Western Digital
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Will Western Digital’s buyout of SanDisk save them from the cloud?

It doesn’t feel like the deal that you’d bet your future on, but storage behemoth Western Digital has now cleared the regulatory hurdles for the purchase of USB king SanDisk.

Both of these US companies made their names in physical data storage – mainly servers and hard drives, then increasingly memory components for smartphones and even cloud-based solutions.

Before the $19bn deal was approved, though, shares in Western Digital took as nose dive as the market saw an over-valuation.

Western Digital’s latest results for fiscal Q3 then missed analyst estimates and revealed a 21% drop in revenues year-on-year.

Speaking on the announcement of its results at the end of April, Western Digital CEO Steve Milligan admitted the company faces competition from the cloud, but remained defiant.

“Computer usage continues to shift from PCs to mobile devices and enterprise workloads are moving increasingly to cloud-based architectures,” he said. “Our strategy to become a broad-based provider of media-agnostic storage solutions anticipates these and other trends.”

Becoming “media-agnostic” certainly implies that cloud-based storage as we’ve come to expect from the likes of Dropbox and Amazon is coming…

Unfortunately, the digital disruptors do these things well, at a very low cost, while Western Digital and SanDisk have the heavy burden of lots of legacy, physical products.