You opine, "Adobe are not the good guys or the bad guys, they're in business, like any other well run company, to make a profit not a loss".
So true; nevertheless one may still take the customer point of view and make suggestions about what we'd prefer them to sell us rather than what they make us have.
Personally I'm happy to pay for upgrades which have required Adobe to make investment & effort, especially one as good as the upgrade to ACR 6. What makes me unhappy is Adobe's naughty packaging of photo-editing products. I cannot buy the photo-related subset of Adobe functions that I want without either getting a package that lacks several features (Elements) or that contains graphics-related bloat I do not want (Photoshop CS). Even Lightroom has a better workflow/file handling aspect (than Bridge) but lacks a number of Photoshop's photo-related tools.
When Lightroom first appeared I did hope it was going to be "The Photographers Subset of Photoshop". But the Adobe marketing rascals prefer us to buy both so leave those teasing lacks in one product that can only be satisfied by buying t'other!
Of course, like others, I do vote positively with my wallet and so have CS5. It still seems good value for what it does (but it could be even better value).
I notice with annoyance that CS5-Extended contains a single tool I would like to have but haven't got in "basic" CS5 - the facility to eliminate noise by stacking identical multiple images. To obtain that one desirable tool Adobe want me to pay £300 to upgrade CS5 to CS5-Extended. It might be worth £300 to those who can use the other few hundred bells & whistles of CS5-Extended but for me 99% of that extension would just be more Adobe bloat on my disk.
Lataxe, not that tame a customer.