Western Digital

Western Digital Corporation
Traded as NASDAQ: WDC
NASDAQ-100 Component
S&P 500 Component
Industry Data technology
Founded April 23, 1970 (1970-04-23)
Headquarters San Jose, California, United States
Area served
Key people
Stephen D. Milligan (CEO)
Products Hard disk drives
NAND Flash-based storage devices
Storage systems
Brands WD
Revenue US$19.093 billion (2017)[1]
US$1.954 billion (2017)[1]
US$397 million (2017)[1]
Total assets US$29.860 billion (2017)[1]
Total equity US$11.418 billion (2017)[1]
Number of employees
72,000 (2018)[2]
Subsidiaries HGST
Tegile Systems
Website www.wdc.com

Western Digital Corporation (abbreviated WDC, commonly shortened to Western Digital or WD) is a US computer hard disk drive manufacturer and data storage company. It designs, manufactures and sells data technology products, including storage devices, data center systems and cloud storage services.

Western Digital Corporation has a long history in the electronics industry as an integrated circuit maker and a storage products company. It is also one of the larger computer hard disk drive manufacturers, along with its primary competitor Seagate Technology.[3]


In October 2010, Western Digital announced the shipment of first 3 TB internal hard disk drive, which has 750 GB-per-platter density with SATA interface.[4]

In March 2011, Western Digital agreed to acquire the storage unit of Hitachi, HGST, for about $4.3 billion of which $3.5 billion was paid in cash and the rest with 25 million shares of Western Digital.[5]

In March 2012, Western Digital completed the acquisition of HGST and became the largest traditional hard drive manufacturer in the world; to address the requirements of regulatory agencies, in May 2012 Western Digital divested assets to manufacture and sell certain 3.5-inch hard drives for the desktop and consumer electronics markets to Toshiba.[6]

In February 2014, Western Digital announced a new "Purple" line of hard disk drives for use in video surveillance systems, with capacities from 1 to 4 TB. They feature internal optimizations for applications that involve near-constant disk writing, and "AllFrame" technology which is designed to reduce write errors.[7]

In April 2017, Western Digital moved its headquarters from Irvine, California to San Jose, California.[8] In December 2017 Western Digital reached an agreement with Toshiba about the sale of the jointly owned NAND production facility in Japan.[9] In May 2018 Toshiba reached an agreement with the Bain consortium about the sale of that chip unit.[10]

In May 2016, Western Digital acquired SanDisk for US$19 billion.[11][12] In the summer of 2017, Western Digital licensed the Fusion-io/SanDisk ION Accelerator software to One Stop Systems.[13] In August 2017, Western Digital acquired Upthere, which offers apps that sync files and photos across devices, with the intention to continue building out the service.[14] In September 2017, Western Digital acquired Tegile Systems, maker of flash memory storage arrays.[15]

In July 2018 Western Digital announced their plan to close their hard disk production facility in Kuala Lumpur.[16]


Hard drives

Self-encrypting Western Digital hard drives have been reported to have severe faults and to be easy to decrypt.[17]

Western Digital was the last manufacturer of parallel ATA hard disk drives for laptops (2.5-inch form factor) and desktop PCs (3.5-inch form factor), producing them until December 2013.[18]

Western Digital sells data center software and system solutions.[19] Including an enterprise-class Ultrastar product line.[20] In October 2017, Western Digital shipped the world’s first 14 TB HDD, the helium-filled HGST Ultrastar Hs14.[21][22]

Consumer products

Western Digital sells consumer storage products under the WD brand, with product families called My Passport, My Book, WD TV, and My Cloud. While traditionally these products have used HDDs, Western Digital has started to offer SSD versions, such as the My Passport SSD, its first portable SSD.[23] In September 2015, Western Digital released My Cloud OS 3, a platform that enables connected HDDs to sync between PCs and mobile devices.[24][25]

Western Digital also sells consumer data technology products under the SanDisk, and G-Technology product brands, as well as cloud storage services under the Upthere brand. Through Western Digital’s acquisition of Upthere, the company offers personal cloud storage through the Upthere Home app and UpOS operating system.[26][27]

Under the SanDisk brand, Western Digital offers mobile storage products, cards and readers, USB flash drives, SSDs and MP3 players. Most of Western Digital’s consumer flash memory products are offered through SanDisk. The SanDisk iXpand product family, including the iXpand Flash Drive and iXpand Base, is made specifically for use with the Apple iPhone and iPad.[28][29][30] The 400GB SanDisk Ultra microSDXC UHS-I card was designed primarily for use in Android smartphones that include an expansion slot.[31][32]

Under the G-Technology brand, Western Digital offers HDD, SSD, platforms and systems products designed specifically for creative professionals.[33][34]

Former offerings include Western Digital Media Center and over-the-top set-top boxes.[35]

Corporate affairs

Western Digital Capital is Western Digital's investment arm.[36][37] It has contributed funding for data technology companies such as Elastifile and Avere Systems.[38][39][40]


Lawsuits have been filed against various manufacturers including Western Digital,[41] related to the claimed capacity of their drives. The drives are labelled using the convention of 10^3 (1000) bytes to the kilobyte, resulting in a perceived capacity shortfall when reported by most operating systems, which tend to use 2^10 (1024) bytes to the kilobyte.[42]

While Western Digital maintained that they used "the indisputably correct industry standard for measuring and describing storage capacity", and that they "cannot be expected to reform the software industry", they agreed to settle in March 2006,[43] with a $30 refund to affected customers in the form of backup and recovery software of the same value.[42]


Acquisition date Company Product types Price Refs
March 8, 2012 HGST HDD, SSD $3,900,000,000 [44]
September 12, 2013 STEC SSD $340,000,000 [45]
October 17, 2013 Virident SSD, system and software $685,000,000 [46][47]
March 16, 2015 Amplidata Software   [48]
May 12, 2016 SanDisk SSD, system and software, NAND flash, embedded $16,000,000,000 [49]
August 28, 2017 Upthere Flash, persistent, cloud services   [50]
September 2017 Tegile Flash, persistent, cloud services   [51][52]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "Western Digital Technologies 2017 Annual Report (Form 10-K)". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. July 2017. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  2. "Quarterly Fact Sheet — Q3 FY18" (PDF). Western Digital. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  3. Disk Drive Industry Update: Volume 76, Needham Company, June 14, 2011
  4. "WD's New 3TB Drive Packs More Storage Than 32-Bit Can Handle". WIRED. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  5. Hitachi Rises on $4.3 Billion Sale of Hard-Drive Unit to Western Digital. Bloomberg. Retrieved on July 17, 2013.
  6. Ngo, Dong (28 February 2012). "Toshiba to acquire Western Digital's 3.5-inch HDD manufacturing equipment". CNET. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  7. "WD says its new Purple hard drives are optimized for 24/7 video surveillance". PC World. IDG. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  8. "Amid job cuts, Western Digital moves HQ to San Jose". Silicon Valley Business Journal. American City Business Journals. April 25, 2017. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
  9. King, Ian (December 12, 2017). "Toshiba, Western Digital Settle Fight Over Chip Unit Sale". Bloomberg. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  10. "Toshiba completes $18 billion sale of chip unit to Bain consortium". Reuters. May 31, 2018. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  11. "Western Digital to acquire SanDisk for $19B". USA Today. Gannett Company. October 21, 2015. Retrieved October 22, 2015.
  12. "Western Digital officially closes SanDisk acquisition". The Verge. Vox Media. May 12, 2016. Retrieved August 3, 2016.
  13. Tom Matson (August 8, 2017). "Building a True Data Solution". InsideHPC. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  14. Kastrenakes, Jacob (28 August 2017). "Western Digital buys Upthere to build better cloud storage features". The Verge.
  15. Gagliordi, Natalie (August 29, 2017). "Western Digital buys flash storage company Tegile Systems". ZDNet. Retrieved 17 November 2017. Western Digital just announced that it plans to buy flash storage vendor Tegile Systems. [...] The Tegile acquisition is expected to close next week.
  16. Mellor, Chris (July 17, 2018). "Western Digital formats hard disk drive factory as demand spins down". The Register. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  17. "Some Popular 'Self Encrypting' Hard Drives Have Really Bad Encryption". Motherboard. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
  18. "Western Digital to Stop Shipping PATA Hard Drives". TechPowerUp. Retrieved December 22, 2014.
  19. Dignan, Larry (15 November 2016). "Western Digital's data center unit adds to scale-out storage portfolio". ZDNet. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  20. Wong, Wylie (12 October 2017). "Western Digital Aims Largest Hard Drive Ever at World's Largest Data Centers". Data Center Knowledge. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  21. Lilly, Paul (3 October 2017). "Western Digital's mega-capacity 14TB helium-filled hard drive is now shipping". PC Gamer. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  22. Whitwam, Ryan (4 October 2017). "Western Digital Launches World's First 14TB Hard Drive". ExtremeTech. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  23. Gartenberg, Chaim (6 April 2017). "Western Digital announces its first portable SSD". The Verge. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  24. Armstrong, Adam (7 July 2017). "WD Red 10TB Review". Storage Review. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  25. Smith, Lyle (18 August 2017). "WD My Passport Ultra Review (4TB)". Storage Review. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  26. Miller, Matthew (29 July 2016). "Upthere launches cloud service with a goal to replace your local storage". ZDNet. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  27. Spadafora, Anthony (31 August 2017). "Western Digital buys cloud storage company Upthere". BetaNews. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  28. Heater, Brian (25 April 2016). "Hands on with SanDisk's iPhone storage-expanding flash drive". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  29. Fuller, Leanne (11 July 2017). "Sandisk iXpand flash drive fits iPhone lightning charge port". WPSD Local 6. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  30. Smith, Lyle (31 August 2017). "WD Announces SanDisk iXpand Base For iPhone & 400GB microSD Card". Storage Review. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  31. Mellor, Chris (31 August 2017). "SanDisk's little microSD card sucks up 400GB". The Register. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  32. Etherington, Darrell (31 August 2017). "SanDisk's 400GB microSD card is an Android phone's best friend". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  33. Ottke, Adam (8 September 2015). "G-Technology's New Enclosures and Adapters Offer Increased Flexibility and Support for All Creative Workflows". Fstoppers. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  34. Broussard, Mitchel (11 April 2017). "Western Digital Reveals 'G-Drive USB-C' With High-Capacity Storage and MacBook Charging Capabilities". MacRumors. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  35. O'Neill, Jim (11 June 2010). "Western Digital's OTT box adds functionality, looks like a winner". FierceCable. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  36. "Company Overview of Western Digital Capita". Bloomberg. Retrieved 3 June 2018.
  37. McGrath, Dylan (30 August 2017). "Western Digital Buys Flash Array Vendor Tegile". EE Times. Retrieved 3 June 2018.
  38. Mellor, Chris (6 September 2017). "File software-flinger Elastifile stretches funding further to $65m". The Register. Retrieved 3 June 2018.
  39. Sawers, Paul (21 March 2017). "Hybrid cloud storage company Avere Systems raises $14 million from Google, Western Digital, others". VentureBeat. Retrieved 3 June 2018.
  40. Clarke, Peter (11 September 2017). "Western Digital backs processor-in-memory startup". eeNews Analog. Retrieved 3 June 2018.
  41. Western Digital Settles Capacity Suit, betanews.com
  42. 1 2 Western Digital settles drive size lawsuit, arstechnica.com
  43. NOTICE OF CLASS ACTION AND PROPOSED SETTLEMENT (“NOTICE”) Archived May 7, 2010, at the Wayback Machine., wdc.com
  44. Ribeiro, John (8 March 2012). "Western Digital Closes Hitachi GST Acquisition, to Operate Separate Subsidiaries". PCWorld. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  45. Vättö, Kristian (24 June 2013). "Western Digital Acquires STEC". AnandTech. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  46. Alawadhi, Neha (9 September 2013). "Western Digital buys flash memory maker Virident, focus now on Fusion-io". Reuters. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  47. Dignan, Larry (9 September 2013). "Western Digital buys Virident Systems for $685 million, bolsters enterprise efforts". ZDNet. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  48. Harris, Robin (3 March 2015). "WD's HGST buys Amplidata". ZDNet. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  49. Deagon, Brian (13 May 2016). "Western Digital Starts New Era As SanDisk Acquisition Completed". Investor's Business Daily. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  50. Kastrenakes, Jacob (28 August 2017). "Western Digital buys Upthere to build better cloud storage features". The Verge. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  51. "Western Digital buys up Tegile Systems to add to its Data Center Systems business". V3. 30 August 2017. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  52. Mellor, Chris (July 27, 2018). "If you were a firm-swallowing storage giant, how WD you digest them all?". The Register. Retrieved August 15, 2018.

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