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Seagate takes the lead in the HDD sector

Seagate is now the leading HDD supplier after a strong fourth quarter.

Seagate has returned to the top of the hard disk drive (HDD) market during the fourth quarter of 2011.

Western Digital lost its place as the leading HDD shipper after heavy losses following the devastating floods last year in Thailand, where many HDD processing factories are made.

According to data from market research specialists at iSuppli, Seagate shipped 46.9 million HDD units worldwide in the final three months of last year, compared to the 28.5 million delivered by Western Digital.

Seagate still endured a decline in shipments in this period, with quarter-to-quarter shipments down eight per cent.

Yet Western's problems dwarfed those at Seagate, with its delivery numbers 51 per cent from the third quarter of the year.

Seagate has not been at the top of the HDD tree for two years, but has managed to limit damage from the Thailand floods while rivals have suffered.

Fang Zhang, analyst for storage systems at HIS, explained: "Seagate owes its return to market leadership to a fortuitous accident in geography: Its HDD manufacturing plant in Thailand is located on high ground.

"As a result, the company was less impacted by the October floods -the most destructive in the last 50 years for the Southeast Asian country. On the other hand, Western Digital’s HDD manufacturing facilities were engulfed by rampaging storm waters, which effectively slashed its fourth-quarter output to half of the manufacturer's pre-flood volume."

Across the HDD market, shipments fell sharply in the fourth quarter, iSuppli data shows.

The 123.3 million units shipped in the last three months of 2011 represented a 30 per cent decrease from the 175.2 million HDDs that went out in the quarter before.

Toshiba, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies and Samsung Electronics also posted shipment declines.ADNFCR-1220-ID-801307755-ADNFCR