Reuters) - A looming shortage of hard drives caused by floods in Thailand threatens to disrupt computer manufacturers as soon as December and hurt tech giants like Intel (INTC.O), Apple (AAPL.O) and Dell (DELL.O).
Thailand is the No. 2 maker of hard drives, used in laptops, servers and TV set-top boxes, and damage caused by flooding across the region could keep factories closed or hobbled for months, analysts and executives say.
World output of hard drives could fall as much as 30 percent in the final three months of 2011 and manufacturers that need them are now scrambling to snap up existing inventories, according to market research firm IHS iSuppli.Top hard drive makers Western Digital (WDC.N) and Seagate (STX.O) both have factories in Thailand, where flooding has killed at least 320 people since July and devastated industrialized areas in the center of the country.
Western Digital's factories are closed and Seagate, while its plants are running, warns it could face parts shortages.
Apple chief executive Steve Cook this week told analysts on a conference call he expects an industry shortage of disk drives.
There may be some panic buying or hoarding of H.D. There should not be panic buying or hording of CPU.
Intel has spent much time and energy building rundancy into their production and supply chain. IMO, Intel will not likely change their pricing. Intel DOES make SSD drive components and the ULTRABOOKS are being introduced next year. I suspect that Intel is working overtime to make sure the Ultrabook pieces are in place.