Some companies take the position that MO technology will win because of performance, almost unlimited erasability and the ability to achieve higher areal density (Fujitsu). Others view low cost as the most important criterion and maintain that phase change disks allow for a simpler and lower cost drive design (Matsushita, Hitachi and Toshiba). Finally, some are hedging their bets (Sony). It is also possible that the technologies will be positioned to go after different markets. For example, phase change might win in the low cost, high volume market for camcorders and VCRs, where cost is key and for which moderate level of erasability and performance are acceptable. MO might win in the archival storage market, where cost is less of an issue and performance and lots of erase cycles are critical. The immersion lens version of MO might be particularly successful in libraries, where high capacity is key and where the environment can be controlled to improve the reliability of the head to disk interface.

Published: June 1999; WTEC Hyper-Librarian