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Maxtor

Maxtor Corporation was an American manufacturer of computer hard disk drives founded in 1982 and acquired by Seagate in 2006. As of December 2005, just prior to the acquisition, Maxtor was the world's third-largest manufacturer of hard disks. It now operates as a subsidiary of Seagate.

Maxtor targeted both the server and desktop market, concentrating on disk capacity more than disk speed for desktops.

History

Overview

  • 1981 - Initial search for funding.
  • 1983 - First product.
  • 1985 - Initial public offering.
  • 1990 - Acquired MiniScribe, another hard disk manufacturer.
  • 1992 - Near bankruptcy.
  • 1993 - Closed San Jose, California engineering operations.
  • 1996 - Introduced DiamondMax line of DSP based disks.
  • 2000 - Purchased Quantum's hard disk line of business especially for their ATA133 IDE interface.
  • 2006 - Acquired by Seagate.

Early financing

The Maxtor founders, James McCoy, Jack Swartz, and Raymond Niedzwiecki, began the search for funding in 1981. The founders are all ex-employees of IBM and graduated from the San Jose State School of Engineering. In early 1982, B.J. Cassin and Chuck Hazel (Bay Partners) provided the initial $3 million funding and the company officially began operations on July 1, 1982. It shipped its first product in February 1983 to Convergent Technology and immediately received an additional $5.5 million in its second round of funding. The company also began negotiations with the EDB (Economic Development Board) of Singapore for favorable terms before committing to Singapore as its offshore manufacturing location. The DBS (Development Bank of Singapore) agreed to provide financing to help grow the company in Singapore. In 1983, the company established a liaison and procurement office in Tokyo, headed by Tatsuya Yamamoto.

Maxtor's product architecture used eight disks; 15 surfaces recorded data and the final surface was where the servo track information was located. The company developed its own spindle motor which was fitted within the casting containing the disks. This was a major departure, the motor usually being mounted external to the disks. The first product was designed to provide 190 MB of storage, but delays in getting magnetic heads to the Maxtor design resulted in the company taking what was available and the first drives were shipped with a capacity of only 140 MB. The company received an additional round of financing of approximately $37 million in 1984 before going public in 1985, with Goldman Sachs as the prime underwriter.

MiniScribe acquisition

In 1990 Maxtor entered the mass market with its purchase of the assets (but not the liabilities) of bankrupt MiniScribe in Longmont, Colorado. The transition was a tough one, with the early products of this union (notably the 7120 3.5-inch 120 MB drive) having many quality and design problems. Later products managed to sell well despite the initial problems, and in 1996 the company completely redesigned its drive lines, introducing the Texas Instruments DSP-based DiamondMax series.

Financial troubles

After nine years of development, the original XT-series of drives had achieved a capacity of 1 GB. Maxtor sold the rights to the series to a company called Sequel in the mid-1990s, thus exiting the server SCSI drive market. Sequel was not a disk drive manufacturer; rather they specialized in refurbishing drives for the existing customer base. Teetering on the brink of bankruptcy in 1992, Maxtor's exit from the high capacity 5.25-inch SCSI market temporarily left a product void in the industry. Around this time, SCSI versions of the 7000 series drives were also discontinued and all engineering operations in San Jose were shut down in late 1993, leaving only the former MiniScribe design engineering staff. After turnover in the executive staff, Maxtor decided it had made a mistake, and having moved its headquarters to nearby Milpitas, gradually began rebuilding its Silicon Valley engineering staff.

Quantum hard drives acquisition

In 2000, Maxtor purchased Quantum's hard drive business. This move made them larger than their rivals (notably Seagate), and also returned them to the server-SCSI market.

Current situation

Maxtor, in recent years, like many other hard drive makers, had been expanding into the external hard disk market, with the Maxtor One-Touch II personal hard drive, which is marketed as convenient external storage for the home user.

Maxtor had initially made efforts to get into the 2.5-inch hard disk market (notebook computer format) but, in the beginning of 2005, new management made the surprising decision to discontinue development in this field. This was considered by many industry watchers to be a particularly peculiar move, since the market for such hard drives (mainly notebook computers and MP3 players) was already experiencing rapid growth, with no signs of slowing down in the foreseeable future.

In a deal worth US$1.9 billion, Maxtor was acquired by its rival Seagate in 2006. It is now used as a Seagate brand.

A series of storage solutions continues to be sold under the Maxtor brand name. The current Maxtor product line includes:

Maxtor OneTouch 4

Maxtor OneTouch 4 Plus

Maxtor OneTouch 4 Mini

Maxtor OneTouch 3 Turbo Edition

Maxtor OneTouch 3 FW 800/FW 400/USB 2.0

Maxtor OneTouch 3 FW 400/USB 2.0

Maxtor OneTouch 3 USB 2.0

Maxtor OneTouch 3 Mini Edition

Maxtor Basics Personal Storage 3200

Maxtor Shared Storage 2 1 TB

Maxtor Shared Storage 2 320/500GB

Maxtor Fusion Personal Web Server

Maxtor Basics ATA/100 Hard Drive kit

Maxtor Basics SATA 2/300 Hard Drive kit

References

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