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Based on this topic (and continuing this topic), my question once again surfaced:

And what was the layout of the prime cost of early 8 and 5.25 inch hard drives? From Seagate and competing manufacturers? BOM Cost and retail margins (including relationships with dealer networks), R&D costs and financial burden ...

HDD prices in the early 1980s were high - even when compared to floppy drives. And the effect of serial production / production scale for such "mechanical" devices is not so noticeable in comparison with chips.

It would be especially interesting to read academic or at least amateur studies on the topic - but my google-fu does not yet give adequate results.

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    What exactly do you mean by 'BOM cost'? Dec 5, 2020 at 10:23
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    @BruceAbbot BoM means Bill of Material, i.e. how much the parts ordered will cost, including screws and resistors etc. A retail price would include the cost of materials, assembly labour, and then the margin of profit.
    – Justme
    Dec 5, 2020 at 10:44
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    I wouldn't be surprised if things like electromechanical assembly, alignment, and perhaps reject rates on some components figured substantially in cost early on. Dec 6, 2020 at 22:04
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    I suspect a large part would have been the clean room assembly process. The tolerances on hard drives, even 40 years ago, is incredibly small, and they have to be built without any dust inside or they'll work for a short time and then crash. May 27 at 16:47

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what was the layout of the prime cost of early 8 and 5.25 inch hard drives? From Seagate and competing manufacturers? BOM Cost and retail margins (including relationships with dealer networks), R&D costs and financial burden ...

While it may be interesting to those studying manufacturing economics in the 1980's, I don't think that breaking down costs in such fine detail has much relevance to retro-computing. With the technology advancing rapidly the ratios of R&D, material costs and labor etc. were in constant flux.

However I do know of one case where calculating it should be easy - MiniScribe.

In January 1987... the cost to produce those drives that did sell was higher than initially thought, which, if properly booked against sales, would mean their operating margins would be unimpressive. Instead of reporting this, a number of the managers decided to cover it up with various means...

This led to the company's most infamous cover-up; the managers rented a second warehouse in Colorado, where they personally packed 26,000 bricks into hard drive boxes and shipped them to Singapore in order to shore up the inventory count. After the count was complete, they recalled those serial numbers as defective units, but instead of writing them off, they checked them into inventory, along with other failed drives that had been returned

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  • I remember that. Not just the amount of fraud but the way they were fraudulent was remarkable. Even now, rereading that wikipedia article, makes me wonder how they got so many insiders to go along with it.
    – davidbak
    Dec 5, 2020 at 21:36
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    I had a Miniscribe 8425 on my A1000, with a home-made interface to an XT MFM controller card and driver software that I wrote for it. It worked very well for several years - until someone broke into my house and stole the entire computer system. I was shocked to hear about their fraud, but looking back now it's rather funny. Imagine turning up for work and being told "Your job today is to put 26,000 bricks into these hard drive boxes"! Dec 5, 2020 at 21:48
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    In an unaccountable oversight the wikipedia article on "bricking" a piece of electronics" does not even mention this incident: The original bricking of electronics! (Possibly the origin in the phrase, don't you think?)
    – davidbak
    Dec 5, 2020 at 21:54
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    Such issues may not be relevant to people trying to use old equipment today, but much of the interest in retrocomputing stems from a desire to understand the kinds of decisions people would have faced in the past, and economic issues would certainly play into that.
    – supercat
    May 27 at 15:56
  • Tech Time Traveller has a good video named One of the Biggest Frauds in Tech History - The Miniscribe Brick Fiasco for anyone who would prefer that format. (eg. to listen on the way to work)
    – ssokolow
    May 28 at 11:14

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