'

Western Digital

Western Digital has been making hard disk drives (HDD) since 1988 and is considered a stalwart of the industry. Like other disk drive makers, the company faces a tough economic climate in traditional areas like servers and desktops.

Western Digital has been making hard disk drives (HDD) since 1988 and is considered a stalwart of the industry.

Like other disk drive makers, the company faces a tough economic climate in traditional areas like servers and desktops. But unlike its rivals Seagate, Hitachi and Maxtor, which have turned to the more lucrative and faster-growing notebook and consumer electronics market, Western Digital continues to focus on selling to the desktop PC market.

In May, the company shipped hard drives offering Serial ATA (SATA) interface with 300MB per second burst data transfer rate. The new WD Caviar SE16 hard drives feature a 16MB cache--two to eight times the cache size of standard desktop-class hard drives. In July, it started shipping 400GB SATA hard drives.

The company grew its worldwide revenues by 12 percent in fiscal year 2004 ended July, and maintained its growth momentum in fiscal 2005. Revenues grew 17 percent through the first three quarters of fiscal 2005 to US$2.7 billion.

The likes of Seagate and Hitachi would do well to watch out for this unassuming competition. In January 2005, Western Digital announced it was entering the market for miniature hard drives with a family of 1-inch drives for use in consumer electronic applications, such as MP3 players, PDAs, digital still cameras, and digital video cameras.