Announced over the past week, both Western Digital and Seagate plan to decrease the length of warranty periods on consumer-grade hard drives in order to reduce costs and push more money back into product development. Beginning January 2, 2012, the three year warranty on Western Digital Caviar Blue, Caviar Green and Scorpio Blue hard drives will be reduced to 2 years. This will only affect purchases of these drives made after January 1 2012 as the existing warranty will be honored on drives purchased previous to 2012. However, the five year warranty on Western Digital Caviar Black and Scorpio Black drives will not be reduced during 2012. Western Digital does plan to offer an extended warranty for their lineup of hard drives, but will pass that extra cost along to the consumer.

The warranty reductions at Seagate are much more severe. As of December 31, 2011, the five year warranty on Constellation 2, ES.2, Momentus XT and Barracuda XT drives will be reduced to three years. In addition, the five year warranty on Barracuda, Barracuda Green and Momentus 2.5-inch hard drives will be reduced down to one year. Seagate believes that the warranty reduction brings the company line more equal to competitors. However, both of these moves indicate that decreased competition within the hard drive market reduces the need to offer a more competitive hard drive warranty. With Western Digital’s acquisition of Hitachi Global Storage and Seagate’s acquisition of Samsung’s hard drive segment, the two companies will control approximately 90 percent of the hard drive market. 

The recent devastating floods in Thailand have been a drain on many technology companies, but Western Digital recently reopened a flooded facility in Bang Pa-in, Thailand that creates hard drive sliders. The company has been working to drain all flood water from the facilities within the country as well as restore all contaminated equipment.