Print 15 comment(s) - last by Alexvrb.. on Mar 31 at 9:49 PM

Purchase cost Western Digital $65 million to complete

The solid-state drive (SSD) market is growing as more enterprise customers see the advantages of the power savings that the drives offer. SSDs are also offered in many laptop and netbook computers currently on the market, but in the consumer realm, the traditional hard drive is still tops when it comes to storage.

Hard drive maker Western Digital has announced that its acquisition of SSD manufacturer SiliconSystems has been completed. The acquisition cost Western Digital $65 million in cash. SiliconSystems is a leading supplier of SSDs for the embedded systems market.

According to Western Digital, the SSD market is worth about $1.1 billion today and embedded systems is the biggest category in the segment with about $400 million in sales. The purchase will allow Western Digital, best known for its consumer products like the recently announced My Book World Edition external hard drive, to enter into the lucrative embedded SSD market.

The product portfolio of SiliconSystems includes SSDs using SATA, EIDE, PC Card, USB, and CF interfaces in 2.5-inch, 1.8-inch, CF, and other form factors. The purchase also gets Western Digital an extensive IP library owned by SiliconSystems that relate to systems that ensure data integrity, eliminate unscheduled downtime, and protect application data/software.

Western Digital president and CEO John Coyne said in a statement, "We are delighted to have the SiliconSystems team join WD. The combination will be modestly accretive to revenue and margins as a result of SiliconSystems' existing position as a trusted supplier to the well-established $400 million market for embedded solid-state drives. SiliconSystems' intellectual property and technical expertise will significantly accelerate WD's solid-state drive development programs for the netbook, client and enterprise markets, providing greater choice for our customers to satisfy all their storage requirements."

Western Digital reports that the integration of SiliconSystems will begin immediately and that the company will now be known as Western Digital Solid-State Storage business unit.

Founder and CEO of SiliconSystems Michael Hajeck said in a statement, "WD's strong balance sheet, sales reach, and operations and logistics capabilities will allow us to greatly accelerate our penetration of our existing markets, while combining our engineering expertise with WD will enable us to develop new solid-state drives to broaden our overall product portfolio and address the emerging applications for solid-state storage in WD's existing customer base. We are extremely excited to be joining WD and enabling an even stronger future for our talented team."

Hajeck will now become the senior VP and general manager of Western Digital's Solid-State Storage business unit.

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I think this is good news
By Hulk on 3/31/2009 11:18:42 AM , Rating: 5
The sooner the "big players," Western Digital and Seagate specifically get into the SSD market the sooner we will see fast, affordable SSD's.

I'm hoping that in 5 years we'll be looking at hot deals on NewEgg showing 1TB (or larger) drives selling for $99 like mechanical drives are today.

RE: I think this is good news
By nwrigley on 3/31/2009 11:46:04 AM , Rating: 2
The larger companies getting involved is absolutely a good step toward driving prices down.

I for one can't wait - my hard drives are the biggest bottleneck in my system, often the loudest component (I have fine tuned my fans to be nearly silent, but there isn't much I can do about the hard drives and their vibrations are often a big culprit for noise in the average system), and generate a fair amount of heat.

RE: I think this is good news
By inperfectdarkness on 3/31/09, Rating: -1
RE: I think this is good news
By therealnickdanger on 3/31/2009 1:55:40 PM , Rating: 3
While agree that the big players will primarily help push costs down, I don't think you give them enough credit. They also have millions (billions combined) for R&D into making SSDs better and raising the competetive bar. Any way you look at it, this is most welcome news.

What I'm curious about is just what penalties their lethargy will bring. Intel, Patriot, OCZ, Samsung, G.Skill, etc. are all progressing very fast, winning customers daily. Showing up late to the party can have its advantages, but if the big HDD players don't get competetive SSD products out this year, they might not ever catch up to the momentum the others are generating. Then again, learning from the mistakes of others is a great way to come from behind and crush the competition.


RE: I think this is good news
By kellehair on 3/31/2009 4:35:12 PM , Rating: 4
I wouldn't say the companies you listed are winning much customer loyalty at the moment. Most of them have dumped godawful JMicron drives on the market and Intel's drives are too pricey fro the average Joe. Only OCZ, with Anand's help, seems to be gaining any favorable cred.

RE: I think this is good news
By Alexvrb on 3/31/2009 9:49:45 PM , Rating: 3
Not to mention that even OCZ was basically dragged kicking and screaming. It wasn't until after Anand and others went public with the JMicron controller issues that anything was really done. Not to mention even once they finally got a good piece of hardware, it took more bad news to get some decent firmware that focused more on random reads and writes instead sequential speed. But still, they finally produced a pretty solid drive at a competitive price, so credit is due to OCZ.

Anyway, I doubt the big boys stayed out of it because they thought that it would just blow over. They're letting others test the waters, make the first mistakes, and build up the market for them. For storage, there's no real harm in coming a little bit late to the party, just as long as they're ready when they do show up.

RE: I think this is good news
By Mr Perfect on 3/31/2009 2:04:52 PM , Rating: 1
I'm thinking something similar. The mechanical giants won't necessarily be Solid State giants, especial the ones who are ignoring the new market. While they wait, all of these memory makers are expanding their NAND lines into SSDs.

Anyone heard from the companies who used to make Floppy drives? No? How about those who made horse carriages? Didn't think so...

By therealnickdanger on 3/31/2009 3:11:08 PM , Rating: 2
Anyone heard from the companies who used to make Floppy drives?

You mean like IBM and Memorex? LOL

All joking aside, I see the point you're trying to make but I don't think it's too late for WD/Seagate to get competetive.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer
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