After Seagate acquired Samsung’s HDD division and Western Digital got Hitachi’s HDD business, the HDD market was left with a huge, almost perfect duopoly that manipulated HDD prices in any way the two companies desired.
The only other company that was supposed to play the role of the third HDD “competitor” was the Japanese manufacturer Toshiba.
In fact, it was obvious that a market duopoly was forming right before their eyes; therefore, the authorities conditioned Western Digital’s Hitachi acquisition by requiring the American company to transfer certain assets towards Toshiba.
Numerous uninformed IT amateurs argued that the HDD market was not, in fact, ruled by a duopoly, as besides Seagate and Western Digital, Toshiba was also building and selling HDDs.
The only problem is that Toshiba only makes laptop HDDs, and the desktop HDD market was actually ruled by a perfect, by definition, duopoly.
Well, maybe that wasn’t the only problem. Many would think that, as big a company as Toshiba is, it would likely have a good slice of the laptop HDD market.
They would be wrong, as Toshiba handles less than 9% of the global HDD market. Moreover, that’s a result that includes Fujitsu’s enterprise HDD products, as Fujitsu’s old HDD division is now part of Toshiba.
Ruling 91% of the global HDD market and 100% of the desktop HDD market actually makes Western Digital and Seagate a clear duopoly.
Refusing to see them as such would be like arguing that AMD and Intel don’t form an x86 duopoly because VIA owns less than 1% of the x86 CPU market.
The authorities allowed these to happen and even helped Western Digital and Seagate establish themselves as a duopoly.
Instead of opposing the deal, they required Western Digital to transfer some assets to Toshiba, so that Toshiba could pose as a 3.5” desktop HDD maker.
Indeed, the Japanese company only poses as a 3.5” HDD maker, as it doesn’t manufacture any such drives, and it has already sold its HDD factory in Philippines to Western Digital.
Once Toshiba concluded the sale of said factory to Western Digital, it started bragging about how it would grab a considerable piece of the HDD market in the next period by using Hybrid HDDs.
We find it hard to conquer market share when you’re selling your factories, but Toshiba reaffirmed this intention in a recent interview with xbitlabs.com.
Toshiba’s Joel Hagberg reportedly
said : "Toshiba continuously watches the market and see if a hybrid solution can benefit in the enterprise space. We do see some potential benefit for such a device, however, at this time Toshiba offers SSDs and HDDs for all required tiers in the enterprise segment. We do not see much demand for a hybrid enterprise HDD at this time."
Joel Hagberg is the company’s VP of marketing at the storage division of Toshiba America Electronic Components.
Toshiba seems not to have any desktop Hybrid HDD plans. They acknowledge they won’t make Hybrid HDDs for the enterprise market and now we’re back to Toshiba’s traditional HDD market, 2.5” laptop HDDs.
Unfortunately for us, the users, HDDs won’t revert to the normal pricing of the past years, and Toshiba’s Hybrid Drives won’t paint a rosier picture.