Seagate Discloses 2004 Product Roadmap

Seagate Technology plans to release a dozen new products before year's end in a bid to smother the available market, according to a top executive. Products include Seagate's first 1-inch drive as well as a massive 500-Gbyte drive designed for near-line st

Seagate Technology plans to release at least a dozen new products before years end in a bid to smother the available market, a top executive said Tuesday. Seagates plans include the companys first 1-inch drive as well as a massive 500GB drive designed for near-line storage.

Almost all of Seagates new products will be released in the third and fourth quarter, a combination of the development time needed for the new platforms as well as preparation for the lucrative selling season.

Seagates new announcements will cover the server, desktop PC, notebook, and consumer markets. In January, Seagates executive vice president of worldwide sales and marketing, Brian Dexheimer, said Seagate would enter a "tactical period" until the fall, surviving on pricing moves until the new products were introduced. Because pricing is such a critical lever in the market, Seagate executives said Tuesday that they will not decide upon final pricing for the new products until much closer to launch.

Seagate will formally announce the drives on Monday, Pait said.

The explosion of product lines is a marked change from Seagates conservatism from 2000 until 2002, when the companys software division was purchased from Veritas Software Corp. and the remainder of the company went private. For example, a Seagate division announced an external hard drive in 2001, but the product quietly died. After Seagates IPO in 2003, however, company executives re-entered the mobile drive market and have now expanded into the 1-inch market currently controlled by Hitachi Global Storage Technologies and Toshiba Ltd.

"The strategy is that weve invested for a number of years in a hard drive for the desktop, and a hard drive for the enterprise platform," said Rob Pait, senior director of consumer electronics marketing for Seagate. "Now were developing a common platform of drives for different applications."

Next page: Seagate plans to add more external hard drives in the fall.