As if dealing with flooded hard drive factories weren't enough, Western Digital now owes Seagate $525 million. The sum was set by the arbitrator of a "pending confidential arbitration action," in which Seagate appears to have accused WD of improperly learning trade secrets and other information from a former Seagate employee. No additional details are given, and Seagate's site is absent of any mention of the subject.
Western Digital obviously isn't keen on losing half a billion dollars, especially since it considers the penalty unjust. Company president John Coyne contends there is no "basis in law or fact for the damage award of the arbitrator," adding that WD will "will vigorously challenge the award." The press release goes on to assert that the matter won't affect WD's recovery efforts in Thailand or its acquisition of Hitachi's storage division.