Seagate and Western Digital Announce Reduced Warranties

December 19, 2011

As someone who frequently does computer repairs and, has experienced quite a few hard drive failures personally, it is only a matter of time until your hard drive fails. It might be today or it might be in five years, but eventually it will fail.

According to PC World[1], starting in 2012, the two largest hard drive manufactures, Seagate and Western Digital, have announced that they will be reducing the warranties on most of their hard drives to one year, where they were typically 3-5 years in the past.

This should not affect hard drives sold before January 01, 2012, but going forward you probably can expect to only get a one year warranty with your hard drive.

The official response from Western Digital seemed to indicate they would be selling an extended warranty, while Seagate states they are using the money saved on warranty claims to further research development. Western Digital, however, has stated that they will continue to honor their extended warranties on their more expensive premium lines, like the Caviar Black and other premium models.

Regardless, the obvious assumption, is that enough of their hard drives fail after 1 year, to make honoring a warranty not cost effective. Of course, other factors could come into play too, but given my experience with Seagate hard-drives failing, I would go with the former.

And, if you want to just buy a hard drive from someone else, you might have a hard time, because most hard drives are manufactured by either Seagate or Western Digital. Samsung and Maxtor being owned by Seagate and Hitachi owned by Western Digital[2], with a number of other vendors just rebranding one of the above.

[1] http://www.pcworld.com/article/246456/hard_drive_manufacturers_slash_warranty_periods.html
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_disk_drive#Manufacturers

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