Quick Launch is a major function as far as I am concerned. I have currently 27 program shortcuts parked there and I use it to launch those programs all the time. But now that I have fixed it in W7 and got my chevrons back, I am pretty happy with the taskbar. I don't know why you say that the chevrons did not seem to work that well. I never had the slightest problem with it.
I did not do a good job explaining my point. I'm sorry for the confusion.
The Quick Launch toolbar and the chevrons work perfectly well in Windows XP and Windows Vista, in fact for many years I used the Quick Launch toolbar to launch shortcuts, I even used Free/True Launch Bar to get sub folder support so I could just click "Favorite Apps" for example to get a popup menu of options, this way I could have many different folders each with their own popup menu. I had found earlier that I could use the Links toolbar to do that but then my Links toolbar in Internet Explorer could not be used for Favorite Links in Internet Explorer.
The reason I said I didn't like the Quick Launch was because the Quick Launch itself without any extras like 2 or more popout folders was quite limited in function and thus I understand why Microsoft removed support for things like the Quick Launch and floating toolbars in favor of Start Menu pinning, Taskbar Pinning and Taskbar Recent Lists. I also understand why they removed the Media Player toolbar in favor of commands in the right click menu of the Media Player button.
The new methods are quite a bit more flexible and by removing support for older methods, it gives them a lot more time to focus on creating and improving the new methods.
I think the biggest problem with Windows XP and Windows Vista is that Microsoft didn't want to rock the boat so to speak by removing older things the classic start menu, the Quick Launch, etc. when those methods weren't very good and/or flexible to begin with.
I think all the complaints about Windows Vista has made Microsoft realize they need to just remove features like the Quick Launch to move forward with replacements like Taskbar Pinning without worrying about people who love the old ways as it just lowers the quality of Windows as a whole when no matter what you do, there will always be complaints about Windows from tons of people on this planet.
Based on I've read, I wouldn't be too surprised if most the people complaining about Windows XP, Vista and 7 were actully little green men who came down to Earth to cause trouble :)