I’ve never really had the pleasure of using Microsoft tools professionally, but have played around with them. They are definitely world class. All the other vendors out there are always playing catchup. Unforunately, the Java community has become fragmented with their different offerings. Which is why I hope the Java Tool Vendors can get together and come to a consensus of what a development tool should be.
Personally, I hope Sun and the other vendors adopt SWT into Java. I know it goes against the purity of Java by not supporting EVERY platform, but it does get almost all of them except OS/2 and DOS🙂 though there is an effort to port it to OS/2 Eclipseos2 at netlabs.org. SWT offers the performance requird of world class development tools and the look and feel of the platform it runs on. For instance, when I use Windows I want my tool to behave like a Windows app (except the GPFing of course). When using Linux (GTK) I want it to work like a GNOME application. This is precisely why I chose Eclipse to develop my home projects.
So if Java is to continue forward and beat .NET, it must have world class tools. Otherwise, why would developers want to write Java code?