To be fair, they are a speaker company, and they were started to be a speaker company. The fact that they do a bunch of other stuff doesn't really change that. I've had some of their speakers (601 Series II) and they just didn't sound good enough to justify the space they take up, although they actually could sound pretty good in a crappy room; up close they even sounded really crisp, whether they actually were or not. (The whole point was that they weren't, though.) You have got to be impressed by the way Bose can make a bunch of shitty drivers sound pretty decent for most kinds of music. Not impressed enough to buy them, but I got them for free. On that basis they were pretty fantastic.
My A8 also has Bose sound, and it doesn't exactly bowl me over either. Besides the crackling volume knob and the failed tape deck, it just doesn't really sound that amazing. When you get it nice and loud, it kind of goes to pieces. Since it's an extra-fancy Bose head unit (for 1997, mind you) and the changer uses a unique protocol, the only thing I can really replace it with is the same exact thing. There are kits to do otherwise, but then you really need to get into complete speaker wiring replacement.
Bose might do a lot more than this, and there might be a whole lot of solid engineering behind what they do, but pretty much everyone who doesn't know them for making undersized all-in-one systems with funky design (Bose "Wave", indeed, harrumph) knows them for making really expensive home speakers, or automotive audio systems which are often considerably expensive options which are (in terms of quality) inferior to getting the same sort of thing installed in the aftermarket.
tl;dr: Bose is a speaker company which refuses to publish typical test data even after they collect it, as well as a company which does other things — most of which are closely related to speakers.