This is the first time I see the word crippled used in conjunction to a BDR-207M drive, and I don't think that is either accurate or fair. Where have you seen any such warnings which in the end still stood under closer scrutiny? I'm yet to see a single properly documented case of a drive which would refuse to be flashed with the correct firmware matching its kernel ...
Unless proven otherwise, I therefore highly doubt that such warnings are anything more than users failing to understand that BDR-207M drives can use a variety of kernels, and that as a result they have to use the correct firmware package which matches the kernel of their drive. If they use the wrong firmware package they will get the target not found message.
For reference, here's a list of the known BDR-207M kernels and the known models which use them:
BDR-207M(BK) : kernel GENERAL
BDR-207E(BK) : kernel ID60
BDR-207U(BK) : kernel ID60
BDR-2207 : kernel ID60
BDR-207J(BK) : kernel ID58
BDR-S07J : kernel ID43
BDR-S07XLB : kernel ID43
I might as well add that I have updated the firmware on my 207EBK drive without any issues whatsoever.