Well first off sorry to hear about the sad news re Yamaha and their RIP of CDRW burners. When a well known reputable company like this makes good if not top quality drives, but then they decide to increase a top profit margin on each drive, then company's like these are asking for trouble. In todays world of CDRW's there is surely stiff competition, like the war between AMD and Intel, or MS and Linux. And due to the fact that Yamaha always had it's prices up its sales must of plummeted rapidly, due to competiton from other company's like Liteon. Take a good look at what happen to Sony manufacturing in Japan, today most of their high end products are made in Malaysia, due to cheaper labour costs. Liteon has kept it's head high on the market, due to the fact that they are able to produce a good quality drive at a lower cost, and I totally disagree that if you buy something that's worth $350, its better than that of $250, lets also not forget the expensive labour cost, taxes etc etc. Also if Liteon were able to produce a good quality CDRW at lower costs, why not Yamaha, plus they've been in the field longer. Also as for quality, don't get me wrong here but I'm sure Yamaha make good quality drives, not better than Plextor or Liteon, but perhaps on the same level, yet I've had friends who've had Yamaha's and have had problems with them, but I could also say the same for Plextor and Liteon as well, perhaps these people got the bad pick of the bunch, and not every drive that comes from the factory I'm sure is 100% perfect, yes you will get the defective one if your unlucky. But on the positive side, who knows Yamaha might start making parts like optical lasers, mechanisms etc etc for other CD-RW company's.
And a final word. If Plextor keeps up this game of over priced CDRW's then they are next on the blacklist, I can assure you that. If they want to stay affloat, they must compete with others at reasonable prices.