Seagate Plans to Enter SSD Market

After downplaying the significance of flash-based solid-state drives in the notebook computer market earlier this year and then suing Stec for patent infringement over technologies used in SSDs, Seagate CEO Bill Watkins has told PC World that the company will roll out its first SSD drives next year—but Watkins still doesn’t see why anyone would be interested.

According to Watkins, solid-state drives just aren’t price-competitive in a market where storage prices are measured in price-per-gigabyte. And Watkins certainly has a point: solid-state drives are currently enormously more expensive than the equivalent amount of storage from a traditional hard drive…although hard drives eat more power, and are prone to mechanical failure.

Watkins doesn’t expect SSDs to be cost effective to at least a few more years, and doesn’t see his company focusing on SSDs for the consume market for some time. And in the enterprise market—where Watkins notes companies are still trying to eliminate tape-based storage—SSDs are a tough sell. Nonetheless, in the long term, Watkins sees SSDs eventually replacing hard drives in both market segments.

In the meantime, the company plans to introduce a two terabyte hard drive next year.