Monday, July 4, 2022

OPINION: Mourning the floppy disk

We mourn the passing of the floppy disk. Sony Corp., the last major manufacturer of the storage media, announced it will cease production this year.

(For reasons unclear even to me, I bought four boxes of 25 floppies just before the holidays last year, perhaps hoping to corner the post-floppy market.)

Born to IBM in 1971 at eight inches across, weighing 79.7 KB, the floppy enjoyed a long reign as portable data medium of choice. Over the years, it slimmed down, first to 5.25 inches, then to 3.5 inches, the eventual standard, holding 1.44 MB of data.

Even though it failed to keep pace with other storage technologies, the floppy disk continued to play a vital role in the enterprise. Without it, valuable technologies such as Sneakernet would never have been possible.

The floppy disk passed away from competitive complications of Moore’s Law: increased hard drive density, cheaper optical media equipment, improved solid state storage and improvements in USB technology.

The floppy disk was only 39 when it was discontinued. 

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Dave Webb
Dave Webb
Dave Webb is a freelance editor and writer. A veteran journalist of more than 20 years' experience (15 of them in technology), he has held senior editorial positions with a number of technology publications. He was honoured with an Andersen Consulting Award for Excellence in Business Journalism in 2000, and several Canadian Online Publishing Awards as part of the ComputerWorld Canada team.

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