Nimec Hit Hard by Thailand Floods; Here Comes the Great Hard Drive Shortage of 2011

Apple, Dell and other hardware manufacturers are bracing this quarter for an expected hard drive shortage after heavy flooding in Thailand has claimed another tech victim at the world's largest hard drive supplier.

Previously we brought word of issues at Western Digital, one of the world's foremost drive makers that is now effectively underwater. Today the company at the center of the shortage is Nimec, which analysts say controls approximately 70 to 80 percent of the world's hard drive component supply. Nimec was hit hard by the recent floods in Thailand, and now major drive manufacturers like Hitachi, Seagate, and Toshiba are preparing for the worst.

In the short term, don't expect drive prices to skyrocket, as analysts at firms like DisplaySearch and IHS-iSuppli confirmed to CNET that manufacturers typically have four weeks' worth of inventory to respond to these exact situations. Beyond that, however, things could get dicey. Dicey enough, in fact, that execs like Apple's Tim Cook were calling out the implications during earnings calls this past week.

"Like many others, we source many components from Thailand and have multiple factories that supply these components. There are several factories that are currently not operable, and the recovery timeline for these factories is not known at this point," he said.

In the end these are just hard drives. People are dead or displaced as a result of this natural disaster, which has been described as the worst flood event in that region in the past 50 years. Help however you can, and maybe remember this before you complain online or at the store about how expensive drives have become these days. [CNET, Bloomberg]