Tuesday, 8 March 2011

WD buys Hitachi while Spotify makes its first million

Consolidation in spinning disks continues with Western Digital's $4.3B takeover of Hitachi's storage division. This is hardly surprising news as the industry reals with its loss of share in the consumer market to solid state technologies. While there's currently no substitute for hard disks in large capacity applications, I believe that an increasing proportion of computing devices will be non-PCs going forward, making use of a combination of low power, rapid response solid state memory locally and cloud-based disk or streamed content.

The disk isn't dead - for enterprises, infrastructure and for consumer "local cloud" devices like set-top boxes, media streamers and NAS its the only game in town. But the explosive growth in handheld and laptop devices seems likely to pass them by, leaving them slaves to the margin-crushing buying power of the big hosting providers and PC manufacturers. Consolidation, therefore, is the only option.

An associated point that I didn't call is Spotify passing 1M subscribers. In hindsight, with access to the search and discovery powers comes an appetite for new music that would cost a fortune to satiate if one were to buy everything one likes. For £10 a month you can have it all - now I understand.

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