More HDD Consolidations

Techpowerup / Wall Street Journal: Samsung exiting HD business, Seagate front-runner to buy it.

/ Wall Street Journal: Samsung exiting HD business, front-runner Seagate to buy it.

With Samsung’s exit, the consumer HDD industry will be reduced to just three players: Western Digital, Seagate, and Toshiba.

Note: no official statement has been made by the companies involved. Presumably information is leaked to the press to soften the impact of the news on the stock market.

For those that didn’t read the news prior to this, WD is buying Hitachi. Assuming the WD/Hitachi deal goes through and the rumored Seagate/Samsung deal materializes 2012 might look like this:

Western Digital: 27.80% + Hitachi: 10.92% = ~39%

Seagate: 27.20% + Maxtor: 3.45% + Samsung 14.64% = ~45%

Toshiba: 4.36% + Fujitsu: 1.38% = ~6%

And the rest are SSDs or specialty drives of some other type.

The percentages above are taken from PassMark Software’s chart titled “Hard Drive Market Share in the Last 30 Days” as this was written. These numbers are not a strictly accurate market share for hard drives (for example these numbers are skewed by sales of SSDs under the the parent companies brand name). They do however give us some publicly available market share numbers to compare.

Western Digital to acquire Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. The $4.3 billion deal will close in the third quarter of 2011.

Any deal for the acquisition of Samsung hasn’t been negotiated and the time frame is unknown at this point. While this proposed scenario would leave two large hard drive manufacturers and one smaller one the significance of hard drives continues to diminish as SSDs grow in capacity and drop in price. If WD were to also acquire Toshiba it would neatly divide the consumer hard drive industry into two halves one for WD and one for Seagate. Each would be bigger than before for the short term but would continue to shrink unless they either develop SSDs worthy of the competition or acquire companies like OCZ (which acquired Indilinx) or Sandforce.

Samsung, Marvell, Intel will continue to make SSD controllers and WD or Seagate could choose to license controllers just like other SSD manufactures do but to date they haven’t shown which way they’ll go in the long run.

Whatever happens, it is clear that there will be less choice when it comes to traditional spinning disks.

* Discuss this news in the SPCR forums. *