Orange County Business Journal

Western Digital Tops Seagate in Q2 Shipments

Chris Casacchia Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Irvine-based drive maker Western Digital Corp. extended its market share lead in the second quarter over Scotts Valley-based rival Seagate Technologies LLC.

Western Digital shipped a record 53.8 million hard disk drives in the second quarter, up 6% from the first quarter, for a total market share of 32%, according to a new report from El Segundo-based market tracker iSuppli Corp., a unit of Colorado’s IHS Inc.

That topped Seagate, which shipped 52.3 million units, up 7.2 percent, for a market share of 31%.

In the recently ended quarter, total hard disk drive shipments topped 167.1 million units, up 4.1% from the first quarter.

San Jose-based Hitachi Global Storage Technologies Ltd. at 16% of the market, Toshiba/Fujitsu with 11%, and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd at 10%, rounded out the top five.

“Despite some disruptions resulting from the Japan quake disaster in March and the continuing decline of netbook sales because of tablet devices, (drive) shipments rose during the second quarter, with each hard drive maker meeting its revenue forecast,” according to Fang Zhang, a storage systems analyst for IHS.

Seagate continued to hold its top revenue ranking in the hard disk drive market, bringing in $2.9 billion. Seagate currently sells more pricey corporate drives than its competitors.

That beat Western Digital’s $2.4 billion. The company is a bigger player in consumer products, where prices are lower.

Hard disk drive shipments are projected to increase 3.4% in the current quarter as back-to-school and pre-holiday season sales are expected to improve and corporate PC upgrades drive more sales, according to iSuppli.

Western Digital’s pending $4.3 billion acquisition of Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, expected to close in the fourth quarter, is set to make the company the undisputed leader in drives. It would also increase its corporate business.

The move prompted Seagate in April to offer $1.4 billion for Samsung Electronics Co.’s disk drive business.

The buy would give Seagate added market share and access to Samsung flash memory chips used in new solid state drives that use chips instead of spinning disks to store data.

If both deals are approved, it would trim the big players in the drive market from five to three, with Tokyo-based Toshiba Corp. being the other.

Western Digital shares were up more than 4% in afternoon New York trading to a market value of $6.6 billion.