What happened

Shares of hard-drive giant Seagate Technology (NASDAQ:STX) rose 35% higher in the first half of 2018, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. It's been a bumpy ride, with most of the action taking place in the first three months of the new year.

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So what

Share prices jumped 7% higher in early January on rumors that Seagate had made a large investment in the company behind the Ripple cryptocurrency. That speculation turned out to be on target, and Seagate kept the fires burning with a strong second-quarter report later that month. All told, Seagate investors enjoyed a 32% return in January alone.

The next earnings report was less impressive, causing Seagate shares to plunge 8% on May 1. But that move largely disappears from a longer-term perspective, lost in a sea of jagged gains and drops that work out to a pretty smooth and stable moving average overall.

Now what

The company is leaning heavily on its enterprise-grade products, which bundle very large storage capacities with long warranty periods and reasonably low prices. Super-fast solid-state storage devices are stealing a lot of market share from these old-school packs of spinning magnetic disks, but there's still a place for the reliability and lower prices per gigabyte that Seagate's favorite products can offer.

I'm not sure that this is a sustainable idea for the long term since solid-state memory chips are becoming cheaper and cheaper. Eventually, Seagate must come up with a better long-haul strategy. I would much rather own archrival Western Digital (NASDAQ:WDC) and its more future-proof business model until Seagate gets its solid-state future sorted out.

Anders Bylund has no position in any of the stocks mentioned, but he does own some Ripple tokens. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks or cryptocurrencies mentioned here. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.