Last time I looked at the UK prices (just when the story started breaking), the SMR drives were even priced slightly higher than the CMR drives; once word got out almost all of the EFRX/CMR drives sold out in days. Based on previous shenanigans with the green vs. red and red vs. red pro I'd expect at least a 10% markup on the new CMR drives since WD seemingly have no interest in price drops on the SMR kit.How high is the price premium for their "plus" models? It's not like those SMR red drives were particularly cheap.
One might say that WD's most recent product positioning marketing efforts regarding the Red products line are as useful putting lipstick on a pig as far as brand recovery goes.WD appears to be doing now what they should have done from the beginning. Clearly disclosing which drives use SMR vs CMR. Clearly stating that SMR drives should be used only in low-demand use cases. Clearly stating that SMR drives should not be used with ZFS ever. Doing a brand segmentation that separates the SMR drives. These are all good things and if they had done them from the day they added SMR to the lineup they would have been just fine, their reputation would be in tact.
BUT...brand recovery after getting caught in a slight of hand takes more than just doing what you should always have done. It starts with a full admission and making restitution to those that they have harmed. It also involves making commitments not to repeat the mistakes that harmed the brand. WD has not really done this - and they continue to act as if there is no issue. This isn't likely to work out well for them...
Also disappointing is how they have positioned their newly segmented product line. WD spent quite a lot of time and energy building the "Red" brand for NAS users. Recycling the "red" name for the SMR drives and creating a new "Red Plus" segment to serve the market that they built around "Red" seems like trying to use that brand equity to sell a product not suitable for that brand. Rather than create "Red Plus" to house the real NAS drives they really should have created a "Red SMR" brand to house the new lower end drives and leave "Red" as it was.
In any case - I see a future Harvard case study on "how to kill a great brand".