My Western Digital passport studio HDD shipped, ready to be used on a Apple computer. Specifically, it had the APM instead of an MBR, and was formatted with the HFS+ filesystem. Windows offers no direct access to this configuration. Fortunately, since the HDD was empty, I was free to delete everything and start all over.
Easier said than done. For various reasons disk management is disabled on my Windows laptop. That means that manipulating partitions was not possible on windows! No fear, I fired up my Ubuntu virtual machine and used the GUI utility "palimpsest" to erase APM and create the MBR. Once the MBR came up the drive even showed up in Windows to format.