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Tech Industry

Western Digital posts loss

The firm reports a larger-than-expected fourth quarter loss due to industry-wide oversupply of storage devices and falling prices of desktop computers.

    PC hard drive maker Western Digital today reported a larger than expected fourth quarter loss due to industry-wide oversupply of storage devices and plummeting prices for desktop computers, the company said.

    The company posted a loss of $162.7 million, or $1.84 per share, for the fourth quarter, which ended June 27. The loss was more than the First Call estimate of $1.29 per share.

    This time last year, Western Digital reported revenue of $1.08 billion and net income of $87.9 million, or 95 cents diluted earnings per share.

    For fiscal 1998, the company reported revenue of $3.54 billion and a net loss of $290.2 million, or $3.32 per share, including special charges of $140 million in the second fiscal quarter and other special charges in the fourth quarter, the company said.

    "Our disappointing results for the fiscal year and the fourth quarter reflect nearly a full year's sustained oversupply and price declines of nearly 50 percent in the desktop segment of the hard drive industry," said Chuck Haggerty, chief executive of Western Digital, in a statement.

    The storage industry--led by Western Digital, Seagate, and Quantum--is suffering from a prolonged malaise much like what the semiconductor market is experiencing as a result of sluggish computer sales and intense competition. The Asian economic slump only has made matters worse, according to analysts.