Thanks to Mike Tedesco for noting that IBM Storage Technology has merged with Hitachi Storage forming the new Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. Today HGST has announced that the Microdrive will take a four fold leap in capacity at the end of this year. "The areal density of the 4GB Microdrive is made possible by using a new five-layer version of Hitachi's patented "Pixie Dust" media technology. This data storage breakthrough is achieved by taking a three-atom-thick layer of the element ruthenium, a precious metal similar to platinum, and sandwiching it between three magnetic layers."

Press Release:

World's smallest hard drive now bigger: 4GB on a one-inch disk

SAN JOSE, January 6, 2003 -- Hitachi Global Storage Technologies today announced plans to squeeze four gigabytes of data onto the 1-inch Microdrive, the world's smallest hard disk drive. With considerable advances in miniaturization technology, Hitachi engineers have overcome numerous magnetic recording challenges associated with developing hard disk drives of this size. The 4GB Microdrive is expected to be available in the Fall of 2003.

The new drive will use ultra-miniaturized components, including a new read-write head that is half the size of its predecessor and results in a 40-percent decrease in the height at which the head travels above the disk platter. This feature is analogous to a Boeing 747 airplane flying one millimeter above the surface of the earth. The Microdrive's new head technology, called the femto slider head, opens up a next generation of head slider technology. The new technology is so small that it is equivalent in size to a grain of table salt.

Hitachi engineers have also drastically increased the tracks per inch to accommodate the Microdrive's areal density of more than 60 billion bits of data per square inch. This areal density required mechanical tolerances and accuracies to be significantly tighter in order to maintain the Microdrive's superior data integrity and reliability.

Pixie Dust Media Technology

The areal density of the 4GB Microdrive is made possible by using a new five-layer version of Hitachi's patented "Pixie Dust" media technology. This data storage breakthrough is achieved by taking a three-atom-thick layer of the element ruthenium, a precious metal similar to platinum, and sandwiching it between three magnetic layers. Technically referred to as antiferromagnetically coupled media, the ruthenium/magnetic layers enable data recording at ultra-high densities while maintaining data integrity.

Other significant technical achievements include a data transfer rate increase that represents a 50 percent improvement from the previous-generation Microdrive. Hitachi engineers estimate that the new data transfer rates are faster than all competitive solid-state data storage products available today.

"The Microdrive's capacity is ideally suited for multimedia or other data-intensive applications that need to be accessed via a handheld device," said Bill Healy, general manager, Mobile HDD Business Unit, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. "Whether users are listening to music, watching movies on their PDA or shooting high-resolution photography, the Microdrive enables users to focus on the task at hand -- not on the amount of memory available in their device."

Broad Industry Support

The 4GB Microdrive is designed to the CompactFlash Type II industry standard. HP and Eastman-Kodak are among the industry-leading companies that are evaluating the 4GB Microdrive. The new Microdrive is expected to broaden the variety and complexity of applications that can be run on handheld appliances and other consumer electronic devices.

The proliferation and sharing of digital content is driving the need for mobile devices that can run large multimedia and enterprise applications, but are portable enough to fit in the palm of a hand. Manufacturers of portable devices, handheld and laptop computers, digital still and video cameras and MP3 players are among the many technology products that are optimized to take advantage of the Microdrive's substantial capacity and performance features.

"The HP iPAQ Pocket PC's high performance and brilliant display make it perfect for running rich multimedia applications," said Cindy Box, director of marketing, Smart Handhelds, HP. "The Hitachi Microdrive's impressive capacity and portability allow HP iPAQ Pocket PC users to watch movies, listen to music, and enrich their email experience with attachments while enabling new business applications."

"As digital cameras continue to evolve and increase in megapixels, consumers will take an increasing number of high-resolution images that need to be stored on a high-capacity, portable medium," said Madhav Mehra, general manager, Digital Capture Systems, Kodak Professional. "Kodak is evaluating the Microdrive because its capacity and portability are well-suited to the needs of even the most demanding digital camera user."

Product Availability

Hitachi currently offers the Microdrive in capacities ranging from 340MB to 1GB. The 4GB Microdrive is expected to be available in the Fall of 2003. Pricing will be announced later this year.

The Microdrive is currently the CompactFlash price performance leader with the lowest cost per megabyte in the industry. The new 4GB version Microdrive is expected to continue this leadership tradition.

Hitachi will participate, along with its development partners, in major industry events such as the Consumer Electronics Show and the Storage Visions conference in January to discuss the Microdrive advancements in greater detail.

Press Release (merger):

Hitachi establishes "Hitachi Global Storage Technologies"

Taking a bold new step for storage innovation

TOKYO, Japan and SAN JOSE, Calif. - January 6, 2003 -- Hitachi, Ltd. (NYSE: HIT, TSE: 6501) today announced that it has created a new hard disk drive (HDD) storage company with the most advanced technology, the most extensive product line, and the greatest global reach in the industry.

The new company, named Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, which comprises the HDD operations of Hitachi and IBM, is headquartered in San Jose, California. The new company is 70 percent owned by Hitachi, with the remainder of the shares held by IBM. Hitachi, however, will assume full ownership at the end of 2005. IBM will have no involvement in the management of Hitachi Global Storage Technologies.

Hitachi and IBM reached a framework agreement in June last year under which Hitachi would purchase IBM's HDD operations for US$2.05 billion. Since then, the two companies reached agreements regarding all related matters, including contracts for the supply of HDDs to IBM, treatment of intellectual property and the provision of services. Based on these agreements, and a revision in operating bases and personnel covered by this acquisition, the deal closed on December 31, 2002.

As an entity specializing in HDDs, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies will bring together the mutually complementary qualities of both its founding companies. Hitachi boasts cutting-edge R&D capabilities, such as in perpendicular magnetic recording technology. Having invented the HDD, IBM has extensive technological expertise backed by an industry-leading number of patents, and top-level product development capabilities. With an expanded product lineup, increased production capacity, and enhanced global development, production and sales networks as a result of this integration, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies is in an extremely competitive position.

"The completion of this deal changes everything in the storage industry -- no one else has the depth of knowledge and the breadth of technology that we have to offer," said Dr. Jun Naruse, chief executive officer, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. "Customers will see new HDD technologies reach the marketplace more quickly than ever before, helping them meet their growing needs for versatile, robust and economical storage technologies."

The company will provide the most extensive line of HDDs in the industry, covering every major segment from consumer-focused 1-inch to enterprise-level 3.5-inch products. The worldwide sales and support capabilities of Hitachi Global Storage Technologies will provide customers with unequaled access to products and services.

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies aims to use its world-class R&D capabilities and state-of-the-art technologies to be a driving force behind further advances in the HDD format. The new company is determined to be a leader in the HDD industry by developing products and offering support in a timely manner to meet various needs in the IT market. HDDs are expected to be in increasing demand for use in mobile terminals, PCs, servers and other information appliances, as well as emerging consumer electronics market, like car navigation systems, set-top boxes and other products.

Powerful hardware is a vital element of efforts to bolster the Hitachi Group's solutions delivering abilities. Hitachi also sees the opportunity to capture many synergies with Hitachi Global Storage Technologies in the Hitachi Group's consumer electronics operations, including information appliances. In the field of redundant array of independent disks (RAID) storage systems, in particular, Hitachi hopes to develop worldwide storage solutions that take advantage of Hitachi Global Storage Technologies' powerful HDDs.

One of Hitachi's overarching goals is to leverage its competitive edge in HDDs to exercise leadership in the IT industry by building the infrastructure needed to support a ubiquitous information society.

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies commenced operations on January 1, 2003, integrating IBM's HDD production and marketing bases with Hitachi's U.S. HDD sales division. On April 1, plans call for Hitachi, Ltd.'s Data Storage Systems Division, which operates an HDD manufacturing facility in Kanagawa Prefecture, to be integrated with the Japanese subsidiary of Hitachi Global Storage Technologies by taking advantage of Japan's corporate split law. Plans are also in hand for all Hitachi's HDD production and sales locations, including sales operations in Europe and Asia, to join Hitachi Global Storage Technologies.

Profile of the New Company (As of April 1, 2003)

Company name: Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, Inc.
(Headquartered in the U.S.)
Stockholders' Equity: US$2.029 billion (on establishment)
Top management team: Yoshiro Kuwata,, (non-resident) Chairman of the Board (Executive Vice President and Director, Hitachi, Ltd.)
Jun Naruse, CEO (Managing Officer, Hitachi, Ltd.)
Douglas Grose, COO (formerly general manager of IBM's Storage Technology Division)
Ryuichi Yagi, CFO (Managing Officer, Hitachi, Ltd.)
Development locations A total of 5 bases in the U.S. and Japan
Manufacturing locations: 8 bases in 7 countries-the U.S., Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, Mexico, China and Thailand
Sales locations: Bases in 13 countries, including the U.S., Japan, England, Germany, France, Singapore, Taiwan and China
Main products: 3.5-, 2.5-, 1.8- and 1.0-inch HDDs
Employees: Approx. 21,500 (Hitachi, approx. 6,800; IBM, approx. 14,700)
Fiscal year end: December 31