IBM Announces OEM Storage Shipment Milestone

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San Jose, Calif. - 17 Dec 1998: . . . IBM's OEM Magnetoresistive (MR) Head business today announced it has shipped more than 50 million MR heads and two and half million giant magnetoresistive (GMR) heads since the inception of the business in late 1996. According to market research firm, TrendFocus, IBM has shipped more GMR heads than any other company. This is based on the number of GMR heads IBM has shipped through both its hard drive and OEM MR Head businesses.

MR and GMR heads are key components that help increase the capacity of hard disk drives as well as make them faster and more reliable. IBM integrates these heads into its own hard drive products and markets the components to other original equipment manufacturer (OEM) customers.

There has been a fivefold increase in product shipments this year from the OEM MR Head business unit, part of IBM's Storage Systems Division and a key member of IBM's Technology Group.

"The OEM opportunity is immense. Several years ago, IBM received only a marginal amount of revenue from OEM channels: today, it's a very significant business for us -- and expected to grow substantially," said Dr. James Vanderslice, senior vice president and group executive, IBM Technology Group.

"The OEM MR Head business is a strategic part of the IBM Technology Group," added Vanderslice. "Key to the future of this group are agreements like the special relationship we have with Western Digital Corporation (WD)."

WD introduced this week its first series of products that resulted from this IBM/WD agreement completed in June 1998 for hard drive component supply and technology licensing. The new high-capacity, high-performance WD Expert product line and the new WD Caviar 20.4-gigabyte desktop PC hard drive all feature IBM's advanced GMR heads.

"As world leaders in the hard drive industry, Western Digital and IBM are setting a new bar for high performance hard drives," said Chuck Haggerty, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Western Digital Corporation. "As experienced end users seek high-performance desktop solutions, we are pleased to have a new product roadmap in place that matches our customers' needs, including the clear industry-leading IBM GMR heads."

"IBM continues to raise the bar in storage with both its MR and GMR head technology to meet and exceed what our customers need," said Joanne Williams, director of OEM sales and sales operations, IBM OEM MR Head business unit. "The outstanding growth our business has had this year is a reflection of IBM's technology leadership and our ability to execute."

In other news, WD has awarded IBM's advanced MR heads qualification status so IBM's MR heads are approved to be integrated into Western Digital's WD Caviar desktop PC hard drives announced several weeks ago.

Western Digital Corporation is a leader in information storage products and services. The company designs and manufactures hard drives for personal and enterprise-wise computing, and markets them to leading systems manufacturers and selected resellers under the Western Digital brand name. The company's Web page can be found at

Members of the IBM Technology Group include: Storage Systems Division; Microelectronics Division; Networking Hardware Division; Printing Systems Division; Displays Business Unit; and Technology Market Development.

For more information about IBM's OEM MR Head business, access its Web page at

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IBM is a trademark of International Business Machines Corporation. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

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