Look . . . I view a lot of this stuff from a biz perspective since I invest in this space. (That's why I often refer to companies using their ticker symbols such as MSFT, ATVI, TTWO, etc.) Having near 100% BC is great for consumers. Of course selling the PS3 for $50 would also be great for consumers. But I'd laugh at that too since it would be an amazingly bad biz decision by Sony.
So I'm happy you all love the great BC system in the PS3 (and it does work very well, especially with the recent firmware updates.). I just think it was a very bad business decision by Sony. And though the MSFT BC system is lame (from a consumer standpoint) . . . I think it was a much better business decision by MSFT. I don't think BC support is hugely important. It is nice to have early in a console's cycle since very little software is available. But over time, it becomes less and less important. The xbox's BC support wouldn't even be an issue at this point if their 360 software library had more diversity. (where are the platformers?)
Sometimes the company biz & consumer views align . . . for example, the PS3 may have been cheaper had they opted to only do sofware BC. They wouldn't have wasted all that dev time & manufacturing expense for the EE+GS chip. So it might have actually been good for the consumer had they not gone that route. Most PS3 buyers would have already owned a PS2 anyway, they might not have cared about BC, and if they really wanted to run PS2 titles, they could pick up a $129.99 PS2.
So would you have rather paid $100 less for a PS3 and not had BC? I would say yes.