If there's one thing Microsoft can (but certainly doesn't always) do, it's build rock-solid software. Here I'm talking about Office and the VB6 IDE (and even VS.NET). Compare to your alternatives, and it's not just the monopoly that's making these things successful.

This article called "21 Rules of Thumb – How Microsoft develops its Software" is pretty good stuff. After a quick skim of the first few points, this jumped out at me:

There are many pathologies at play here as well as certain healthy patterns of creative behavior. One pathology is a type of savior complex that cannot be satisfied without blowing every single deadline but the last, and then emerging victoriously with a brilliant piece of work five minutes late.

Boy have I ever seen that. Beware companies whose entire culture falls under this description. ;^) It's fun to do the above, and I've certainly turned in a paper or two like that in my college years, but it's not worth the stress to me. An ounce of prevention is worth about four hundred pounds of "pathological savior".