Imation gains ground in channel

Imation gains ground in channel

The battle for resellers' hearts and minds in removable data storage is getting hotter, and portable data storage specialist Imation last week fired a few salvos of it own.

Responding to an article on removable storage featuring Iomega in ARN (November 4, page 18), Imation's Asia-Pacific regional manager Jim Milligan said that the issue is about the legacy of 10 billion 1.44MB floppy disks as well as a growing base of CD-ROM media.

Imation's LS-120 drive reads both existing 720KB and 1.44MB floppy disks and 120 MB SuperDisks.

"I think it is unlikely that system integrators and OEM PC builders will ignore the legacy of floppy disks, and as there are two removable media used in most current PCs - the other being CD-ROM - Imation provides a migration path that preserves that legacy," Milligan said.

Imation has scored a coup by signing a global arrangement with Apple to supply what it claims is the only currently available USB removable data storage device for the new iMac system.

According to Brian Montgomery, data storage manager at Imation Australia-New Zealand, iMac unit sales are approaching 30,000 in Australia with a better than 50 per cent attach rate of the LS-120 drives. And the iMac success is spreading to PCs.

"For the PC market, the price on our internal drives is fast approaching the point where it is attractive as an alternative to a regular 1.44MB drive," Montgomery added.

As more local OEMs have incorporated the LS-120 into their PCs, Imation has been able to track the corresponding growth in the SuperDisk media sales.

However, Montgomery concedes that the success is also largely a result of specific promotional activitiy such as that which coincided with the launch of Windows 98.

In relation to the competition for high-capacity internal and external drives, he said comparative pricing is tight.

Milligan claimed that, while Imation has only been in this market for a year, it has a strong, well-developed and mature channel in Australia, reaching retail, corporate and OEM segments.

As for the issue of CD-Rewritable, Milligan expects both the disk and CD formats to co-exist for some time yet. He said there is still a way to go for CD-RW.

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