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Hard drive shipments set record

Hard drive shipments in the fourth quarter of 2005 came to 103.4 million units, the first time the industry has ever passed the 100 million mark in a quarter, according to research firm iSuppli. The previous record was 95.4 million hit in the third quarter of 2004.

Shipments rose 8.3 percent from the 95.4 million shipped in the third quarter and 20.9 percent from the 85.5 million shipped in the fourth quarter of 2004. Nearly every major hard drive manufacturer ended up the year in the black as well, something of a rarity.

The results weren't exactly foreordained. The industry suffered through sporadic shortages of platters. Seagate also bought Maxtor in late December. "Flash memory in 2005 served as a bogeyman for the HDD industry, with much speculation that hard drives would be displaced by solid-state memory in consumer-electronics products and other devices," the firm wrote in a report.