Both WD and Seagate Aren’t Mass Producing SSDs Anytime Soon

It’s surprising that it has already been four years since the very first solid state drives started entering the market, but Western Digital is still uncertain of the true value when it comes to SSDs – not to mention hybrid drives as well. Here’s what their CEO, John Coyne has to say:

“We have taken a look at and in fact shipped product into the SSD, in the client environment, and we do not find a compelling value proposition there either for manufacturer or for customer because the economics do not work. The cost of the storage/performance is too high.”

That doesn’t look too good, considering a smaller company like OCZ which dropped their popular RAM business to solely focus on SSDs. Upside is that they will “continue to evaluate” hybrid drives which combines traditional magnetic storage with flash memory. Things aren’t that much better for their competitor, with Seagate’s former CEO gone – they issued this statement earlier this week (here’s a snippet):

…the yawning gulf between NAND flash memory production capacity for solid state drives and demand for laptop storage will continue to widen. Whatever portion of megafab production capacity is devoted to NAND flash SSDs, the return on investment would be difficult to justify given the relatively small available market for laptop SSDs.

In English, Seagate claims that building a NAND flash fab plant would cost a lot more than the plant’s annual revenue and how overwhelming major portions of flash memory is currently being distributed (e.g. several portables like cell phones and cameras).

We’re no business analysts, but we do praise WD for at least having their own branded product shipped and how they are taking measures to monitoring this technology cautiously before making the jump, while Seagate on the other hand appears to be staying out of the SSD market for the most part. Seagate’s decision won’t affect the company as a whole short term, but if they keep up with ignoring market trends then one day they might find themselves competing with smaller memory manufacturers that already built their brand image in the early stages.


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