Its weird that such a large, hugely important company like Seagate, being one of two players in the mechanical hard drive market hasn’t made its mark in the SSD space. Being so late to the game may make it more dead in the water than anything else, considering the traction other third-party companies like OCZ, Crucial and Kingston or even Intel has gained this far. Fudzilla started a rumour last week, claiming from one of their unconfirmed sources that the company might be in a position to buy out the smaller SSD manufacturer. But what does that mean, if true, for both Seagate and Western Digital in the future?
If true, having the last two big names in hard drives join the SSD race could drive prices down way low as they have considerably more buying power than any other company. Seagate in particular recently was valued at $1.71 billion and just about goes half-half with market share to Western Digital, the preferred supplier for large corporations. If both companies begin competing in the SSD space, we’ll see more enterprise solutions for solid state storage, as well as increased availability of consumer-level SSDs for the public to buy.
Currently, the only thing holding back rapid adoption of SSDs is the rather high price of NAND memory in both 32nm and 22nm forms, as well as a difficulty sandwiching in extra chips because of memory density issues. Having a large buyer like Seagate absorb OCZ and suddenly enter the market itself with an equivalent offering would drive down prices, hike up adoption rates and improve the speed at which advancements made in the segment are made. This would also mean that Western Digital needs to enter in the SSD race as well and there would be pressure on the company to perform like the current market competitors right off the bat.
If anything like this does happen (as in both players do make their move into the market) we’d eventually see the same thing happen to the SSD market as we’ve recently observed with the mechanical drives. Just as both Seagate and Western Digital realised the potential for greater profit margins because of the tsunami and flood damage, they both hiked up prices for a good amount of time because consumers wouldn’t know any better.
With pricing slowly returning to levels seen back in 2010, things are getting back to normal. But with the high demand for NAND chips, especially for drives shipped in Ultrabooks and Apple’s SSD-packing Macbook family, things are going to drop to such a low price that the market becomes flooded with these chips and things tank in over themselves, just as they are beginning to do so now with DDR3 RAM prices and stock levels.
But, if nothing else, having the big two finally stepping up to the plate does mean better deals and more wins for the consumer. So its with that hope that I’m eager to see if this rumour turns out to be true or not. What do you think, dear reader? Would this be good for the market or bad for things as they are in general?
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