You can buy into what makes a brand a brand. You can choose to believe in the halo or the devil appeal to a brand, but ultimately you never truly appreciate software this way.
Brands are a fickle thing, some love them, some hate them, both are filled with emotion. Software however is catalyst for emotion, the bigger the software in size, the more the two emotions will collide with one another. The smaller the software, the less the two collide.
The trick overall is to explore...
Log a bug, add a wish list, criticize someone's code, throw some ideas around on a better UI design, challenge the personas who run the software, demand they fix things that are broken and don't accept being ignored about it.
Don't trash a product after 20mins of use, trash a product that takes 20mins to use!
Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.
Don't spent time worrying about the history of a brand, as in the end it's just that - history. 20 years ago, the the idea that Windows would run on a Apple machine would of been laughed at. Yet here I am today, typing on a Macbook Pro running Vista.
I adopted Flex when there was no market and it didn't even have an editor. It was 15k per CPU and all my friends said I was mad. It was fun to watch it crash land over the finish line, it was fun to push it until the rivets came off.
I like new software, new ideas around what makes them tick and I loathe historians whom whine about the past and ignore the future. I can't suffer cheer leaders whom sit on the side line all day, whining about how the industry has wronged xyz. Pick up a keyboard, get into the mix of it all and fix it.
Point is, just be a student of software.