Maxtor brand to live on as Seagate value line

— 9:00 AM on October 2, 2006

Seagate announced its intent to acquire Maxtor some time ago, and since then, many have wondered what would become of the Maxtor's internal hard drive products. Would Seagate discard the Maxtor brand completely, or would it continue to offer DiamondMax drives? Initially, even Seagate wasn't sure. However, the company has now settled on a strategy that will use the Maxtor brand to bolster Seagate's current lineup of internal hard drive products.

When contemplating what to do with Maxtor's hard drive products, Seagate says it discovered that there was only an 11% overlap between the companies' customers. Maxtor customers, it says, were concentrated in different geographic areas or specialized market segments that Seagate didn't really target. Rather than risking losing those customers, the Maxtor name will live on, albeit as somewhat of a secondary, value-oriented brand.

On the desktop, this value brand will manifest itself as the Maxtor DiamondMax 20, which will be available in capacities between 40GB and 320GB with either 2MB or 8MB of cache. Seagate is also introducing the MobileMax—Maxtor's first notebook drive—that will be available in 40GB to 80GB capacities with a 5,400-RPM spindle speed and 2MB of cache. These new drives will overlap the low end of Seagate's existing Barracuda and Momentus lines, but lack premium features like full-disk encryption and 16MB caches. The Maxtor drives will also only be covered by a three-year warranty, but they'll be cheaper than their Seagate counterparts.

Seagate intends its new Maxtor drives to be high-volume products that appeal to more value-conscious market segments, but the drives themselves are based on Seagate's existing core technology. The DiamondMax 20, for example, is built on Barracuda 7200.10 internals, complete with perpendicular platters. New features will come to Seagate drives first, though, and potentially never make their way to the Maxtor line.

In a sense, it's disappointing that Seagate is keeping the Maxtor brand alive in name only. However, the dual-brand strategy still gives consumers a measure of choice. Seagate has also retained a number of Maxtor's engineers and now has access to the company's patents, so you can expect to see Maxtor technologies find new life in future Seagate drives.

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