Western Digital announced today that they have entered in to an agreement to acquire SanDisk for approximately $19 billion. Western Digital is one of the few remaining hard drive manufacturers, but their only presence in the solid state storage market has been the enterprise SSDs sold by subsidiary HGST. SanDisk's joint venture with Toshiba on the other hand - one of the four major manufacturers of NAND flash - allows SanDisk to develop a wide range of solid state storage products. This acquisition will give Western Digital some much-needed diversification and potential for growth as hard drives are becoming a niche storage medium.

Without a major SSD-related acquisition, Western Digital would have faced diminishing relevance or the daunting task of carving out a significant piece of the highly competitive SSD market. Over the past several years the solid state storage industry has seen a lot of consolidation, leaving Western Digital with few options for acquisition, of which SanDisk was the largest they could afford.

However even with the acquisition Western Digital won't enjoy the same status in the SSD market that they have had in hard drives. Toshiba and SanDisk are lagging behind in the transition to 3D NAND, having only just started installing manufacturing equipment in their new fab that is intended to start production in the first quarter of 2016, a year and a half after Samsung's 3D NAND drives hit the shelves. SanDisk has also not established a large presence in the mainstream SSD controller space, relying on third-party controllers while their competitors have been striving for more vertical integration. SanDisk's 15nm NAND will probably go down in history as the most advanced planar NAND process but they're running out of time for it to make a significant impact on the market.

Western Digital expects the deal to be closed in the third quarter of 2016. The acquisition will give their future more security, but they'll still have to work hard to stay a major player in the long run.

Source: Western Digital

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  • Kutark - Thursday, October 22, 2015 - link

    4g is only as fast as it is because there are bandwidth caps. People aren't apeshit pounding the network like they do with their land lines. If you had as many users as landlines do, all using it as much as they would normally use their land lines, it would absolutely decimate those networks. And really, you don't need fiber to each house. Coax is more than capable of stupidly fast internet speeds. The issue is getting the cable/telecom companies to not have monopoly access to local municipalities. In all the places in the US where there is actual competition, speeds are great on cable and prices are reasonable. In the places where the useless city council have given monopoly access to the cable infrastructure to one company, its a crap shoot.

    But seriously, i can get a 250/50 connection on coax right now. Its ungodly expensive, but it can be done. Fiber is NOT necessary.
  • zodiacfml - Thursday, October 22, 2015 - link

    They use fiber now because it is a physical medium that can last for decades. It's capability for bandwidth seems limitless.
  • SunnyNW - Thursday, October 22, 2015 - link

    Speeds here in Washington state have been increasing rather quickly in the past year or so. Most of the surrounding state especially Seattle suburbs only have access to Comcast yet comcast has been steadily increasing speeds. At the end of last year, 2014, comcast increased our home speed from 50mps to 105mbps for the same cost per month. After 5 or 6 months of having 105mps I called comcast and asked to be downgraded to 50mbps to save some money. Now again, just this month, they upped our speed from 50 to 75mbps, and I'm fairly certain if I had stayed at 105 that that package was increased to 150mbps. To be honest I don't believe most people even need speeds over 50mbps, I sure don't. It doesnt really affect me much whether my downloading speeds are at 6MB/s or 10MB/s, I still enjoy the same quality of streaming and internet usage, and my household usage on average is about 400GB/month. Also all of the these speed tiers are fairly affordable especially when they give you promotional rates for 6 months to a year and even at the end of the promotion if you call they usually, without much fuss at all, extend your promotional period. Also it only costs an extra $10! dollars per month to get bumped up to the next speed tier, which used to mean going from 50 to 105 in my case a few months ago...I'm not sure what the diff speed tiers are now, now that they have increased their speeds again.
    My purpose for this post was in reference to all the comments about Google fiber, and gigabit speeds, and such that I always see... I don't think most private residents need anywhere close to gigabit speeds. I will agreee that businesses are a completely diff story and yes there are special cases out there whom I would consider the enthusiasts/power users (including online gamers who want low latency but again they are in the minority). Even with just 75mbps here at home I show about a 9 to 10ms ping consistently, even across large distances the ping is fairly low.
    Also one last thing comcast is great at always delivering speeds that are always better than what you would expect. With the 50mbps package I always averaged somewhere in the 60s(mbp/s). Now having 75mbps I avg around 85-90.
    In No Way am I pro Comcast but I think internet speeds, especially in my area and I would guess in most urban areas, are to the point where most private residents should be satisfied. Also even without any competition comcast still continues to upgrade their speeds around here. I can easily subscribe to speeds upto 250mbps for about $150/month and in my opinion if you need speeds like that then that price point shouldn't be too far out of reach. You can easily get speeds of 150mbps for less than $100 around here.
    I am not naive and do understand that not all areas,especially around the world, have access to decent speeds but I have seen great progress being made in the past couple years, in the US. Would I love gigabit fiber, of course...Do I 'Need' gigabit fiber, if I'm being practical, of course not and I would argue that that would apply to most Americans at least for the immediate future.
  • Murloc - Thursday, October 22, 2015 - link

    well in most places in the world speeds per $ monthly aren't progressing as fast as storage capabilities and file size.
    For example where I live I get 20 mbit but for like 15 years I've not seen any free upgrade or anything. And I'm in one of the fastest countries in western Europe.

    If you take countries like Romania this problem doesn't exist of course. That's just because a country with not even 10 million people has hundreds of ISPs. Other countries are bogged down by the inheritance of state monopolies.
  • Wolfpup - Thursday, October 22, 2015 - link

    This was a surprise, but it makes sense. I'm surprised by how slow the hard drive companies are/were to get in to SSDs!

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