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In Reply to: Plextor Premium Burning: What speed and what media? posted by UN on February 3, 2007 at 20:49:29:
It looks like Plextor Japan is downsizing their optical drive manufacturing business and in the future Plextor drives will be rebadged from Liteon rather than being "true" Plextor drives.
So if you are a big fan of Plextor, buy the current models before they are gone. Apparently in Japan almost all the existing stock is now sold out.
I note that in the Plextor press release, they did not actually confirm that they will manufacture future optical drives branded by them.
they did not actually confirm that they will manufacture future optical drives branded by them.
OK. They do say "has led to the rumor that Plextor is somehow quitting the optical disc drive business. This is completely false." Open to interpretation, I suppose.
This is exactly what I had speculated earlier, that Plextor will begin selling drives that are rebranded or rebadged from another manufacturer.
Even if Plextor does sell some rebadged Lite-On units, does it mean they will exit manufacturing totally. Let Wesley Novack speculate. It's still speculation, Christine.
However, I am somewhat disappointed as I use Plextor CD-Rs and CD-RWs and they have been trouble-free, good performers. It's a shame that their quality units could not compete with the lower price units from other manufacturers. A telling comment on a very cost-sensitive industry.
*** Open to interpretation, I suppose. ***
Actually, if you read the press release carefully, it's very interesting in terms of what they *don't* say.
For example, the tagline to the press release says "New Product Development and Retail Sales to Continue"
Notice how awkward this phrase is, and how it specifically omits "manufacturing".
One can read the rest of the press release in a similar vein and can't help noticing that the phrase "manufacture optical drives" is carefully avoided at all times.
*** Even if Plextor does sell some rebadged Lite-On units, does it mean they will exit manufacturing totally. ***
This is exactly what the press release hopes to achieve, leave room for doubt.
But let's consider the facts as we know them:
1. Plextor Japan is downsizing their manufacturing capability in the division that produces optical drives by 90%. The recent press release does not contradict this.
2. Plextor LLC will continue to sell and brand "Plextor" branded products, including optical drives.
The unanswered question is: who will manufacture these optical drives? Clearly not Plextor Japan, at least not in any significant volume. The obvious answer is that Plextor will source these drives elsewhere. LiteOn is as good a guess as any.
The other big question, assuming that new products will be rebadged rather than in-house, is to what extent will these products have the same reliability, features, and error correction capability we have come to expect from Plextor drives?
I think that's an open question, and suspect Plextor themselves don't really know the answer right now.
LiteOn is a good choice in that their recent drives support very similar features to Plextor. One option would be that Plextor would OEM the hardware but write their own firmware, which means the new drives could have features very similar to the old drives.
However, reliability is another question.
Another potential reason is that clearly DVD drives will become obsolete very soon, and the next wave will be BluRay/HD-DVD drives. I think downsizing the manufacturing capacity right now is a very smart move, and defer the costly retool for next generation drives until the optical format war has been sorted out.
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