@40hz: Oh, thanks for that. That's very informative.
I wondered why new PCs would come loaded with proprietary 3rd party DVD players - since XP days. I usually found them lacking or they wanted money to upgrade to a version that actually did anything useful. So I tended to not use them, preferring to use (for example) VLC, Winamp or Real Alternative. Nowadays I usually just use VLC and nothing else, and I continue to disable Windows Media Player because of its DRM functionality and because it tries to call home - I block it at the firewall too, just in case. (A pity to not use MS MP, as it has a good database system.)
I was interested in Win8, because MS has apparently cunningly embedded some cross-integration with MSO 2013 + Win8 + IE10 + SkyDrive + Outlook.com), so you don't necessarily get the whole ball of wax unless you upgrade to all the latest versions of these things. It's called "lock-in" I guess, but it is cunningly done with a velvet glove, though the proverbial iron fist is probably inside that glove.
SharePoint users have this issue in spades, as SharePoint is (deliberately) incredibly well-integrated with MSO, IE and the Win OS, but you have to have all the latest versions of everything to be able to use all the latest functionality. On a treadmill for life, paying a tollgate fee to MS as you rotate.
Anyway, I still have MSO as an incentive to migrate to Win8, but the disincentives seem to include the sorts of thing you mentioned above, and others - e.g., the dropping of ClearType functionality (ergonomics is kind of important).