Western Digital Company Brief

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Company Brief
Western Digital

by Faulkner Staff

Docid: 00011485

Publication Date: 2204

Report Type: VENDOR


Western Digital Corporation (WDC) is a top developer of hard disk drives and solid
state drives that are used for storing and managing digital information.
WD’s technologies are incorporated into client and enterprise computing
products, embedded systems, and consumer electronics devices as well as
its own storage and media devices. This report provides a description of
the company and its recent activities.

Report Contents:

Fast Facts

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Name: Western Digital
5601 Great Oaks Parkway
San Jose, CA 95119
(408) 801-1000
Web: http://www.westerndigital.com/
Type of Vendor: Hard Disk Drive Manufacturer
Founded: 1970
Product/Service Areas: Storage


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Founded in 1970 and headquartered in Irvine, California, Western Digital
Corporation (WDC) employs approximately 65,000 people worldwide as of 2021,
with a majority of the workforce based in Asia. The company’s
storage products are marketed to OEMs, systems manufacturers, and select
resellers and retailers under the Western Digital, WD, and HGST (Hitachi
Global Storage Technologies) brands.

WD was founded by Alvin B. Phillips as General Digital. At first, the
company was a producer of metal-oxide-semiconductor test equipment. It
evolved into a vendor of specialty semiconductors and was funded by
individual investors and Emerson Electric Company. In 1971, the company
adopted the name Western Digital and launched the WD1402A UART.

The company initially produced calculator chips and then moved into the
data storage market. It acquired several hardware companies to further its
efforts in the PC hardware industry. In 1988, it acquired Tandon and
released ATA and XT attachment drives. In the 1990s, WD divested several
parts of its business to focus on its networking drives. Then in 1998, the
company formed an alliance with IBM to use IBM technologies in its

In 2003, WD acquired Read-Rite Corporation, and in 2007, it acquired
Komad, a magnetic media producer. In March 2009, WD acquired
Silisonsystems. Then in 2012, WD bought Hitachi Global Storage
Technologies and launched its RED Series of drives for NAS devices. In May
2012, WD completed its divestiture of certain 3.5-inch hard drive assets
to Toshiba Corporation, as required by regulatory agencies as a condition
for approving WD’s acquisition of Viviti Technologies Ltd. (HGST). In
2013, the company acquired both Virident Systems and sTec. In December
2014, WD’s HGST subsidiary completed its acquisition of Skyera Inc., a
vendor of solid-state storage systems for scale-out cloud and enterprise
data centers. In March 2015, HGST acquired Amplidata to further expand its
presence in the cloud storage market. In May 2016, WD’s Western Digital
Technologies subsidiary completed its acquisition of SanDisk.

In 2018, the company launched its highest capacity hard drive
based on conventional magnetic recording, the HGST Ultrastar DC HC530. In
January 2019, Western Digital Corp, the University of California Santa Cruz Genomics Institute,
and Baskin School of Engineering entered into a multi-year joint research
and development agreement to collaborate on genomics sequencing workflows
using computational storage technology. In March 2020, David Goeckeler was
appointed chief executive officer and a member of the Western Digital
Board of Directors. He previously served as the executive vice president
and general manager of Cisco’s Networking and Security Business.

Key Executives

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  • David Goeckeler, Chief Executive Officer
  • Siva Sivaram, President, Technology and Strategy
  • Wissam Jabre, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
  • Christine Bastian, Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer
  • Irving Tan, Executive Vice President, Global Operations
  • Robert W. Soderbery, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Flash Business
  • Ashley Gorakpurwalla, Executive Vice President and General Manager, HDD Business
  • Michael C. Ray, Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer
  • Jerald Kagele, Executive Vice President, Customer Organization

Major Products

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WD is active in several markets, including the external storage,
networking, home entertainment, business solutions, and internal storage
markets. Table 1 below outlines WD’s major product offerings.

Table 1. WD Products
Market Products Offered Major Brands
External Storage Desktop Drives, Portable Drives, Personal Cloud
Storage, WD SmartWave, Backup Solutions, Storage for Tablets,
Rugged Case.
WD SmartWare Pro; DVR Expander; Desktop; Desktop for
Mac; Portable; MyCloud; Portable for Mac.
Networking Routers, Switches, Range Extender, AC Bridge,
Powerline AV Network Kit, Personal Cloud Storage.
Powerline AV Network; Wi-Fi Extenders; AC Bridge; My
Net HD; My Net Switch.
Home Entertainment TV Media Players,
Multimedia Drives, DVR Expander, TV Storage, Portable Media
Drives, Powerline AV Network Kit.
WD TV Live.
Business Solutions Storage Server, Guardian Services, Network Backup
Solutions, My Passport Enterprise.
WD Sentinel DX4000 Storage Server; WD Guardian
Services for WD Sentinel; Windows To Go Portable Hard Drive.
Surveillance Cloud and surveillance hard drives. WD Purple; WD Purple NV; WD Purple Re.
Internal Storage Desktop-Workstation, Mobile, NAS, Enterprise,
CE/AV, Solid State Storage.
WD Blue; WD Green; WD Black; WD VelociRaptor.

Major Competitors

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WD competes against a number of competitors. These include:

Recent Activity

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In April 2022, Western Digital Corporation and Kioxia Corporation finalized a formal agreement to jointly invest in the first phase
of the Fab7 (Y7) manufacturing facility at Kioxia’s Yokkaichi Plant in the Mie Prefecture of Japan. With construction of the first phase
of Y7 completed, the joint-venture investment will enable initial production output beginning in the fall of 2022. This adds a sixth flash
memory manufacturing facility to the Yokkaichi Plant, enhancing its position as the world’s largest flash memory manufacturing site. The
first phase of the Y7 facility will produce 3D flash memory including 112- and 162-layer and future nodes.

Samsung and Western Digital signed a memorandum of understanding in March
2022 to jointly standardize and drive the adoption of next-generation data
placement, processing, and fabrics (D2PF) storage technologies. The two companies will define high-level models and frameworks for Zoned Storage technologies as well as open and scalable data center architectures. While
both companies have been working on respective ZNS SSDs in recent years, the technology behind the drives requires different implementations, so
purchasing a ZNS SSD from one manufacturer has meant committing to an exclusive
supply agreement. The agreement rises from the companies’ Zoned Storage Technical
Work Group, whose goal is to shape and specify cases for Zoned Storage devices, as well as host/device architecture and programming models. While
both companies have been working on respective ZNS SSDs in recent years, the technology behind the drives requires different implementations, so
purchasing a ZNS SSD from one manufacturer has meant committing to an exclusive supply agreement.

Despite announcing a potential merger with Kioxia Corporation in August 2021, talks between Western Digital and Bain Capital for the former Toshiba Memory unit had
stalled by October. The Japan-based Kioxia is a developer of NAND flash-memory chips used in smartphones, computer servers, and other devices. A merger of the two firms
was expected to create a rival to Samsung’s leading position in the NAND field. While Japanese officials indicated a willingness to allow the deal, a stumbling block
appeared to be China’s resistance due to antitrust concerns.


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