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The hard disk drive (HDD) market will level out in the next six months, buoyed up by the Christmas season and the manufacturers cut backs earlier in the year. Prices will continue to fall, but the rate of the decline will decrease as availability falls in line with demand. The industry has been suffering from a chronic oversupply problem, but that should tail off in the last quarter of 1998. The desktop market will continue to find things tough, especially in Asia. Manufacturers in the east will continue to suffer since the economic situation does not allow for long term planning. In contrast, the mobile market is “taking off” said Seamus Twohig, hard drives product manager at Ideal Hardware. Fewer manufacturers are competing for market share, and demand in that arena is high: “Just think about the big shift over to telecommuting,” he said. The SCSI market will still have problems with oversupply and will feel pressure from IDE drives. However, it will benefit from a significant increase in capacity recently, and the rapidly expanding market for Internet servers. Twohig said that he expects to see a 36GB capacity 3.5 inch drive within the next nine months. “SCSI is becoming synonymous with capacity and performance,” he said. Competition from removable drives such as Iomega’s Zip drives will be less significant, said Ideal Hardware. “Their bubble seems to have burst, although SyQuest now seems to be offering competitive products,” Twohig said. ®

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