Confirming an earlier report, Samsung Electronics and Seagate Technology announced a $1.38 billion deal under which Samsung will combine its hard-disk drive operations into Seagate in exchange for cash consideration and a nearly 10 percent stake in the company.
Other terms of the strategic alliance include extension of the companies’ existing patent cross-licensing agreement, Samsung’s supply of flash memory chips to Seagate for its enterprise solid state drives, and Seagate’s supply of disk drives for Samsung’s PCs, notebooks and consumer electronics.
More on the deal at the Los Angeles Times.
Further consolidation among hard-disk-drive makers may be in the offing, with Samsung Electronics reportedly looking to sell its hard-disk unit. A source familiar with the matter tells The Wall Street Journal that Seagate Technology is a potential buyer of the Samsung business. Seagate maintains a dominant share of the global market for enterprise-class HDDs; while Samsung claims an 11% share of the overall global HDD market, the hard-disk-drive business is a money-losing venture for the company.
In March, Western Digital announced its planned acquisition of Hitachi Global Storage Technologies for $4.3 billion in cash and stock, creating a company with a nearly 50% share of the global HDD market. Samsung, the Journal reports, is looking to sell its HDD unit for $1.5 billion, but may accept a deal for under $1 billion.
Owners of Blu-ray Disc players that were marketed by Samsung Electronics last year are reporting playback problems with titles from two major studios, after installing a firmware update from the company earlier this month.
Reports from owners of Samsung’s BD-Px600 players first surfaced on CNET and AVSForum boards (via Engadget). According to the posts, the update caused Blu-ray discs from Warner Bros. and Universal Studios to freeze during playback.
Samsung confirmed the reports to M&E Daily today, and issued the following statement:
“Samsung is committed to delivering the best possible home entertainment experiences to its customers. We have been informed that some customers are experiencing issues viewing select Blu-ray titles following the installation of firmware v2.09 for the 2009 BD-Px600 Blu-ray players. We apologize for the inconvenience, and we are currently finalizing a new firmware upgrade to resolve this issue. We expect this new firmware to be released by early September.”
Following the consumer posts, the company removed the update in question from its support website. Some users say they restored their players’ functionality by re-installing the previous firmware; others, however, say they continue to experience problems.
The total number of players affected — as well as the specific number of Blu-ray titles rendered unplayable — remains unclear.
Blu-ray hardware brands often release firmware updates to maintain the integrity of disc copy protection — or as Samsung’s website puts it, to “improve a specific BD title’s playback capability.” The company’s forthcoming update will be the fifth such firmware release for its BD-P3600 player within a year.
Announcing a new slate of 3D electronics today, Samsung Electronics said that it would be the exclusive distributor this fall of the 3D Blu-ray version of DreamWorks Animaton’s “How To Train Your Dragon.” The disc will be featured in Samsung’s 3D starter kit, which also includes two pairs of Samsung 3D glasses for at-home viewing.
Samsung’s current 3D starter kit includes a Blu-ray 3D copy of the studio’s “Monsters Vs. Aliens.” Other 3D discs slated for distribution by the electronics company include IMAX’s original productions “Into the Deep” and “Galapagos,” and Giant Screen Films’ “Mummies: Secrets of the Pharoahs.”
Among the new 3D hardware is a portable Blu-ray 3D player and three standalone Blu-ray 3D decks, as well as four 3D LED and Plasma TVs.
The Digital Entertainment Group (DEG) named its new board of directors for the coming fiscal year (Aug. 1 – July 31), while announcing that its chairman, Bob Chapek, was stepping down.
Chapek, who was the group’s president before being elected as its chairman in 2007, advanced at Disney late last year to become the studio’s distribution president. Lori MacPherson, EVP and GM of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, joins the DEG as Disney’s board representative.
TWICE notes that four of the DEG’s five-member executive committee were re-elected, with David Bishop of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment joining the committee as VP. Remaining on the executive committee are: Ron Sanders of Warner Home Video, president; Craig Kornblau of Universal Studios Home Entertainment, VP; Mike Dunn of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, secretary; and Eisuke Tsuyuzaki of Panasonic, CFO.
Companies joining the trade group include A&E Television Networks, Amazon.com, IMAX Corp., RealD, Samsung Electronics, SRS Labs, Testronics, and Verance.
Samsung Electronics took the wraps off a 17-SKU lineup of 3D LCD, LED-LCD and plasma TVs, Blu-ray players, and home theater systems that it will ship globally beginning this month and into the early summer.
The across-the-board introduction is to be bolstered by a 3D TV marketing campaign, filmed advertising being produced in 3D for theatrical viewing, and an array of retail supports and content partnerships, said Samsung Electronics America president Tim Baxter. By CustomRetailer