Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Businesses Data Storage Hardware

Western Digital's Hitachi Storage Takeover Approved With Restrictions 156

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the trade-commission-regulating-trade-for-once dept.
angry tapir writes "Western Digital's plan to buy Hitachi Global Storage has run into U.S. FTC resistance: The U.S. FTC will require Western Digital to sell off assets used to manufacture desktop hard drives to a competitor as a condition of its U.S.$4.5 billion acquisition of rival Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, the agency has announced." It looks like Toshiba is the competitor receiving the manufacturing assets.
More from the FTC: "Under the proposed settlement order, Toshiba will receive all of the productive assets needed to replicate Hitachi Global Storage Technologies' position in the desktop hard disk drive market. In addition, the settlement order requires Western Digital to provide Toshiba with access to its employees involved in research and development and the production of desktop hard disk drives, and also requires Western Digital to license all intellectual property needed to make and supply desktop hard disk drives to Toshiba. The settlement order also requires Western Digital to be available to supply Toshiba with certain components Toshiba will need to run the desktop hard disk drive business it acquires, and to contract manufacture hard disk drives for Toshiba until Toshiba is able to manufacture them on its own. The FTC also has appointed a monitor to oversee the sale of the assets to Toshiba and to keep the Commission informed about the status of the required divestiture."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Western Digital's Hitachi Storage Takeover Approved With Restrictions

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @05:39PM (#39266899)

    So Western Digital can buy Hitachi... but give everything that might possibly have been a competitive advantage away to Toshiba at a low cost?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @05:43PM (#39266957)

      Yes. And, if it had been Hitachi buying Western Digital there would have been no strings attached, because the U.S. likes to shoot itself in it's own foot but will gladly help outsource whatever is left and destroy our economy at home. Sad tragedy...

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Its called globalization. Its the future.
        • by FatdogHaiku (978357) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @06:18PM (#39267373)

          Its called globalization. Its the future.

          Judging by previous futures, it's overrated...
          I was going to say the future is overrated based on past results,
          but that keeps getting flagged as a parser error in module neocortex.

          • How long do you honestly think we are going to have multiple nation states? One world government is closer than you think.
            • by suutar (1860506)
              Why do you assume the one world government will eliminate nation-states? A little nationalism is good for the masses; it keeps their mind off what's really going on.
              • by jd (1658)

                Nationalism is almost immaterial. It is far more efficient to have a multi-tier topology in government (local stuff can be handled locally, national stuff can be handled nationally, international stuff can be handled internationally). I'd rather the boundaries be drawn according to cultures rather than according to 20th century national identities, since cultures tend to reflect the needs of that region, but something is better than nothing. Usually.

            • John Lennon, is that you?
      • The fact that WD is acquiring Hitachi and not the reverse is surely an indicator that youre exaggerating?

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      So Western Digital can buy Hitachi... but give everything that might possibly have been a competitive advantage away to Toshiba at a low cost?

      It's that or move everything to a Thai flood plain. Which would you choose?

  • Worst drives I've ever owned.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @05:43PM (#39266959)

      Dude that was literally a decade ago. Get over it.

      • Next you'll tell me to get over the ST-225s that were dead out of the box.

        Those were the worst drives I've ever owned.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Dude get over the ST-225s that were dead out of the box

        • by Kjella (173770)

          Next you'll tell me to get over the ST-225s that were dead out of the box. Those were the worst drives I've ever owned.

          DOA drives? If they're going to fail, that's the best time. The worst drives are those that last just long enough for you to fill them up with data, and then you think you can do without a backup copy while you repartition/reformat the drives you just emptied. Noooooooooooo I'm not bitter. (Yes, yes, I know I should have had a proper offline backup too.)

          • by lightknight (213164) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @07:48PM (#39268339) Homepage

            My personal favorite is when you're trying to RMA the hard drive, and the person on the other end has you run a bunch of diagnostics that say the drive is fine.

            It's like, come on guys, I am a tech, my case has its side off more often than on, I've spent a fair amount of my life tending to the needs and wants to a number of machines that have found their way to me...I know what the usual sounds those hard drives are supposed to make, having been running them for over a year, and one of them has suddenly started making scratching noises. Your diagnostics will be giving me a green light right while the drive drops / corrupts data and disappears randomly from the OS's view, right up until the day it's suddenly no longer detected. Even Windows will think something is wrong with the drive before your diagnostic program will.

            I had to run the m*therf*cking acoustic test on one of Seagate's (or was it Maxtor's) drive before it would give me a code to send the thing in. Show of hands from the people who know how long it takes to run that test, with the machine unusable while you're running it.

            • Yep!! I've always hate doing hard drive RMAs. Honestly, it's to the point where the manufacturers should just accept them with a "no questions asked" policy for exchange during the length of their warranty period. Most of the people who lack the knowledge to adequately determine if a given drive is bad aren't capable of physically removing it from a computer and doing the RMA on it anyway.

              I don't know about some of them, but my recent experiences with Seagate RMAs tells me it's pretty much a "one shot" exc

            • My personal favorite is when you're trying to RMA the hard drive, and the person on the other end has you run a bunch of diagnostics that say the drive is fine.

              Why would you talk to a human about this? I just fill out the web form and mail them back.

            • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@NOspaM.gmail.com> on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @01:04AM (#39271321) Journal
              That's why a copy of spinrite is your friend, set that sucker on level 3, refresh the surfaces, and if the drive is dying that'll kill the bitch dead QUICK. Just let it run overnight, the drive will be so foobarred by morning they can have you run whatever, it won't matter. Wish I could find a tool that would kill drives as well as spinrite as there are a few of the newer drives it don't like but so far nothing kills a dying drive like spinrite can.
              • Spinrite doesn't appear to work on drives larger than 500GB [tomshardware.com] as it uses a 16bit integer to count the number of cylinders. I'm in the process right now of trying to get data off one of my dying WD15EARS drives, and have confirmed that crash right when the cylinder count rolls over. HDD Regenerator seems to run, but has wrong numbers in the sector counts because it (apparently) uses signed 32bit integers.
                • by hairyfeet (841228)
                  Good to know, I've been using a lot of 250Gb and 400gb thanks to the flood. So anybody know of a better HDD killer? something you can just launch and leave running that will seriously foobar a dying drive? Because i have yet to find anything that'll pimp slap a drive like spinrite does, especially level 3 and level 4 as it does multiple read/writes per sector and really smacks the disc. Anybody know of a good disc wiper that really does a beat down? because as others have noted unless you really kick the cr
                  • by bolverk (31238)
                    I have, in the past, used a car battery and a pair of jumper cables to random spots on the PCB. They tend to not ask as many questions if the BIOS doesn't even see the disk.
          • by jd (1658)

            I have an extremely good offline backup. Mind you, I've just filled 100 DVDs to capacity and expect to fill 1000 more. No, not from downloads. Family history project. A big family history project. A big and extremely EXPENSIVE family history project.

            And the hard disk space I'm using isn't even a fraction of the capacity of a modern hard drive.

            Offline backup, these days, is getting very difficult to justify.

            • I hope you have a disk changing robot. If not, why are you not using HDDs?
            • The family history project that your doing sounds interesting (well, and massive!). Do you have any (generic) info on what you're actually doing? Cheers!
              • by jd (1658)

                Generically, I am collecting scans of photos and negatives ranging from 1860 to the modern day for (currently five) strands of the family tree, which I am attempting to organize by date and location. That way, I can see how people, places, culture/society change with place and time, in addition to having as complete as possible conventional pictorial biography of everyone in the family tree. It is a nightmare to organize (most of the negative packets have little or no labeling) or index (databases are not g

          • I was a scandal. Seagate shipped a whole warehouse full of drives they knew to be bad as an accounting trick. They had all failed testing, but were still being carried as an asset.

            So in general you're right, DOA is better then the alternative. Running laps to the parts store sucked. Finding any working drive was a challenge for a while there. Like a thai flood, but being denied at the time.

      • by _merlin (160982)

        Funny thing is I managed to run one of those DeskStars for a decade - it was running until about April last year - with no problems. Only spun down when moving house, in power failures, and when I needed to replace a power supply fan in the machine. I replaced it with a WD Blue last year.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by LazLong (757)

        Isn't it interesting how stuff like this sticks in people's minds and they seem incapable of evaluating new data and reevaluating their stance? The longevity of opinions like this seems to increase when there is some cute catch phrase involved, such as "Deathstar" in this instance.

        "To stay young requires unceasing cultivation of the ability to unlearn old falsehoods."
          -Robert A. Heinlein

    • by blackicye (760472)

      Worst drives I've ever owned.

      WD 1TB Caviar Black AAKS drives were the worst I've owned in recent years.

      I experienced a 50% failure rate within 24 months for 8 units I was running personally. One of my clients who does server virtualization experienced approximately 30% failure rates with his 40 drives.

      • by xMrFishx (1956084)
        Annoyingly I've just had 2 AAKS drives of slightly different ages die on me this week, though they have had good mileage of consistent usage for 4 years. I prefer them to my old Barracudas, which rattled away like a screw in a tin can. Annoyingly prices are still uncomfortably steep for me to replace them so I'll have to hope the two I have left will keep going. I don't see why they'd all die at the same time, but who knows.
      • Got you beat by a mile - Seagate 320 gig - 11 out of 14 failed within 6 months. The first 4 (bought in 2 different cities) were DOA or died within minutes. The trend continued with the replacements.
    • by Sloppy (14984)

      Worse than the ST-251? That drive is why I don't buy Seagate. ;-)

      • by smyle (108107)
        Are you kidding me? The ST-251's were AWESOME. Granted, you needed to run Norton Disk Doctor before you ever used it to weed out the bad sectors from the factory, but once you were past that point, it was 40MB of pure reliability.
        • it was 40MB of pure reliability.

          There was a time when I would have said those were fightin' words. But actually, you're both right (maybe, AFAIK) and utterly completely wrong.

          What happened is that the drive went through several revisions. The first one was the exact opposite of pure reliability; it was pure (as in nearly, and maybe exactly, 100.00%) epic fail. I worked at a place where we sold ATs with ST-251s and there was a year(?) there where every single one of those machines came back to us with dis

    • by cpghost (719344)
      Having used all kinds of HDDs in the last 15+ years by the tens of thousands in a big data center facility, all I can say is that Hitachi had the absolutely worst track record of failed drives. But a large margin at that! I won't touch them with a 10 ft. pole, and if WD acquires them, that would be a tragedy, unless there's a reliable way to avoid the Hitachi models.
  • FTC? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by yakatz (1176317) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @05:49PM (#39267033) Homepage Journal
    How exactly is it supposed to get better for consumers if the government forces companies to give everything they have to a competitor in order to get permission to buy another company?
    Companies will stop spending on R&D because they will need to give all their research away for free if they want to buy another company.
    • Re:FTC? (Score:4, Informative)

      by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @05:55PM (#39267113) Homepage Journal

      Because it isn't a single company controlling all the channels.

      And they aren't giving it away fro free. They are selling it for 4.5 billion.
      .

    • by StikyPad (445176)

      Since when is selling manufacturing assets giving everything away?

    • Re:FTC? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @06:14PM (#39267333)

      I know the summary is confusing (as usual), but read it slowly before complaining:

      WD wants to buy Hitachi Global Storage.

      Hitachi Global Storage manufactures desktop drives that compete with WD.

      The FTC requires WD to sell off the parts of *Hitachi* that make desktop drives to a competitor (Toshiba) before completing the acquisition of Hitachi.

      WD does not have to do anything with their existing disk manufacturing business / R&D / whatever.

    • by s73v3r (963317)

      How is it supposed to get better for consumers if the number of companies that can actually compete in the marketplace gets consolidated down even further?

      And this?

      Companies will stop spending on R&D because they will need to give all their research away for free if they want to buy another company.

      Completely unsubstantiated, fear mongering bullshit.

    • WD is selling off none of its own R&D - everything they are selling off has been developed by the company they are purchasing. There is no issue of appropriation here.
      Insightful? I guess the libertarians have all the mod points today.

    • How exactly is it supposed to get better for consumers if the government forces companies to give everything they have to a competitor in order to get permission to buy another company?

      Companies will stop spending on R&D because they will need to give all their research away for free if they want to buy another company.

      Or, you know, it might discourage them from buying a competitor in order to keep the competitive advantage they got via their R&D. Which is the point. It's better for consumers to discourage acquisitions and keep the market as competitive as possible.

    • by jcr (53032)

      More to the point, where is the constitutional authority for an agency like the FTC to exist in the first place? The commerce clause exists to prevent the states from creating trade barriers against each other. It doesn't grant the federal government the power to tell a business what assets they may or may not keep.

      -jcr

  • This will leave no good desk top hard drives being made. WD was the last decent brand.

    • by RogueLeaderX (845092) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @05:52PM (#39267085)
      WD has to sell Toshiba Hitachi's desktop HD assets, not their own. So you can continue to buy your raptors.
      • So actually the deal was that WD couldn't buy ALL of Hitachi's HD assets and has to find a seller for part of them.
        I've seen this before when Gould was purchased by a Japanese firm and they were forced to divest themselves of the computer division (which I was working for at the time).

    • WD was the last decent brand.

      Seagate, Samsung, and Hitachi (which hopefully Toshiba won't ruin) all make very decent drives - all (including WD) have some lemons, but all are good on the whole. I'm not sure what measure you're using, but I suspect it's anecdotal.

  • WD is SHIT! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DigiShaman (671371) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @06:00PM (#39267189) Homepage

    Hitachi (formerly IBM) branded drives were the most reliable out of them all. And unlike Hitachi, Western Digital crippled their SATA drives with TLER settings to prevent proper RAID operation. The drives would drop out after 30 days of continuous use in some instances. So, they forced users to use either the Enterprise or RAID edition drives. It pisses me off that it's not Hitachi buying out WD.

    And yes, WD MyBook drives are absolute shit too. Don't use them for backups. They last about year or so and that's it.

    • by rsborg (111459)

      And yes, WD MyBook drives are absolute shit too. Don't use them for backups. They last about year or so and that's it.

      I'll see your anecdote and call: I have a 500GB WD MyBook from 2006-ish working perfectly as a Dish extended storage drive for the past 2 years, and a Time Machine target before that... it's a bit louder and noisier than I'd have liked (and I'm now using a 2.5" Firewire drive as my backup target), but it's ticking along fine.

      • by EmagGeek (574360)

        I have 400 WD5002ABYS in racks out in our computational farm, and we lose one every year or so. 0.25%/year failure rate is pretty good in MyBook..

      • My 10K WD Raptor is still going strong 9 years later.
        • by owlstead (636356)

          Very reliable, very noisy, replaced with an Intel G2 SSD in my computer. Hopefully similar reliability (looks that way), much faster and completely silent. 10K desktop market is dead in the water. But it's a good drive, I give you that.

    • by Artraze (600366)

      Did it never occur to you that they intentionally crippled their TLER settings _precisely_ because the drives would crap out after 30 days of continuous use in a RAID config? (Well, and because higher TLER is better for single drive configs.) The drives are optimized for slow bulk storage which is why they have long TLER and low RPM and in my experience they do a great job. 90+% of people complaining of failures bought these thinking they could make a cheap RAID despite all the warnings and frankly got w

      • Did it never occur to you that they intentionally crippled their TLER settings _precisely_ because the drives would crap out after 30 days of continuous use in a RAID config?

        Actually, the change in TLER settings is _precisely_ why they dropped out after 30 to 50 days in the first place. No other brand of desktop SATA drives had this problem when using the Intel Rapid Storage driver (fake RAID) in mirror mode. They intentionally crippled their drives to force you into an up-sale of their enterprise line up.

        • by caseih (160668)

          Western Digital is pretty clear about things. They don't intentionally design their desktop disks to fail in a RAID. Other brands may work better for you for a variety of reasons. But you seem to be mistaken about what's happening with the TLER setting. In fact the desktop drives have no TLER in their firmware at all. Thus when they get bad sectors and have to reallocate, they end up bogging down and the array will kick them out. The enterprise drives do have TLER, which changes the way the error reco

    • Wow, bring on the crazy conspiracy theories. LTER=0 is what you want for a single-drive desktop configuration; LTER=7 is a good value for a RAID. This isn't them "cripping" the drive. It's setting a sensible default for the drive's intended market. If you want to use the drive in a different way, JUST CHANGE THE SETTING.

      • I wish. With WD drives, you no longer have that option to enable/disable TLER in firmware for desktop drives.

    • by adolf (21054)

      WD MyBook drives are absolute shit too. Don't use them for backups. They last about year or so and that's it.

      I've heard that before. It always seemed like a heat problem to me.

      Improving it is easy: Stand the drive on edge, and prop up one end slightly to let air enter the bottom. Instant chimney-effect cooling.

  • Oh no! (Score:5, Funny)

    by rykin (836525) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @06:07PM (#39267269)
    Does this mean no more amusing flash videos to announce new technological breakthroughs?! Okay, so it didn't happen all that often, but I still can't forget Hitachi's "Get Perpendicular" video from 2005 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xb_PyKuI7II [youtube.com]. Like others, I'm surprised they aren't the ones consuming WD.
  • Considering that most Toshiba hardware sucks (yeah, I'm looking at the entire Satellite line of laptops); I'll stay away from these like the plague. , thanks.
    • yeah, I had a Satellite, and the battery life quickly got lower and lower
      not to mention being sold with Vista but not the hardware to run Vista

    • by rrohbeck (944847)

      Toshiba is one of the world leaders in 2.5" drives though. I can remember when they made 3.5" drives and they weren't bad either. They gave those up due to profit reasons a number of years ago.

  • Seriously. I read that article and I didn't see any clear definition. Is it anything larger than a 2.5" laptop drive? Any 3.5" drive having certain characteristics? Maybe less than 10K rpm? Is a 3.5" 7200rpm drive with an "enterprise" sticker on it a server drive or a desktop drive?
    • by rrohbeck (944847)

      Kinda. "Enterprise" SATA drives are identical to desktop drives except for the firmware these days.
      10/15krpm drives are a different story of course.

  • by FurryOne (618961) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @07:59PM (#39268467)
    This is really too funny from a historical standpoint. At one time, WD bought drives from IBM and put their label on them until they could manufacture the equivalent type drives (IBM was cutting edge at the time) for themselves. Then IBM hit the problem with sticking heads on their Deskstar series, their reputation went down the tube, and they sold their drive business to Hitachi. Now WD is buying part of Hitachi's drive business, and will put their label on them. Of course, it's not quite as funny as the MiniScribe debacle.
  • With everyone talking about raids and stuff....How do I find "raid" harddrives on newegg?

  • I stopped buying WD's like 15 years ago cause they tended to last about a year and then shit on themselves, and every one that has come my way since then has been easily classified as loud and slow, ie: I have some 40 and 80 gigs that only support ata 66 and 100 while being loud enough to drown out my video card fan around here somewhere...

    Hitachi's on the other hand I have never had a problem with, heck I have a 540 meg laptop drive in my 386 lappy that runs as quiet as the day it was new (it came with my

  • More HD storage consolidation. I saw an ad today in my email for a special sale for a 500GB HD for 120$... Yes if the Thai incident has taught us anything it is that globalization and consolidation of all HD storage companies into a few is a great thing for the consumer. Oh did I mention I love seeing that the warranties have gone from 3 and 5 years to 3 and 1 year. That is some great value to the consumers. This definitely seems to be going in the right direction. I know the last HD I bought was before the

"Out of register space (ugh)" -- vi

Working...