever feel that level of pain again.

    Many of my friends swear by Seagate and also claim they're the quietest thing out there.

    These new drives made by the merged company should be quite good, perhaps they're able to combine technologies, patents, manufacturing methods and resources to form a very reliable and quiet drive.

    What I'd like to ask slashdot readers is for a good way to measure drive quality other than throwing down chicken bones and looking at them or reading tea leaves?

    I guess the only thing I've found so far is reviews on-line (sometimes Neweggs have the best sampling), any other suggestions? Is there some kind of hard-drive-consumer-report thingy out there?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @09:42AM (#14308278)
      Anecdotal evidence won't get you far in the hard drive world. You haven't mentioned WD, whose Caviar line is in most of my machines. But I digress.

      A good measure of the hard drive reliability is the warranty that the manufacturer is attaching to it. While there _will_ be failures before the warrarnty expires, it gives an indication as to how much you can trust the drive.
      • I have bought Seagate drives simply because they had 5 year warranty compared to tiny warranties on Maxtor and Western Digital...I had western digital fail on me in the third year.
        • Re:Seagate warranty (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Jepah (928540) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @10:31AM (#14308675)
          I used to work for a company making Desktops for home users, 5 years ago. At the time we would probably get around 30 faulty drives a month returned. Of these the huge majority were maxtor. We would get the occasional Seagate and IBM. This is pretty anecdotal considering they were only in sub $2k machines, but we started avoiding Maxtor drives which didn't have a long warranty.

          Oh and the WD drives I have bought recently have all had 5 year warranties.
      • by Daemonik (171801) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @10:10AM (#14308507) Homepage
        A good measure of the hard drive reliability is the warranty that the manufacturer is attaching to it.

        Then Seagate wins, their drives have a 5 year warranty, everybody else only offers 3 years max, some as little as 1 year.
        • by Predius (560344)
          But on the flip side, Maxtor had a 'no quibble' warranty. I could call up, say aliens flipped me off, replace my HD, and as long as it was within the warranty window, it'd get replaced. No questions asked, no running diag software, nada.

          Came in handy when I had two drives from a 4 drive array that wrote at about 1/8th the speed of the other two. I couldn't produce a fault with any test, other than abysmal write speed. No problem, two new drives, advance replacement, done.

          ALL HDs fail, so in my mind, a w
      • by raddan (519638) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @10:13AM (#14308525)
        And Seagate has a 5-year warranty on its Barracuda drives. Samsung has 3 year warranties on some of its drives as well. As far as I am aware, most other manufacturers have 1 year warranties. I think this speaks volumes about these drives, particularly WD drives, every one of which I've ever owned has failed before the warranty was up.

        At work, we only buy Seagate SCSI and ATA drives. We've returned RAID arrays to Dell because they failed to provide us with the proper drives (they just love to slip WDs in there). This is another bit of anecdotal evidence, but I've never seen a Seagate fail here. The few that have failed have been some Fujitsus and the few WDs that come in laptops. We're talking around 300 machines here.

        I don't have much experience with Maxtors except the one in my firewall that is still going strong after 7 years.

        • by operagost (62405)
          We've returned RAID arrays to Dell because they failed to provide us with the proper drives (they just love to slip WDs in there).
          I'm still not convinced that ATA is suitable for enterprise use, by any manufacturer.
          • by caseih (160668) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @12:34PM (#14309778)
            I'm still not convinced that ATA is suitable for enterprise use, by any manufacturer.

            SATA is just fine. It's almost as fast as SCSI and as far as the seagate barracuda drives go, the SATA disk is identical (well 7200 rpm anyway) to the SCSI disk, except it is cheaper. The rub is the RAID controller though. A good SATA raid controller is every bit as reliable as a SCSI RAID controller. A crappy SATA RAID controller (aka Dell CERC) will sour your experience with SATA. Our Apple Xserve RAID is all ATA (PATA even, although the new one is SATA) and it has proven to be extremely reliable.
        • by Belisarivs (526071) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @12:32PM (#14309767)

          That really isn't fair to Western Digital. A few years ago, when all [theinquirer.net] the IDE manufacturers were reducing their warranty period to one year for consumer drives, it was Western Digital that came out with their "Special Edition" drives, all of which came with three-year warranties. These drives ran like a champ. Since then they have dropped the "Special Edition" label, and almost all of their high-end drives come with a three-year warranty.

          Back in those days, I bought 4 Maxtor drives, and all of them have failed (One of the main reasons for my move to Western Digital). As it's been said in other posts, anecdotal evidence really isn't much of an indicator for hard drives. I think most of the HD community simply put out crap back around 2002, but have since upped the quality.

      • by LurkerXXX (667952) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @10:13AM (#14308526)
        Mod parent up. It sounds like the grandparent is basing his judgement off of a handfull of hard drives he has personally owned. Statistics off of such a low sample number are very bad. Talk to someone who works at a large corp in is charge of hundreds or thousands of drives. I think you will quickly revise your attitude towards Seagate. There is a reson they have a 5 year warrenty and Maxtor only has a 1 year.
        • by COMON$ (806135) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @11:06AM (#14308955) Journal
          I will back you up on that, I am personally in charge of near a thousand computers on our network. The worst luck I have is with maxtors by far. We had a series of external drives that burned themselves out after a short period, with a light load. I can excuse one but had all 7 fail. Not to mention we run dell here and have a good combination of maxtor and Western Digital. I feel a bit of sorrow when I send a computer with a maxtor drive out, knowing that I will be seeing it again soon. Really hurts when I am sending the unit 400 miles to the site...

          I am sold on Western Digital, 5 year contract, excellent drives, got a 10K raptor at home myself. Low failure rate in our enterprise environment. Cant vouch for seagate though, havent had too much exposure to them other than the dirt cheap 300GB I bought that was DOA.

        • by gr8_phk (621180) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @11:23AM (#14309105)
          "There is a reson they have a 5 year warrenty and Maxtor only has a 1 year."

          So now all the Seagate drives that failed quality control can finally be sold anyway - under the Maxtor brand.

      • by egarland (120202) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @11:26AM (#14309147)
        A warranty is a good measure of how reliable a manufacturer EXPECTS a drive to be, not how reliable it actually is. The deathstars, for example, were much more failure prone than IBM expected. There is no way to know about issues like that from warranty information. MTBF numbers usually given out are the same thing, not based in actual data but based on engineering estimates.

        To know how reliable a drive is, you have to know actual failure rates. Only the manufacturer is typically in a position to accurately measure those and they pretty much never give it out without an NDA or court order. We on the outside are left manually piecing together the data using methods like The storage review drive reliablity survey:

        http://www.storagereview.com/map/lm.cgi/survey_log in [storagereview.com]

        which attempts to gather accurate statistics from large samplings from users. This seems like a lot of work but hopefully it will pry the window open and convince manufacturers that it won't be the end of the world if people know how reliable their drives actually are.
    • Yep. I've not had one Maxtor fail catastrophically, ever. I've got some that are well past their prime. I cannot say the same about Seagate or Western Digital. I've had several bad Western Digitals, with one failing after a few months. Its replacement also failed within six months. Seagate seems to fall somewhere between the two in terms of reliability. Of course, my observations are for a few hundred drives only.

      I think I'd feel better if Maxtor was buying Seagate. Far too often I've seen bigger companies
      • ive got some ancient SCSI disks still running (Seagate Hawk and Seagate Barracuda 2gb'ers from when 2gb was the latest and greatest, cost over $700/each at the time). I also have quite a few IBM 9gb SCSI drives from SGI systems still running as well.

        I had a couple WD drives bite the dust on me, so I switched to seagate and haven't had a failure since. I've also had 6 of the IBM 75GXP Deskstars that are currently under class action lawsuits.. I had 5/6 of those fail with crucial data and couldn't afford a ba
      • by Skater (41976) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @10:43AM (#14308776) Homepage Journal
        I had an ST238R fail years ago! Seagate is the suxxor!

        Just kidding. I've had quite a few brands of hard drives and that Seagate is the only one that's failed for me (and I even own a Quantum Bigfoot!), but I wouldn't have a problem buying another Seagate or other brand.

        I've discovered the way to keep a hard drive working is to back up regularly. Drives only fail when you don't have backups.

        (For any readers that don't know what an ST238 drive is...it was a 32 megabyte drive produced by Seagate back when 32 megs was the DOS upper limit. The R stood for RLL encoding, and they were also available in MFM encoding I think. Oh what a mess we weave when we amiss interleave! Or something like that.)
    • I had a death star (IBM deskstar) tear itself apart on me and even though it was one of those old Ukrainian IBM/Hitachi ones, I still shy away from Western Digital who now makes them also.

      Western Digital makes DeskStars? Since when?

    • I measure drive quality by digging through my box of old computer parts and seeing which harddrive is the oldest. I do believe that is a Maxtor.

      TBH its not really fair since harddrive companies have been so good at replacing failed drives. I don't remember which failed and which did not. How stupid are they to stop the 3 year warranties? Typically folks upgrade their drive before 3 years anyway. Perhaps they think their drives are too big to be upgraded within 3 years now?

      I never bought a seagate, but
    • I've had two Maxtors die on me, but my other drives have been perfect. One that died was the replacement drive for my already dead one.

      When trying to get a replacement i wondered if their returns system was well designed out of good customer service or frequency of use.
      • the first 10+ GB hard drive I ever bought was a Maxtor. It died within the warrenty period. The next 2 warrentied replacements were DOA, so I promised myself I would never buy another Maxtor. OTOH, my PC is currently housing 3 40GB Maxtor drives that I've salvaged from computer's I've recycled.

        The first WD drive I ever bought developed a cascading failure of bad sectors 6 months into using the drive.

        I bought a 120GB Hitachi back when people considered 80GB more than anyone could ever need. It worked

    • I gotta agree, I had an IBM Death star two, in fact I've had the bad luck of ownning TWO IBM's which both had major bad blocks.

      Fortunately, one of them is now simply storage , the other one however, died, it just stopped working entirely.

      In my experience seagate drives aren't too shabby, I think a move like this one will further integrate the good hard disk technologies the companies own.

      The NCQ (native command queing) and possibly the serial ATA standard (now on 2.0, at 3Ghz) could very well benifit
    • Dude, get over it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @09:56AM (#14308391) Homepage
      All hard drives die. Do you think there's one magic brand that never breaks? They all do.

      There might be varying levels of quality among specific brands and models, but data loss is inevitable if your only line of defense is faith in your bullet proof manufacturer who has never failed on you before. Everyone has one, and every one's is different. Some people have an incredible string of luck with Seagate, others with WD, etc. They all die. If you don't have a robust backup plan that you test regularly, you're going to get fucked at some point. If you've worked with computers long enough, you learn this and understand it.

      I look at a hard drive like most people look at a roll of toilet paper. I use it, it serves its purpose, it gets discarded. The data on it, however, is nearly sacred, and I take every precaution I can afford to protect mine. If I lose data, then I feel like I lost a pet. But I don't have any special attachment to my hard drives whatsoever.

      Having faith in a hard drive vendor is like a quaint superstition from the time when people were so poor that they might only have a single hard drive containing all the data they've ever generated in their entire lifetime.
      • by Zebadias (861722) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @10:04AM (#14308456)
        "I look at a hard drive like most people look at a roll of toilet paper. I use it, it serves its purpose, it gets discarded. The data on it, however, is nearly sacred, and I take every precaution I can afford to protect mine."

        You sir, value crap far too much!
      • by King_TJ (85913) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @10:28AM (#14308646) Journal
        Of course they all fail, but I've also been in the field long enough to observe trends. The fact is, particular makes and models of drives were notoriously poor in the area of reliability. The confusion and conflicting stories you hear usually stem from people trying to over-simplify it to "Brand X is better than brand Y!" In this industry, you simply can't do that.

        For example, back in the early 90's, I ran a very popular BBS. I had multiple computers running 24/7 and constantly being accessed, loading and saving data to their drives. At that time, the Seagate SCSI drives like the Barracuda were the highest performance drives available, so I tried using them. I had one failure after another. Always bearing issues. The fact is, those drives ran *hot* and keeping them sufficiently cooled in anything resembling a standard PC tower case was nearly impossible, so they'd self-destruct. Did this make Seagate a "bad company"? No, but it told me their high-performance, expensive drives weren't appropriate for my needs.

        Earlier on, I had many other failures with Seagate drives, but this was way back in the day when the standards were MFM and RLL. The very popular Seagate ST-238R (30MB!) drive was always losing data and going bad on people, for example.

        None of this means anything as to reliability of today's IDE Seagate drives, though. And with my recent poor experiences with Maxtor SATA drives (failing immediately outside the 1 year warranty period), I'm currently a fan of Seagate for those.
        • by foxtrot (14140)
          No, but back in the early '90s was when Seagate couldn't be trusted to follow the ATA/IDE spec and setting up their drives with a Maxtor, WD, or Samsung in a master-slave configuration was not guaranteed to work, and I'd say that's a good chunk toward making them a bad company, or at least a horribly impolite one. :)

          The only hard disks I ever could get their drives to talk to reliably were made by Kalok. And, well, being Kalok, that was until I had to replace the Kalok drive for bad sectors, or loud screech
          • by Artemis3 (85734)
            I worked in a it shop, and i never knew of a single kalok surviving even days after the warranty expired. Kalok was the pcchips of its day, the worst thing you could get.

            From those days, i still have a 100% working (zero bad sectors) 3 1/2" IDE (ata) 80mb Seagate (ST3096A). Its last days were spent on a 24hrs dial up BBS i turned off around 97. The drive still works fine. I also used to have a 5 1/4" MFM 40mb Seagate drive (ST251N?) which was used in the same machine; before it, the machine had a 5 1/4" RLL
      • Good point. When I need a hard drive, I wait until Best Buy has a free drive and then get two and RAID them. Redundant Array of Inexpensive (or free after rebate!) Drives.
      • Re:Woah there! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by vertinox (846076) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @10:50AM (#14308827)
        If I lose data, then I feel like I lost a pet.

        Woah there! Maybe you are taking this data thing too seriously.

        Come to think of it... I used to be just like you. I always had redudant copies of hard drives, then copies of those, and then I went all the way and got a RAID controller and started out with Raid 5 but I figured that wasn't good enough to I mirrored that...

        After about 10 years of doing this (since 1995... I still got backups of my old IBM PS1 on my current computer) I realized:

        "What the fuck do I need all this data for?"

        I've got shit I don't even remember. Hard drives just laying in my closet full to the brim of stuff I don't even know what is on. CDRs and CDRs of shit I backed up but yet I don't know what good it will do me because everything I now use is stuff I downloaded or bought in the last 6 months.

        Maybe I'm too ADD, but I just can't keep up with crap that I did even a year ago that is worth keeping.

        My suggestion to break this cycle. Pull out a random hard drive from a closet (or computer) that you can't remember what you put on it and format it and install something like Ubuntu or whatever OS you want to play around with.

        It feels painful at first as you watch the progress of the install go by when you know you could be loosing valuable data, but you know what... If you can't remember what you put on their it probaly wasn't worth keeping.

        Yes, data hording is an addiction and I had the same problem too so I understand how hard it can be to try to keep bit of data I have came across in my life time. I still need to ebay all these seagate drives...
        • Re:Woah there! (Score:3, Insightful)

          by killmenow (184444)
          I know where you're coming from. I still have QIC-40 tape backups from one of my oldest PCs. Hell, I still have floppies *and cassettes* saved from my first Atari 1200. Here's my problem now:

          The floppies and cassettes are so old as to have lost much of the data on them. (I confess I haven't stored them properly; but, even had I done so, there is still a good chance of data loss.) And the QIC tapes I have no device capable of reading now. I am quite certain there's some old letters, poems, songs, and
    • Combining patents is a very good point. Personally I've had the opposite experience, Maxtor failures and Seagate quality, but that just shows you the wonders of insignificant sample sizes.

      Let's hope the merged company can produce even better products, not by laying people off, but by overcoming intellectual property barriers that previously existed between the two companies.
    • by brunes69 (86786) <`slashdot' `at' `keirstead.org'> on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @10:02AM (#14308445) Homepage
      I have had an IBM "DeathStar" for the past 5 years (yes, it is a 75GXP, the bad ones). Never had a problem with it.

      On the other hand, I have had one of your beloved Maxtors totally crap out on me after only having it for 6 months?

      What does this mean? Nothing. Hard drives are no different from elevisions or laptops any other piece of complicated equipment when it comes to reliability - on large scale average all the big brands have simmilar failure rates plus or minus a percentage point.

      If you are worried about your data theres just a few you can do.

      1. BACKUP OFTEN
      2. Spend the extra $$$ on a server-class SCSI drive. If reliability is your aim it is well worth it. Regardless of the brand a server-class SCSI drive is much more reliable cause they are designed with heavy abuse in mind. The downside is they are noisy.
      3. BACKUP OFTEN
      4. Use a redundant RAID configuration
      5. BACKUP OFTEN

      That's about it - loyalty to a given brand will get you nowhere, in the end they are all the same - for the most part good, but a bad batch once in a while.

      Personally, I just buy the cheapest drives I can find and run them in my RAID array. If one fails, no big deal. And it saves a ton of cash.

    • by afidel (530433) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @10:07AM (#14308476)
      I guess this is a good time to bring up the storagereview reliability database [storagereview.com]. It's the only third party tracking of HDD reliability that I am aware of. Whenever I buy a new HDD or have one die or taken out of service I go to storagereview and update my profile. Other people may not be so reliable, and people with problems are probably more likely to report then happy customers, but it WILL give you a good idea model vs model of the reliability of a drive.
    • Every new computer should buy the crapiest HDD they can find, so it will fail on them early in life (when they have less important data to lose) and teach them the valuable lesson to backup important data.

      Seems that every single experienced computer user has gone through such an ordeal in life, be it with HDD's, floppy disks or even tape and only _after_ they lost important stuff will they backup.

      • Seems that every single experienced computer user has gone through such an ordeal in life, be it with HDD's, floppy disks or even tape and only _after_ they lost important stuff will they backup.


        My problem, is that all my stuff is backed up... on the install CDs and a few backup DVDs. Now the important files like my wife's check book spreadsheet? Nope, I haven't backed up any of her stuff. I'm going to be in a world of hurt if our drive ever dies. Yeah, I should know better, but come on we all do it! ;)
    • Quantum was always good for me, so was Seagate. Unfortunately, every Maxtor drive I ever owned went to shit within the year. I've had WD drives die on me, but not as much as Maxtor. I must admit that they did improve once they purchased Quantum, however.
    • Maxtor SATA 250GB failed on me within 3 months (luckily in a RIAD system), seagate SCSI (~80GB) failed after 9 months (Also in RAID), WD the famous ones failed several, but they replaced all of them for free, Quantum fireball 8GB failed after 8 years of running almost non-stop, the drive will take 10 attempts before it spins up succesful, but will than work, anyone interested in this good second hand drive?
      I also steared clear of WD for a while, but nowadays they seem to have their act together again, and p
    • StorageReview.com (Score:2, Informative)

      by DeadMilkman (855027)
      Very professional reviews and they keep up with failure rates...

      Now time for corrections:
      #1 Hitachi (NOT Western Digital) took over the deskstar line.
      #2 Hitachi is actually one of the best builders now
      (if people would stop holding onto past problems before the line switched hands)
      It is now one of the higher quality consumer HD manufactors
      (*they are head to head performance wise with WD, some can run toe to toe with the WD Raptor (10k rpm SATA) while being only 7200rpm themselves. Hitachi also has a very go
    • In my experience, people tend to avoid hard drives that have burned them in the past. Some manufacturers have rough years but any of them could give you a drive that will toast itself. Thinking back as a personal computer owner, I lost 2 WDs, then a Maxtor, then another Maxtor. Then I thought I'd wise up and buy an IBM Deskstar (yeah, the 3rd one I've gotten after RMAing the first two is in my desktop now). When that one tanked I bought a 120 gig seagate to store my data. And that one got a bad sector.
    • I'm a consultant, and let me tell you that hard drive failures know no brand loyalties with modern drives. We see more dead laptop drives than desktop drives, but that's because of the rougher treatment.

      But even the (relatively) large numbers of drives we see is anecdotal. Let's hear from the *real* experts:

      http://faq.storagereview.com/tiki-index.php?page=B randMostReliable [storagereview.com]

      -R
    • I'd have to agree with your ranking
      1) Seagate
      2) Maxtor
      3) Western Digital

      I've only had one Maxtor fail on me, and that was after 4 years of continuos usage in my desktop (which was rebooted, but never off for long).

      I love the seagates I've been using since they are quite (I'm runnin SATA). Next time you need a drive, give them a shot.

      As for WD? The one drive I bought from them failed the same day.
    • by FireFury03 (653718)
      Now, when ever I go out and buy a drive, I'm leaning towards Maxtor simply because I have a lot of them and one hasn't failed me with crucial data on it. I'm a lot better prepared to deal with that now as I'm older and wiser so maybe I won't ever feel that level of pain again.

      Well there's a lot of anecdotal "evidence" against all the manufacturers - people who buy a very small number of drives will scream loudly when one fails, making that manufacturer seem bad despite it only being a single failure. My _p
    • by croddy (659025) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @12:02PM (#14309457)
      What I'd like to ask slashdot readers is for a good way to measure drive quality other than throwing down chicken bones and looking at them or reading tea leaves?

      I think the real question here is: did Seagate buy Maxtor for $1,900,000,000 . . . or for $2,040,109,465??

  • Crap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Toby The Economist (811138) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @09:37AM (#14308234)
    There aren't many big players in the hard disk market.

    I'm not that enthusisatic about loosing one of them.

    • Agreed. I used to buy Quantum until Maxtor ate them. Now it's happened again. Supposedly there is no profit in hard drives (unless you're EMC^2, sticking hundreds of them together in a frame and selling it for 100x the price per GB).
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Cheap, silent, low power consumption, long warranty, no failures yet.
    • +1 here. Also - fast. It's funny actually - the worst HDD and the best HDD I've seen been Samsung drives - the worst, an ancient 1G+smth drive (stuttering, noise, bleh..), the best (of "consumer-grade" drives) is the recent 250G drive I've bought for relatives - fast, silent, reaching about 35C max without any cooling (7200RPM).
  • This is just unfair.
    I always liked Maxtor hard drives, they were rock stable, fast and silent.
    I remember problems with some Seagate drives in Linux few years ago (related to DMA, some strange messages in kernel logs).
    So I always tried to buy Fujitsu or Maxtor, and always tried to avoid Seagate.
    Fujitsu stopped making hard drives and Maxtor has just been eaten.
    What brand of hard drive should I choose in future? IBM?
    • I agree with you. Maxtor has been rock solid for me. Seagate has been a dismal failure. Although my experience with Seagate has been alomst totally on the SCSI side in servers. Very high failure rate. IBM doesn't make drives anymore. Hitachi bought that division out.
    • Re:This is unfair (Score:2, Informative)

      by WTBF (893340)
      What brand of hard drive should I choose in future? IBM?

      IBM stopped making hard drives after the death star mess, I would reccomend Western Digital if you want to avoid seagate - although I have a seagate in my MythTV box and it works with no problems.
      • Oh shit, IBM too? WD is just a crap IIRC. No alternative to Seagate then?
        Prices of hard drives don't drop like CPU or video cards, should we expect even higher prices now?
      • I would recommend Western Digital. Of all the drives I have bought of WD make, NONE of them have failed.

        But of course, your mileage may vary.
  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @09:39AM (#14308253)
    So this will mean cheaper HDD prices? Or are we to expect more expensive or stagnant pricing due to the elimination of competition?
    • by Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @09:44AM (#14308284)
      I wouldn't expect any further consolidation in the hard drive business to result in more price competition. There are only a very small number of manufacturers as it is. I suspect that hard drive prices have more or less bottomed out now in the "bargain" segment of the industry and that with current limits on areal density of data on the platters that any differentiation in prices will be based on performance rather than capacity.

      One can only hope that someone comes up with some paradigm shift in storage (either in price or capacity) that puts real pressure on the hard disk manufacturers to innovate and remain competitive.
  • Uh oh! (Score:3, Funny)

    by mister_llah (891540) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @09:41AM (#14308267) Homepage Journal
    Evil empires everywhere, the market share clumps, competition lessens!

    Darth Seagate.... riiiise!
  • by a_nonamiss (743253) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @09:42AM (#14308272)
    I don't think this is a bad thing at all. Ever since I started using the new line of "fault resistant" Seagate drives (I believe they are called the NL35 series) I have been a big fan of Seagate. So far, I have purchased 66 hard drives, and not a single failure. (Knock on wood.) Of course, I'm using them in a server environment (reliable, high-end, clean power supplies) which surely makes a difference.

    I am curious, however, what Seagate intends to do with the WD brand. Whether you're a fan or not, they have built a reputation over the last 15 years or so. I don't think Seagate bought them just to kill off the competition.
  • Question (Score:5, Funny)

    by 0xdeadbeef (28836) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @09:45AM (#14308294) Homepage Journal
    Is that like, $1.9 x 10^9 or $1.9 x 2^30?
  • Adobe & Macromedia
    Google & AOL (well 5% of)
    Seagate & Maxtor


    2005 has been a year of spending money for big players, it seems. Can anyone predict any more big moves before Dec. 1st?
  • by iamcf13 (736250) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @09:51AM (#14308345) Homepage Journal
    Now that Seagate 'owns' Maxtor, will they make Maxtor drives better or just kill the product line off and just use Maxtor's facilities to churn out Seagate HDs? I had two Maxtors HDs crap out on me years ago and I washed my hands of them due to that. If you must buy/use a Maxtor HD, use it as a giant 'scratch pad' and don't save anything permanent on it!

    As for Western Digital, other than their HDs running hot, I've had no data loss from them and would recommend them to anyone who can't get/afford Seagate.
    • Nice logic... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by brunes69 (86786) <`slashdot' `at' `keirstead.org'> on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @10:06AM (#14308472) Homepage

      Now that Seagate 'owns' Maxtor, will they make Maxtor drives better or just kill the product line off and just use Maxtor's facilities to churn out Seagate HDs?

      And pray tell, why the hell do you think that a Seagate drive produced at the same facility with the same equipment would be different than a Maxtor drive? Loyal to the sticker perhaps?

      I bet you're one of those people who have a "Piss on Ford" bumper sticker too eh?

    • If you must buy/use a Maxtor HD, use it as a giant 'scratch pad' and don't save anything permanent on it!

      Psst. Nothing on any of your hard drives is permanent.

      This sarcastic (yet true) comment, of course, pretty much ensures that I will have a hard drive failure in the near future. :)

  • by Yartrebo (690383) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @09:52AM (#14308353)
    Considering that the hard drive industry is already quite concentrated and that the largest company in the market is doing the buying, how can the justice department possibly approve this merger.

    Then again, they approved of other such travesties as Exxon + Mobil, Viacom + CBS, Disney + Capital Cities, News Corp + Direct TV, and countless other clearly anti-competitive mergers throughout the last decade or two.

    Allowing this merger will do nothing but slow down innovation and increase prices.

    Has the Sherman Anti-Trust Act been repealed, or am I missing something here?
    • by 10Ghz (453478) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @09:58AM (#14308405)
      Well, we currently have Seagate/Maxtor, Western Digital, Hitachi and Samsung. Toshiba makes notebook HD's, while Fujitsu makes SCSI and other hi-end HD's. I think there's still plenty of competition going on
    • Yea, I have to agree -- doesn't this raise anti-trust issues? #1 buying #3 is a big deal. This certainly is going to require some review by the department of commerce and courts. But the past few years have been very permissive of trust abuse, all in the name of 'international competitiveness'. Bah!

      I always though that Maxtor and Matrox should merge, considering they are just anagrams of each other.
    • I don't see any anti-trust here -- corporations are finding their bottom lines chopped up by excess banking and taxing regulations, excess overhead caused by mandated insurance regulations and excess pension costs caused by excess investment regulations. The more we regulate, the more we see the number of companies in a given market trend towards 1.

      Don't neglect the realities of being a corporation in a world that tries to overcontrol many companies in order to subsidize the few. Hard drive companies have
      • The more we regulate, the more we see the number of companies in a given market trend towards 1.
        ...
        I don't believe that monopolies are more than temporary unless they are given the power of monopoly through government licensing and regulations.

        Huh? Isn't the reason we have these regulations because we've learned from history that the exact opposite of what you're saying is true? Did the government somehow kill competition for standard oil to give them a monopoly? Seriously, I'm asking. Perhaps you

        • I've replied to the Standard Oil "monopoly" on slashdot so often, I think I may need to write a standard reply, haha :)

          Standard Oil was a "monopoly" by lowering prices so low using techniques that the competition couldn't match. They lowered oil prices from 60 cents to 8 cents per gallon, a boon for consumers and for production and manufacturing. The only ones complaining were their powerful competitors, and this is why government got involved. Before the end of the government investigation, Standard was
  • casualty (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Lxy (80823) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @09:52AM (#14308355) Journal
    I remeber seeing a /. article a year or so ago that hard drive manufacturers are running VERY thin profit margins because of the competition. Looks like Maxtor couldn't keep up and became a casualty.

    While I'm generally a fan of Seagate, all drives suck these days. I buy Seagate because they're the only drive with a 5 yr warranty. I now buy hard drives in pairs so I have a spare when one is being RMA'd.
    2 160GB drives + RAID 0/1 controller is a pretty cheap backup solution with a guaranteed lifespan of at least 5 years.
    • Mirroring is not backup. I am probably not the first person to tell you that. :-)

      It is a redundancy solution, if anything. I have the same setup on my g/f's computer. 2 Barracudas is all that I need.

  • What kind?

    Dude, do you want a harddrive or what?

    There seems to be a trend in computers where there are 2 to 3 big alternatives. OSes -- Apple vs Mac vs *NIX/Linux. CPUs -- AMD vs Intel vs IBM. Disks -- Seagate vs Western Digital. Laptops -- Mac vs PC. Desktops -- Apple vs Dell.

    I can't say that this is a good thing or not, but it seems to be a trend.

  • by Stavr0 (35032) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @09:53AM (#14308360) Homepage Journal
    2000 - Maxtor buys Quantum's hard drive division
    2002 - Hitachi buys IBM HD division
    2006?- Seagate buys Quantum

    So we're down to Seagate, Hitachi, Western Digital and Samsung. Any other HD brands you see are OEM'd by them.

  • by necro81 (917438) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @09:57AM (#14308395) Journal
    Seagate may have a lot of reasons for wanting to absorb Maxtor. Certainly Seagate will ultimately profit from it, since Maxtor was a decently profitable company (recent slumps in its stockprice nothwithstanding). Eliminating a brand name it has to compete against in the increasingly difficult hard drive market is another.

    I actually think that one of the larger reasons has to do with intellectual property. After being around for a bunch of years, Maxtor has a store of worthwhile patents on hard drive technology that Seagate could have a good use for. Being a competitor, it might have been difficult (read: $$$) or impossible for Seagate to license a Maxtor technology with Maxtor as an independent entity. There is also the intellectual property stored up in Maxtors employees: good talent can be hard to find, and if Seagate is expanding and developing more new technologies, it may have been a lot easier to just buy Maxtor (and gain its employees) rather than try expand its workforce at the slow pace of engineering and management recruiting/hiring.
    • When Maxtor bought Quantum HDD, Maxtor was somewhat profitable. Both Maxtor and Quantum brought good balance sheets to the deal with a few hundred million in cash each. Quantum sold because they could not see a path to profitability. Maxtor bought because the executives had a hard on to do an aquisition.

      The end result of this first merger was a disaster. The combined company has been limping along and losing market share. The biggest plus on the balance sheet is "goodwill". This "goodwill" is the am

  • is it me? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by utexaspunk (527541) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @10:09AM (#14308493)
    ...or does it seem like almost every major national/international market end up in what is essentially a duopoly with a few other minor players? Usually they're red vs blue, too-

    Target vs Wal-Mart
    Home Depot vs Lowe's
    Coke vs Pepsi
    Republicans vs Democrats
    CVS vs Walgreen's
    Nike vs Reebok
    Verizon vs Cingular
    Firestone vs Goodyear
    Marlboro vs Camel
    ...

    There are a lot more that I can't think of right now. I guess since monopolies often get broken up, things tend to stabilize at duopolies...
  • I was in the orthodontists office today and there was a Gamerz PC mag on the table with a sidebar about 16GB flash drives from Hitachi coming out next year. Now at $400 it's pretty damn pricey but the cost will obviously drop with time. Seems to me you could bundle a few of these together, put them in a small package and have a relatively sturdy non mechanical drive that could replace most platter drives.
    • Flash memory has a limited number of write cycles available to it. Even if that number is in the millions, you could use up a flash drive in a hurry in the wrong circumstances. On Linux, for instance, you would probably want to mount a flash filesystem with the noatime option - otherwise, every file access will update the access timestamp, adding to wear on the flash.
  • who's left? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tomcres (925786) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @10:13AM (#14308523)
    You know, I used to like Seagate until they acquired Conner, which I had terrible experiences with. Then I used to use Maxtor until they acquired Quantum, which I used to see incredible failure rates on in my work as a PC repair tech. The problem is that if I buy a Seagate, how do I know I'm not really getting a Conner? Or if I buy Maxtor, how can I be sure that it's not just a rebranded Quantum drive?

    Over the last few years, I've used Western Digital and IBM/Hitachi pretty much exclusively, primarily IBM/Hitachi. I've never had a problem ever with either brand. About a dozen or so drives over the past several years and they were only ever replaced for bigger/faster drives, never because of a defect or problem. I guess I'll really stay away from Seagate now. But I'm not sure why everyone seems to have horror stories about IBM/Hitachi. I've found them to be fast, quiet, and reliable. In fact, although I will pick up a WD if it's on sale, Hitachi is usually a few dollars cheaper and not as loud as a typical WD drive, in my experience.

  • Did anyone else read the headline as Seagate buys Maxtor for $1.98 ? That's about what their drives are worth.
  • Actually (Score:5, Funny)

    by ats-tech (770430) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @10:23AM (#14308604) Homepage
    The purchase price was $2.9B with a $1B mail in rebate.
  • On eBay you can already buy a maxtor drive for $59.90 [ebay.com]!

    Oh, I should read the article? One moment.

    Buying the company blablabla. Hum, check it out on eBay [ebay.com]: Rare Maxtor drive for sale. Soon not available anymore, will be collectors item with vastly increased value.

    P.S. This is a random first hit on eBay. I am in no way associated to this seller. If you maxtor collectors item does not increase in value, do not complain to me. I warned you!
  • by mindaktiviti (630001) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @10:34AM (#14308695)
    This is how I backup my mp3s.

    - Burn them on DVDs (60GB = 15 DVDs).
        - Give one set to my brother for Christmas.
        - Give another set to my friend for Christmas.
        - Keep a private server going and encourage my friends to get the latest stuff.

    I've had a hard drive crap out on me and I've lost a ton of mp3s before but I had copies at some place or another. Sharing your data with your family and friends is one sure way to have a distributed backup system. Now, you don't control their data but chances are if they have big harddrives they'll keep that stuff around.

    This is how I backup my documents:
    - compress it every month or so and make a copy on each hard drive on my computer. Occasionally I backup to CD. Actually I think this data has less backups than my mp3s, even though it's some of it's important, but I could always embed a password protected file into one of my mp3 disks that no one would notice. :)
  • by OldManAndTheC++ (723450) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @10:50AM (#14308833)
    "Reuters reports that Seagate Technology would buy rival computer disk-drive maker Maxtor Corp. for $1.9 billion"

    Actually it's $2.6 billion, with a $700 million rebate.

    And that puppy expires December 31, so they'd better remember to send it in.

  • by mnemotronic (586021) <.ten.epacsten. .ta. .cinortomenm.> on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @11:11AM (#14308993) Homepage Journal
    Some replys suggest xcopy32 or Norton Ghost [symantec.com] to make mirror backups. I suggest Robocopy ("robust copy") from (yea, I know I know) Microsoft. It comes in the Win 2003 Server RK [microsoft.com], or Google it [google.com]. It includes a lot of options more suited to performing mirror operations, especially when copying over a network.
  • Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bill_kress (99356) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @02:34PM (#14310814)
    What is the advantage, to the general population, to allow stuff like this to happen? What was Segate missing in their product line that they absolutely had to have Maxtor to fill?

    It's simply destroying a competitor to allow them to monopolize more of the market.

    All this crap happened in the 20's. The US became extremely pro-business and anti-regulation, from the supreme court and president down.

    This caused the depression. The depression removed the focus on the rich and corporate entities and returned much of the money they looted from the middle and lower classes, we had quite a few prosperous, happy decades.

    Now we get to relearn our lesson I guess. Ready for the next depression? Probably only a decade or so out now?

    Remember, we don't charter corporations so the shareholders can become rich and powerfully, that is a side-effect; we allow it because it's supposed to help everyone. When it stops helping the general economy and starts simply being self-serving, we need to re-evaluate the system and tweak it a little.

Arithmetic is being able to count up to twenty without taking off your shoes. -- Mickey Mouse

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