Wikipedia estimates that over 200 companies were manufacturing hard disk drives at one time or another. Most in that industry who heavily invested in Research and Development has vanished through bankruptcy and acquisition. Today’s survivors are Seagate, Toshiba and Western Digital. We will try to share few most important details about these companies here on our data recovery blog. However, we would like to invite you to read the original articles about the Consolidation of hard disk drive makers on My Data Recovery Lab blog.
If one takes a look at the consolidation diagram of hard drive makers above it becomes clear that most of the former hard disk drive makers are now part of the Seagate Technology making Seagate Corporation one of the biggest kids in block? Seagate led the hard disk drive industry in 2011 when they released the world’s first 3TB hard drive, in the form of an external HDD as part of their Seagate FreeAgent line of external HDDs. In 2011 Samsung sold their hard disk drive business to Seagate. Since then Seagate continues to grow, today shipping well over two billion HDDs. Seagate also acquired a Toronto company called Action Front Data Recovery in 2006, and rebranded it as Seagate Recovery Services (SRS). Today, SRS is also among the largest data recovery providers in the world. Data recovery is not about the reverse engineering as it always has been. Now, when the actual drive manufacturer does data recovery almost free of charge makes you think why would you buy any product from the company who can make their drives failing faster so they can make more revenue by recovering data from devices which should make data stored safely?. However, now following Seagate, My Data Recovery Lab and few others we should see more data recovery providers offering data recovery service plans based on the same idea. The actual data recovery success rate is significantly higher if you had your device (mostly HDDs) firmware saved someplace else (to Cloud or a SD card) and have it ready when needed. In Seagate’s case, they already have them all!
Western Digital Corporation (often abbreviated as WDC or WD) has a long history in the electronics industry as an integrated circuit and calculator maker as well as a storage products company. Prior to establishing a hard disk drive production operation the company nearly vanished when they filled for bancrupcy in 1976.What drove WD forward was their 1771 integrated circuit, the first disk drive formatter/controller. Despite a price far higher than average CMOS chips of the time, it was very successful and extremely profitable.
In the early 1980s, WDC were making hard disk drive controllers. Their controller, the WD1003, later became the basis of the ATA interface. This controller helped the company to win the contract with IBM for their PC/AT. WDC developed this contoller along with Compaq and Control Data Corporation’s MPI division, now owned by Seagate Technology. Throughout most of the 1980s, the family of WD1003 controllers generated enormous corporate growth. Recently, Western Digital entered the solid-state drive market with the acquisition of Siliconsystems, Inc. Three years later, in 2012, Western Digital completed the acquisition of Hitachi Global Storage Technologies and became the largest traditional hard drive manufacturer in the world! Again, the accusition of HGST made possible for WD to accuire another new technology, helium-filled hard disk drives. This new line of hard disk drives claims a 49% of reduction in power usage per terabyte of storage when compared to air-filled ones. Just about a month ago, Western Digital acquired Skyera, a flash-based storage development company, which is now part of their HGST division.
Toshiba has been providing storage solutions worldwide since 1967. In 1969 they delivered their first 14″ hard disk drive. When it comes to the technology applied in Toshiba hard disk drives comes from their own Research and Development. In 1980 they established the industry leadership with the world’s first 10.5-inch hard disk drive. During the 80s they contined to make smaller form factor drives but keeping the capacity to no less than 48 MB.
In early 90s they shipped the first drive using a glass as base material on a their single-platter HDD. This was the first 40MB 2.5-inch hard disk drive. In the era of merger and acquisition like it was the case with Seagate and Western Digital, Toshiba kept their business out of this. It is failry unknown that Toshiba was the pioneer of small form factor for hard disk drives.
In 1998 Toshiba was the first manufacturer to transition to the GMR across its product line and the next year they broke the 20 gigabits per square inch areal density barrier.
Since their first delivering of 2.5-inch hard disk drive in mid 80s, Toshiba helped to ignite the start of the digital music revolution with the first high-capacity, high-volume 1.8-inch disk drives (in 2000).
Today, Toshiba desktop hard disk drive series provides up to 3 TB capacity and features an innovative technology to deliver a greater level of power efficiency and quiet operation for energy-conscious, environmentally-friendly computers and their users.