Skip to comments.Chinese Seek to Buy a U.S. Maker of Disk Drives(Seagate)
Posted on 08/24/2007 7:32:31 PM PDT by milestogo
Chinese Seek to Buy a U.S. Maker of Disk Drives
SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 24 A Chinese technology company has expressed interest in buying a maker of computer disk drives in the United States, raising concerns among American government officials about the risks to national security in transferring high technology to China.
The overture, which was disclosed by the chief executive of one of the two remaining drive makers in the United States, William D. Watkins of Seagate Technology, has resurrected the issues of economic competitiveness and national security raised three years ago when Lenovo, a Chinese computer maker, bought I.B.M.s personal computer business.
Tensions have been increasing lately between the countries over Chinas ambitions in developing its military abilities and advanced technologies for industrial and consumer uses.
Although disk drives do not fall under a list of export-controlled technologies, the attempted purchase of an American disk drive company would require a security review by the federal government, according to several government officials.
In recent years, modern disk drives, used to store vast quantities of digital information securely, have become complex computing systems, complete with hundreds of thousands of lines of software that are used to ensure the integrity of data and to offer data encryption.
That could raise the prospect of secret tampering with hardware or software to make it possible to pilfer information via computer networks, intelligence officials have warned.
The U.S. government is freaking out, Mr. Watkins said during an interview on Thursday.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
The drive's firmware could indeed be written with some sneaky stuff to recognize "vendor specific" (i.e., secret) commands. Here's one for openers: One of these vendor-specific commands could be "give me the name of the next file in the disk that starts with [specified 3-character extension], followed by "give me the next X sectors of that file we were just talking about".
That wouldn't take much firmware at all and would probably go right through anti-virus stuff.
How many ThinkPad/ IBM do US officials use? After Lenovo(a Chinese company, partly owned by the Chinese military) purchased IBM’s PC division, all that the company needs to do is install spook software into the systems through one of their myriad system updates.
How silly, why don’t they steal the technology or produce counterfeit Seagate drives.
Out of the top ten drive makers...I’d rate Seagate near the bottom, based on dependability. The company has experienced some “downs” lately, so I’d bet the offering price isn’t as big as it might have been in 2002. The Chinese are probably getting a good deal and will get tons of information...to build really cheap hard drives...which will find their way into the cheaper CPUs....like HP. Watch over the next two years of the computer manufacturing companies and who buys big into Seagate.
Well, if this goes thru I’ll have bought my last Seagate. That’d be a shame, since I’m ferociously brand loyal with puter stuff, and I’ve trusted Seagates since my very first machine.
Actually, IBM long ago sold the disk drive business to Hitachi Data Systems (HDS).
After Seagate acquired Maxtor last year, there are only two major US makers left in 3.5” drives - Seagate and Western Digital.
Besides Seagate, WD and Hitachi, other major manufacturers include Fujitsu and Samsung and some smaller R&D companies (some US) mostly in 2” drives space and removables.
Do Seagate and Western Digital make any drives in the US?
I thought that all their production had moved off-shore?
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
P.O. Box 309GT
Ugland House, South Church Street
George Town, Grand Cayman
(Address of Principal Executive Offices)
Telephone: (345) 949-8066
(Registrants Telephone Number, Including Area Code)
Seagate is a Cayman Islands company
With the exception of small production plants used mainly for R&D test runs in Colorado, Massachusetts and California, the volume manufacturing for disk drives companies has been for a very long time (since the early 90’s, at least) rotated in places like Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, and more recently in some East European countries like Hungary (IBM-Hitachi).
BTW, Seagate is officially registered in George Town, Cayman Islands - that was done in 2000 when Silver Lake and TPG took Seagate private after spinning off its Veritas division in a complex no-tax for shareholders deal.
so will this scandal, if it becomes one, be called, “segate-gate?”
this is a great news, that will change Segate to be a great company in the world if the sale going through, and all of people will be benefit by it, you will save money and get better quality product, in fact you can not object because if segate reject, WD will offer and make Segate out, this is the business world, no other choice, the right way is to make your business outstanding and ahead of others always, this deal will be great! it will help US country and people!
why you say Lenovo is partly owned by the Chinese military? why you say that? is there any proof for what you are saying? why you so fear of chinese company? and military? this world is not easy to get peace and all of people like peace life, ensure you like peace life either and take right attitude toward world.
"For the past year IBM has been trying to unload its PC business to a Chinese company named Lenovo. Lenovo as I'm sure most of you know is an offshoot of Legend Computer which is a wholly-owned and operated arm of the PLA."
America needs to start playing hard-ball with China.
Because China is certainly not playing.
They’re taking our companies. Our jobs and our national treasure.
All the while, China’s markets aren’t even open to us.
The longer we wait, the messier this is going to be.
Might as well start RIGHT NOW.
Yes, some of the US brands may have been poor, but they were not often made with sub-par cables and connectors. In addition, US consumer goods are not prone to have lead paint and other goodies.
Leave Seagate alone. They’re my number one choice and have been for some time time.
Noob Sunnyvale, please explain how the sale of Seagate to a Chinese company would make it a great company? Why do you also say that we would "get better quality product" when Seagate is Chinese owned? Do the Chinese have some special skills for making better hard drives?
I see that you joined today to post about this topic. Looking at your other posts I'm going to hazard a guess that you are just rooting for the home team, the Chinese. Am I right??