make no mistake, chrome's primary strategic purpose was to control the web in ways that extended and solidified google's reach in search, ad views, and personal data. they flanked it with a suite of tools (e.g., gmail, maps), content (e.g, youtube), and platforms (e.g., android) and made them work best on chrome (à la microsoft with IE).
chrome phones home constantly and uses increasingly intrusive techniques to identity us (like requiring a google account). whether you believe it's benign or not, that's surveillance. they're slowly boiling the pot and we're the frogs.
I agree with your views on privacy and Chrome. I've stopped using Chrome except at work, where (sadly) the Chrome dev tools are too valuable to ignore.
I can agree with that in some regards, but I do think that MS has done a lot of things better. I think classic ASP was much better than PHP, though most of the unique functionality you might need was captured behind third party COM components. I think C# was/is a significant improvement over Java, and prefer .Net in general. .Net Core has been a very good shift, though some things seem more convoluted than they probably need to be.
As someone who tends to reach for Node first, I really do appreciate MS's efforts in that space to get things running as smoothly in windows as in Linux and Mac. As an early adopter (0.6/0.8 era) windows use was pretty painful. VS Code is imho was leaps and bounds ahead of brackets and atom at release. I also really do like MS Teams, though lack of a Linux build of the client is just stupid and short sighted.
I still use chrome first, but have ublock origin enabled, and tend to be picky about my exclusions, pisses me off to no end when sites just don't work with it enabled.
but they’ve certainly stagnated in my mind. i still use outlook/exchange and excel, but generally migrated away from microsoft many years ago now.