Well except for the 60 and 120, IBM was the first to use glass platters, have the highest capacities, and was the people who broke the so called 18GB limit of the time.
I always thought that IBM was special cause it wasn't available in boxed form, although IBM does sell them themselves, probably boxed. It took a little more effort to find them, which made you feel special, along with your home made computer which had special parts like a slot loading DVD drive (ever saw that at Best Buy? no way).
Only way to settle this is see how the 120GXP series turns out. It just came out, we shouldn't count DOAs against IBM. We need that database again. But from what has happened it seems that it won't come back.
My good experiences with IBM makes it hard to agree with you, but it's true. They should just admit their mistake. I think the POH think is exaggerated, but that's just because IBM is under a microscope. This is when IBM either comes back or folds.
You shouldn't need IBM's SCSI drive to get reliability. I'd be willing though to be a guiney pig and use a drive as storage and not for my OS, cause I like IBM. If it fails, them to IBM, ---- you.