updated 11:10 am EDT, Mon March 30, 2009
WD Buys SiliconSystems
Western Digital this morning grabbed an edge against rival Seagate by acquiring flash storage maker SiliconSystems for $65 million. The deal takes effect almost immediately and will set the new division towards producing solid-state drives (SSDs) for its parent. No immediate product plans have been announced, but SiliconSystems currently makes SSDs for notebook-friendly 2.5-inch sizes and smaller, including 1.8-inch and memory card-sized drives.
The buyout is likely to spur the development of SSDs in the mainstream by both shipping them through a better-recognized company than most rivals as well as by reducing the cost of producing SSDs through sheer scale. To date, companies like Samsung, SanDisk and Toshiba have been the largest producers of these flash drives and usually sell directly to PC makers while leaving upgrade kits to a small portion of the market.
Seagate and other companies normally focused heavily on rotating hard drives have often been resistant to adopting SSDs, nearing the point where Seagate had considered lawsuits to slow down its competition. The company has since relented and should have SSDs this year.