[photopress:it_William_D_Watkins_of_Seagate_Technology.jpg,full,alignright]A Chinese technology company has expressed interest in buying Seagate, the maker of computer disk drives in the United States, raising concerns among American government officials about the risks to national security in transferring high technology to China.
The overture, which was disclosed by the chief executive of one of the two remaining drive makers in the United States, William D. Watkins of Seagate Technology, seen in our illustration, has resurrected the issues of economic competitiveness and national security raised three years ago when Lenovo, a Chinese computer maker, bought I.B.M.’s personal computer business.
Although disk drives do not fall under a list of export-controlled technologies, the attempted purchase of an American disk drive company would require a security review by the federal government, according to several government officials.
Seagate has recently begun selling drives with hardware encryption abilities.
Mr. Watkins did not identify the Chinese company. But he said that the possibility of an acquisition had sent alarm bells ringing at some government agencies.
He said in an interview, ‘The U.S. government is freaking out.’
Mr. Watkins said that Seagate, which is the largest drive maker in the United States, is not for sale but he he also said that if a high enough premium was offered to shareholders it would be difficult to stop.
Source: New York Times
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