Weaksauce: Hard Drive Makers to Significantly Reduce Warranty Periods

Word around the Web is that some hard drive makers are cutting down their warranty terms, the timing of which couldn't be any worse (we'll get to that in a minute). Western Digital is dropping the distribution warranty period for Caviar Blue, Caviar Green, and Scorpio Blue drives from 3 years to 2 years (Caviar Black and Scorpio Black will still carry 5-year warranties).

News of Western Digital's reduced warranty terms was first reported by The Register, which got its hands on the following letter:
This new warranty policy will be effective for drives shipped from January 2nd, 2012. It is important that you take a moment to update your website(s) and collateral to reflect this change for effected drives shipped after January 1st, 2012.

All drives shipped to distributors prior to Jan. 2nd 2012 will retain the current warranty terms. Because of existing inventory in the distribution channel there will be a short period of time when some drives with a 3-year warranty will be sold at the same time as drives with a 2-year warranty.

If you have any doubt about the warranty of a drive you purchased, you can go to support.wdc.com, select Warranty and RMA Services and proceed to the Warranty Check page.
Reducing hard drive warranties from 3 years to 2 years isn't the end of the world (still a 33 percent reduction), but it still stinks, and even worse Western Digital started a trend. Seagate is also reducing warranty periods, and not just by one year. In a letter sent to its authorized distributors and obtained by The Register, Seagate announces the following:
Effective December 31, 2011, Seagate will be changing its warranty policy from a 5 year to a 3 year warranty period for Nearline drives, 5 years to 1 year for certain Desktop and Notebook Bare Drives, 5 years to 3 years on Barracuda XT and Momentus XT, and from as much as 5 years to 2 years on Consumer Electronics.
The warranty reductions come at a time when hard drive makers look to recover from recent flooding in Thailand. Hard drive prices are up, supply is low, and who knows how reliable new drives will be when they're being produced on restored equipment that sat waterlogged for a period of time.