HARD DRIVE MAKERS CUT WARRANTIES

20. December 2011, 10:16 | by WD Milner | Full Article |

In an early Christmas present (more a lump of coal) Seagate recently announced that due to a “need to align to current Industry standards”, it intends to reduce warranty periods on its hard drives as of December 31, 2011. The new warranty policy applies to hard drives shipped in desktops and consumer electronics devices. There will be no change in warranty policy on enterprise class drives.

Western Digital will be following suit as of January 2, 2012. They will continue to maintain their policy of a five-year warranty on their premium desktop/notebook products (Caviar Black, Scorpio Black and VelociRaptor).

All drives shipped prior to those respective dates will still carry the same warranty as before. Both companies have denied that this change in warranty policy is related to floods in Thailand which have caused a shortage in drives. (Though some reports from Bangkok indicate the flooding in the business area wasn’t as bad as has been claimed).

Seagate claims that “By aligning to current industry standards, Seagate can continue to focus its investments on technology innovation and unique product features that drive value for our customers”. In an email to customers Western Digital stated that “In the near future we will be unveiling an extended warranty offering with special pricing”.

Basically this is the same excuse that was used a number of years ago when hard drive manufacturers (led by Seagate and Western Digital) dropped warranty periods from the then 5 years down to 3 years. This will now be dropped to 2 years. Since these are the more than dominant players, one must wonder just whose “industry standards” are being referred to. This looks like just one more way to increase profits; initially by saving on support costs through a warranty period reduction, and secondly by charging more if you want a longer warranty period on the same device.

In a time of economic difficulties the blatancy of corporate greed never ceases to surprise. As SSD prices continue their slow but steady decline and capacities increase the HDD makers should not be alienating their customers. They may one day wake up to find most of their market gone, years before they expected it to be.

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Categories: ,
Keywords: Seagate,Western Digital,warranty,greed

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