"I think it's fair to say (given products on different platforms and the ongoing open-sourcing of many of their developer tools and other stuff) that Microsoft are a very different company in 2014"
I don't think it's fair to say that at all. Their corporate culture really hasn't changed much at all since then, with the exception of a minor focus on security...but they all just got fired. Now security is the responsibility of the same people under pressure to deliver to deadline. Which is going backwards into the 90s, thanks.
Nadella's good people, and I honestly believe he's trying to change things for the better, but he just doesn't have the cloud. He's fighting vicious piranhas in the board room and his own executives - none of which are his lieutenants, you'll remember - who are all devoted to protect their empires at all costs.
Microsoft is still very much Ballmer's baby, with Bill's hands deep in the pie, as it was throughout Ballmer's reign. It will be years yet - if it's even possible - before that changes. And Windows 8.2 (now 10) is not something that bears Nadella's personal mark.
Ad for the bundling of IE, I never had a problem with including it in the OS. I did have a problem with building other OS components such that they depended on it. (Windows Update, etc.) It's still a problem. In fact, I have 9 separate bug reports in on Windows 10 right now about elements of the OS that seem to call IE, despite my desire to banish the thing from my sight, and it not being the default browser.
For example: that integrated search shit I can't turn off? Why is it calling IE, when Firefox is my default browser? More to the point, why is it calling Metro IE? There's something broken there.
Funny, isn't it, how those problems from so long ago are still problems. Especially is Microsoft were the "good guy" company you and others so often make them out to be.
They are the product of their history. Good and bad. And change in that company is very, very slow.