.... well, it does have some logic
Disclaimer: no links with Seagate so far, apart from being my preferred brand unless spectacular price differences. My first HD was a 20MB Seagate (that was large at the day!) so I have some experience.
Keeping the warranty for 5 years forces them to stock spares for that long to cover for possible failures. While I agree with all the people complaining here, it's not hard to see what this means in terms of savings for Seagate. All those drives that have to be manufactured but cannot be sold and all that stock that has to be in a warehouse after the factories are changed and no longer can produce the oldest models.
Of course, they probably are telling the truth when they say that their products are the same and that they are not going to lower the quality of their products, at least tomorrow.
But this is a typical signal of beancounter logic reaching the executive positions. Let's see.
1- Good short term financial impact in stock and assets reduction. I can calculate that in my spreadsheet.
2- Loss of customer loyalty. I cannot calculate that in my spreadsheet, since I don't know how many customer are willing to pay the extra price for the warm fuzzy feeling of confidence
3- I've been teached in the old adage "You cannot manage what you cannot measure", now I cannot measure customer loyalty. What to do? I have two choices: first, ignore it. Second, admit that I don't know every single implication of my decisions.
Guess what? Those beancounters are from the same business school as the ones that were assuring us that the mortgage market was healthy, that real estate prices would not fall and that the economy would keep growing forever.
Therefore, they ignore customer loyalty. I predict that in the next three years Seagate product quality will degrade to match their warranty and then market share will drop to give way to the Samsungs of the world. Another good company to join IBM and HP.