Toshiba Corp. said Matsushita-Kotobuki Electronics (MKE) has agreed to take on additional hard drive manufacturing duties for Toshiba, in a bid to expand Toshibas share in the mobile hard drive market.
Beginning in April, MKE will begin manufacturing 1.8-inch hard drives for Toshiba. In the second half, MKE add 2.5-inch Toshiba drives to its lines.
The agreement does not mean Toshiba will exit the drive business, as IBM did by merging its drive operations with Hitachi earlier this year to form Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. "Its designed to meet the demand," said Scott Maccabe, vice-president and general manager of Toshibas Storage Device Divison. "Quite frankly, as I look at the industry today and the directions on digital convergence, demand is going through the roof."
Sharing manufacturing responsibilities is nothing new in the cutthroat disk drive market. MKE and Quantum signed a manufacturing deal in the late 1990s, which continued when Maxtor Corp. acquired the disk-drive assets of Quantum. Since then, the relationship has fluctuated; a Maxtor spokeswoman said that MKE only manufactures the companys line of Atlas 10,000-RPM SCSI drives.
Currently, Toshiba is a significant player in the 2.5-inch hard drive space, with about 30 percent of the market according to its own estimates. In 1.8-inch drives, however, the company owns virtually all of the market. In early January of this year, however, Hitachi introduced its first 1.8-inch drives in 20- and 40-Gbyte capacities, pairing them with a 4-Gbyte MicroDrive model.
Correction: Toshiba estimates it holds a 30 percent market share in the production of 2.5-inch disk drives.