2Q12 Western Digital HDD Shipments Huge, SSD Sales Abysmal

While HDD had a record quarter, solid-state drives left much to be desired

On looking at the company's financial report, we can safely say that Western Digital is suffering the consequences of not having taken solid-state drives seriously when they emerged, several years ago.

Western Digital did very well during the April-June 2012 period, better than Seagate in fact, considering that the latter lost its leading spot.

The 71 million HDDs that earned WD the top HDD spot isn't what we are going to focus on here though.

The number is a significant accomplishment, to be sure, but not really all that surprising, especially now that supply issues have mostly been overcome (not that prices reflect that).

Instead, we spotted a matter that isn't that great a cause for rejoicing: weak shipments of solid-state drives.

"We shipped one million of non-HDD units, including solid state drives, media players and routers," said Stephen Milligan, the president of Western Digital.

That means that, worldwide, WD's customers bought much less than a million SSDs in total, which begs the question of whether the corporation even has a reasonable number of consumer and business/enterprise customers.

It's definitely a red flag. HDDs may not be going anywhere, but it is clear that solid-state drives will keep growing in relevance at their expense. Thus, WD really needs to carve out a spot of its own, and soon.

And this makes us speculate: since WD's small SSD division is doing so badly, the corporation might want to buy an established brand. Seagate is rumored to be setting up the acquisition of OCZ, and even assigned a new SSD division leader the other day. Thus, WD might do the same, out of need if nothing else.

For what it's worth, WD has chosen to break its tradition of only announcing products as they ship. At its Investor Day on September 13th (2012), it will preview some “exciting innovations.”

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