Samsung's desktop PC pullout not a problem: Seagate

Responding to reports that Samsung may be shuttering its desktop PC business, Seagate Technology, a global leader in hard disk drives and other storage solutions, said it was no problem for the company.

"In fact, it's poses new opportunities because devices are becoming more diverse. That means the demand for storage capacity will rise, and that means more business for us," said Banseng Teh, Seagate's senior vice president and managing director of Asia-Pacific sales and marketing in an interview with The Korea Herald.

This was because in his eyes, the future of storage lies not in hard disks or the units it sells, but in storage capacity.

"The volume of what we ship to desktop makers including Samsung is admittedly retreating, but this trend does not affect us because it is not about the units we ship, but the capacity," Teh stressed.

Earlier, rumours had circulated the markets that Samsung, the world's largest technology company, was ready to shut down its desktop PC business. Samsung denied the reports.

Teh believes that by 2020, annual shipments will grow 20-fold by capacity from the 1 zettabyte recorded for this year. This equals 1 billion terabyte - roughly enough to download up to 200 DVDs of two-hour-long movies.

Seagate's ties with Samsung dates back many years and it took a new turn when the California-based company acquired the Korean electronic maker's hard disk drive business in 2011.

Under the deal, Seagate supplies disk drives to PCs, notebooks and consumer electronics manufactured by Samsung, which in turn holds a 9.6 per cent stake in Seagate.

Regarding the current relationship with Samsung, Seagate called it a mutually beneficial one.

"It will help both companies to achieve even greater scale, and to deliver a broader range of innovative products and solutions to customers," Teh said.

Regarding future trends, the managing director saw hybrid drives - a combination of hard disk drives and solid-state drives - to be in the lead, estimating that over 85 per cent of its hard disk drives will incorporate hybrid technology.

"IDC, a leader in tracking and forecasting the computer storage market, recently recognised and began forecasting solid-state hybrid drive technology as a unique category. They estimate that penetration in the notebook computer market will reach 33 per cent by 2016, and deliver a combined annual growth rate of 162.4 per cent between 2011 and 2016," the executive said.

Solid-state drives, meanwhile, will not become mainstream despite their extreme functionality, simply because they are far too expensive.

"Besides being impractical, a sudden surge in investment would likely plunge the semiconductor industry into a massive slump," Teh predicted.

This is why he persistently sees solid-state hybrid drives as a great alternative.

He added that for a long time, solid-state drives, hybrid drives and hard disk drives will coexist and play their own roles.

"Our goal and strategy is to provide the broadest range of options for our customers, be it SSDs, hybrid or hard disk drives, based on their computing needs," said Teh.