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Seagate CEO threatens SSD suit, trashes Air

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.

By Electronista Staff


  1. eldarkus

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2004



    If you have an 'ace up your sleeve', why not just sue for violating patent now? Why wait?

  1. dynsight

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2005


    Sue to stop progress

    So, if a new, better technology comes out, just sue to keep us in dark ages.

    Candle makers sue Edison.

    Horse Breeders Sue Ford.

    Radio Makers sue Magnavox.

    TV makers sue Microsoft....

    Please. People have been booting off of alternate devices (CD's, USB, External HD, floppies) for years.

    Seagate should have seen this coming and invested in this technology. Instead of being whiners, they could have opted to be leaders.

  1. jameshays

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2003


    Well, if you can't...

    Well, if you can't join them, sue them...

    Our liberal economy and state of mind will destroy all that we have if this next generation doesn't find a way to undo the laziness of the previous last 2 generations...

  1. MiMiC

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2007


    re: jameshays


    i could not have put it better myself

  1. danviento

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2005


    don't worry jameshays

    The market players in our economy will pick it up soon enough. Hopefully not before I go and buy a house this summer ;-). No, we need to worry more about trial lawyers and the crackpot politicos they lobby for/throw money at (think Pelosi and her FISA avoidance). Both of these groups represent what is truly undermining our economic growth, liberties, and advancement.

  1. Guest

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 1999


    Thank you, Mr. Watkins

    In case some inattentive investors had not caught on, it is very nice of him to remind them that his business is doomed. Now just watch the stock plummet.

  1. lamewing

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Aug 2004


    Dismisses the tech

    Okay, NOW the storage options are limited and very expensive, but in two years HD will be mainly used for very large storage options and SSD will be in most laptops.

    I love how these folks like to dismiss something when they know good and well that it will often become a standard in the near future.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Re: don't worry

    Yeah, we gots to worry about Pelosi and her crackpots! For we know Bush would do nothing to destroy our civil liberties (as long as we don't mind giving them up for 50-100 years).

    Of course, you're complaining about trial lawyers in this when none are involved. And, in fact, you have no clue as to the nature of the patent claim, and, as such, have no idea whether it's a warranted claim.

    But, hey, someone's thinking of suing someone associated to apple, so they must be evil!

  1. UberFu

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2002


    where in the article...

    ...was the MBA actually trashed?

    I only saw where it mentioned it as an example of a laptop that uses an SSD_


  1. UberFu

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2002



    Both Toshiba and Samsung - make HHDs as well as SSDs_ So who the h*** are they gonna sue - themselves?

    "Seagate and Western Digital (WDC), two of the major hard drive makers, have patents that deal with many of the ways a storage device communicates with a computer"

    So I guess Seagate doesn't feel any threat from Toshiba or Samsung already making HHDs?


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