Hitachi, Seagate, and WD form joint research group

Consolidation has taken a new shape in the hard drive market. No, Seagate hasn't purchased Western Digital—but the two companies have joined forces, along with Hitachi, to develop the next generation of mechanical storage technology.

As EE Times reports, Hitachi, Seagate, and WD have formed an industry group tentatively christened the Storage Technology Alliance. The three firms have already tied up "multiple millions of dollars" for the project. Component manufacturers and semiconductor firms including TDK, Fuji, LSI, Marvell, Veeco, and Xyratex are expected to join by year's end.

Why the joint effort? Mark Geenen, who chairs the International Disk Drive and Equipment Materials Association and will manage the Storage Technology Alliance, told EE Times the industry faces challenges "too massive for any single company to handle technically or from a business perspective." He added, "We're talking about billion-dollar investments in new factories and retrofits while the technology is still immature."

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