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IBM Bails Out of the Hard Drive Market 351

DJ STORM writes: "IBM has decided to exit the hard drive market citing the market has become too competitive.They plan to sell 70% of the their HD business to Hitachi. The new company name is unknown. One has to wonder if this has anything to do with IBM's troubled Deskstar GXP series." IBM will still have part ownership of the resulting venture, but it sounds like no more Deskstars. Update: 04/17 16:33 GMT by T : You may also find interesting some older posts about IBM's work on increasing hard drive storage (1, 2, 3); hopefully, the new company will continue that R&D effort.
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IBM Bails Out of the Hard Drive Market

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  • by u01000101 ( 574295 ) <> on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @12:04PM (#3358971) Homepage
    ... about this, at [] which also details the preliminary agreement between IBM and Hitachi.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @12:07PM (#3358992)
    Just go to, select home or small business, pick any dimension or optiplex system. You'll get a search box in the upper left of the screen and search for the word "deskstar", two links for different series' of these drives will appear.

  • by Brento ( 26177 ) <{brento} {at} {}> on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @12:09PM (#3359010) Homepage
    It was like their PC lines. They were always $500 - $1000 more than anyone else. Who the hell would want to pay that?

    I'm typing this from my Thinkpad, with a 32gb drive in it that spins so quietly I can't hear. They've got my vote, to say the least. But to be fair, I went to CDW's hard drive section to check prices. IBM's 60gb Deskstar 7200 rpm IDE is $136 - exactly the same price as Maxtor's about five lines down. Sounds competitive to me.
  • Re:Good! (Score:4, Informative)

    by yakfacts ( 201409 ) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @12:14PM (#3359041)
    Welcome to the Real World!

    ANY hard drive company will tell you that. I've been doing this for 20 years. I've had all the brands crash. From Micropolis (back when they were the Big Thing), Seagate, Shugart, Control-Data, Hitachi, Quantum, Maxtor ("old" and "new") and many
    other companies that you have never heard of. Plus, dozens of Western "Plastic Stepper Arm" Digital drives.

    IBM makes--or rather, made--some of the best drives out there. They invented much of the technology.

    No way to back up? Try a tape drive. 1960s technology, works just fine. Or a a proper RAID. Or just buy another hard drive and copy them over by hand.

    IDE drives are all crap. They are the cheap end of the line. You get what you pay for....
  • Corrections ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by ProfMoriarty ( 518631 ) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @12:16PM (#3359051) Journal
    They plan to sell 70% of the their HD business to Hitachi.

    Uhmmm .. this isn't exactly correct. From the article ...

    Separately, IBM and Hitachi also said they plan to combine their various hard-disk drive operations into a new, stand-alone joint venture. Hitachi would own 70 percent of the joint venture and pay IBM for its hard drive assets, subject to the completion of negotiations, the companies said.

    It would appear that the headline is more correct than the story, IBM is out, but own a 30% stake in the new company ... this is not the same as selling 70% to Hitachi ...

  • Low Yields? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Angleworm ( 174702 ) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @12:18PM (#3359072) Homepage
    One reason could be shocking manufacturing yields. The IBM manufacturing plant in Ireland has had terrible yield problems (even after the Telesto upgrade (aluminium to glass platters)).

    I suspect their problems could be due to badly designed and inefficient processes. The drives may work but if there is too many failures from the cleanroom no amount of sales is going to make a profit.

    I know this because I know 3 techs who used to work there!
  • Merger, not sale! (Score:5, Informative)

    by rkgmd ( 538603 ) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @12:29PM (#3359143)
    IBM and Hitachi are *merging* [] their disk business so that IBM gets a 30% stake (and Hitachi, 70%). The story's comment "They plan to sell 70% of the their HD business to Hitachi." seems incorrect to me; IBM is simply estimating that its current disk business is worth 30% of the joint disk business. Also, note that Hitachi has a very strong storage systems business HDS [] (right behind EMC) that is very profitable (also resold by SUN as Storedge9900 [] series datacenter/enterprise storage products, I believe), so big blue may have merged their disk business with a view to ensuring future profitability in the overall storage space.
  • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @12:58PM (#3359336) Homepage
    • notebook hard drives, since IBM's Travelstar series has a large share of the market

    Which isn't necessarily a good thing. I do a bit of casual notebook trading and repair on the side, but I gave up on Travelstars recently. A lot of the older DADA < 10Gb drives were (or became) very noisy, and they failed uncomfortably frequently. The big problem though was that if you buy enough used Travelstars from eBay, then (quite apart from the stupid near new prices they can attract) you'll find an alarming number of them turn out to be failed drives that have clearly been slipped out the back door of a repair shop - including locked drives that are the devil's own work to unlock []. That sort of thing goes on all the time (it's a perk of the job) but the scale I saw it happening on rather indicated that it had become endemic among IBM approved shops. Eventually I just gave up on the damn things altogther, and it's soured me on the brand. The nasty reports on the desktop drives - and worse, IBM's "not our problem" attitude - just put the nail in the coffin. Now you'd have to cut me a pretty good deal to persuade me to buy an IBM brand drive of any sort.

  • by laserjet ( 170008 ) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @01:08PM (#3359395) Homepage
    There is:

    "My new IBM hard drive has more storage space than my old drive, and is also physically smaller! w00t!"


  • Re:Kudos to Big Blue (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @01:25PM (#3359508)
    Actually, as a former employee of the HDD sector at IBM, I can say that this is false.

    HDD was a part of the Technology Division. It was in Storage Technology Division. Storage Systems Divisions is things like tape backup systems for mainframes.

    The Technology Division is dedicated to inventing new products, etc. and then usually selling or leasin the technology out to competitors. IIRC, the Microelectronics Division was the big money-maker in Technology Division, but now (with the recent glut in the microelectronics markets) there doesn't seem to be a big money-maker...

    The Technology Division is funded seperately from the Hardware, Global Services, Software, etc. divisions. I don't know how they are making ends meet in that division right now, but signs had been bad for a while when I left. Microdrive was one of the only profitable drives that wasn't having problems during development.
  • by nolife ( 233813 ) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @02:26PM (#3359899) Homepage Journal
    IBM and Toshiba had a joint interest in a large chip fab for DRAM until last year when they pulled out of that. Looks like they are still trying to rid themselves of potentially unprofitable businesses and "lean" up. Normally when businesses are doing this they are trying to stay alive...
  • by slaker ( 53818 ) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @02:42PM (#3360014)
    The consensus on is that the best all-round drives at the moment are being made by Maxtor and Western Digital. Maxtor, in particular, hasn't had a troublesome drive model in quite some time, and has an excellent service orientation, including a no-hassle RMA service.

    Reliability is found in the mid-range 10,000rpm SCSI drives like the Atlas III and in the low-end 5400rpm models, particularly those from Samsung and to a lesser extent Seagate and Maxtor. SCSI drives *do* have longer warranties, if that says anything. In 7200rpm, probably Maxtor or Seagate's offerings.

    Quiet: IDE, the choice is just about any 5400rpm drive, or Seagate's Barracuda IV for 7200rpm. Fujitsu's MAN-series SCSI disks are as close as you'll get to quiet, there.

    Fast: IDE, 5400rpm: Western Digital's WD800AB. 7200rpm: Either Maxtor's 740X (8.5ms seek) or the Western Digital WD1200JB (transfer rates through the roof).
    SCSI: Maxtor's Atlas III for 10,000rpm or Seagate's X15-36LP among the 15krpm units.

    Is that what you want to know?

    Find out more at or We're really very helpful people. :)

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