A couple points. First, web searches might reflect the relative ease of using Stata . . . my professors say too easy, what with rich drop down menus and a smorgasbord of modules providing great power while at the same time relieving the user from the responsibility of knowing what he is doing. Second, my stats professor likened SPSS to one's first crush: it may have been sweet when we were young, but it's time to move on.
That is my impression of Stata as well.I got my first look at JMP yesterday; it was pretty beautiful. http://www.jmp.com/As you suggest about web searches, I found the argument that the number of posts on R-related mailing lists was a good indication of the number of users to be ... tortured. Surely I'm not the only person who searches those lists because they are mostly compilations of people having the same problems I am. I bet the length of those threads is more a function of R's indifference to user-friendliness.