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Old 10-25-2011, 03:40 AM   #1
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Default The State Of Western Digital Overseas & Here At Home

You've no doubt heard or read about the recent flooding in Thailand earlier this month and how catastrophic it has been for those living in the area. A quick look at things from a tech perspective shows that one of the biggest hard drive manufacturers in the world, Western Digital, is in a bad spot at the present time as well.


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Old 10-25-2011, 04:38 AM   #2
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Damn! That looks bad! Well I already bought another Seagate 2TB Green Barracuda HDD as it was on sale here!
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Old 10-25-2011, 04:46 PM   #3
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I was checking prices for a new hard drive; on Friday, one of my backup drives decided to start randomly timing out. Got a few price points then sat on it over the weekend. Saw the news about this spreading over the Internet and low and behold, prices on amazon went from 52 for a 1TB WD Blue, to a rather insulting 65 - just over the weekend.

It would seem that Amazon's pricing is based on supply efficiency rather than available stock. But hey, NAND, RAM and now platters seem to be a commodity these days - long live the oil revolution...

And no, it's not just Amazon, looking around, quite a few retailers are jumping on the panic supply button and shooting prices up.
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Old 10-25-2011, 05:00 PM   #4
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It's disgusting, isn't it? Their stock buy price remains unchanged. Even if their stock method involves an average buy price, they are still raising the sell price based on future supply. Not on the current average buy price value.

It's all the more insulting because of the step increase. Completely unjustifiable, but also the manufacturing of prices to make an extra buck on the back of news of a crisis. What's worse... all it takes is for Amazon to raise the price for anyone to follow, including (and especially) traditional retailers. So we are seeing a big jump on prices, when there isn't even a confirmation of the real effects this will have on WD supply capacities.
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Old 10-26-2011, 09:53 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marfig View Post
So we are seeing a big jump on prices, when there isn't even a confirmation of the real effects this will have on WD supply capacities.
Um, the confirmation is already out there in the WD press release, Seagate's press release, and statements made by everyone from Dell to Apple. In my opinion, the first physical "confirmation" will be a constant hiking of prices or even some models going out of stock.

Having the entire first floor of a manufacturing plant flood out is not a quick fix. It will take weeks before the place dries out and the flooding is gone, and probably another few before they can get the equipment and people in place to begin restoration, simply because of the huge scale of the flooding taking place in Thailand right now. That's assuming the flooding is receding, but it's not.

In fact the flooding is only escalating. Bangkok is in imminent threat of flooding as they are worried about barriers collapsing. Those refugees evacuated to Bangkok are being evacuated for a second time now. So the situation there isn't going to begin to improve for awhile yet.

I'm not sure how quickly WD can replace the highly specialized equipment in its Thailand facilities either, but given hard drive manufacturing requires a full clean room environment... it will like take WD 8 months by my casual estimate before they would even have a chance of production again at this plant, with my feeling it will be longer. Western Digital appears to have three manufacturing plants in Thailand, not just one. The only good news is WD has plants located elsewhere so there will still be some supply.

Seagate doesn't seem to have lost its two Thailand parts manufacturing plants yet, but Seagate's parts suppliers have lost their own and they've apparently lost a good portion of their local supply chain; they issued a press release lowering production numbers already. Toshiba already suspended its production in Thailand. To quote Seagate:

Quote:
"Our business priority is to work with our external component suppliers, supporting their efforts to rebuild the supply chain as quickly as possible. We expect to experience significant impacts to our production levels, while our suppliers work together businesses up and running. Given the severity of the situation and the expense of supply constraints caused by the disruption, including those described by our primary competitor, the effects on our industry are likely to be substantial and will extend over multiple quarters,"
So for anyone needing a hard drive, I'd definitely suggest buying one now regardless as the effects & prices could only escalate for the next few months.
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Old 10-26-2011, 10:03 AM   #6
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Oh they talked about it alright. But I'd like to read at Western Digital press release and from there immediately know I need to increase the sell price of my items already in stock by 13. But I can't.

To enter into more detail:

This is WD latest press release on this matter: http://www.wdc.com/en/company/pressr...3-d1efb4bea2ed

And here you get access to the conference call press release of the 19th, mentioned in the above press release: http://www.wdc.com/en/company/investor/confcall.aspx

And the press release for that conference call is here: http://www.wdc.com/en/company/pressr...0-605082cede74

We all know their supply will be limited. This was a huge disaster to the people of Thailand, but also to WD. They don't know yet however by how much will they be constrained and for how long. So doesn't Amazon and it is fair it should reflect their current stock. At:

2:20 we know they don't have any factual data yet,
4:30 we learn that recovery will however be, for sure, a multi-quarter event
8:30 we learn they still expect continual profit growth,
14:10 we learn they suspended all production in Thailand last week.
17:00 we learn they intend to maximize their Malaysian throughput to diminish the effects of the Thailand disaster.
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Old 10-26-2011, 12:27 PM   #7
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Well..... if you happen to have a hardware store nearby look there, that explains the newegg jump from $65 to $89.99, local however its still $65
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Old 10-26-2011, 01:52 PM   #8
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Marfig, that's quite a lot of detail. But there were general reports about the hard drive situation as early as the Monday before last, so it's been building for awhile. Most of the major papers ran it early last week.

Quote:
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Well..... if you happen to have a hardware store nearby look there, that explains the newegg jump from $65 to $89.99, local however its still $65
Very good point. Places that take much longer to move stock like a local store or regional chain won't adjust their prices for this. And I'm sure ebay's prices will take awhile before they begin to reflect changes as well.
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Old 10-26-2011, 01:59 PM   #9
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I'm going to hold onto my 160GB drive and when prices are crazy I'll sell it and rule the world!

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Old 10-26-2011, 02:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kougar View Post
Marfig, that's quite a lot of detail. But there were general reports about the hard drive situation as early as the Monday before last, so it's been building for awhile. Most of the major papers ran it early last week.
I'll agree there. And I for sure agree this will have a big impact on prices for the upcoming months. My point however is how fast Amazon changed prices (and now Newegg, I hear) when I'm almost positive -- but not really sure -- they are doing it on old stock.
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Old 10-26-2011, 02:35 PM   #11
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The problem with my local hardware retail stores is that they charge full RRP, which is yet another 10-15% on top of what amazon is selling... It's just absurd that prices rocket in such a short period.
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Old 10-26-2011, 04:12 PM   #12
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Just imagine if this were thousands of acres of crops or scores of animals used for food and not PC hardware. If something like that ever happens I think that this instance is an idea of what it would be like.
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Old 10-26-2011, 06:43 PM   #13
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Marfig, hard to say. I've ordered batches of HDDs from Newegg enough times that I think they turn over stock rather quickly. Even on the same order, out of lots of four I'd receive the same model drives but with different "made in XYZ" country dates and different firmware revisions.

The last time I looked closer, and on one batch of four I counted 3 different controllers (and slightly differing PCBs). Even so, as I recall the "birth date" for the HDDs was only 2-3 months old when received that last batch, since all HDDs note the manufacture date on the label.

Quote:
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Just imagine if this were thousands of acres of crops or scores of animals used for food and not PC hardware. If something like that ever happens I think that this instance is an idea of what it would be like.
Not trying to be a constant killjoy, but yeah that's already happening! Beef prices are low because so much of cattle ranchers in Texas are culling their herds... but they are trending back up and will continue to go up for all of next year if the drought forecasts are correct.
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Old 11-02-2011, 02:44 PM   #14
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Doesn't say which HDD is their source, but still pretty big news for ASUS announce.

Asus only has hard-drive inventory for November

I assume HHD is short for Haunted Hard Drives.
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