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Consumers benefit again

According to reports, we may witness a price war in the hard drive business industry. At least this is what Seagate Technology CEO Bill Watkins said on Wednesday. Seagate is currently the world's largest hard drive manufacturer and competes with such companies as Western Digital, Hitachi, Samsung and Toshiba. According to Watkins "If pricing doesn't drop for us, it'll be an upside." Seagate is expecting stiff price cutting from its competitors through into 2007.

Seagate believes that despite the aggressive price cutting from competitors, the only gains they are receiving are minor. Watkins indicated that "[our competitors] are getting volume units and share, but it's lousy share." Watkins said that Seagate gains more share because of product quality, reliability and support rather than heavy price cutting. Watkins also noted that Seagate's competitors are cutting prices so much, it erodes into the profitability of its competitors.

Seagate acquired its largest competitor, Maxtor, earlier this year and announced that it would cut the company in half. Seagate mentioned that despite the job cuts, it would keep many of Maxtor's enterprise level product lines and services. Seagate also made several announcements of its own so far this year, including a 300GB, 15,000 RPM, perpendicular Cheetah and 1TB NAS products under the Maxtor brand name.

At the moment, Seagate is one of the few companies that are not under investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC is currently investigating more than 80 companies for stock-option manipulations and back-dating practices that give huge financial gains to executive level employees. Watkins indicated that he was confident about his company's business practices, saying "we have a very rigorous stock-option grant program. It's such a rigorous process. We feel confident."





"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer
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