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Hard Drive Prices Slide As Thai Flood Aftermath Subsides

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the dollars-and-bytes dept.

Data Storage 155

New submitter yeszomgpony writes "For the first time since the Thailand flooding, hard drive prices are finally starting to decrease. The price jump was kicked off in October when drive inventory levels plummeted 90% in less than a week. From the article: 'Over the past few weeks, hard drive prices have leveled off and have begun to drop slowly, according to Dynamite's data. "For first time, less than week after Western Digital's first [fabrication plant] went back on line, drive inventory began increasing at both distributors and ecommerce sites, and index prices began coming down a little too," Kubicki said. IDC has predicted that hard disk drive supply shortages in the wake of Thailand flooding would affect consumers, computer system manufacturers and corporate IT shops into 2013.'"

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155 comments

its bullshit (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38445408)

there is no shortage

Re:its bullshit (4, Insightful)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 2 years ago | (#38445444)

Sure seems like there's a shortage... I asked around whether anyone needed a few of my old ass hard drives on one of the local (German) hardware forums, and received a trade of a slightly castrated Core 2 Duo, 4 gigs of RAM and an ASUS mainboard for just a 500gig 3.5" SATA drive and an 80gigger notebook drive... both well used, of course. A few weeks ago, this wouldn't have been possible, with the hard drives worth pennies and the other hardware worth 40-50€.

Glad to hear the shortage is coming to an end though... I really need to upgrade my NAS. Last time I did that, 1TB drives were in the sweet spot... getting a bit full.

Re:its bullshit (3, Interesting)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#38445572)

Wait wait wait... so you are telling me
Event...
Inflate fears based on event...
????
Profit

Holy shit... I could make billions! Quick, someone turn off a pipeline somewhere....

Re:its bullshit (4, Informative)

courcoul (801052) | more than 2 years ago | (#38445620)

Goes to prove yet again how the "free market", that weird beast so idolized by economists, is such a fickle creature. Cause after over several months underwater, there is NO way you are gonna get a clean room facility up to snuff & speed in a matter of days. Of course, now that the excuse is over, all the hoarding speculators are trembling in fear of getting stuck with their huge stockpile and will start to desperately flood the market.

Re:its bullshit (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38445672)

Goes to prove yet again how the "free market", that weird beast so idolized by economists, is such a fickle creature. Cause after over several months underwater, there is NO way you are gonna get a clean room facility up to snuff & speed in a matter of days. Of course, now that the excuse is over, all the hoarding speculators are trembling in fear of getting stuck with their huge stockpile and will start to desperately flood the market.

So in other words, the free market will function in exactly the way it's supposed to

Re:its bullshit (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#38445812)

Ideally there would be no boom or bust. Those are caused because perfectly rational actors exist only in economic theory. Same for perfect information.

Re:its bullshit (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38445992)

Ideally nothing. To suggest that the free market has an ideal or purpose or positive outcome short or long term is as foolish as to suggest that intelligent design underlies evolution and guides it benevolently.

The free market, for whatever necessarily restricted implementation of free market exists today, is a game which you win if you play well. Other people may benefit, or they may be unaffected, or they may have their enjoyment of life severely damaged. The only thing we can guarantee is that the winners usually tell everyone else that their win has been for everyone else's good too.

Re:its bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38447602)

"Game" is actually quite correct. You get props for not saying something really stupid, something like 'the study of the free market is a science, its actors always behaving in a mathematically definable manner".

Re:its bullshit (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38446750)

Even perfectly rational actors cannot predict the future.

Re:its bullshit (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#38448454)

They can when the future is obvious to anyone with more than one functioning brain cell. People used to get burned as witches for this sort of thing. Now you just get dirty looks from your neighbors.

Jacked up prices castrate demand on a luxury good. Any group of Econ 101 students could have predicted that.

Elastic demand is elastic.

Re:its bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38446628)

So in other words, the free market will function in exactly the way it's supposed to

No, the free market concept is suppost to regulate price by supply and demand, not by perceived supply and estimated demand.
The free market model also assumes the number of suppliers to be large. With the number of HDD producers being less than 20 supply can be tightly regulated and price is determined by demand only.
With the current trend of a few large companies controlling the market it is getting harder and harder to find markets where the free market model still applies.

Re:its bullshit (5, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 2 years ago | (#38446956)

And that's what it did. Initially, the demand curve didn't shift, but the supply took a huge hit. The price increase allowed the market to adjust, and eventually (quite quickly, apparently) subsided as capacity has been (partially at least) recovered (perhaps using existing capacity with reduced QC, as evidenced by the warranty cut...) and substitute products have been sought (some products may be forgoing HDs in favor of much smaller but still adequate SSDs, for instance).

This is exactly how the market is supposed to work. It's not supposed to be constantly at some steady-state "ideal" price. That's how planned economies work, and results in either or both of shortages and waste.

The only evidence of anything like market failure is the warranty cut, that cut across all manufacturers. One would've expected someone to hold out and become the "quality" producer. But even that is a stretch as the warranties were not cut across all product lines for all manufacturers.

Re:its bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38449296)

And that's what it did. Initially, the demand curve didn't shift, but the supply took a huge hit.

If you don't just read the last post but actually follow the discussion you will see that the argument is that it is unlikely that actual production (That is real supply.) have started to recover and that the shift we see in price is not because of any actual change in supply but because the supplier indicates that there will be a change in supply.
And no, this is not "exactly" how the market is supposed to work. In an ideal market the number of suppliers are near infinite and the price to end consumer is close to production cost. In a market that works like it is supposed to a local disaster will not have global consequences.

Re:its bullshit (3, Insightful)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 2 years ago | (#38446966)

If you had attended advanced maths classes, you would know that the price is set partly by supply vs demand, and partly by the rate of change of supply and demand - this makes it a differential equation in time, and oscillation is inevitable once the rate of change approaches the actual value. However, most economists are not numerate, in the sense of understanding numbers - they may be able to add and subtract, and in some cases, even multiply and divide, but knowning how numbers behave in a complex plane? No chance.

So - How can you stop boom and bust - the simplest way is to flood the market, and not let anyone know! Good luck with that strategy.

Alternatively, you can try lying a lot, and hoping no one notices (its called communism). Doesn't work very well in practice.

Re:its bullshit (2)

tbird81 (946205) | more than 2 years ago | (#38446026)

Great. We should get the government to control prices. I can't see how that could go wrong.

Re:its bullshit (5, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38446656)

But only for the oooh shiny crowd. I simply held off buying any hard drives. Would I have liked to expand capacity? yes. Would I have liked to buy 12 new machines? yes.

Did I kill people or lose money because I did not? no.

Honestly, the price jump was only because of idiots that rushed out and bought drives when they heard of a possible "shortage" and thus created a shortage.

Re:its bullshit (1)

lordofthechia (598872) | more than 2 years ago | (#38448242)

Honestly, the price jump was only because of idiots that rushed out and bought drives when they heard of a possible "shortage" and thus created a shortage.

Or you know, smart people who knew they had a need for certain drives for their home or business use through the next 6-8 months and realized they should fulfill their needs before retailers used the flood to hike prices.

Kinda like what happened in that (Taiwan I believe) earthquake in the 90s when RAM prices went through the roof.

Re:its bullshit (3, Informative)

jones_supa (887896) | more than 2 years ago | (#38446720)

Cause after over several months underwater, there is NO way you are gonna get a clean room facility up to snuff & speed in a matter of days.

Not days. Restoring the WD factory took about 6 weeks [forbes.com]. It's still a bit spurious, I'll give you that.

Re:its bullshit (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | more than 2 years ago | (#38446860)

Cause after over several months underwater, there is NO way you are gonna get a clean room facility up to snuff & speed in a matter of days.

Were the actual plants flooded? Or was it a lack of power(impassable roads, etc.) due to the flooding that caused the shutdown?

Re:its bullshit (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 2 years ago | (#38446962)

One would assume that at least some plants were flooded, or their owners would not have gone through the expense of hiring dive teams to recover the equipment...

Re:its bullshit (2)

JDG1980 (2438906) | more than 2 years ago | (#38447784)

Were the actual plants flooded? Or was it a lack of power(impassable roads, etc.) due to the flooding that caused the shutdown?

Based on the photo in this NYT article [nytimes.com] it certainly looks like the WD buildings themselves were flooded.

Why do you think they reduced the warranties? (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38449246)

there is NO way you are gonna get a clean room facility up to snuff & speed in a matter of days

Of course not. Which is why they've gone from 5 years to 1 or 2. Let someone else take the hit by buying the first few months production - it's going to be like buying a car manufactured on a Monday - way more defects.

Re:its bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38446994)

Bought a WD2002FAEX (Caviar Black, 2GB, 5 years warranty) for 126 EUR two months before the flooding happened. Tho weeks after the flooding the price went up to 199 EUR. Later on it inceased even more: 299 EUR (should have invested my money in harddrives instead of secure time deposites with low interest rates :-). Just checked a major retailer: 195 EUR.

BTW: Got some old SCSI 2 and 9 GBers. Might be a bargain :-)

Prices and Warranty (5, Insightful)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 2 years ago | (#38445428)

Both are sliding

Re:Prices and Warranty (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38445538)

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Re:Prices and Warranty (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38446170)

This is just a guess, but I think that they were so frantically trying to get their production lines back up that they decided to cut some quality-control corners, and that's why they reduced the warranty period. Logically (if true), it means that nobody should buy a drive until the manufacturers get it (back on line) done right, and the warranty periods go up again (since we know they can do better).

Re:Prices and Warranty (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38447148)

no, they're screwing the customers out of warranty terms in order to help cover revenue lost (that's their excuse anyway.... even though the much higher prices should be more than making up for it)

Re:Prices and Warranty (2)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#38447454)

While most likely true, the problem is that "warranty going back up" is going to be an issue in current dupoly.

Also the fact that hard drives being actually unreliable will likely impact economy, as many people now rely on their work computer and laptop for some very important data while being very lax with backups. It was sorta workable before provided you switched to a new computer quickly enough, but if your statement about quality is true, it may not be enough any more. And the issue may actually be big enough to impact economy beyond hard drives and computer manufacturing.

Ah, but will I see these drops? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38445430)

Somehow I doubt I'll be seeing this drop roll on down to myself and others anytime soon...

Be on the lookout for quality issues. (5, Informative)

Tamran (1424955) | more than 2 years ago | (#38445452)

This often happens when a process goes off line for a time. It also normally works itself out after a few months.

I'll be waiting a few months myself.

Re:Be on the lookout for quality issues. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38445724)

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just in time (2, Insightful)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | more than 2 years ago | (#38445470)

hmmn seems conveniently timed to be more expensive while people are buying Christmas presents and they go back to regular pricing after the Xmas shopping rush, no there is no taking advantage disaster at all here to price gouge the consumer

Re:just in time (2)

BlueCoder (223005) | more than 2 years ago | (#38445638)

Weather control is a bitch.

What is surprising is that prices have come down this quickly. My only guess is that people were hording. Or WD actually was hording back inventory and understating it because they didn't know how long it would take to get their factories running again and they had to be sure they could cover their contracted orders.

Also was an opportunity for WD to buy back some of their stock.

But they did lost money. On the other hand we can look forward to cheaper prices and greater capacities since they must have retooled with the latest tech. Their assembly lines are not tuned for efficient production so Quality Assurance is under pressure to catch the extra faulty units. But since they are using the next gen manufacturing it should not be all that difficult to produce sufficient quantities of drives affordability in the short term.

excel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38445474)

Nice mouse hover text on the chart...

Re:excel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38445530)

But the inventories didn't go down, the water went up.

Quality Control? (4, Insightful)

divide overflow (599608) | more than 2 years ago | (#38445500)

I think I'll wait a while until the processing hardware is working perfectly, the power is stable, the factory is fully purged of airborne particulates, etc. Until then I'll let someone else do the QC testing.

Re:Quality Control? (4, Insightful)

dexotaku (1136235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38445648)

...and for everyone who doesn't feel like waiting, there's the decreased warranties.

Propaganda slides as inventories float (1)

Bob_Who (926234) | more than 2 years ago | (#38445640)

The market will correct itself after the hype wears off consumer consciousness. Now they just are overpriced inventory like before speculation stimulated sales squeezed the flow down stream of actual flood effects. Take me to the River...

I want hard drives (1)

BlueCoder (223005) | more than 2 years ago | (#38445662)

The WD20EARS seem to be back around $100.

And I'm sure that others physiologically have the same urge I do.

I've been putting off upgrading my ZFS pool long enough.

Re:I want hard drives (2)

mark_elf (2009518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38445752)

It does show up on google at around $100 (CDW). When you click on the link it's really $174. Newegg is currently $162. Think I'll wait awhile.

Where else do our parts come from? (5, Interesting)

identity0 (77976) | more than 2 years ago | (#38445688)

Someone should do a article or investigation into all the obscure places our hardware comes from, especially concentrations where most of one type comes from a small area.

We only ever seem to hear about these places when something goes wrong.

Remember that time in the '90s when a Taiwanese RAM factory caught fire, and it turned out to be a big chunk of world RAM output? Sent prices spiking for a while.

Conversely, it's surprising how little the Japanese tsunami affected the tech world. I guess their industries were concentrated further south.

Re:Where else do our parts come from? (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#38445766)

Conversely, it's surprising how little the Japanese tsunami affected the tech world. I guess their industries were concentrated further south.

Actually, the tsunami appears to have had a significant impact on both Nikon's and Canon's release schedules - outside of point-and-shoots anyway.

Re:Where else do our parts come from? (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 2 years ago | (#38446234)

Only Nikon's higher end equipment is manufactured in Japan, the rest is in Thailand. This crops up quite frequently in the Nikon vs Canon flamewars as if it actually matters.

Re:Where else do our parts come from? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38447726)

Some is even made in China. And it matters. YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT MATTERS! (hugs 105 P...)

Re:Where else do our parts come from? (4, Informative)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38445808)

Conversely, it's surprising how little the Japanese tsunami affected the tech world. I guess their industries were concentrated further south.

The camera world, OTOH, was hit pretty heavily by the tsunami. All of the big manufacturers lost significant chunks of their production capacity, and the effects are still being felt in terms of shortages, delays in introducing new models, etc...

Re:Where else do our parts come from? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38445820)

The SonyEricsson Xperia Pro phone was seriously delayed by the tsunami. Demoed at CES in January, release was planned for mid-April originally, but it hit the shelves worldwide in October!

Re:Where else do our parts come from? (3, Informative)

tloh (451585) | more than 2 years ago | (#38445836)

Conversely, it's surprising how little the Japanese tsunami affected the tech world. I guess their industries were concentrated further south.

I seem to recall Japanese auto makers had a tough time dealing with the earthquake/tsunami. Not only were their latest ready-to-ship inventory flooded out, substantial portions of their supply chain for parts and equipment were similarly impacted by quake/flood damage. Given how much electronics are in automobiles these days, it kind of counts doesn't it? Granted, a lot of the tech that goes into cars are not exclusive to the auto industry.

Re:Where else do our parts come from? (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38445976)

Yeah I never really understood why all these sensitive factories are built in earthquake and flood zones.

Why don't they build them over here in the UK, where the worst we get is a bit of bad snow every 30 years, a bit of wind that sometimes knocks a few leaves of the trees, or if you're really stupid, a wet carpet because you bought a has that was built on a flood plane.

Re:Where else do our parts come from? (3, Interesting)

qualityassurancedept (2469696) | more than 2 years ago | (#38446194)

Because in the UK they have LAWS that are enforced by professional stewards of the public good... and that makes for a crappy business environment where people actually have rights and pay taxes and expect decent treatment etc etc. The truly wonderful thing about building facilities in far away places is that all those things that most people in the West take for granted are merely optional and every legal problem can be solved by means of bribes.

Re:Where else do our parts come from? (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38446268)

But does the cost of natural disasters really not outweigh the extra hassle of having to adhere to some degree of social standard?

Or do they just write it off with their insurers? Surely the cost of insuring such factories in such places must be getting prohibitive though?

Re:Where else do our parts come from? (1)

makomk (752139) | more than 2 years ago | (#38446722)

Because in the UK they have LAWS that are enforced by professional stewards of the public good... and that makes for a crappy business environment where people actually have rights and pay taxes and expect decent treatment etc etc.

Don't worry, I'm sure our current government will do away with all that soon enough.

Re:Where else do our parts come from? (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 2 years ago | (#38447016)

You think they are actually worse than the last bunch? You might try reading the news (tax settlements, phone regulators, bank exchange rates, to name but a few issues that the pervious govenment stood by and watched, while the present bunch are publicly throwing a sop).

Yay! Vote Gordon Brown - he knows how to spend your money better than you do! (Jobs for the boys is the answer -Mugabe told him so).

then fine move the facilities to North Korea where (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38448436)

then fine move the facilities to North Korea where there are no works rights at all and they can be build just for the shipping + parts costs.

Re:Where else do our parts come from? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38446768)

This is why [dailymail.co.uk]

Re:Where else do our parts come from? (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38447142)

Because people read The Daily Mail? Yeah, I guess that is a bit of a problem.

Re:Where else do our parts come from? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38446044)

The Sony professional range of video cameras and accessories were very badly hit by the tsuanami. Supplies of camera and proprietary memory dried up.

Re:Where else do our parts come from? (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#38446842)

CONSUMER tech wasn't necessarily affected( and as others point out automotive and camera production was adversely affected), as the only PC parts still produced in Japan are a small % of hard disks, a significant though not overwhelming amount of SSDs, and some batteries and screens for notebooks. However to say the computer industry wasn't affected isn't true at all. Japan still makes a very large % of the world's embedded chips, used in everything from portable media players to factory control systems. And some of those factories were in Sendai [wsj.com] and other areas affected by the quake.

Re:Where else do our parts come from? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38448054)

The earthquake and tsunami affected the TV/Film industry alot, which think it qualifies as part of the tech world. When the Sony factories flooded, you couldn't find any HDCAM SR tapes anywhere. This is the industry standard format for HD media. The prices for used tapes were ridiculously high, some major broadcasters even accepted lesser quality formats because the right tapes were impossible to get ahold of.

Re:Where else do our parts come from? (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 2 years ago | (#38448656)

> Remember that time in the '90s when a Taiwanese RAM
> factory caught fire, and it turned out to be a big chunk of
> world RAM output? Sent prices spiking for a while.

IIRC, that was more or less a cover for price fixing.

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/05/04/22/1850250/ram-manufacturers-fined-for-price-fixing [slashdot.org]

http://arstechnica.com/old/content/2005/10/5429.ars [arstechnica.com]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DRAM_price_fixing [wikipedia.org]

Many more links available if you search for 'ram price fixing'

Keep your comments short! (5, Funny)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | more than 2 years ago | (#38445784)

/. disks are getting full.

Phew , I mean I was thinking of the 600 dead... (0, Offtopic)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#38446114)

.. but hey, so long as hard drive prices are ok, then whats the problem?.

Really editors, get a fscking sense of perspective.

Perspective (4, Insightful)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 2 years ago | (#38446198)

Exactly, a perspective. Let me explain what that means:

In this huge world with 7 billion people, every 3 minutes, about 600 die. (On average about 3 per second). And our population growth is so fast that the 600 dead had been replaced (sorry for the dry factual choice of words) before the floods even hit the news. ... But the harddrive problem affects the world, albeit in a modest way, for months.

So yeah, it seems the editors really do have a sense of perspective. Maybe you prefer a more emotional perspective... but if you want to mourn every couple of hundred people that die, you'd better empty your agenda. It's a full time job.

Re:Perspective (0, Offtopic)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#38446224)

"In this huge world with 7 billion people, every 3 minutes, about 600 die. (On average about 3 per second)."

So will you take that dispassionate viewpoint if your wife/gf/mother/father dropped dead suddenly?

"And our population growth is so fast that the 600 dead had been replaced (sorry for the dry factual choice of words) before the floods even hit the news."

So what , its still a tragic event for the people involved.

"But the harddrive problem affects the world, albeit in a modest way, for months"

Oh BS. The world will still turn if little johnny can't upgrade his HD to keep more porn on. Any serious business users will have plenty of drives in store anyway.

Re:Perspective (3, Interesting)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 2 years ago | (#38446254)

Can't beat the "what if that was your own family" argument. You win. ;-)

But as a last remark (yes, I want a -1 flamebait).: From your "perspective", do you ever discuss anything other than dead people?

Re:Perspective (2)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 2 years ago | (#38446866)

Can't beat the "what if that was your own family" argument.

Of course you can beat that argument.

"If it was my family, that was wiped out like that, I wouldn't be buying new hard drives for their computers. In other words, I wouldn't be having this problem."

Re:Perspective (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 2 years ago | (#38446794)

Oh BS. The world will still turn if little johnny can't upgrade his HD to keep more porn on. Any serious business users will have plenty of drives in store anyway.

There you go, doing the exact same thing. What if it was your wife/gf/mother/father's hard drive that needed replacing? You take such a dispassionate viewpoint. It's all well and good when the hard drives that need replacing belong to some faceless corporation, but it's totally different when you bring it closer to home.

total unperspective vortex (1)

epine (68316) | more than 2 years ago | (#38446876)

From Wikiquote:

Russian historians have no record of the lines, "Death of one man is a tragedy. Death of a million is a statistic," commonly attributed by English-language dictionaries to Josef Stalin.

Since we're not sure it was spoken, I guess the pendulum swings back to tragedy.

Stalin would surely have continued: "Death of 30 million is prudence." What if it was you and your wife and your gf and your mother and your father? Hint: a day of morning is tragedy, a thousand years is history.

Re:Perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38446878)

So will you take that dispassionate viewpoint if your wife/gf/mother/father dropped dead suddenly?

Appeal to emotion? Really?

My family is my business. Your family is your business. I don't ask you to cry over mine, so don't expect.. no thats not right.. you dont expect.. you expect not, so you try to manipulate...

Two words: "Fuck you"

Redundancy (3, Insightful)

vencs (1937504) | more than 2 years ago | (#38446174)

This news reveals an important piece: The is no real redundancy in the suppliers when in comes to important parts of todays' devices. I often see* that the hard disk array suppliers keep buying them from a couple of asian outfits thinking they will be safe hands. But the asian hardware vendors themselves buy/order from the same manufacturer of platters/board/NAND creating a single point of failure scenario.

There should be a clear visibility of the supply chain of not just the end/whole product but also the key components of it. In another story, heard that shipping of Sonys' SEL50F18 lenses for NEX cameras are pushed to Mar'12 after users payed for it, for the same reason.

* working for a big storage co.

PS: Misread Flood as Food.

Re:Redundancy (2)

jones_supa (887896) | more than 2 years ago | (#38447192)

Actually, I think world is full of operations where there really isn't proper redundancy or backup plan. It would simply be too complicated or expensive to make it worth it. Life works in an optimistic manner.

Seagate (2)

Artem Tashkinov (764309) | more than 2 years ago | (#38446196)

I wonder why Seagate chose to slash their warranty even though its plants weren't affected by the floods.

Re:Seagate (1)

idbeholda (2405958) | more than 2 years ago | (#38446820)

Seagate's a piece of crap anyways. They're just finding new ways to polish turds and pass the savings onto the consumer. This should come as no surprise.

Re:Seagate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38447358)

Seagate offered a better warranty because their reliability is so bad and they 1) had to create the image of quality in the consumer's mind (look it must be a better drive because it has a 5 year warranty) and 2) because retailers would not carry them if they had to stand behind them more than offering replacements for DOAs.

Re:Seagate (1)

jones_supa (887896) | more than 2 years ago | (#38447210)

I recall that "to be more on par with other manufacturers" was one of their reasons. One could have thought that keeping longer warranties could have been an advantage for them.

Re:Seagate (3, Informative)

Junta (36770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38447616)

Simple:
http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/20/seagate-samsung-acquisition/ [nytimes.com]
http://www.engadget.com/2011/03/07/western-digital-drops-4-3-billion-to-acquire-hitachi-gst-enter/ [engadget.com]
http://www.crn.com/news/storage/188100939/seagate-wraps-up-maxtor-acquisition.htm [crn.com]

When/if the Hitachi acquisition closes, you only have two vendors in the spinning magnetic disk market. Last time there was a large industry shift to shorter warranties, one or two companies did not and after a few months the rest of the industry moved back. With only two companies in play, it's far less likely someone will retain long warranty as a competitive advantage. Same reason why the flood was so devastating, one company consolidates so much in one location and a natural disaster wipes out half the manufacturing capacity of that industry.

Read it completely wrong again ... (1)

TheHummer (207443) | more than 2 years ago | (#38446446)

Im very sorry if someone gets offended but I truly read the headline as: Hard Drive Prices Slide As Thai Food Aftermath Subsides

Re:Read it completely wrong again ... (1)

AntEater (16627) | more than 2 years ago | (#38447482)

You're not alone. I had to read it through a second time because the connection between Thai food and hard drives wasn't making sense to me.

Re:Read it completely wrong again ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38447862)

No, but 'Thai food' and 'slide' was...

This often happens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38447094)

This often happens when a process goes off line for a time. It also normally works itself out after a few months. I'll be waiting a few months myself. http://viboot.com/ [viboot.com]

SSD Demand (2)

Guppy (12314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38447260)

From the article:

Data from DRAMeXchange also showed that rush orders for SSDs increased after the Thailand flooding disrupted hard disk drive supplies.

According to DRAMeXchange, a research division of TrendForce, rush orders for SSDs rose even as shipments of end-market products, including PCs, smartphones and tablet PCs, remained slugish because of slow economic conditions.

Despite SSDs not being an exact replacement for spinning rust, it looks like the HD shortage is indeed having the predicted effects on the SSD market.

Right as always (2)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#38447264)

What can I say, market is a price discovery mechanism [slashdot.org] and this truth still holds [slashdot.org], even though so many in those previous stories disagreed because they completely miss the understanding of most basic economic principles.

Price discovery and profit are market principles that send signals to manufacturers to increase or decrease production, and the profit is the engine of progress - goods is what people want and are willing to trade their time (money) for them, thus the more profit one is making by supplying people with goods the more this indicates that the business is sound.

Of-course in a free market (free of government regulations), the absence of government regulations prevents possibility of a monopoly and thus the distribution becomes more and more efficient with prices falling and quality increasing.

Re:Right as always (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38448120)

the absence of government regulations prevents possibility of a monopoly

That is not true. There are *other* methods to keep a monopoly than gov regulations. Such as bribery, battery, assault, blockage, blackmail, trade barrier, etc...

Gov regulations *can* create a monopoly (many have directly and thru side effect). But it is not necessarily true that no gov regulations will create a 100% free fungible market. Where anyone can enter and leave at will (aside from cost). There are other variables here which many economic models ignore (as there is no good way to model them).

In fact many monopolies are created thru the use of bribery (both customer and gov 'contributions'). It is quickest and easiest way. "hey here is 100 bucks if you carry my stuff". Eventually competitor leaves market as you had more cash to burn. Now you 100% own market can set prices at monopoly levels. New competitor enters rinse and repeat.

What you described would end up closer to the way the cliche mafia would run things. "you want to ship this you must use our port or we kick your skull in".

The issue you want to talk about is social engineering. That is where most govs get into the weeds. "We want X % of less power used by year ABCD". That in effect can put business out of business. That happens because they are not as efficient or dont have as much cash to burn. Suddenly there are 2 competitors and the gov freaks out and tries to put the house of cards back together thru *more regulation*. Which usually has the wrong effect. Now on the other side of the coin no gov regulations can end up with the situation in the 50s around the great lakes. You did not swim/fish/drink/breath near that. It was that nasty. Businesses did what was cheapest and dumped chemicals right into public waterways.

Remember the golden rule. He who has the gold makes the rules.
But rememeber my corilary. He who has a bigger stick can take the gold.

really? (0)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 2 years ago | (#38447282)

>IDC has predicted that hard disk drive supply shortages in the wake of Thailand flooding would affect consumers,
Funny ....there was just as many drives for sale on the shelves at bestbuy as usual....where was the shortage....let it go for about 1 year, and let the shelves empty out, and people scramble to get all their old hdds dusted off, then maybe ill believe a shortage...this stinks of the same crap that the oil companies try pawning off on the economy when a small storm hits, and low and behold have to raise their prices by 12 cents because the factory was closed for 1 day...

Re:really? (3, Insightful)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38448402)

A shortage doesn't have to be that severe to affect prices. If the manufacturer says "hey, by the way, you won't be getting another delivery until December," the distributor does some math and raises prices to make sure they don't run out before December. The market worked the way it was supposed to: prices went up and the demand went down. The number of boxes on the shelf are meaningless; it is the rate at which they are sold and replenished that is meaningful.

Thai food aftermath?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38447494)

need more coffee

Was Hitachi affected by the floods? (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | more than 2 years ago | (#38447888)

I know that WD announced the acquisition of Hitachi's HDD business back in March of this year. Has this been completed yet? Is Hitachi still using their own factories? Were those factories also in Thailand? The reason I'm wondering is because I'm concerned about quality on the new drives made from reclaimed flooded equipment – and the fact that both WD and Seagate are slashing warranties is definitely not a good sign. Hitachi has a reasonably good reputation and I've been using one of their 2TB drives for about six months with no issues (fingers crossed).

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