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DrizziT

About IBM trashed reputation!

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I read some comments here bout ibm and their failing serie and their trashed reputation and the fact that many people here (like me) stated they will not buy IBM harddrives any more and that reminded me a time of about 10 years ago when WD ruled the market with their caviar serie of 40mb and 80mb HD's(yes I do mean megabytes and not giga bytes) and then they messed up ,harddisks from western digital started crashing left and right and pretty soon all us tech guys stopped buying WD hard disks but as u can c today all is forgotten/forgiven and WD is considered again to be a top leader in HD though I still avoid them (hard to forget the mess they did once i guess), and so it occoured to me that 10years from now(probably much less if IBM gets it together), IBM may be in the exact same position as WD is now, though some of us may still avoid IBM harddisks :)

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IBM may be forgiven at some point, but they will have to earn it.

A few series of drives without problems should do it just fine...

The old 40MB and 80MB WD Caviar drives rocked, never had a problem with them. The same cannot be said for Seagates old 130MB and 210MB drives... :)

Of course, the last three WD drives I had to RMA were Expert models, using IBM technology. I cannot recall that I have ever had a Caviar die on me...

Never had a Maxtor die on me either, but the first major drives I used from them was the DiamondMax 2880 series (11.5GB)

Jason

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The only drive that's ever failed on me was a WD Caviar, a 3.2GB model from 1998. After that, I bought two Maxtors (not at the same time). My next hard drive will probably be a WD or IBM.

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"Welcome back to CNN Sport. I'm Dave Spadruck, and with me is special guest Ed Molowski. Evening Ed."

"Hi Dave, and it's great to be back for the new season. I'm sure looking forward to it."

"Ed, we are going to start the show tonight with our viewer call-in section, and I think you have our first caller already on the line?"

"I sure do Dave. His name is DrizziT and he wants to ask about IBM's prospects for the new season."

"Nothing like a little controversy to start the show off, Ed. Put him on."

"I read some comments here about IBM and their trashed reputation and the fact that many people here will not buy IBM hard drives any more. That reminded me a time about 10 years ago when Western Digital ruled the market with 40MB and 80MB Caviar hard drives."

"Ah, yes, DrizziT, I remember the first generation Caviars well. They were damn good drives, and they took Western Digital right to the top of the table. Set them up to become a real power team for the next five years. Were you around then Dave?"

"I was still in the minor leagues back then Ed, but sure, I remember Western Digital. Ahh, DrizziT, you were saying?"

"But then they messed up, Dave. WD hard disks started crashing left and right and pretty soon all us tech guys stopped buying WD."

"And today all is forgiven?"

"That's right Dave. Western Digital are right back at the top now, but myself, I still avoid them. It's hard to forget the mess they did once I guess. Anyway, my question is that it occoured to me that five or ten 10 years from now, maybe IBM will be in the exact same position as WD is now. I'd like to hear what Ed thinks about this."

"Thanks DrizziT. Ed? How do you see IBM's future? Can they come back from here? Or are they finished?"

"Well Dave, DrizziT is right on the money. He's been watching the game for a good few years, I can see, and he's prepared to take a long-term view of things. That's what you have to do."

"And yet for a long, long while there Ed, back in the Nineties, IBM were the power team. Other companies had good years and bad years, but IBM were right up there at the top of the table every time."

"Nothing lasts forever, Dave. It's the same as in the NBL or the World Cup. They have good seasons and they have bad seasons. Some teams ... er ... drive manufacturers ... have a long time at the top of the table, others only get everything right for a short while and then sink back to the middle of the pack, others spend a lot of time in the cellar, but they all have good years sometimes, and they all have bad years too."

"You are saying this is just a short-term slump? A temporary loss of form?"

"Well, it may be a little more than that, Dave. I think they need to do some team rebuilding. It happens to every team sooner or later Dave. Now they might be putting a good face on things for the sake of their season ticket holders, but Coach Lou is no fool, he knows that they have to take a good hard look at themselves and improve on their defensive game."

"But Ed, most of the better judges rate IBM's last couple of seasons as the worst they have ever had. You're saying this is normal? Nothing to worry about?"

"You have to take the long view, Dave. Ahh, I think I've got the graphic here somewhere, let's look at the current standings, and then look at the standings going back a few years."

"So we can see how teams get to be on top for a while, and then loose form, and then, eventually, rebuild themselves into championship-winning sides again?"

"Exactly. Let's look at that graphic now:"

The Storage Cup: 2002

1: Western Digital

2: Maxtor

3: Samsung

4: Seagate

5: IBM

6: Fujitsu

"Very hard to pick between the best three IDE drive makers this year, Dave. WD and Maxtor are too close to call in the 7200 RPM division, and then there is the under-rated Samsung outfit who have outstanding 5400 RPM credentials and the best defence in the conference."

"I see that Seagate are hanging in there still."

"Yup. They are off the pace performance-wise, but if there is one thing I have learned in all my years of calling the storage game, it is this: never underestimate Seagate."

"They are still within striking distance of this season's finals, Ed, but what about the other two contenders?"

"They are out of it for this year, Dave. IBM still have not recovered from the shocking run of injuries in their 75GXP team and are looking to build up player strength for next year already. And Fujitsu, after a lot of bad years in a row, have pulled out of the league completely. They have already made an announcement that next season they will only field teams in the SCSI and the Notebook leagues."

"Sad to see one of the grand old names in storage give the game away, Ed."

"Sure is, Dave. Now, let's look at the table from a few years ago. What have we got coming up?"

"1999, I think, Ed. No, it's 2000."

The Storage Cup: 2000

1: Quantum

2: Seagate

3: Maxtor

4: Samsung

5: Fujitsu

6: Western Digital

7: IBM

"That was the year of the 75GXP, Ed. The year that IBM would most like to forget."

"That's right, Dave, and the year that Western Digital had their big recall. For a while there we thought the Western Digital club was going to fold. They had big financial problems and if it hadn't been for their great on-field performances since then they would have been just history now."

"But what about Seagate and Quantum?"

"Well, to be honest, Dave, It wasn't all that good a year for Seagate either. Or Quantum. Remember it was in the off-season after this one that Quantum had to merge with Maxtor, and Seagate really only did as well as they did because the competition was unexpectedly weak that year. Their Barracuda ATA-2 play was good, but their U Series 10 was very ordinary."

"Ed, we need to take a station break. Don't go away! We will be right back with Ed Molowski and his analysis of season 1998."

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"Thanks for staying with us, you're on CNN Sport. Ed, you have the 1998 standings there?"

"Right here, Dave."

The Storage Cup: 1998

1: Quantum

2: Seagate

3: IBM

4: Maxtor

5: Fujitsu

6: Samsung

7: Western Digital

"Ahh, 1998. That was a great season, Ed."

"Sure was, Dave. Who could forget the dead-heat for first place between Seagate and Quantum?"

"Where Quantum's Fireball SE looked like a match winner, and Seagate brought on the very first 7200 RPM drive to score the equaliser?"

"That's the one, Dave. And IBM's Deskstars 16XP and 14GXP put them into contention too."

"Pity about the Quantum Bigfoot."

"Oh, well, it was the last year they played the Bigfoot. They might have kept the old model on a little longer if it hadn't been for the way that it kept loosing matches to the Seagate Medalist 5400, and even the minor teams like Samsung and Fujitsu could regularly thrash it."

"1996 Ed?"

"Coming right up."

The Storage Cup: 1996

1: IBM

2: Seagate

3: Quantum

4: Western Digital

5: Fujitsu

6: JTS

7: Maxtor

8: Samsung

"Ahh yes, those were IBM's golden years. I think they won it two years running, didn't they Ed?"

"Yes, and runners-up the year before."

"Was that the year that Maxtor nearly folded?"

"The year before that, if I recall correctly, Dave, '96 was the year they started their great come-back."

"What about '94? That was Seagate's year, I think. Or was it IBM?"

"Err, Quantum, I think, Dave. Let's take a look at the graphic."

The Storage Cup: 1993

1: Maxtor

2: Western Digital

3: Seagate

4: Quantum

5: IBM

6: Conner

7: Fujitsu

8: Samsung

9: Micropolis

"Ahh, that's the 1993 table, Ed. I was just a kid then but even I can remember those magnificent 200MB drives from Maxtor, and the long-running tussle they had with Western Digital's Caviars. Hard to believe a team that had as much talent as Maxtor did back then could have been in the celler the very next season."

"Oh. Sorry about that, Dave. Ahh, let's see if I can find the 1992 standings instead."

The Storage Cup: 1992

1: Western Digital

2: Maxtor

3: Quantum

4: Conner

5: Seagate

6: Fujitsu

7: NEC

8: Micropolis

9: Samsung

10: Kalock

"Ahh, Dave, now those were the great years. Back when there were two divisions and ten or twelve teams playing it off for the championshhip."

"And that was before team IBM joined the conference."

"Yes. They were grand old times with all those different teams going around. Mind you, the standards were lower back then. Some of the minor teams put some absolutely terrible products onto the field. Samsung and Kalock were so bad that there were calls to have them expelled from the association. But the really interesting table is this next one. I can still remember 1987 like it was yesterday. There was the Microscience HH series, and Miniscribe were still amongst the leaders, and ..."

"I'm sorry Ed, we have to cut you off."

"But ..."

"That's it for CNN's coverage tonight. Thanks for staying with us, I'm Dave Spadruck, and you have been watching CNN Sport."

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The issue for me is not that they build a bunch of defective drives, the issue for me was their arrogant and deplorable customer service once the drives started diving.

That's the huge difference between WD and IBM - WD, during their whole fiasco, had absolutely the best customer service they possibly could have had. They cross-shipped new drives. They upgraded to higher capacities free of charge. And overall, they were accomodating, pleasant, and kind on the phone.

IBM, on the other hand, sucked a$$. They were arrogant, dismissive, and downright hostile at times. They attempted to send me a refurbished drive for a brand-new 75GB 75GXP that I had purchased less than a week earlier. I refused, and they said, "Sorry, that's what you're getting. Get over it!" That was when I said to them, "Okay, so I buy 20-30 HDD per week, I guess you won't mind if I start buying Maxtors, eh?"

IBM has really screwed up, and it will be a long, long, LONG time before I but another of their drives. And with Seagate in the SCSI world and WD/Maxtor in the EIDE world, I will have no reason to.

Buh bye IBM!!!

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WD have always had great service.

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The issue for me is not that they build a bunch of defective drives, the issue for me was their arrogant and deplorable customer service once the drives started diving.

Exactly, nothing like crappy customer service to kick a good customer when they are down. Don't these people know who is paying their bills?

That's the huge difference between WD and IBM - WD, during their whole fiasco, had absolutely the best customer service they possibly could have had.  They cross-shipped new drives.  They upgraded to higher capacities free of charge.  And overall, they were accomodating, pleasant, and kind on the phone.

Ahh yea, the chip problem on a batch of their drives... They were honust and up front about it, fixed it right away. That is how you handle things...

Buh bye IBM!!!

Watch SNL do we? :D

Jason

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It's interesting that prior to approximately 18 months ago, there was a steady stream of people coming to this forum seeking advice on a "reliable hdd". The answer was almost invariably something similar to "IBM has the reputation for the highest quality and most reliable drives"; just about everyone associated reliability with IBM.

I'm confident IBM can rebuild their reputation, but it wont be through damaging consumer confidence through HDD failures or operating qualifiers/conditions. The recommended POH has received so much attention lately not because what it explicitly states but for what it implicitly means: IBM's confidence in the GXP series is just as shaky as consumer's. Let's be honest, if the GXP series were the pinnacle of reliability, this recommended POH wouldn't even be under scrutiny. Worst yet, IBM shows as much confidence in the reliability of their GXP desktop drives as they do their notebook drives.

IMHO, if there are no unusual (in terms of industry MTBF) failures with the 120GXP, the RMA process is improved, and the successor is designed to be the epitome of reliable IDE drives--and proves it, then IBM's reputation for reliability may slowly be rebuilt.

I don't think manufactures realize that when a consumer purchases a product, and the product fails resulting in any data loss and certainly inconvenience, the consumer in many instances is going to think "damn, I should have purchased the other [brand/model s/he was looking at prior to purchase] hdd after all." Maybe if manufactures recognized that they failed their customer when their product fails, they would be a little bit more empathetic and accommodating. Customer service is only expensive to those companies that cannot manufacture a product properly to begin with. In other words, if a manufacture can produce a reliable product to begin with, they can offer the best level of support when failures occur, at significantly less expense then a less reliable product w/ far worse support.

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I never even cared that my WD died eight years ago. The critical factor determining my experience was how this drive failure was handled. Because it was handled the way it was, I continued to buy from WD, no questioned asked. I understand that problems happen - this is not the issue. The issue is how these problems are addressed, which uncovers an organization's character and integrity (think of the Tylenol disaster years ago).

This is clearly an issue of strategic thinking in the long-term, where a company decides long-term loyalty is more important than short-term profits. Customer service reps only do what they're told to do, which is execute the strategy coming down from above. WD's strategy is long-term based on loyalty, IBM's is short-term based on cost-containment and quarterly profits.

My heart goes out to these customer service reps, big-time. Most of them probably want to help the customer, but they can only do what they're told they can do. Probably the best example other than IBM that illustrates short-term thinking is SprintPCS.

I live about 5 blocks from Ground Zero. Like everyone else around here, my cell service was poor and intermittent after 9/11. Only one out of every 35-40 calls that I made went through. When a call finally DID go through, I would talk for a long time. Needless to say, I went over my allotment of minutes for that September.

When I got my bill, it was big. I called Sprint and told them that hardly any of my calls went through, so I had a hard time with a huge bill like that. I also told them that AT&T and Verizon Wireless had either waived any extra charges or issued 100/200 minute credits for September because of the disaster. I was told no such thing was happening for Sprint customers, and there was a policy that stated as such.

Now here is the clincher - when I asked for an exception to the policy, this is what the person said: "Sir, I am not allowed to go outside of policy to help a customer or make them happy." I said, "Are you serious? Isn't this Customer Service?" She responded, "No, Sir, this is not Customer Service ... this is Customer Care." I laughed out loud. Customer Care, okay, well that explains your policy, and your superior level or service.

Guess who will not be my next cellular provider, especially when the legislation allowing for telephone number transition to another provider goes through later this year?

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Guest russofris
I never even cared that my WD died eight years ago.  The critical factor determining my experience was how this drive failure was handled.  Because it was handled the way it was, I continued to buy from WD, no questioned asked.  I understand that problems happen - this is not the issue.  The issue is how these problems are addressed, which uncovers an organization's character and integrity (think of the Tylenol disaster years ago).

In 95/96 I worked at a custom computer shop in upstate NY. From a consumer standpoint, WD did well for their RMA process. But imagine being a service manager at a shop and having 50% of your WD 1.6GB drives come back as defective within a year. It absolutely killed us (hours spent on warranty service, not to mention our reputation).

Only this year did I buy 2 WD 120BB's/JB's.

WD's mistake drove this mom and pop shop out of business. I can only imagine that IBM did the same to some shops with their DeathStar.

What a shame,

Frank Russo

PS, Wasn't the 1.6 the first "PIO Mode 4" drive in existance? That thing flew for it's day.

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Wasn't the 1.6 the first "PIO Mode 4" drive in existance?  That thing flew for it's day.

Yes, it was - I had one. :D

I hear you about your problems, I'm sorry you had to endure that.

Yes, in an ideal world, there would be no cause for Customer Service or Returns. However, this is not an ideal world; and as such, I would rather have a mediocre-to-decent product with excellent customer service (i.e. WD of '94-'96) than a poor product with crappy customer service (i.e. IBM of '00-'01) anyday.

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After reading the above and at times ROFLMA, I just have to pause and ask the question:

"Has anyone noticed that IBM's pricing STILL reflects having a premium position in both engineering and customer service, er, customer care?"

I mean, not only do they have all of these problems and counterindications of reliability, but their drives just COST so much more than the Maxtor 740s, Seagate Fish IVs, etc. OK, the WD drives are up their as well, but 8Mb of cache and the best benchmarks in the business kind of justify it. And that was BEFORE I had read what great experiences many of you have had with WD customer service, which makes my investment in 2 1200JBs seem like a good one. (Now if I could only decide on the motherboard to attach them to...)

There will be people that will look to IBMs brand image, and their higher prices, and decided that they are indications of being the best drive on the market (i.e., they must have a reason for being so expensive). Thanks to SR, at least we and hopefully others won't be some of them...

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After reading the above and at times ROFLMA, I just have to pause and ask the question:

"Has anyone noticed that IBM's pricing STILL reflects having a premium position in both engineering and customer service, er, customer care?"

A large part of it is perception. People see "IBM" and immediately assume they are the pinnacle of drive designs. Prices will reflect whatever value people give them. Now, assuming IBM isn't just dumping drives on the market to increase share, then IMO, the pricing is partly due to what customers feel IBM drives are worth (the whole supply/demand thing) and partly because the designs themselves are expensive to build.

If you compare designs from IBM and their competitors, you'll see that although they've managed to trim costs from the 75GXP in the new 120GXP, it's still a pricier design to manufacture. Thus, unless IBM was willing to sell their drives at a loss (which I doubt), there's going to be a lower limit they can/will sell their drives for.

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I read some comments here bout ibm and their failing serie and their trashed reputation and the fact that many people here (like me) stated they will not buy IBM harddrives any more and that reminded me a time of about 10 years ago when WD ruled the market with their caviar serie of 40mb and 80mb HD's(yes I do mean megabytes and not giga bytes) and then they messed up ,harddisks from western digital started crashing left and right and pretty soon all us tech guys stopped buying WD hard disks but as u can c today all is forgotten/forgiven and WD is considered again to be a top leader in HD though I still avoid them (hard to forget the mess they did once i guess), and so it occoured to me that 10years from now(probably much less if IBM gets it together),  IBM may be in the exact same position as WD is now, though some of us may still avoid IBM harddisks :)

Yes, but the biggest difference here - WD finally actually recalled (offered free upgrade replacement for) their 1.6GB three-platter "ebola drives" (my term), that tended to constantly develop bad sectors. (Although that replacement was for the newer two-platter version, and not widely publicised outside of the corporate support channel.)

IBM has been pretty-much stonewalling. (Although, they have often been offering "servicable used part" 60GXP replacements for failed 75GXP drives.)

I think that with this POH BS, along with the huge delay between the introduction of their newest 120GXP series of drives, IBM is clearly having reliability problems with their drives.

I never really like Maxtor in the past, not for any particular reason, but I think I will move to them for my next drive, seeing as how both WD and IBM have had catestrophic failures in the past. (Btw, does anyone know, if WD still buys OEM HD components from IBM to make their drives?)

I have this old Maxtor 120MB drive, that would still be going strong 100%, if I hadn't at some point dropped a heavy metal-bottomed keyboard squarely onto the circuit-board of the drive, while it was operating.

Now *that's* reliability. Unfortunately, it seems that as density increases, reliability decreases as an inverse function.

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(Btw, does anyone know, if WD still buys OEM HD components from IBM to make their drives?)

IBM is probably the biggest manufacturer of read/write heads for hard drives in the world. Of course, they use many themselves, but they also sell to their competitors. I know WD used to, but I think they stopped recently and have gone to other suppliers. I'm not sure about Maxtor, and I know Seagate used to make at least some of their heads. It's not as if you can look and tell an IBM head from, say, a Read-Rite head; at least, this ME can't tell and has to depend on the H/M folks. ;)

Outside of heads, IBM doesn't make parts for other companies.

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Good post, Virtual Larry. It's not so much the f-up, it's the way the f-up was handled that sticks in people's craws.

Just one thing: Maxtor have most certainly had catastrophic failures in the past. Possibly not quite as bad as WD's 1.6GB disaster or IBM 75GXP fiasco, but close enough. And Maxtor have had more of them. They had a great record in the 120MB to 420MB period, and then again (it seems) just recently, but their 540MB to 2.1GB products were very ordinary indeed, and some of their 40MB era products were truly dreadful.

Like Ed says, "they all have good years sometimes, and they all have bad years too." There is not one single drive manufacturer, past or present, who has not made at least one out-and-out horrorshow model.

Any fool can go back through the history of the industry and pick them out. The tricky bit is spotting them in advance. Soon as I work out how to do that, I'll let you know. Also, I'll fill you in on next year's FA Cup winner and next week's lottery numbers.

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Yeah, the pixie dust fiasco ibm is going through has lowered them to almost as bad as maxtor with their "there is nothing wrong with the 40's" attitude. Now that quantum is gone (maxtor will ruin them) and ibm is faltering, what is left?

wd? hmm. Yeah, I still don't trust them but I do buy them.

seagate? Yeah, like mcdonalds, guarenteed mediochrity in the ide family.

kinda sad that buying a hard drive is like voting for president. Which of the loosers is the LEAST offensive.

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