It wasn't long ago that Western Digital snapped up Hitachi's hard drive business to become the largest hard drive manufacturer in the world, but it seems like Seagate might have an opportunity to retake some of its lost market share, as Samsung is looking to sell its hard drive business. So far it appears to only be rumours, but if true, we'd be left with only two manufacturers of desktop hard drives which simply can't be a good thing.

It wasn't long ago that Western Digital snapped up Hitachi's hard drive business to become the largest hard drive manufacturer in the world, but it seems like Seagate might have an opportunity to retake some of its lost market share, as Samsung is looking to sell its hard drive business. So far it appears to only be rumours, but if true, we'd be left with only two manufacturers of desktop hard drives which simply can't be a good thing.

Samsung's hard drive business isn't profitable and as such the company is considering its options. That said the official word from Samsung is that it's only reviewing its business opportunities and wouldn't comment further on the matter. Samsung hold about 10.7 percent of the global hard drive market and this would allow Seagate to catch up, but not overtake Western Digital. That is if Seagate is seriously considering buying Samsung's hard drive business would the opportunity arise.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Samsung is looking for about US$1.5 billion which is no small sum of cash to come up with, but apparently the company might be happy with less. This is still a lot less than what Western Digital agreed to pay Hitachi, which was a sum of US$4.3 billion, although some of that was in shares. That said, Hitachi had a market share of 18.1 percent at the end of last year, but that still doesn't seem to be worth nearly three times as much as Samsung's hard drive business.

If this all comes true, then it seems like we'll have Western Digital, Seagate and Toshiba left which isn't good news for consumers, as less competition tends to mean higher prices. In as much as SSDs are gaining a lot of popularity the good old magnetic disk drives aren't going anywhere any time soon as SSDs are simply not a viable alternative when it comes to cost per GB. In fact, consumers and businesses alike are storing more and more data and unless there's a miraculous new product coming out in the next year or two that will combine the performance of an SSD and the cost per GB of a hard drive, we can't see things changing any time soon.

Source: AFP