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Seagate, Western Digital warn of long-term drive shortages

updated 07:10 pm EDT, Sat October 22, 2011

Seagate and WD outline Thai flooding damage

Seagate and Western Digital both warned late this week that continued flooding in Thailand was worsening shortages. Western Digital has been the worst affected and anticipated a major hit to supply of its hard drives made in the country. Seagate's main plants were unaffected so far, but many of the smaller companies supplying parts were temporarily shut down, the company said.

There would be a 'significant impact," Seagate said, and it expected this to last over multiple quarters.

About 25 percent of hard drives are made in Thailand and could see significant shortages among traditional PCs. A knock-on effect could lead to increased prices both for PCs and aftermarket drives and, in extreme cases, delayed models as companies wait to get enough stock. Some may also make aggressive orders to book a guaranteed supply, possibly creating problems for smaller PC builders.

The expected shortage could magnify problems for computers. Windows PC makers are already seeing slow sales growth and in some cases may have to contend with the inability to make already conservative expectations.

Apple has warned that it might be affected as well, although it may be the best positioned to mitigate the loss. Its relative entry-level MacBook Air uses entirely flash-based storage, often made well away from Thailand by Samsung and Toshiba. The iPad has been denting traditional PCs and again uses only flash storage, giving it little trouble on the market.

Numerous other electronics companies operate out of Thailand. Nikon produces some of its less expensive compact and DSLR bodies and is expecting a camera shortage while its own plant is shut down. [via CRN]

By Electronista Staff


  1. mac 13

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2008



    Time to sell more iPads

  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Nov 2008


    When I first heard about the

    flooding in Thailand it was from articles saying that Apple may suffer from shortages and I thought that this was some Apple-specific problem. Now I see that it will affect all computer makers and not just Apple. I sure hope Apple was well-stocked in inventory for hard drives for the iMacs and MacBook Pros. At least the iPad will be able to continue to eat into Windows PC sales if those Windows PC makers run short of hard drives. Apple is sitting pretty with the MacBook Airs. I'm willing to bet that if Apple offers cash up front to drive makers, they'll probably give Apple preference. At least I hope so.

  1. prl99

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Mar 2009


    new MBPs going SSD?

    I keep hearing about an update to the MBPs coming out anytime (I hate rumors). However, if the new MBPs are pushing all SSDs, then Apple might be fine with these new models. Because PCs are not selling that well, this crisis will really hurt any chance of having a good holiday season. If Apple doesn't go SSD in the new MBPs, they will really be hurt because they are selling very well and need a good holiday season to keep the stupid analysts and idiot investors from ruining AAPL.

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