If you understand this - you start to understand most of Google's decisions (even if you might not like them).
I'm not accusing Google of anything, but their treatment of Atom/RSS can be likened to Microsoft's old Embrace/Extend/Extinguish strategy. I honestly believe that in some ways it's worse off now than it would've been had Google not got involved. Killing Reader was at worst malicious and at best irresponsible.
1. Kills RSS - forces people to receive updates from people / blogs / companies you want to follow in email.
2. Wow, that inbox is looking pretty messy - we should help clean it up!
3. We made a nifty little app to help keep your inbox clean (and filter out those annoying companies you used to subscribe to via RSS).
4. Our customers like their inboxes clean - so if you're a company and you want to talk to your customer - you better pay for a spot.
RSS + Email were dumb pipes. Google's doing everything in it's power to control those pipes either y eliminating them (RSS) or using their near-monopoly to shift people to a new standard (gmail/inbox). Now, this is all smart on their part, but not necessarily great down the road for consumer or companies.
This smells like the "new coke" argument to me.
Please don't bait other users by inviting them to downmod you.