Hitachi GST Acquires Fabrik, Readies External Storage for Retail

Hitachi hasn't released nearly as many new external storage offerings as its peers in the business, notably Seagate and Western Digital. But that's all about to change now that the company's Global Storage Technologies division has acquired Fabrik, a popular manufacturer of external, consumer-focused storage products.

The deal's expected to conclude in the second quarter of 2009, and when it does, it will toss Hitachi into a three-way war in the retail channels against drive manufactuers Western Digital and Seagate. Both companies have been slugging it out over their own branded external products for some time. By entering the fray, Hitachi is tipping its head to the growing consumer storage market--even in the face of an economic crunch, research firm IDC predicts that the worldwide personal storage market will grow by more than fifty million units over the next four years.

Although the company manufacturers its own brand of external storage offerings, Hitachi has also looked to third-party companies to bundle its drives into their products. With Fabrik's line of SimpleTech products now under its command, including the company's 2.5-inch Signature line of products and its environmentally savvy Redrive external drive, Hitachi gains a sturdier pipeline for dumping its internal storage offerings straight into the external storage market. According to company representatives, the acquisition will give Hitachi more traction in the 2.5-inch mobile space in particular.

It's unclear whether the announcement is a catalyst for a round of new drive offerings from Hitachi. It's safe to say that Hitachi's been falling behind its peers in the storage race, with Seagate offering (or prepping) 1.5TB and 2TB drive launches and Western Digital gearing up for its 2TB product. Where's Hitachi? Still sitting at 1TB on its flagship DeskStar line of drives. While there might be a new logo on Fabrk's products in the stores, the technology powering the external products remains the same... for now.

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