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]