Seagate ends mainstream Thunderbolt support

February 4, 2015 | 10:44

Tags: #connectivity #external-storage #light-peak #peripheral #thunderbolt #usb-30 #usb-31

Companies: #apple #intel #seagate

Seagate has confirmed that it is abandoning mainstream support of the Thunderbolt interconnect standard, although will continue to maintain a product line under its LaCie sub-brand.

Announced back in 2009 under the name Light Peak before making the jump from optical to lower-cost electrical connectivity as Thunderbolt, the modern implementation of the interconnect is a joint effort between Intel and Apple. While it is the de facto standard for modern Mac machines, its uptake in the general Wintel market has been slow. This hasn't been helped by a tit-for-tat battle between Thunderbolt and USB 3.0, which has seen the two trade blows in connection speed and the latest Type-C variant to gain DisplayPort connectivity.

Now, Thunderbolt has been dealt a new blow with the news that storage giant Seagate is killing off its mainstream external storage line in favour of USB 3.0, the upcoming USB 3.1, and wireless connectivity. The company confirmed in a statement to 9to5Mac that its Thunderbolt product lifecycle was 'coming to a conclusion,' but added that it will continue to support those who would like to use Thunderbolt via its LaCie subsidiary. Acquired by Seagate in 2012, LaCie's products are designed to blend in with the aluminium aesthetic of Apple's machines and fetch an unsurprising price premium over Seagate's mainstream launches.

With the high-speed - and, more importantly, high-current - USB 3.1 standard beginning to appear from motherboard manufacturers, albeit in prototype form, it would seem that Thunderbolt's appeal outside the Mac market has been short-lived.
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