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History 2004: Seagate Still ≠1 Ahead of EMC

2003, year of storage industry recovery

2003 was truly the year an ailing storage industry was revived, with growth that improved with each passing month.

The numbers speak for themselves. 79% of the companies experienced some growth in revenues over 2002, a record for the past 3 years.

Recall, too, that 2002 was even worse than 2001, with only 38% of companies showing sales growth compared to 49% in 2001 and 78% in 2000.

Another significant indication: the percentage of firms reporting net losses hit its lowest level in 4 years, with 46% in 2003, compared to 61% in 2002, 69% in 2001 and 48% in 2000.

As it has for the past 2 years, Seagate held on to its lead position for storage industry revenue, at $6.5 billion, just ahead of EMC with $6.2 billion, despite steady 25% growth in sales for the latter, which lost the lead in 2002.

In light of all the acquisitions EMC concluded the past year, however, it has every shot at retaking the title for 2004.

Best sales growth of the year: optical disk maker CIS Technology (+494%!), Dot Hill and Caminosoft (+300%), followed by Lexar Media (+171%), InforTrend (+117%), Lite-On Technology (+105%) and M-Systems (+101%).

Sharpest declines: Exabyte (-39%), Iomega (-39%), MTI Technology (-30%).

Leaders in net income: Seagate ($641 million), EMC (496), Veritas (274).

Heaviest net losses: Finisar ($620 million!), LSI Logic (308), Quantum (263), Cypress (203), Brocade (136).

We’ve already commented on the complete turnaround in the flash market in 2002, with a 35% annual sales growth, compared to a 38% decline in 2001 for the combined sales of Lexar Media, M-Systems, SanDisk and SST. In 2003, the combined growth of these 4 companies was 82%!

Another fast-growth segment was optical disc drives and media.

The year was better than average for the HDD sector. For the tape industry, however, fates were varied, with good figures for Adic, Overland and StorageTek, less so for Exabyte, Qualstar and Quantum.

The first quarter of the current year should not be too dramatic, but the recovery is well underway, particularly in USA, so expect a good 2004 for the storage industry.

This article is an abstract of news published on issue 194 on March 2004 from the former paper version of Computer Data Storage Newsletter.