Amstrad has won its long running legal case against Seagate in the High Court of Justice (see previous story).
Seagate will pay Amstrad $93.8 million plus interest and costs - which could amount to another $60 million - in compensation for the supply of 56,660 faulty ST277R hard disk drives in 1988, which, Amstrad claimed, caused the majority of its flagship PC2386 desktop PCs to malfunction.
Amstrad was in full flight in the PC market at the time, having successfully driven down the price of IBM clones with its PC1640 and challenged the state of the art (in 1988) with its PC2386 386-based machine.
Having relied heavily on retail sales, principally through Dixons Stores Group, in the early 1990s, Amstrad's dwindling PC business pulled in its horns in January 1995 to concentrate exclusively on direct mail sales.
The faulty hard disks lost Amstrad approximately $122 million due to lost and delayed sales of its PC2386 alone, the company claims. No recognition has been made, however, of Amstrad's loss of reputation in the PC market. "Nobody will ever know where Amstrad would be today if this had not happened," said Amstrad's chairman Alan Sugar. "The financial award we have received today only goes some way to compensate us. Perhaps as importantly, the decision exonerates myself and my team."
Seagate is currently considering filing an appeal, but the payment to Amstrad will show up as a charge on the company's financial results this quarter.
Amstrad has also taken legal action against Western Digital, which it claims provided faulty drives during the same period. That case will go to trial later this year in California. Sugar acknowledged that the situation was an "an incredible coincidence," wherein two different suppliers both shipped bad hard drives to Amstrad.
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