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Seagate Drives Dinged

A glitch in a series of Fibre Channel drives from Seagate Technology Inc. (NYSE: STX) was caught by at least one major OEM, avoiding the creation of defective equipment, sources say.

EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) confirms that within the last several months, 73- and 146-Gbyte Fibre Channel drives shipped from Seagate showed a problem with lubrication in spindle motors contained in the drives. As a result, the drives set off alarms in EMC's quality-control system.

Somewhere in the second or third quarter of 2003, EMC's tracking mechanisms, which are set up to test components for specific products prior to production, started showing failure rates a wee bit higher than normal.

"Variability in components is nothing new," says Chuck Hollis, VP of platforms marketing at EMC. He says it's up to the vendor to catch variability before it makes it into production -- and a hair's breadth off a normal model of testing can be a signal something's amiss.

"We got Seagate on the phone and did a root-cause analysis," Hollis says. The problem subsequently was solved satisfactorily, he notes.

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