Storage manufacturer Quantum will today release its Fireball family of disk drives with new features to protect against crashes.
That follows the announcement of the company's financial results at the end of last week, which showed a small profit.
The Fireball drives will come in 2.5Gbytes, 5.1Gbytes, 7.6Gbytes and 10.2GBbytes sizes, with prices starting at around $150 for the smallest. They will use an Ultra ATA interface but have additional shock protection features to lessen the chances of hard drive crashes.
Quantum's results also offered few shocks to a market accustomed to soaring turnover and small margins. It turned over $5.8 billion for its financial year, ended 31 March 1998, with profits of $170.8 million.
The company had warned that the hard disk drive sector has come under massive pressure on margins, a trend that has hit competitors such as Seagate too. Its most profitable line is the DLT tape range it acquired from Digital Equipment, although even here margins have been squeezed in the past six months.
Chief executive Michael Brown admitted: "The oversupply conditions for the desktop hard disk drive (HDD) market have persisted, resulting in continued aggressive pricing for the second consecutive quarter. During this past quarter, we have also continued to see the impact of the transition in our DLT tape business from an environment of severe supply constraints to one of general availability. As expected, the combination of these factors resulted in lower revenue and earnings compared to the prior quarter."
Quantum faces further challenges ahead. A few weeks ago Seagate, in conjunction with IBM, announced availability of jointly developed tape storage products, which analysts expect to erode Quantum's existing market share through 1998.
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