Western Digital moves headquarters to San Jose from Irvine – OCRegister

Western Digital, the world’s largest disk drive maker with annual revenues of $13 billion, has moved its headquarters to San Jose from Irvine.

The tech firm, which was founded in 1970 in Santa Ana, relocated to its existing Great Oaks campus in San Jose.

“The company’s Irvine operations will continue to be an important part of our ongoing business, and Western Digital remains one of the largest technology companies and community leaders in Orange County,” the company said in a statement.

According to the Orange County Business Council, the company has 1,400 employees in Irvine, its headquarters since 2010, and 200 in Santa Ana.

“They changed the designation of headquarters from Irvine to San Jose but they didn’t move the company. A lot of operations are still here,” said Lucy Dunn, president and chief executive of the Orange County Business Council.

Irvine will remain the main location for business management, engineering and functional support teams. The Enterprise SSD team, which was previously in Santa Ana, and other client devices teams are moving to Irvine.

“We are excited about the continued transformation opportunities for our people, our worksite, and Western Digital in Irvine. The change in headquarters location is expected to have no impact to our customers and day-to-day business operations,” the company said.

Dunn said the jobs staying in Orange County was incredibly important.

“Orange County is an incredibly expensive place to live, housing costs are high, the cost of living is high,” Dunn said. “Having good high paying jobs that Western Digital offers is important to our economic prosperity so I’m glad we haven’t lost the business here. We need to increase those kind of jobs to keep a talented workforce here too.”

Earlier this month Western Digital said it would lay off 51 employees in Irvine and 131 in San Jose. Both layoffs are effective June 2.

The company has been contracting since 2015, cutting some 1,360 jobs spread across offices in Irvine, Santa Ana, Milpitas, Mountain View, Freemont and San Jose, according to documents filed with the state.

Last May, Western Digital completed its acquisition of Milpitas-based SanDisk Corp for roughly $19 billion.

Western Digital became the world’s largest hard drive maker in 2012 after buying San Jose-based Hitachi Global Storage Technologies Ltd. for $4.3 billion, surpassing Seagate as the largest. It is now called HGST.

In 2010, Western Digital moved its headquarters from Lake Forest to Irvine to consolidate its business in one location. Western Digital was previously based in Irvine from 1990 to 2000 near the Irvine Spectrum. It moved into its Lake Forest headquarters in 2000.

Not alone

Western Digital isn’t the only tech company to leave Orange County.

In February Irvine-based AutoAlert announced it would move its headquarters to Kansas City, Mo., this spring, lured by $9 million in tax incentives in exchange to grow the software company.

The company was founded in 2002. It mines customer data to create sales and trade applications used by auto dealerships.

Last December Buena Park-based Yamaha Corp. of America agreed to stay in California after the state granted it a $3 million tax break.

The company is a subsidiary of the Japanese musical instrument and audiovisual equipment maker.

The company told state officials it would leave the state without a tax credit.

It’s not just tech companies. In October Rancho Santa Margarita-based Toastmasters International said it would move its headquarters in 2018 to Denver, citing the high cost of being based in Orange County.

The public speaking club was founded in Santa Ana in 1924, but has been based in Rancho Santa Margarita for 26 years.

Some companies, though, are making their way to Orange County.

Rocket Lab, a small satellite launch company, moved its headquarters to Huntington Beach from Los Angeles.

The new facility is at 14520 Delta Lane adjacent to the Boeing complex. It will triple the company’s production rate.

QLogic, a networking and storage provider, will leave its Aliso Viejo headquarters this summer, downsizing to an Irvine business center.

Last summer Cannabis Science Inc. moved its headquarters to Irvine from Colorado Springs, Colo.

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