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Seagate lawsuit concludes, settlement announced

Seagate lawsuit concludes, settlement announced

Apparently caveat emptor doesn’t apply to storage devices.

The recent lawsuit against Seagate about advertised capacity and actual capacity has wrapped up, and settlement information is out.

US customers who purchased a Seagate hard drive, either OEM or retail (but not pre-installed in a machine) between March 22, 2001 and September 26, 2007 from an authorized Seagate retailer are entitled to one of two settlement options:

The first option is a cash benefit, which entitles eligible customers to 5 percent cash back on the price they paid for the hard drive, pretax. Claims must be filed via a mail-in form available on the settlement site linked above.

The second option is a software benefit and entitles eligible customers to a free copy of the Seagate Software Suite, which carries a retail value of $40. Claims for the software benefit can be filed online.

The case is centered around the difference between a gigabyte at 1,000,000,000 bytes and a binary gigabyte at 1,073,741,824 bytes. This difference has been known for years and is common among all hard drive manufacturers. Hard drive manufacturers measure and advertise their GB’s in base10 while most operating systems, including all versions of Windows and MacOS, measure their GB’s in base2 – the binary number system consisting of 1’s and 0’s that resides at the ground level of all computer functioning.

Megabyte for megabyte the difference is completely negligible, but with both Seagate and Western Digital joining Hitachi in the 1TB hard drive market, that minor size difference can add up quickly (just over 68.5GB on a 1TB drive; there’s just under a 7% discrepancy between a base10 GB and a base2 GB)

Post-lawsuit requirements of Seagate require them to not only correct the advertisement mistake for future drives and provide the listed benefits to customers, but they must also pay the plaintiff’s legal fees – and it's no pocket change at $1.8 million. However, many questions are left: will other hard drive manufacturers soon hear from lawyers? Will Microsoft be sued for the FAT system which consumes a portion of space relative to a drive’s size to map out a storage device?

Do you think that this lawsuit is a load of bologna or has it been in the making for many years? Let us know how you feel over in the forums.

36 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
MiNiMaL_FuSS 26th October 2007, 13:49 Quote
Is this avalible to people in the UK? Because I've got a couple of new segate drives and wouldn't say no to 5% back for no reason other than the stupidity of some whiney americans.
quack 26th October 2007, 13:52 Quote
Will we now be going out and buying 465GB drives instead of 500GB?
Mankz 26th October 2007, 14:01 Quote
Grrr... Why must it be US only...
Lord_A 26th October 2007, 14:06 Quote
Retarded, Seagate should sue them back for being such stupid moronic crap for brains.
chrisuk 26th October 2007, 14:28 Quote
A gigabyte should be (and is, technically speaking) 1024^3 so this is a good ruling - the use of 1000^3 is a misrepresentation of the truth.
Delphium 26th October 2007, 14:44 Quote
Ughhh, this has been known for years!!! Dam morons, Seagate should have used that money to educate those morons, not encourage them, pfft.
mclean007 26th October 2007, 14:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisuk
A gigabyte should be (and is, technically speaking) 1024^3 so this is a good ruling - the use of 1000^3 is a misrepresentation of the truth.
No. Giga- is the SI prefix for 10^9, so I would say it is fair to say a GB is 1,000,000,000 bytes. There is an argument that GB in popular usage means 2^40 bytes, following the logic that 1kB is almost exclusively considered to be 2^10 (1024) and so on. Each has its merits and I don't think either argument can be comprehensively rebutted.

The binary prefixes (kibi/ki=2^10, mebi/Mi=2^20, gibi/Gi=2^30, tebi/Ti=2^40) were meant to resolve the ambiguity, but haven't really been widely adopted. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binary_prefix

Given HDD manufacturers have AFAIK always used decimal prefixes, surely that is established market practice. It is no less correct to say 1GB=10^9 bytes than to say 1GB=2^30 bytes, so I think Seagate have come off quite badly out of this case. That said, how much will it _actually_ cost them in cash rebates? How many people will actually go to the bother of digging out the receipt (assuming they still have it) for their $100 HDD and posting it to Seagate for the sake of a 5% rebate? Not many I'll bet. Bear in mind the "$40" software actually costs them nothing but bandwidth (if, as I assume, it is downloadable) or packaging (if physical media).
sotu1 26th October 2007, 15:27 Quote
would hear if this ever affects UK users (and the rest of the world for that matter) the few GBs certainly do make a difference, and it irritates me when they aren't accurate.

should affect other manufacturers surely...maybe seagate could pay a member of the public to sue samsung, toshiba, et al....
Shadow_101 26th October 2007, 15:58 Quote
Dam Americans. This attitude ****es me off.
pendragon 26th October 2007, 16:10 Quote
i always found the difference in advertised space vs. useable space under FAT to be annoying, so I'm okay with this ruling, however I can understand people thinking it's retarded. In the end, hopefully manufacturers and software developers will all adopt the same standard.
E.E.L. Ambiense 26th October 2007, 16:22 Quote
Well, being one of those "dam stupid whiny Americans", I can say I don't agree with this ruling. People, regardless of locale, should understand the concept of overhead when it comes to HDD's. 500GB looks better than 465GB on a box anyways ;).
cyrilthefish 26th October 2007, 16:42 Quote
This is a VERY good thing and should have happened from day one really with all drives and flash memory.

Gah, just thinking of the amount of time over the years i must have spent trying to explain to less technically minded people why the device they just bought does not have the space it was advertised as having, makes me annoyed

People generally can understand why the filesystem uses up space (i tended to explain it as think of a warehouse, but with a small section of it used to note down the name and location of everything in said warehouse)
But explaining the 1024mb vs 1000mb difference just leaves people thinking they've been cheated out of space.

*looks at his 1GB SD card that has 982mb capacity*

imagine if the RAM manufacturers did the same thing, there'd be all kinds of oddly-sized memory amounts in people's PCs ;)
Firehed 26th October 2007, 17:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by E.E.L. Ambiense
Well, being one of those "dam stupid whiny Americans", I can say I don't agree with this ruling. People, regardless of locale, should understand the concept of overhead when it comes to HDD's. 500GB looks better than 465GB on a box anyways ;).
It's not an overhead issue. They're using a technical error in order to effectively falsely advertise legally - it's not a matter of the OS using that extra 24 bytes per kibibyte as the FAT (or new-age equivalent). Yes, it's the fault of the OS for using one unit and labeling it another, but that doesn't stop a difference approaching 10% as we hit terabyte drives. Manufacturers could use this as a marketing tool, selling all of their TrueSpace(tm) 1TB drives at a premium, and people get a drive that actually reports as having a terabyte in their OS. In actuality, they're selling you a 1TiB drive which would be about 1.1TB, so big deal. It wouldn't kill them to do it "right".
Brett89 26th October 2007, 18:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by E.E.L. Ambiense
Well, being one of those "dam stupid whiny Americans", I can say I don't agree with this ruling.
I'm one too, and I think this lawsuit is like the article said, a load of bologna. This is just another dumb lawsuit by someone looking to get rich quick. Sadly, Seagate had to take the brunt of it.
E.E.L. Ambiense 26th October 2007, 18:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Firehed
It's not an overhead issue. They're using a technical error in order to effectively falsely advertise legally - it's not a matter of the OS using that extra 24 bytes per kibibyte as the FAT (or new-age equivalent). Yes, it's the fault of the OS for using one unit and labeling it another, but that doesn't stop a difference approaching 10% as we hit terabyte drives. Manufacturers could use this as a marketing tool, selling all of their TrueSpace(tm) 1TB drives at a premium, and people get a drive that actually reports as having a terabyte in their OS. In actuality, they're selling you a 1TiB drive which would be about 1.1TB, so big deal. It wouldn't kill them to do it "right".

Sure.. I see both sides of the argument. I guess I just don't sweat the small stuff like that. An HDD is just that; an HDD. I use it till it goes poof, then get another. I can see why people would get upset that they aren't getting what is on the box; at least in its entirety. I dunno. Personally, I always compensate for what I need when buying drives, and always shoot higher than what I'm targeting to make up for that 'deviance' in space versus advertised space.
DarkLord7854 26th October 2007, 18:19 Quote
Meh.. the offer isn't anything great.. 5%.. woo.. that's what.. 5$? Prolly costs more to have the check written to you and sent :)
noobarino 26th October 2007, 19:19 Quote
poeple will do anything to sue somebody these days. morons.
HellRazor 26th October 2007, 20:15 Quote
lawsuits like this piss me off....
Its been known for a long time that this is what you get when you formatt a hard drive. I'm a huge fan of Seagate, and only purchase their drives, so I would be "entitled" to pretty decent chunk of change from this lawsuit as I've purchase many, many drives in that time frame. However I will be punish Seagate for ignorance of retarded consumer and a messed up court system.

I'm standing by Seagate!
C-Sniper 26th October 2007, 20:31 Quote
Welcome to America... home of the Sue happy lawyers and legal system.
Smilodon 27th October 2007, 00:20 Quote
Ok... let me get this straight.

Seagate got sued because their customers lack education? that sounds...reasonable.... :|

Shouldn't wheel/tire manufacturers be sued because they sell 19" wheels? With the rubber on them they aren't 19" now are they? (ok, so the customer gets more diameter for their money, but still.)

OH! Someone should sue makers of toilet paper as well. The cardboard core creates a void where it should be paper!

I hate this suing culture! I'm pretty sure that the general population gets more stupid for each day that pass. (Or is this just a result of the fact that every 12 year old kid are a "computer expert"? )
The BallZ 27th October 2007, 07:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smilodon
Ok... let me get this straight.

Seagate got sued because their customers lack education? that sounds...reasonable.... :|

Shouldn't wheel/tire manufacturers be sued because they sell 19" wheels? With the rubber on them they aren't 19" now are they? (ok, so the customer gets more diameter for their money, but still.)

OH! Someone should sue makers of toilet paper as well. The cardboard core creates a void where it should be paper!

I hate this suing culture! I'm pretty sure that the general population gets more stupid for each day that pass. (Or is this just a result of the fact that every 12 year old kid are a "computer expert"? )


I totally suing the crap out of Charmin now.
Ryu_ookami 27th October 2007, 08:02 Quote
Quote:
Will Microsoft be sued for the FAT system which consumes a portion of space relative to a drive’s size to map out a storage device?

who wants to bet that shortly microsoft either

A: bring out a new section in their windows eula that reliefs them of any responsibility

or

B: bring out a new format for hdds that doesn't take so much space (as unlikely as that is you have to give them some options)
HourBeforeDawn 27th October 2007, 08:25 Quote
you know what I could probably join in and get something from them but Im a loyal Seagate fan and I knew about the calc system so Im not going to be some greedy bastie when I knew already that I wasnt getting the listed amount on the box so ehh,

but does this mean that WD and other companies are up next on the lawsuit band to get sued for the same reasons and if so does that mean we will finally see the Actual listed amount of space on HDD boxes, I kinda hope so.
Shadow_101 28th October 2007, 13:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by The BallZ
I totally suing the crap out of Charmin now.

heh :D ....well i found it funny...
DougEdey 28th October 2007, 14:19 Quote
Let's sue CD manufacturers, they're only 33% efficient!
cpemma 28th October 2007, 18:24 Quote
CRT TVs?
Quote:
Typically the viewable or visible diagonal of the monitor will be approximately .9 to 1.2 inches smaller than the quoted size.
For magnetic media the size (mis)quoted is 'unformatted', so MS, Apple, etc, are clear. Actually MS did have a formatting system to squeeze a few more k onto a floppy, used on their software, and you can over-burn optical discs.
Quote:
MSOFT17F will format a 3.5" floppy disk to the new format scheme being used by Microsoft. This new scheme creates a floppy that holds 1.7 megs rather than the standard 1.44. It is impossible to make a backup copy of one of the new Microsoft releases using the standard floppy format/copy procedures.
You could also fiddle a bigger size out of the old MFM hard drives by low-level formatting all the coating instead of just the recommended area. Gave maybe 50-55Mb out of a 40Mb drive (but not safe for valuable data).
mikeuk2004 28th October 2007, 19:29 Quote
Im suing Mr Kippling. His tasy fruit cake does not serve 6 people. I can only get one protion out of it.
DougEdey 28th October 2007, 20:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeuk2004
Im suing Mr Kippling. His tasy fruit cake does not serve 6 people. I can only get one protion out of it.

That's because you're a beefcake
ralph.pickering 28th October 2007, 23:04 Quote
Fortunately for Seagate I think most people are just too lazy to dig out invoices or work out where to find the serial number, fill out a form, mail it in and then go to the bank with a check (not cheque because it does only apply in America), just for a few measley dollars. There'll be a few no doubt but the effort involved will weed out 95% of their customers.
kosch 29th October 2007, 18:47 Quote
I wonder how much it cost in terms of legal fee's it cost to get this total waste of time sorted out.
woodshop 29th October 2007, 19:06 Quote
I wider how long we'll have to wait to see the law suits about fair practice cause what? now seagate will sell 465GB drives and WD will sell 500GB one on the same $ price point... my my that'll look interesting on a shelf..
3dHeli 30th October 2007, 00:55 Quote
It's not the stupidity of these law suit that upsets me . . . rather they could have put their time to solving a real problem that actually impacts people's lifes . . . . luv to know what the motive was for the people that started this case rolling . . . was it greed, was it because they felt thet had been wronged by the companies misrepresentation, or do they actually beleive they were doing something good for consumers as a whole . . .
ou7blaze 30th October 2007, 19:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mclean007
No. Giga- is the SI prefix for 10^9, so I would say it is fair to say a GB is 1,000,000,000 bytes. There is an argument that GB in popular usage means 2^40 bytes, following the logic that 1kB is almost exclusively considered to be 2^10 (1024) and so on. Each has its merits and I don't think either argument can be comprehensively rebutted.

The binary prefixes (kibi/ki=2^10, mebi/Mi=2^20, gibi/Gi=2^30, tebi/Ti=2^40) were meant to resolve the ambiguity, but haven't really been widely adopted. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binary_prefix

Given HDD manufacturers have AFAIK always used decimal prefixes, surely that is established market practice. It is no less correct to say 1GB=10^9 bytes than to say 1GB=2^30 bytes, so I think Seagate have come off quite badly out of this case. That said, how much will it _actually_ cost them in cash rebates? How many people will actually go to the bother of digging out the receipt (assuming they still have it) for their $100 HDD and posting it to Seagate for the sake of a 5% rebate? Not many I'll bet. Bear in mind the "$40" software actually costs them nothing but bandwidth (if, as I assume, it is downloadable) or packaging (if physical media).


whilst reading that my mind slowly seized up and just said "wtf"
The_Beast 30th October 2007, 23:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkLord7854
Meh.. the offer isn't anything great.. 5%.. woo.. that's what.. 5$? Prolly costs more to have the check written to you and sent :)

that is exactly what I was thinking, woot $5
wakeboarder3780 5th November 2007, 00:27 Quote
For the most part I agree with this lawsuit. It seems like the vast argument here is that 'it has been like this forever so lets keep it that way' when in all reality we all know it is misleading. Certainly the mathematical defintion is regarded in base 10 but hard drives aren't created for the mathematical world. HDD's are created for the computer science world.

Keeping this in mind it should be clear to see that changing the way they market their drives is really what should happen (and as said above should have happened from the start) From seagate's perspective they could care less if they have to give 5% back for drives purchased. For the most part consumers will continue to buy seagate because they know they make quality drives. In fact forcing seagate to use base 2 will most likely boost sales from anyone like me who loathes the fact that they (along with all other drive manufacturers) used to use base 10 representation.

When you look at the bottom line:
1) It should have been this way from the start.
2) 'Greedy Americans' are going to get about enough money back to buy a McDonalds combo to eat themselves into an early grave (Note that I am an American and am purely joking)
3) The amount paid back (including legal fees) by Seagate will surely not even bother them financially as it's pretty much pocket change for them
4) Die hard seagate fans like me will now be advocating that they are doing 'the right thing' and will most likely boost their overall sales.
hg834 7th November 2007, 07:59 Quote
If you read the fine print in the court documents, you will see that the only people who actually benefit from this lawsuit are the attorneys themselves. The court specifies that they are to be paid no less than $1.792 million (that'd be about a couple hundred "quid" on the other side of the pond these days what with the exchange rates and all these days, I guess :).
And, for the most part, I'm pretty certain the majority of the claimants will opt for the free software. That seems to be the least hassle for all parties involved. Click on a link they send you and download the software instead of dealing with all that red tape.

Oh, I'm only assuming they will provide a link for the software download.. They wouldn't be stupid enough to actually snail mail the software to every single claimant out there now, would they?
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