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November 18, 1997updated 03 Sep 2016 7:46pm


By CBR Staff Writer

Castlewood Systems Inc – facing legal action from Syquest Technology Inc – has introduced its first product, with what it claims to be the first removable media hard drive that employs the magneto-resistive technology pioneered by IBM Corp. The drive, called Orb, employs a 3.5-inch removable media that boasts capacity of 2.16 gigabytes and has a maximum sustained data transfer rate of 12.2 megabytes per second. The speed essentially makes Orb video-ready. An Orb disk can store 133 minutes of SVHS quality video, 72 minutes of digital video, or 204 minutes of CD-quality audio. Sanyo Electric Corp is already marketing a home video recorder that incorporates Orb. Castlewood also has a deal in place with Vobis Microcomputer AG in Germany to put Orb drives in its PCs. Orb comes with a price tag of $200, which Castlewood is proud to point out is about a third of the Jaz drive from Iomega Corp. Disks go for $30 each. As a company, Castlewood comes with a pedigree that would force its competitors in the storage market to take it seriously. The privately-held Pleasanton, California company was founded in September of 1996 by Syed Iftikar – the founder and former chief executive of Syquest Technology Inc and a co-founder of Seagate Technology Inc. Iftikar says he left Syquest because he wanted to move in a new direction and felt that the company was no longer the right vehicle for his plans. He hints at other OEM deals that are in the works now, including a possible agreement with Sony Corp to manufacture a video walkman based on Orb. Announcements should be coming in the first quarter of next year. New products should follow about the same time, including a 4.7Gb version of Orb. Syquest is seeking an injunction against Castlewood to prevent shipments of its disks after claiming that the company had misappropriated trade secrets and offered unfair competition.

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