updated 02:25 pm EDT, Mon March 24, 2008
Seagate on SSD Lawsuit
Seagate may pull a lawsuit as its trump card if solid-state drives (SSDs) threaten to undermine its conventional hard drive business, company head Bill Watkins has said in a new interview with Fortune. The executive alleges that both Intel and Samsung are violating patents dealing with the interaction between computers and storage and that a formal complaint could follow that would either force them to change their technology or else compensate Seagate for their purported infringement.
Neither Intel nor Samsung has commented on the validity of the claims, which ay hinge on substantial price drops for SSDs. Watkins argues that this is unlikely and dismisses notebooks that rely heavily or exclusively on solid-state drives, such as Apple's MacBook Air or Lenovo's ThinkPad X300. Flash drives that are both as fast and reliable as rotating hard disks often cost nearly $1,000 more than their counterparts at the same physical size.
The price of solid-state drives is expected to plummet in 2008 even as capacities increase. Samsung will offer a 128GB SSD before July that will effectively replace the 64GB SSD in use by several notebook makers, while 80GB and 160GB Intel drives should also quickly drop the price of SSDs due both to technology improvements and a need to clear excess supply. Toshiba is also shipping an inexpensive 128GB drive.