Hitachi GST Acquires Fabrik, Readies External Storage for Retail

Have you ever known Hitachi to make anything but bare hard drives for the storage market? We sure haven't. 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.

For the longest time, Hitachi's had to rely on 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 finally has a solid 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. We've included the full press release below:

HITACHI

GST STRATEGICALLY EXPANDS INTO EXTERNAL STORAGE; TO ACQUIRE FABRIK, INC.

Leading Hard Drive Supplier Gains Immediate Access to Innovative Storage Solutions for the Consumer, Small Business and Professional Mac and PC Markets

SAN JOSE

, Calif. - Feb. 23, 2009 - Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (Hitachi GST) today announced that it has agreed to acquire Fabrik, Inc., a privately-held supplier of personal and professional storage solutions. Fabrik, whose leading storage brands include G-Technology and SimpleTech, strategically positions Hitachi in the fast-growing external storage business.

Industry analyst firm IDC expects worldwide personal storage device shipments to grow from approximately 52 million in 2008 to 123 million in 20121. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. Closing of the acquisition, which is subject to customary conditions, is expected to occur early in the second quarter of 2009.

Fabrik's business will continue intact and form the core of Hitachi GST's newly-formed external storage business. Hitachi GST will fully support the G-Technology and SimpleTech product lines, building upon their success and differentiation in the market. The combined company will also leverage operational, technical and product development resources, distribution channels and global reach to accelerate delivery of a full portfolio of traditional hard drives, solid state drives and branded personal and professional storage products.

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