Seagate buys big to build new hard drive paradigm

Seagate is hoping to build a new direction for hard disk development by acquiring a startup that implements optical technology on Winchester drives to increase data density. The initial deal is huge for such a young company: Seagate will pay $230 million in cash and additional payments could give Quinta shareholders an additional $95 million.

Seagate is hoping to build a new direction for hard disk development by acquiring a startup that implements optical technology on Winchester drives to increase data density. The initial deal is huge for such a young company: Seagate will pay $230 million in cash and additional payments could give Quinta shareholders an additional $95 million.

One-year-old Quinta Corporation of San Jose, California has developed a technology it calls optically assisted Winchester (OAW) that uses optical magnetic technology in drive heads. OAW works by the lens putting a laser beam onto media to accelerate write, read and track activities. OAW also requires a unique servo and supports the use of multiple heads. Seagate sees OAW being used in high-end applications such as data warehousing, network storage and video.

"The integration ... is an ideal combination to develop concepts and solutions shaping the future of the data technology industry," said Al Shugart, president, chairman and CEO of Seagate.

"This is definitely a take off from conventional hard disk drive head technology. We believe Quinta has a substantial lead in the industry," said Emmanuel Vitrac, Seagate corporate communications manager for Europe.

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