Western Digital's first-place ARC showing along with a good showing by archrival Seagate in External Portable Hard Drives, shows that their competition for channel hearts and minds continues unabated.
While 2009 is the first time the ARC survey has included external portable hard drives as a category, the intense back-and-forth by Western Digital and Seagate goes back at least to 1997.
Western Digital received the top score from solution providers in each of the criteria, giving it a respectable win over Seagate.
Western Digital's win in innovation comes from its continued innovation in hard drives in general, said Seema Lindskog, director of product marketing for the company's Branded Products group.
For instance, in 2009 it was the first to introduce a 2.5-inch, 1-TB hard drive, Lindskog said.
That focus on capacity vs. size led to the introduction this year of My Passport Essentials, a new external portable hard drive that is roughly 20 percent smaller and thinner than its previous models.
On the support side, Western Digital has one of the lowest failure rates for hard drives in the industry; it received the second-highest quality score in the entire survey. Western Digital also helps customers with an extensive worldwide support network, Lindskog said.
Western Digital has also invested in software, including its SmartWare backup software, Lindskog said.
"Most backup software is text-based," she said. "We made ours very visual."