How is telling someone that's complaining to disable the addon or spend thirty seconds on Google to uninstall it (and it's actually been fixed by M$ and doesn't require anything more than updating it to get rid of it) apologist?
I don't deny (fully agree, actually) that how M$ rolled it out is shady. Ethically speaking, they should have anything that affects a third party application as a separate download and make it clear what it's for. However, thanks to US law, they can basically say "you agreed to our terms of service when you installed the OS, and our ToS says we can push out whatever updates we want."
The addon was rolled out with an update to the .NET framework, because ClickOnce is part of the .NET framework. The addon adds functionality to Firefox to make use of ClickOnce (as opposed to requiring Internet Explorer to download an application that was deployed using ClickOnce). With a little twisting of logic, it becomes quite easy to see how Microsoft probably felt justified to include the addon in with the framework update. It's not like it was in an update for, say Office or the hibernate functionality.
There are two things, also, that add to people's negative reactions -- 1.) the initial inability to uninstall the addon, and 2.) the fact that it's Microsoft.
What most people seem to be missing is that the JRE also ships with a Firefox addon, and it's not obvious that it's getting installed when you install the JRE.
They also seem to be missing that the Java addon also cannot be uninstalled from the addon window. This is not something that Microsoft or Sun or Oracle did that circumvented something in Firefox. This is how Firefox handles addons installed by the permission level typically used by installers (system-wide). While Microsoft was in the wrong to not be more open about the installation, they at least took a step in the right direction by updating the addon so that it could be removed in the addon window.
Was Microsoft wrong to go about it the way they did? Certainly (and, in my opinion, so is Sun/Oracle; no one should be able to modify a third party application without being very explicit about it). Was it their fault the addon's uninstall option was disabled? Kind of, since it's also Firefox's policy to behave that way for the different access levels. Does Microsoft deserve the lack of trust they get? Definitely. Is the sky falling because of this update? No.
Regardless of what either the M$ fanbois or the M$ haters think, Microsoft is run by mere humans. This particular issue was partly unintentional (as evidenced by the update to allow it to be uninstalled) and partly poor customer service. At least Microsoft put in a description for the addon that shows up in the addon window so the user has an idea of what it's for (which the Java Quick Starter 1.0 doesn't do, surprisingly).
And thank you for your considerate response.