First, yes MS did use questionable ethics by combinding the IE4 browser with the OS, but by doing that they 'unlocked' OS-browser abilities. These were later incorporated directly into the browser and OS.
Second, if you know anything of software development you would realize that upgrading pre-existing software is substationally easier and more cost effient then doing complete overhauls on the software. Do NOT site FireFox, it has had some changes, but I wouldn't call it a full re-write.
Third, Microsoft is not forcing anything on you, you can easily be smart and review the 'automatic' updates, or be an idiot and just let them auto-install. Either way, your argument is that you would rather use an older, more "insecure" (for what THAT is worth) browser. Great argument, why not complain about upgrading to SP2 while you are at it (yes, you would rather NOT have a firewall, then windows' crap fire wall).
Fourth, name a serious flaw with IE7 without looking it up. I already know that few people can name real serious flaws, most people make up flaws, or blame Microsoft's full incorporation of java (unlike Mozillia, which removes compatability with every 'exploit' that a command can do) for being a potential idiot hole (where a very stupid person willingly grants access to a person with mallicious intent.)
Fifth, I personally believe the media loves to attack Microsoft. I don't blame them, but they never FULLY disclose what the security hole actually is. After analysing the code used for execution (and I have secunia to thank for that) I can often tell how insignifigant it really is... the fact that you CAN do something, does not mean that it can be sucessfully done. Often, the code depends on you being a participant of a specific site, opening windows and asking for your login information. Another flaw, which I am still determining the cause, does not appear to fully be what it is. Rather, it looks like an extracted webpage. And since most sites NEVER list personal info on their websites, there is no real security threat. (This is also easily fixed by disabling mhtml)
Finally, If you want to use antiquated technology, that is fine by me, but don't blame the buisness man for abandoning it. Updates cost money, and if there is a broad consumer database the cost gets substantially split up... however, if there are few customers using a product, the practicallity of financing an update is very low. There are reasons to use Windows 2000, but I seriously doubt that your reason fits any of them. I am willing to bet the only reason you are using 2000 is because you don't want to update to XP.
On a side note. If you did NOT signup for update reminders, you would not get them. Being too lazy to send the cancelation reply is no excuse either.