Western Digital is dumping a lump of coal in customers’ stockings this holiday season.

Some Warranties cut by 60%

Western Digital sent out a letter to its channel partners informing them that Caviar Blue, Caviar Green, and Scorpio Blue drives will have their warranties slashed from three years to two years beginning January 2, 2012. Caviar Black and Scorpio Black drives will still carry their existing five-year warranties.

Not to be left having the longest warranty in the business, Seagate announced that they are also cutting their hard drive warranties.

Here are some of the “details”;

  • Constellation 2 and ES.2 drives: 5 years reduced to 3 years
  • Barracuda and Barracuda Green drives: 5 years reduced to 1 year
  • Barracuda XT: 5 years reduced to 3 years
  • Momentus 2.5-inch (5400 and 7200rpm): 5 years reduced to 1 year
  • Momentus XT: 5 years reduced to 3 years

How does this affect me?

Most low end desktops ship with Barracuda Green drives. If you go into one of the box stores and buy the el’ cheapo’ drives they stock, it is probably a Barracuda Green.

Hard drive failure rates are much higher than they should be already. At least with the longer warranty, you could get a replacement.

Either they have no confidence in their products, or due to lack of competition, they feel can do whatever they want.

Lack of competition

There are only three main hard drive manufacturers left. We have Western Digital, Toshiba, and Seagate. Here is a nice little diagram I found to illustrate;

As you can see we went from 12 down to three. This makes it much easier for them to set pricing and warranties terms. This doesn’t sound good for any of us. Not sure if there is anything we can do buy stop buying the drives with the lower warranties.