Well, that was good while it lasted. After four and a half years of offering five-year warranties as standard for its "bare" consumer hard drives, Seagate has backpedaled and decided to cut coverage back to three years.
According to the company’s new product warranty matrix, the change will take place on January 3, 2009, and it will affect Barracuda 7200 desktop drives and Momentus mobile drives. Barracuda and Momentus drives sold in boxed retail kits will continue to have five-year coverage, although those packages typically cost more than bare, so-called "OEM" drives.
Naturally, the change won’t impact Seagate’s enterprise drives, which will also continue to carry five-year warranties. Seagate says it’s making these modifications so its warranty terms are "in line with industry standard warranty offerings" and better aligned to "the requirements of . . . partners and customers." The company stresses that it still wants to offer "the most reliable storage solutions available anywhere," but it claims 95% of returns take place within the first three years after a drive purchase, anyway. (Thanks to TechPowerUp! for the tip.)