Seagate, Western Digital slash hard drive warranty periods
Seagate’s warranties on certain drives will be reduced as of December 31, 2011 and WD will follow beginning January 2, 2012. All drives shipped prior to those dates will continue to carry the current warranty term associated with the products.
The warranty period reductions (first reported by The Register) mean some of Seagate’s and WD’s most popular drives for desktops and laptops will no longer carry three- or five-year warranties.
In an email response to Computerworld, Seagate said it was reducing warranty periods as a way to standardize its terms “to be more consistent with those commonly applied throughout the consumer electronics and technology industries.
“By aligning to current industry standards, Seagate can continue to focus its investments on technology innovation and unique product features that drive value for our customers,” the company said.
In other words, Seagate is redirecting money previously spent on upholding longer warranties in order to invest in product development.
Seagate’s new warranties apply to internal hard drives designed for laptops, desktops, and consumer electronics devices. Seagate said there is no warranty change to “mission critical enterprise drives,” such as its Cheetah line, or Seagate external drives.
Seagate said it is reducing its warranty periods from five years to three years for nearline products, such as the Constellation 2 series. Even Seagate’s new hybrid drive, the Momentus XT, has its warranty period cut from five to three years.
In a more radical move, Seagate will also be changing its warranty policy from five years to one year for certain desktop and notebook drives, such as the Barracuda and Barracuda Green 3.5-inch drives and the Momentus 2.5-inch drive.
A WD spokesperson said the company “is continually evaluating the best mix of product and service features that benefit our customer base as a whole.”
WD would not give a reason for its warranty change, but the spokesperson denied it had anything to do with flooding in Thailand, which has severely affected the company’s ability to manufacture products.
WD is reducing the warranties on its Caviar Blue, Caviar Green, and Scorpio Blue drives from three years to two.
“Standard PC warranties are one year. Even so, WD will continue to maintain five-year warranties on its premium desktop/notebook products, including the WD Caviar Black, WD Scorpio Black and WD VelociRaptor products,” a spokesperson wrote in an email reply.
The company is also expected to begin charging for extended warranties, according to a WD distributor’s letter to customers.
[Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed. His email address is email@example.com.]