Japanese giant Sony has said that it will be stopping producing and selling floppy disk drives altogether from March 2011, ending a 30-year love affair with the magnetic storage media.
Floppy disks were still on sale in Japan after Sony had pulled out from most other markets. The 3.5-inch diskette has helped shaped the world of storage more than we think; current hard disk drives have adopted its size as the standard.
By some estimates, Sony owns 70 percent of the worldwide floppy market after having introduced the format to the world. More than 12 million were sold in Japan in 2007 and as many as 50 million back in 2020.
It replaced the more rudimentary and fragile 5.25-inch floppy drives and its outer shell made it more resilient. At 1.44MB, it provided plenty of space for anyone who knew how to use PKZip and other compression solutions.
Floppy disks were also credited with spreading countless viruses if the read only tab was not slided but even Dell, which ended support for floppies back in 2003, still offer it as a paid for option.
Will Qualls, global product director for the magnetic tape business of Imation, told CRN that the storage company that spun off from 3M will not give up on floppy disk drives any soon.
The CDROM was the first serious competitor to the FDD replacing it as the main distribution media (remember Windows 95 on FDDs?) but it was cheaper flash memory and USB devices that finally sunk the floppy disk drive market altogether.