> "I used to like Maxtor until seagate got their grubby hands on them".
Maxtor was the company whose drives gave me so much grief that I came to avoid them, albeit with a full understanding that the probabilities favoured the hypothesis that I'd just been unlucky. My worry was the inverse of yours!
Seriously, you'd need an absolutely huge number of drives to start drawing conclusions about manufacturers in general. What's clear is that every manufacturer has on occasion shipped bad batches, caused usually by a component supplier shipping substandard components . Also that some models turn out to age less well than the manufacturer hoped. This is inevitable, given that the tech moves so fast that by the time a drive is known to be reliable in service, it's also obsolete.