Japan's TDK Corporation has seen the writing on the wall and decided to get out of the LTO tape media manufacturing business.
The company's statement says: "In recent years, however, the data storage market has been contracting, creating a difficult business environment … TDK has decided to withdraw from the data tape business as of the end of March 2014."
TDK's media manufacturing subsidiary, the Media Technology Corporation, will be dissolved. There is expected to be no material effect upon TDK's overall business results.
The LTO consortium has three members: drive and library/autoloader manufacturers HP and IBM, and Quantum, who make libraries and autoloaders. LTO tape media is made by licensed manufacturers, while Imation, Fujifilm, Maxell, TDK and Sony hold licenses. Sony signed its LTO-6 licence in January 2012 after its own AIT and SuperAIT tape formats went tits up. It has already licensed manufacture of LTO-1 to LTO-5 media
That leaves just four manufacturers, with Fujifilm having the leading market share and loss-making Imation effectively reselling TDK cartridges. With Imation refocussing on its acquired Nexsan storage arrays and security products, it's possible it might choose this as a convenient moment to exit the LTO tape media business instead of signing an LTO media supply deal with Fujifilm, Maxell or Sony. ®