Hard disk drive market has strongest year yet

Hard disk drive market has strongest year yet

Seagate cements its number-one spot, but Maxtor knocked out of top three by Hitachi GST

Maxtor was the biggest loser in the market share battle in 2005’s hard disk drive (HDD) market, despite it being a record year for the sector.

According to the latest figures from analyst iSuppli, management changes, the lack of small-form factor products and the possibility of a take-over by Seagate all contributed to Maxtor losing out on third place to Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (GST).

Overall, 2005 was the best year yet for HDD sales, with the number of units shipped up by a massive 71 million on 2004. For 2005, shipments were 376 million, up by 23 per cent from 305 million in 2004. The HDD market experienced growth in all areas. But the biggest growth was in products for notebooks and consumer electronics devices, such as MP3 players, personal media players and set-top boxes equipped with digital video recorders. Thanks to a more diverse mix of products, manufacturers also made more money because of a rise in average selling prices.

Krishna Chander, senior storage analyst at iSuppli, said: “For nearly all HDD makers, 2005 was a great year. While there were a few challenges for suppliers in 2005, it’s hard to find much to complain about in a year when the biggest problem was a component shortage caused by booming sales of HDDs.”

Seagate padded its position at the top of the HDD market. It had 28.7 per cent of total factory unit shipments in 2005, up from 27 per cent in 2004. It also continued to lead in HDDs for desktop PCs and enterprise computers. Western Digital stayed in second place with 17.7 per cent of shipments, despite its market share falling slightly from 2004’s 18 per cent. Hitachi GST snatched third place from Maxtor, and increased its share slightly to 15.5 per cent, thanks largely to it being the largest supplier of notebook HDDs.

In related news, Hitachi GST unveiled its 2006 line-up of 3.5in desktop drives. The Deskstar T7K500 and Deskstar 7K160 boast 7,200rpm spin speeds and 3Gbps Serial ATA interfaces. They are designed to be used in mainstream and performance PCs, as well as low-duty cycle servers, according to the vendor. The Deskstar T7K500 is available in capacities ranging from 250GB to 500GB, while the entry level 7K160 comes in 80GB and 160GB varieties.

Jose Antelo, general manager of business management at Hitachi GST, said: “The Deskstar products offer a number of advanced features that give customers the competitive advantage they need to build high-performance systems.”