The hard disk drive market has been a minefield for most vendors this year, but Maxtor appears to have emerged relatively unscathed.
The company has just released its fourth quarter figures for 1997, announcing a profit of $34.4 million ($US23.1 million) on revenues of $748 million ($US501.9 million).
The profit margin isn't quite as good as it seems -- Maxtor's net income for the quarter includes a one time gain of $30 million ($US20.1 million) related to "the collection of a fully reserved note". But as the company's first quarter operating in-the-black since 1993, it is still a significant milestone for Maxtor, which claims to hold a 10 per cent share of the world wide disk drive market.
Given the recent disappointment with financial results recorded by rival vendors like Seagate Technology and Quantum, Maxtor's ability to achieve its intended targets for the quarter was indeed a feat.
"Maxtor had always planned to turn around in Q4 so it was not really a surprise to us that we made a profit," said Maxtor's director, Phillip Adams. "But what did surprise us was how the rest of the market performed. We were stunned by how badly everyone else did."
Adams said two main factors contributed to vendor difficulties in the hard disk drive industry last year; an oversupply of products that necessitated massive price cuts and product quality issues.