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Seagate claims SSD patent

Seagate claims SSD patent

Seagate CEO Bill Watkins doesn't think that the humble hard drive has much to worry about from SSDs.

Rumours that solid-state drives are failing all over the place may have turned out to be unfounded, but Seagate still isn't convinced the technology is the right choice for today.

Despite the fact that Seagate is launching just as many SSD models as the next big harddrive manufacturer, CEO Bill Watkins seems to think that the devices are just too expensive for the data they hold. In an interview with CNN Watkins admitted that “realistically, I just don't see the flash notebook selling.

Just in case the consumers see things differently, the well-heeled executive has another trick up his Saville Row sleeve though: he's fairly certain that Seagate is going to be able to bury rival SSD manufacturers in enough legal wrangling that his company will emerge on-top should the market take off. It seems that Watkins is convinced that pretty much every SSD maker out there – he drops names like Samsung and Intel with ease – might just owe his company big-time bucks due to certain patents Seagate holds on the interfacing of storage devices with host computers.

It's not uncommon for large companies to have vast swathes of patents – in the US, at least – that are almost completely without merit. Due to the way the patent process works in the US, it's possible to get almost any patent granted – no matter how obvious your breakthrough. What matters is whether the claims will hold up in court. While it's useful for Seagate to worry its enemies by making reference to an army of lawyers sat on cast-iron patents, it remains to be seen whether the company would risk having their patents invalidated should they bring them before a court.

One thing is for sure: Intel and Samsung are unlikely to take this lying down. The SSD market – whether it's as big as Samsung hope or as small as Seagate thinks – looks set to be the next battleground for the storage giants.

Do you agree with Watkins' take on the SSD market, or do you think he's completely missed the point? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

17 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
The_Pope 25th March 2008, 12:50 Quote
He's wrong on one front - SSDs *are* key to the future of notebooks. I want light weight and ZERO noise; battery life (if it improves) is a bonus and while I've never killed a notebook HDD the greater robustness of SDD is a bonus.

Couldn't give a toss about capacity - 32GB is more than enough for work + a bit of fun. Sure, on a per GB price basis it's more expensive but it will certain fall into "affordable if you want it" soon enough
Phil Rhodes 25th March 2008, 13:20 Quote
Outstanding, Seagate! Don't bother innovating or creating, just hire some lawyers and win anyway.

Fantastic attitude.

Wonderful. Very helpful.

God almighty...
E.E.L. Ambiense 25th March 2008, 13:39 Quote
Ah, man.... here we go.... :(
TreeDude 25th March 2008, 13:56 Quote
SSD is the future, period. They have far greater potential than HDs. HDs are mechanically limited, they can only go so fast and we are reaching their limit. The harder and faster you push a HD the smaller the MTBF gets. Companies use 15k RPM drives, but they are in RAID arrays. So if one fails you just swap it. But 99% of most consumers don't even know what RAID stands for, let alone use one. That drive fails and that's it for all their music, movies, and photos.

The MTBF for SSDs is very high. Plus you do not have to worry about dropping it while it is on and breaking it (I did that with an external once).

As soon as the transfer speeds and capacity increase more people will start buying and the price will plummet. It is already happening. Anyone who does not see that is an idiot.

BTW I love Seagate, I think they make excellent drives. But Watkins is either dumber than a box of rocks or is looking for some sort of effect by saying that.
chicorasia 25th March 2008, 15:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by TreeDude
is looking for some sort of effect by saying that.

You mean, having the words "seagate" and "SSD" on the headlines of every tech site? :D
DXR_13KE 25th March 2008, 18:06 Quote
i don't really like seagate drives, all of the ones i have put in systems ended up being substituted by Samsung and WD and Hitachi ones.....
Smilodon 25th March 2008, 18:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DXR_13KE
i don't really like seagate drives, all of the ones i have put in systems ended up being substituted by Samsung and WD and Hitachi ones.....

From what I have seen, Seagate drives are among the most reliable and least noisy (varies between models). Hitachi, however... don't get me started on that one...

I run Seagate and WD in all the computers i have chosen drives for myself.
E.E.L. Ambiense 25th March 2008, 18:15 Quote
Last Seagate I ran, it had constant use for 6 years. 6 years! And then it finally died. Honestly, I've never had any HDD problems with any company, with the exception (a big exception) of Maxtor.
Mister_Tad 25th March 2008, 18:18 Quote
How incredibly counter-productive. Progress? pah!

Seagate needs to be hit with a stick, or a trout

RE reliability - no company is more or less reliable than any other. Different models of drives may be particularly robust and others could be terribly unreliable. Every manufacturer out there has had a generation of drives that were complete lemons, Seagate included.
E.E.L. Ambiense 25th March 2008, 18:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister_Tad
Seagate needs to be hit with a stick, or a trout

HAhahahaa
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister_Tad
RE reliability - no company is more or less reliable than any other. Different models of drives may be particularly robust or just lemons. Every manefacturer out there has had a generation of drives that were complete lemons.

True. Definitely true. I can only speak from personal experience in saying that every Maxtor I've ever gotten died a quick death for really no apparent reason. And the replacements. Other brands I've tended to have a better track-record with.
Bluephoenix 25th March 2008, 18:50 Quote
Maxtor itself was a lemon, period.


as for me, give me hard-state mag-ram and then we're talking
Cobalt 25th March 2008, 20:07 Quote
If Seagate are sitting on patents that would really be that lucrative I doubt they would be content with making vague threats. They just want to scare the competition while avoiding the courts.

[QUOTE=Smilodon]
Quote:
Originally Posted by DXR_13KE
Hitachi, however... don't get me started on that one...

Hitachi are the only brand that haven't failed me yet. WDs crapped out on me twice and were the most expensive. Seagate drive failed, Samsung one works but slowly for no apparent reason. Personal experience means basically bugger all because anyone can have bad luck.
Smilodon 25th March 2008, 20:57 Quote
I'm not saying that Seagate drives doesn't fail.

I have worked with lots of computers, and can say that the current drives from Hitachi seems to be utter crap. Maxtor was also crap, but they don't exist any more, so... (Bought by Seagate IIRC)
Mister_Tad 25th March 2008, 22:56 Quote
Everyone has a different story.

I've used oodles of maxtor drives and have had just one fail (out of dozens). Even the ones that were from the "crap" series were fine. Had a couple of IBMs fail years ago, but never lost an HGST drive. Samsung and Fujitsu have also been completely solid in my experience. Seagate has the worst track record with me, both with desktop and enterprise drives. Go figure.

Maxtor was indeed bought by Seagate. Some of the most amusing advice I've ever seen on a forum was something along the lines of "Maxtor drives are crap, buy this Seagate drive instead" with a link to a "Seagate" drive that was actually a rebranded Maxtor
Krikkit 25th March 2008, 23:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister_Tad
Everyone has a different story.

Bingo.

I've had/experienced at least one drive from all the major manufacturers from most of their lines over the years, and the only one that died was a Maxtor DM9 - 3 years after its warranty was up. That includes IBM 75GXP's and allsorts of "unreliable" and otherwise crappy drives.

HGST's are my current favourite because they're pretty fast, fairly quiet and a bit cheaper than most brands.
r4tch3t 26th March 2008, 23:11 Quote
Just have a look at that RAID they set up with SSDs, I think they will take off. As for this whole thread drift, I always get Seagate's for the warranty and only 2 have failed (both travelled around the world in a plastic clamshell)
The_Beast 27th March 2008, 00:45 Quote
Seagate is the bomb when it comes to HDD's
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