Interesting read. I know I've certainly got strong opinions on design and enjoy reading about it though I'm not a designer by trade.
Amazing that it didn't cover some of the greats, particularly The Pepsi Gravitational Field (PDF discussed is available here. I'd wager it's because it's often easy to tear down all the grand exultations and perambulations about why, exactly, a slightly lighter shade of blue is a revolution in design when in fact the justifications are often fabricated out of whole cloth in order to make the client feel better about spending a lot of money on something simple and obvious.
I do think there's a lot of dislike of change for change's sake. I remember the uproar when my own alma mater switched from a loyal dog to a weasel. The weasel logo grew on me eventually, but I'm happy to see it gone.
I suspect a lot of it is related to identity. Brands want to constantly reinvent themselves; fans of the brand want things to stay frozen in time. Consider: coats-of-arms don't change. Neither do flags. We want history and every time that history is erased, some part of our emotional investment in that brand is betrayed.
Apropos of nothing, one of my favorite youtube videos of all time: