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Aug 2, 2012

First Toshiba 3.5” SATA3 HDD Available in Stores Now

Many of your readers remember our criticism targeting the authorities that allowed Western Digital and Seagate to buy their competition and become a worldwide HDD duopoly that is now burning our pockets.

We’ve explained many times before that Toshiba got some IP and equipment from Western Digital so that the Japanese could pose as the virtual third maker of 3.5” HDDs next to WD and Seagate. This was a requirement for WD imposed by the authorities such that WD would later be allowed to take over Hitachi’s HDD unit. Toshiba only manufactured 2.5” laptop HDDs or 2.5” enterprise units based on Fujitsu’s old HDD division. The Japanese company had no way to present WD and Seagate with any kind of competition in the 3.5” HDD market and it still can’t. On the other hand, Toshiba bragged about increasing production by 30% only to later start the production increase by selling one of its factories to WD.

We have to agree that this is an original production increase strategy. Surprisingly, Toshiba branded HDDs have turned up in several online stores, but the pricing scheme is not at all encouraging. The pictures show that Toshiba’s “new” 3.5” HDD are in fact Hitachi (Western Digital) units that are manufactured at WD’s factory in Shenzhen, China. Although this is not true competition at all, the explanation might be that WD handed Toshiba a 16% to 22% share in its Hitachi factory in Shenzhen, Expreview reported. Therefore Toshiba receives Hitachi HDDs and simply re-labels them with its own brand.

This is not the competition the user likes to see, but we should wait and see if Toshiba overprices its units like Western Digital does. It’s quite disappointing to see that the current socio-economical context led to a global duopoly and the best result is that all 1 TB HDDs listed at newegg.com are priced at $90 or higher, no matter the brand or manufacturer. This price level is almost double the level it was one year ago. That’s some competition alright and we have the authorities that “defend” our interests to thank for.

Toshiba Re-Branded Hitachi HDD
Images credits to Expreview


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